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U.S. Airlines See Scant Travel Drop After Terror Scare

August 21, 2006 By: Dan Butcher Travel Agent

The diversion of a trans-Atlantic United Airlines flight to Boston after a passenger became unruly grabbed headlines this week, but perhaps more significant was that the Boeing 767 was carrying 182 passengers—more than 94 percent of capacity, The Wall Street Journal reports. A week after authorities foiled a terrorist plot aimed at jetliners flying from the United Kingdom to the U.S., consumers appear to be sticking with air travel. Airlines said customers still are using the tickets they had purchased before the arrests and continue to buy new ones. Airlines stressed that it is too early to measure the full financial impact. The industry will closely watch the level of new bookings in coming weeks. It is also unclear whether the inconvenience of new security measures will discourage air travel over the longer term. With a few exceptions—like an uptick in the use of curbside check-in facilities for checked baggage reported by AMR Corp.'s American Airlines—other U.S. carriers echoed the message of status quo. Amtrak officials said the railroad hasn't seen a change in tickets issued as a result of last week's threat to airlines. The effect has been more pronounced in Europe, particularly in Britain, the starting point for the plot. From Saturday through Monday, all airlines operating from London's three biggest airports were forced to cancel up to 30 percent of flights.

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