Scores of travelers were held in their cars at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport parking garage for half an hour or longer Tuesday night while a glitch in the parking payment system kept the exit gates closed.
“They should have raised the gates and let us go home,” Greg Wallace of Raleigh, 46, said Wednesday. “Instead, they made us all sit in our cars without giving us any information.”
RDU spokeswoman Mindy Hamlin said 124 cars were delayed because of “a disruption of service with our credit card processing system.”
“We apologize for the inconvenience and are conducting a review to decrease the impact on our passengers if this were to happen again,” Hamlin said.
Airport parking employees came to help move the long lines of cars, and the last parking customers paid their way out by 10:25 p.m., she said, after a service outage that lasted 36 minutes.
Wallace said it seemed to take longer than that. His parking receipt was stamped at 10:34 p.m., and there were still long lines of cars behind his, he said.
He faulted RDU’s response to the problem, which started when drivers were unable to use payment kiosks at the airport terminal. He said he could not reach anyone at RDU by telephone until he called 911 and was transferred to the airport police.
Police officers who responded by phone and eventually arrived at the exit gates were dismissive, Wallace said, when travelers said they should be allowed to leave without further delay.
“The RDU police officer just laughed and thought that was ridiculous,” Wallace said. “If you have 50 to 100 people in their cars and you won’t open the gates and let them through until you fix your software, that tells me that you making money is more important than my time.”