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You can still get tickets — and planes no problem

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Contrary to popular conception, Jim Peters, the Federal Aviation Administration’s public affairs specialist for the Eastern Region, insists Youithat airplanes are not diverted around the U.S. Tennis Open.

“At the request of the city we try not to use the routes that could bring the planes directly over the tennis stadium, but we only do that if the winds dictate that we can,” Peters told Qguide. “We attempt to use alternate runways when tournament play is taking place, but we do not divert!”

Planes have to land and take off into the wind, which they use to create lift and drag, and “if we have to use Runway 1331 for operations at La Guardia, we will do that, and that may bring the planes over the tennis stadium.” Runway 1331 is used about 40 percent of the time during the year and planes departing from this runway will most likely fly over the tournament.

“Safety is our Number 1 guiding principle,” Peters said. “We would meet with the tournament officials and outline what we could do for them if it’s feasible. The city has to instigate [changes in departures and arrivals] to the FAA.

Dan Andrews, spokesman for Queens Borough President Claire Shulman, confirmed this, citing the original leasing agreement the USTA has with the City of New York. Asking to modify the airplane departures and arrivals is “a routine

request,” he says, but the city has to ask the FAA each year.

Back on the ground — believe it or not, as of this writing you can still buy tickets to the tournament. You can buy them through Ticketmaster.com, at the USTA National Tennis Center box Office in Flushing, all Ticketmaster outlets, or by calling 866-OPEN-TIX. The box office hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can pay by credit card and prices range from $22 to $85, which is a better deal than Broadway. Prices for Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day, which will be held on Saturday the 25th, are $10 and $20. The tournament itself runs from Aug. 27 through Sept. 9, and if you can get a chance to see even the early rounds, do. The view from even a crummy seat — okay, a cheap seat, there are no crummy seats at Flushing — is exponentially better than what you see on TV!

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