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Fans encountering smooth departures at airport

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The most congested area of Indianapolis International Airport Monday morning may have been the Lids souvenir stand at the center of the food court.

Super Bowl XLVI-branded merchandise was marked half off about 7:30 a.m., and travelers flocked around the stand for the next hour. They had plenty of time to shop, as most waits to clear the security checkpoint were less than 10 minutes. The peak period, between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m., was 15 minutes long, airport personnel said.

“I’ve been impressed with the whole area of Indianapolis,” said John Pagnozzi, a New England Patriots fan from Mystic, Conn., who saw his team lose 21-17 to the New York Giants on Sunday night.

Pagnozzi's entire trip, from walking around downtown, to entering Lucas Oil Stadium, to clearing the security checkpoint at the airport in four minutes, was a breeze, he said. “You can see this was well-thought-out.”

That’s exactly what Super Bowl planners wanted in giving a last impression to Super Bowl visitors.

“Everybody’s anticipation is the party, the game, enjoying the festivities,” said Mike Medvescek, chief operating officer at the airport. Then, he said, “They want to get out quickly.”

The airport took several steps to prevent a post-game bottleneck. People returning rental cars were directed to a remote parking lot and shuttled to the terminal, thereby cutting down on traffic near the terminal. 

The Transportation Security Administration added two lines on each concourse for a total of 18. The entire airport staff, about 500 people, was on duty for 12-hour shifts over the weekend and into Monday.

Medvescek expected a number of fans to head straight to the airport from the game and spend the night in the terminal, so the airport authority asked the airlines to keep their ticket counters open all night. Likewise, vendors were open extra hours. That included the bar Vinea, which opened three hours early, at 7 a.m., but drew few customers.

More than 800 private aircraft were parked at Indianapolis International and area commuter airports during the game, said Sean White, a member of the subcommittee for reliever airports. Most took off immediately afterward.

“It was crazy after the game last night,” he said.

The number of private aircraft in the area was at least on par with Dallas last year and may have set a Super Bowl record, White said. He thinks the fact that both teams draw from a wealthy fan base contributed to the numbers.

Most of the corporate jets, 528, were parked at Indianapolis International, but smaller airports were busy as well. At Indianapolis Executive Airport in Zionsville, 100 volunteers were on hand to greet passengers and help with ground transport over the weekend, White said.

In another effort to create a positive impression with visitors as they leave Indianapolis, Mayor Greg Ballard planned to be at the airport at midday to thank travelers for visiting the city.

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  1. I had read earlier this spring that Noodles & Co was going to open in the Fishers Marketplace (which is SR 37 and 131st St, not 141st St, just FYI). Any word on that? Also, do you happen to know what is being built in Carmel at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian? May just be an office building but I'm not sure.

  2. I'm sorry, but you are flat out wrong. There are few tracks in the world with the history of IMS and probably NO OTHER as widely known and recognized. I don't care what you think about the stat of Indy Car racing, these are pretty hard things to dispute.

  3. Also wondering if there is an update on the Brockway Pub-Danny Boy restaurant/taproom that was planned for the village as well?

  4. Why does the majority get to trample on the rights of the minority? You do realize that banning gay marriage does not rid the world of gay people, right? They are still going to be around and they are still going to continue to exist. The best way to get it all out of the spotlight? LEGALIZE IT! If gay marriage is legal, they will get to stop trying to push for it and you will get to stop seeing it all over the news. Why do Christians get to decide what is moral?? Why do you get to push your religion on others? How would legalizing gay marriage expose their lifestyle to your children? By the way, their lifestyle is going to continue whether gay marriage is legalized or not. It's been legal in Canada for quite a while now and they seem to be doing just fine. What about actual rules handed down by God? What about not working on Sundays? What about obeying your parents? What about adultery? These are in the 10 Commandments, the most important of God's rules. Yet they are all perfectly legal. What about divorce? Only God is allowed to dissolve a marriage so why don't you work hard to get divorce banned? Why do you get to pick and choose the parts of the Bible you care about?

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