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Friday, 5 October, 2001, 18:06 GMT 19:06 UK
Has the airline crisis affected you?
Ailing carrier Swissair has run out of cash and suspended all its flights "indefinitely".
In the past two weeks, US and European airlines have announced a total of more than 100,000 job losses, including cuts from British Airways and Virgin.
The losses come in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the US which plunged the global aviation industry into crisis.
Many of their business travellers are not flying and holiday makers are cancelling booking to destinations they feel would be unstable if military action was to take place.
Have you been affected by the chaos? Are you still using airlines or have you decided to stay at home?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
As an airline pilot and a business man I am amazed at the way the major carriers are handling the current 'crisis'.
The major overriding concern of most travellers is still cost. Instead of grounding aircraft and laying off staff the airlines should grab the bull by the horns and halve all airfares. It's better to have a 100% load at half price than incredibly expensive aircraft sitting on airport aprons.
I for one would not hesitate to fly to New York or anywhere else should I be asked.
It's a tough world and the airlines have been hit with the good old adage of supply and demand. They should not be subsidised any more than farmers should be. When engineering firms go bust no-one wants to bail them out so why should airlines be treated any differently?
At the end of the day right now is probably the safest time to fly in years.
If I had the cash I'd be jetting round the world.
I refuse to live in fear of what might happen and find the whole business of people buying gas-masks and the like a bit silly.
There is an upside to all of this. With all the increased security at Heathrow and other airports, there's NO way that the airlines can lose your baggage now! In fact, I was in London on 11th September and flew back with Virgin a week later. It was the best flight I've ever had, no delays, good food and entertainment on the plane PLUS I felt the most secure that I've ever been. NOW is the time to fly, because security is SO tight.
I am seriously considering cancelling my holiday because of the recent terrorist attacks. It's all well and good people saying we should not give in to the terrorists but I bet they're not flying anywhere soon!
Jemma A. Hamilton-White, USA
I'm due to fly in two weeks time and I'm not at all scared. Of all the thousands of planes that take off daily, only a handful get hijacked - what are the odds of being on one of them? But then, I also play the lottery every week.....
I've worked at an online travel agency since June and it hurts to see people going home without a job who have worked here for years. Hopefully people will get the confidence to fly again and to take a break soon before I have to go home without a job.
I live in Dulles, Northern Virginia, 5 min from Dulles airport where the plane which smacked the Pentagon took off from. I am scheduled to fly out of there tomorrow and look at it this way. How many fatalities are on the roads every day?
John, Chicago USA
I still fly. I have to - it's my job.
I am much more worried about the way that airlines put seats too close together to adopt the crash position they teach than over a few minutes more delay here and there.
OK, if a few rich people want to travel by passenger liner instead of aircraft, so much the better!
But I have to get to work and have no choice in the matter.
It's about time the Government scrapped travel tax and visa charges. It's the least that governments throughout the world could do to encourage travelling.
I work in the airline industry and have talked to many people since 11th September - only one person was actually scared of travelling. For the most part, passengers have been understanding of extra security and longer check-in times. Passenger numbers will steadily increase again, they understand that flying is still the safest form of travel. As far as jobs in the industry are concerned, it saddens me that I have to wait to see if my colleagues still have a job in the coming months while people in other industries are seemingly happy at the demise of the country's flag carrier. BA will survive, her frontline staff are proud and happy to work for the company even under stressful conditions. I am sure other airline staff feel the same.
Having been a Muslim-American citizen for over 25 years, I've felt as if I have lost my citizenship. I don't venture out at night, and make sure I always carry sufficient amount of IDs. It is difficult to get through my daily chores, facing some discrimination from banks and insurance agencies. Focusing at work is almost impossible.
For years I took pride in teaching my fellow Americans what my religion really is about but now this task seems much more difficult.
Christoph Häemmerli, Switzerland
We were delayed at Orlando International airport for about five hours. However, like everybody else I'm sure, I would rather have gone through the security checks than to feel unsafe and unsure about flying. I now have to treat myself to a new pair of tweezers, as my originals were confiscated. Eyebrow maintenance is a small price to pay for airline safety.
I moved to Seattle, USA in March to work for Boeing.
After September 11th, Boeing announced that they would be laying of 30,000 people. I am one of those people.
