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Archive for Sunday, March 30, 2003

Iraq conflict causes travel repercussions

March 30, 2003

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War reverberated throughout the world of travel last week as government officials, the travel industry and travelers themselves responded to warnings that war in Iraq would likely spur terrorists into action.

l The Transportation Security Administration ordered airports to begin random vehicle inspections, and to increase canine and human patrols. Curbside and off-airport luggage check-in has been suspended, and parking within 300 feet of airline terminals will be closed.

But experts say wait times likely won't be longer because some people are clearly delaying travel, based on airline capacity cuts and anecdotal evidence.

l A drop in traffic has caused Continental Airlines to suspend some international flights. United Airlines, citing war fears, is considering cutting capacity by up to 10 percent, and other airlines said they were likely to cut flights. For a list of airlines cutting routes, go to www.orbitz.com.

l Travel risk management groups are advising clients that travel to most areas is generally safe. "Exceptions are to the Middle East, perhaps Turkey," said Rick Lurie, vice president of intelligence operations at iJET Travel Intelligence. He advised avoiding demonstrations and political discussions, adding that while it's always a good idea to register with the U.S. Embassy when visiting a foreign country, "it's time to take that advice seriously."

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