Sunday, December 29, 2013

Capital Region International Airport (KLAN) 'Sea of Green' Before Rose Bowl

A crowded terminal. A buzz in the air. A 747 jet parked on the tarmac.

It was the Capital Region International Airport as Dana Koot had never seen it before.

"Nothing like this before, this is crazy," said Koot, who has worked at the airport for 15 years.

In fact, Koot says she normally avoids the airport on Sundays, preferring to spend time with her family instead. But this Sunday was a different story.

"I just wanted to be a part of all the action," she said, "send all these great Spartans off to Pasadena."

Koot volunteered to help out Sunday, handing out flowers, taking photos and sharing her Spartan spirit with more than 3,600 passengers making their way to see the Michigan State football team play in the Rose Bowl.

"As far as I know this is the largest group we've put out of here in maybe 30 years," said Robert F. Selig, Executive Director of the airport.

Airport staff prepared two weeks for this day. In total, 14 flights traveled from Lansing to Los Angeles Sunday. Extra hands in the parking lots, terminals and security lines helped keep things moving.

"They've done a great job," said Sue Collier who was traveling to the game. "It's well organized, everybody's very friendly, they're moving as fast as they can with these people, it's been great."

Fight songs in the security lines and free roses and signs were just some of the things contributing to the buzz in the air.

"What I love is that it's a sea of green," said passenger Debbie Swartz. "It's absolutely beautiful."

The airport's executive director says he was happy to put fans in the right mood before they went on their way.

"Well we're part of the community too," said Selig. "The airport is the community's airport and so we just want to create the right atmosphere. You don't want to just process people. You want to send them off on a nice trip."

Most fans say they arrived hours before they were assigned to in order to ensure they would make their flights.

The airport expects to be busy again come Thursday, when fans make their return flights to Lansing.

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