I now have to leave the country within 30 days of being laid off due to my Visa restrictions.
I am not looking forward to travelling back to the UK, but I have no choice.
Istvan Farkas, UK
The biggest impact for me is that the cutbacks in schedules by all the major carriers means that there is much less flexibility around what time of day to travel when planning business trips.
That said, I have not cancelled any of my recent trips since flying is just as safe now as it was a month ago.
Bart Leigh, UK
I work in the airline industry and after everything that happened in the US passengers still haven't lost confidence in flying. I think if we let the terrorists know that we are scared to fly then we will be playing into their hands. Although passenger numbers may have dropped, those that are still flying feel safer than ever, and I have to agree that it is probably the safest time to travel, with all the increased security measures being taken.
The only way this tragedy is going to personally affect me is through my taxes, and I'm more than happy to pay them to help out the citizens who need it. That said, I am not happy to be bailing out airlines who are trying to use this tragedy as a lever to vault themselves out of financial difficulties they were experiencing before the attacks occurred.
Arif Uz Zaman, UK
My fear is not that my plane would be hijacked so much as that the images of what happened on the doomed flights would haunt and torment me. It's one thing to have these images in your mind while in the "safety" of your home, but another to have them rise up while in a plane.
My wife and two daughters will now not be travelling from London to New York this month.
Our fear is the plane full of fuel taking off from America.
Stephen Crehan, England
As a ex-pat living in Japan I cannot help feeling that my next flight home will not be as comfortable as in the past. I kept hoping nothing else would happen but after just reading of a Russian jet going down in the Black Sea I think I'll find it hard to muster the courage to bring my wife and young son back home for the holidays.
Speaking as a regular flyer of Sabena and one of the frequent euro-travellers
I feel the current crisis has just accelerated what has always been
a shoddy service. Flight delays, baggage handling delays, strikes
and poor customer services have always marked Sabena's operations
Now they have declared bankruptcy I must say
I'm not shocked. I have two weekends to fly with them and then I'll move to BA
who treat you politely and operate secure flights but just need to consider that
people fly from other places in the UK than Manchester and London.
F, Switzerland (ex-UK)
Speaking as someone travelling to the US in the next week, I certainly have no objection to checking in three or four hours prior to departure, or having my bags or person properly searched, if this results in a safe journey. I'm sure that most of us feel the same way.
Allen - you are not concerned about checking in three to four hours before departure? You must never have travelled with two small children.
My flight and holiday plans to Australia have not been affected by the terrorist attacks except from an earlier check in time. In light of what has happened I feel government should abolish airport tax for the time being to help the tourism and airline industry.
To Scottish Lass in UK: would you mind explaining how abolishing airport tax is going to help the airline industry? If that happens, charges to carriers will be jacked up to make up the difference - either increasing ticket prices, which won't help the tourist industry, or increasing costs for the airline companies, putting them in a worse situation than they already are!
I am due to fly out on Friday 12th October firstly to Singapore and then onto Australia. I have been looking forward to this holiday for too long and there is nothing going to spoil it. I think this whole situation is an excuse for airlines to cut back. Ryan Air and Easy Jet are raking it in because they cut the flight prices. British Airways is only using it as an excuse as they were on their way out anyway!
We flew with Sabena from Seville to Belgium, then on to London on Monday. When we landed in Belgium, Sabena were cancelling lots of flights. Our immediate thought was of a second terrorist campaign, but this time over Europe.
Yes - it has affected me in a way. I'm due to fly a non-transatlantic flight in a week's time and we just don't have enough information on what new rules have been imposed because it seems that every airline has a different level of security. But there is no way that I am cancelling my holiday because of this. We cannot and should not let these terrorists succeed in altering how the western world operates.
My husband had planned a surprise 30th birthday treat for me to New York in November. We feel very strongly against the attacks on the US and feel that continuing with the trip rather than cancelling will show our support. We refuse to give in to the fear that had been created in these attacks and still hope to enjoy the trip as much as possible.
My fiancée is taking
two flights today
from San Jose and
I'm flying tomorrow.
