"The attacks truly had a precipitous impact on air travel through October 11," says David Castelvetter, spokesman for US Airways. "Our sales force has been keeping in constant touch with conference and association planners to ensure them that we’re doing everything possible to ensure safe travel."
Prior to the November 12 crash of American Airlines Flight 587 in New York, he said he had been seeing a gradual return to travel—not just individual travelers, but meeting and incentive travel. While the third national Travel Industry Association Travel Confidence Survey, conducted earlier in November, found that economic concerns outweighed safety issues by 42 percent, that may now have changed. According to Robert R. Butterworth, PhD, International Trauma Associate, Los Angeles, one in six American adults were afraid of flying prior to September 11. After the November crash, he says, while "the numbers cannot be fully ascertained, but some experts say that the number...has doubled."
While it may not have much of an impact on fearful fliers, the airlines are trying to make travel more cost effective. Castelvetter says the company is offering deals above and beyond the well-publicized industry-wide discount programs. "Our sales force is singularly focused on every revenue opportunity there is to bring in new business and retain existing business," he says. "We’re offering value-added ‘performance tickets’ for groups, based on the number of tickets that are purchased. We are tailoring travel programs to fit the needs of our group and meetings clients. We see all the components of the travel industry following similar paths—taking special steps to get their customers back."