Representatives from American, Delta, and United airlines outlined new policies, procedures, and regulations at a session held during the Professional Conference Management Association convention in January. Here's what they had to say.
JoAnn Bedrosian-Ryan, manager, specialty group markets with United Airlines, said that she has spent days on the phone with planners wanting her to deepen their attendee discounts in the months since 9/11. “We're trying to stay in business, and to continually up the discounts for agreements that were already in place was something we decided not to do. We kept with currentand with what we thought was a fair for our meeting contracts.” Linda Armand, national sales manager, medical and pharmaceutical industry, American Airlines, and Bob McNally, general manager — meetings, association, and incentive sales with Delta Air Lines, said their companies also didn't make any changes to contracts. McNally did say, “If we at Delta see there's an opportunity for further discounting, we'll look into it.”
The Cost of Security
In the year 2000, there were six security initiatives issued for air travel; in the last few quarter of 2001, the number went up to 70. Most of them are familiar to meeting planners by now: more-thorough security checks, repeated identification checks, limited carry-on luggage requirements, and tighter controls on potentially dangerous items that will be allowed on board.
The new security measures don't come cheap: Security costs have skyrocketed from $75 million in 2001 to an estimated $400 million this year. And guess who pays? That's right, the traveling public, in the form of a $2.50 security fee per flight. The fee maxes out at $5 for a one-way ticket, $10 for a round-trip, no matter how many connections you make, “I think we'd all agree that the cost is worth it for our safety,” said Armand.
Andrea Graham contributed to this article.