According to a recent American Express poll of more than 100 corporate clients, the majority of companies have not changed their corporate travel policy in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Sixty-five percent of the 113 travel managers at mid- and large-sized American Express Corporate Travel customers said that they are not making any changes in corporate travel plans. Of the 35 percent who were making changes, 52 percent said they have restricted air travel, primarily by limiting travel to essential trips or to take care of a key customer concern. Another 42 percent increased the travel authorization level, designating sign-off by a higher-level executive. Thirty-nine percent are asking employees to use alternative communication, such as videoconferencing, to replace travel.

Mandated use of the approved travel agency for all arrangements was cited by 24 percent of those who made changes to policy. "During the crisis, as business travelers around the world found themselves stranded due to airport closures and limited air service, travel agency networks and emergency travel services proactively contacted customers, rebooking their flights or finding alternate transportation," said said Pamela Arway, executive vice president & general manager, American Express Corporate Travel. "In addition, for many companies, travel agencies provided the crucial information on where traveling employees were on 11th September."

Another survey by the Alexandria, Va.-based National Business Travel Association, also conducted in the last week of September, reveal that a clear majority of companies expect a rebound ahead for business travel. According to the survey, which polled 200 corporate members of the professional association, nearly three-quarters of companies (70 percent) expect a recovery within the next three to six months, while 12 percent estimate nine months to recovery. Eighteen percent expect a rebound in 10 months or more.