Yup, once again, the news is full of stories about the possibility that Delta and Northwest might go belly up today. Not too surprising, given that U.S. airlines are expected to lose $7.4 billion this year, mainly thanks to high fuel prices. Which is why airline organizations are lobbying for a one-year moratorium from the federal tax on jet fuel, which they say will save $600 million (well, save airlines $600 mil. Which, presumably, has to be made up somewhere).
After 9/11, we saw a shift toward more regional meetings as people stopped wanting to fly. Will all this airline distress have a similar effect, or are we all so used to bankrupt airlines that keep on flying that it won't much affect potential attendees? I'm guessing the latter—at least, unless and until the cutbacks begin to erode what little service is left to the point that passengers are worried for their safety. But with the current high price of gas, is driving in really a good alternative? Maybe the big winner in the whole situation will be e-conferencing? Who knows. But it looks like we're in for another interesting era in meeting planning.