Tags: Fear | Flying | Threatens | Travel | Industry

Fear of Flying Threatens Travel Industry

Thursday, 20 September 2001 12:00 AM

Americans are increasingly hesitant to travel on airplanes, and not even online travel bargains can ease their jitters, according to travel agents and Internet websites specializing in travel.

The online travel booking industry has been hard hit by America's terrorist-inspired fear of flying. A spokesperson for the Internet travel company Expedia, Inc. announced Tuesday that reservations over the 7 days since the terrorist attacks were off by as much as 60 to 65 percent.

Further, Monday's bookings were less than half of what it had seen a weekearlier, one day before the attacks.

A similar Internet venture, Travelocity, reported that sales fell by as much as 40 percent, said Terrell B. Jones, president and chief executive officer. "We fully expect improved growth in travel spending in 2002," Jones said.

Whether Jones' optimism will be rewarded in fact is uncertain. A Harris Interactive online poll conducted on Sept. 11 and 12 found that 37 percent of Americans would avoid flying in the next few months.

Travelocity's Chief Financial Officer Ramesh Punwani still maintains a positive outlook for the company, despite last week's events.

"Because of our stronger-than-expected profit performance in July and August, we are maintaining our earnings guidance for the third quarter, although revenues will be below our guidance," Punwani said in a statement Tuesday.

Priceline.com Chairman and CEO Richard S. Braddock said in statement Tuesday that the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have resulted in up to a 40 percent decrease in the company's forward travel bookings.

According to the company, the drop is driven primarily by reduced customer demand, interruptions in availability associated with schedule changes and more refunds for previously booked reservations.

Even harder hit than the multi-million member online travel services are the traditional walk-in travel agencies.

Pat Kelley, owner of Port Orange Travel, in Port Orange, Fla. said that before the September 11 terrorist attack, she was already "down $200,000 this year in sales."

Kelley is facing a losing price war with online ticket sales by airlines and may be forced to layoff members of her staff due to a decline in bookings over the past week.

But there is a ray of hope for Kelley's business. United Airlines, American Airlines and TWA have temporarily suspended the online sale of discount tickets until further notice due to security reasons.

Some of the suspected hijackers in the September 11 attack are believed to have purchased their tickets via the Internet.

Meanwhile, in Midtown Manhattan, "It's been quite slow and that's not good," said Arrow Travel Accounting Manager Abid Syed.

Syed said the bulk of his customers "have cancelled their flights or scheduled from the 11th to the 15th, and of course, they all have been cancelled."

He added, "People are canceling even now, people who are scheduled to fly today or tomorrow because they're kind of scared."

And, the once steady flow of corporate travel that Syed's Arrow Travel arranged for Manhattan companies has dropped to a stand still, Syed said.

"Business travelers are canceling and they're not sure when they want to travel again. The regular ones want to wait and see, even if they are losing business, even then they don't want to travel now," Syed said.

Copyright 2001 by

© 2019 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
Pre-2008
Americans are increasingly hesitant to travel on airplanes, and not even online travel bargains can ease their jitters, according to travel agents and Internet websites specializing in travel. The online travel booking industry has been hard hit by America's...
Fear,Flying,Threatens,Travel,Industry
541
2001-00-20
Thursday, 20 September 2001 12:00 AM
Newsmax Media, Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved