By Lauren Wanko
Both Super Bowl teams landed at Newark Liberty International Airport last night and headed to their Jersey City hotels. The airport, along with hundreds of organizations throughout the state, are also making preparations, to keep other travelers on the move and safe this week. Over 500 volunteer greeters are standing by throughout the airport, along with the Port Authority’s entire customer care staff.
“I think everybody’s ready for the crowds. We had the training. We know the area and we know the airport,” said greeter Don Hart.
All the security checkpoint lanes at the airport will be open throughout the week and the Monday after the game, along with additional security measures and staffers. Ground transportation is ramped up with extra commuter shuttles into New York City and taxi dispatches.
“On the departure end, everyone’s gonna be departing at the same time that Monday after so here’s what we’re preparing for based on the experiences of other airports. We’ve been told to prepare for as much as 30 percent increase in passengers on the departure,” said Huntley Lawrence of the Port Authority.
United Airlines is adding additional flights.
“As an example, on Monday of next week post game we’ll have three additional flights to Seattle and four additional flights to Denver,” said Lawrence of United Airlines.
There are flight restrictions in place during the Super Bowl — a no-fly zone in the area surrounding the stadium starting at 4 p.m. Sunday to an hour after the game — that won’t impact any flights at Newark Airport.
The Port Authority expects a few thousand additional travelers at the airport later this week and especially the Monday after game day. As for the travelers not headed for the Super Bowl..
“We are prepared for every customer care challenge this week. But I think for most passengers it should be seamless experience this week and I’m hoping it is going to be a pleasant one,” Lawrence said.
Preparations are also being taken to keep the roads safe for motorists. The acting attorney general today announcing “The Sobriety Blitz” — a multi-agency action to help stop drunk driving around game day. The Super Bowl rivals other major holidays for DWI arrests, says the acting attorney general. Law enforcement will increase patrols and sobriety checkpoints in communities close to the stadium throughout the week.
The clock is ticking. Less than a week now until the Super Bowl is finally here. Officials hope the hours of preparation will result in a seamless game day.