I'm sure I can speak
for both of us when
I say we're nervous
about the coming
weeks and months,
but we must not
allow the terrorists
the gratification of
changing our lives
more than they
I was supposed to be interviewed for a flight attendant position with United Airlines for their non-stop polar service from Chicago to New Delhi. The interview was supposed to be on Sept 17 in New York City, but now all that's been scrapped.
Less flying means less pollution, less noise, and
less wasteful fuel consumption.
Why is the air industry exempt from the huge taxes other sectors have to pay for fuel?
Phill Dyble, UK
I'm flying back home to Johannesburg later this month. It's a strange feeling to feel safer going that way than coming to the UK!
I find it strange that Lessie should find it safer going back to South Africa than coming to Britain ! This is a world problem with terrorism, not just affecting the USA and Britain. I feel perfectly safe.
My wife and I have planned a holiday to Vietnam, Hong Kong and Bali in November. We have cancelled the Bali portion of our holiday and will instead travel to Phuket, Thailand. Although Bali is a Hindu island in the Indonesian Muslim Archipelago, we were advised not to travel to Bali as there are apparently pockets of Muslim fundamentalists in there. The unfortunate losers will be those people who depend on tourism for their livelihood.
My daughter had been offered a job with BA, subject to a medical the week before the disaster. The job offer has now been withdrawn. This would have been her dream job after graduating from university.
As an American living in the UK, I look forward to flying to my hometown in Ohio for the Thanksgiving holiday. My chosen carrier that I have been using on this route has discontinued their direct flight to Cleveland. Therefore, my choice has become limited. I do hope that this is temporary as I wouldn't want to be faced with all of these restrictions on my freedom to fly in the future. I still feel that flying is the safest and most enjoyable way of travel.
Tracy Rivers, UK
I am leaving from Boston/Logan Airport this Friday for a vacation in Cyprus that was planned prior to the atrocities of September 11. I will not assist this band of murderers in their psychological goals by cancelling my plans.
I am alarmed and saddened at the panic this incident has caused across the western world. Anyone who responds to the tragedy by altering their behaviour is insulting those who were murdered in the massacre. Starve the terrorists from the oxygen of publicity someone once said - wise words and ones we ignore in peril.
Do something for the environment. Travel by train!
Flew recently to Hanover, Germany. People were moaning that they had to wait so long as a result of heightened security...unbelievable mentality. It was also disturbing to see every Arab looking individual getting sidelined as a potential terrorist...ignorance is prevalent.
I am a frequent flyer with a number of national and international airlines. Following the attacks and once the FAA opened up the skies I began travelling. Sure there were initial fears, but I can honestly say that it feels safer, every flight I took was on time, people were friendlier than ever. Last week I flew over 10,000 miles. This is not the time to stop flying and stop doing business, quite the opposite.
I flew to Ireland on 12th September and there were no problems apart from extra security. My wife is flying to Spain today and I'm of to Ireland again in a few weeks. The only affect on me has been cheaper flights and restrictions on people bringing on hand luggage, which I think is a positive advantage. I feel extremely sorry for Jay in the USA but I'm afraid security at Logan and Newark (which I use regularly) has always been spasmodic at best. I hope that the people of the USA can soon get used to increased security and try to resume their lives accordingly.
I flew with Air France on the exact same Concorde that crashed last year about 6 weeks prior to the tragedy, and would willingly board the plane again and hope to see it flying scheduled services soon. The best form of response to these catastrophic events is for the public and authorities to help each other find those responsible and continue with daily life in the process. We must together change the world for the better by removing this fear from society and share the wealth from rich to poor societies for the sake of our survival.
Myself and three friends were on the tarmac at 9 am waiting to take off at JFK Airport in New York as the attacks on the World Trade Centre took place. We were stuck in New York, missing our flights to Las Vegas and later onto Miami. We hired a car and completed the last leg of our trip under our own steam. However disruption to our travel plans meant little as we could so easily have been in the air heading towards some other target that morning.
It took me over 7 hours to get onto a plane last weekend. I was leaving Las Vegas for Oakland, it took 3 hours to get into the terminal the line was long and in 90 degree heat it was no fun for anyone. Complete chaos.
I think if this is going to be the norm in Vegas they may as well close some of the casinos right now. I fully understand all of the issues but this is going to kill the gambling industry and the job losses will be huge.
