While the long-term impact of the alleged terror plot in the United Kingdom in August is still unclear, some experts predict the possible implementation of stricter airline security measures could have an impact on business travelers.
Kevin Mitchell, chairman of the Radnor, Pa. — based Business Travel Coalition, says that while a review of aviation security policy is long overdue and will probably happen, it could lead to additional restrictions on business travel activities and routines. If a plot as comprehensive as the one described by U.K. officials ever succeeded, he says, it would devastate the airline industry. Consequently, he believes companies should be putting together contingency plans to protect themselves in case of such a disaster. This could include contracting with charter jet companies and expanding videoconferencing capabilities.
As far as group meeting business is concerned, Mitchell speculates that U.S. resort properties could see more business in 2007, particularly if companies give up European trips.
Group travelers would probably “roll with the punch” if they had to deal with new security measures, including a carry-on baggage ban, says Bill Boyd, CEO and president of Sunbelt Motivation and Travel Inc. of Irving Texas, but such a prohibition would have a “huge impact” on those short-meeting travelers who travel with a rollerboard suitcase in one hand, and a laptop in the other.