Airline Problems? What Problems?

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While in much of the country the weather and the travel were frightful, local officials say things at the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport were delightful.

"In many parts of the country it wasn't much of a pleasure," says airport manager Carolyn Strock. "But fortunately, the weather held for us."

A major reason is that much of the snags involved baggage handlers at U.S. Airways, who reportedly staged a sick-out in Philadelphia. Strock says that, however, did not involve Pittsburgh's airport, to which U.S. Airways Express runs all of its local flights.

"They were flying planeloads of bags from Philadelphia to Charlotte," she says, "to sort them and get them to the right destinations, because Charlotte was in good shape. Philadelphia was the problem."

Also hit by problems was Comair, which serves Huntington and Charleston, and which had to shut down its weekend flights. These problems raise a question: could this affect an already questionable future for U.S. Airways, and how would that affect connecting flights from our area?

"What they will be able to do with connectivity in Pittsburgh with other airlines," Strock says, "might make travel more pleasant to actually switch to other airlines in Pitt."

Transportation secretary Norman Mineta has ordered an investigation of Comair and U.S. Airways for problems that seriously hampered holiday travel.

Comair says its flights should be back to normal Wednesday.