As rescue workers continued extricating bodies from the rubble of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon today,travelers all across America,still grounded by the nation-wide halt on air traffic,sought alternative means of returning home.
In downtown Washington,guests at several area hotels found their frustrations to be seemingly unimportant in comparison to the tragedy experienced by those directly involved in the terrorist attacks.
Frank Anderson of Cleveland,Ohio,arrived last Saturday to attend a meeting of the Paralyzed Veterans of America. He was scheduled to fly back to Cleveland Wednesday,and in the wake of Tuesday's events,has been grounded and forced to seek an alternate mode of transportation.
“The most bothersome thing about all this is simply the general inconvenience of not being able to keep my schedule,” he said. Anderson,who is now returning to Cleveland via train,was quick to add that his grievances go out to all the families of those lost in the tragedy.
Across town at the Mayflower Hotel,Jorge Martins of La Paz,Bolivia,arrived in town last week to attend a meeting at the investment fund where he works. Originally scheduled to leave on the day the attacks occurred,Martins has been patiently waiting to return home. When asked what inconveniences he has experienced in the wake of the attacks he said,“None! I have no inconveniences [given the scale of the tragedy].” Martins has reservation to return to Bolivia Friday,but adds he is prepared for his plans to change.
As travelers found themselves trapped in their hotels,hotel management sought to accommodate their needs.
Laurie Goldstein,public relations manager for Marriot International,Inc. said,“Our hotels are trying to do whatever they can to accommodate the needs of our guests.” She added that this included offering ballroom space for meetings,and blood drives to aid those directly affected by the attacks.
At the Hotel Washington,in downtown D.C.,Jim Bischoff,the director of sales and marketing,said that they were trying to keep everything running as it normally would. He mentioned that the hotel had offered a free buffet in the lobby on Tuesday for its guests. Bischoff said that the current goal of the hotel was to maintain business as usual and aid its guests in whatever way they could.
Though air traffic was scheduled to return in some capacity across the nation Thursday,travelers and hotel management alike seemed prepared for a continued delay in original schedules.