We cannot leave terrorists influence or even decide about our travelling and lives. Nevertheless, difficulties when travelling are reality and I am reverting to safer airlines and destinations.
Air travel continues to be the safest form of transport despite what happened on September 11th. I flew to Copenhagen a couple of weeks ago and wasn't worried at all. If we stop flying, the terrorists are effectively achieving one of the things they set out to do, and we shouldn't let that happen.
As a Brit living in the USA, I'm not letting the terrorists interfere with our plans: that means they have won. We flew back from Africa through London last week, and are travelling to London tomorrow. I do however stick to BA, when flying internationally.
I shall be going to the States, it's my holiday. Unless the airline cancels I'm going.
I am still confident that air travel is safe and will not let the recent events put me off travelling. I am flying to Canada and the US for Christmas and New Year. Fingers crossed that American Airlines will still be trading then.
I'm taking my family to Thailand in a month's time with only a little trepidation. Let's face it, the chances of September 11 happening again so soon are slim. If not then it just goes to show that airlines really are putting profit before safety.
What I can't understand is that every airline is suddenly going introspective and cutting back. Wouldn't it make more sense to create some loss-leader discounts to encourage people back in the air? If we stop flying or doing anything we normally do then the terrorists have won. Can't the American public see that? If you're gonna go, you're gonna go - staying at home is not the answer!
Jordan Medeiros, USA
My friend from California is coming to stay with me from Saturday 6th October. We discussed the situation and we both refuse to have terrorists rule our lives with fear. To let them do that is to let them win.
Secondly though, I feel that our own public could destroy the aviation industry with pathetic crusades against aircraft noise. These people choose to live near airports - did they think that planes would fly with "mufflers" on the engines? It just shows how ridiculous the European Court of Human Rights is when they don't throw the case straight out of court!
I am flying with Unijet in December and have made no plans to change my arrangements. However the airline did change their plans on the 8th of September, by adding in an extra stop, informing me 3 weeks later. If I wanted to join at the subsequent airport preventing the 2-hour delay I would be charged! Airlines have a lot to answer for. My only hope is that the business brains behind Swiss Air join Unijet in January.
I was initially affected as I was meant to be flying out to see my girlfriend on the 14th Sept. I've rescheduled for the end of October and I won't be changing my mind unless further terrorist action happens.
The reduction in schedules by BA, Virgin and other carriers is frustrating, because it limits flexibility when planning trips, but having said that I support the airlines in their decision to make cutbacks - they need to stay in business after all.
Yes I will be cautious in flying again especially in the US where the security in still very slack compared to the rest of Europe.
Travelling via London Stansted the day after the attack, I wasn't sure if I'd still be able to fly. My first flight was cancelled which almost caused me to miss my next (non-connecting) one. I'd left four hours between but because of delays at security I made it only just. Still, the main thing was that we got there safely.
Just got back to Toronto September 30 from Glasgow with Air Canada, apart from a 30-minute wait to get through customs at the Canadian end of the journey we experienced no problems at all.
I welcome the 'chaos': the airspace over my home has been a lot quieter recently. Long may it continue.
I fly on business on a weekly basis. Given that we are likely to be faced with tougher market conditions, any reduction in my flights will be as a result of a downturn in business and not as a result of an increased terrorist threat. I have strong confidence in the security measures on European carriers and airports and feel that we need to be seen to carry on with business as usual wherever possible.
Abby Taylor, England
I was going to fly home to New Zealand from London with United Airlines via Canada and America in November. However due to all of the turmoil at the moment I have changed my plans to fly directly home with Singapore Airlines in October. I don't want the terrorists to have affected my original plans, but I feel that the world is too unsettled at the moment to feel safe travelling.
My wife was too frightened to travel to Florida in mid-October so I had to cancel my holiday two weeks ago. My big fear is that we will never win against terrorism as any nut with a grudge to bear will always threaten people's lives and cause some form of disruption.
Yes I have been affected. I have a job with global responsibilities. I normally travel on a plane twice a week to visit one of my companies' offices or a customer's site. I have not been on a plane since September 11 and I travelled to Holland this week by car and ferry.
Security on planes and at airports needs to reach new levels of effectiveness and innovation. Then we may all return to something most of us took completely for granted.
The airline crisis has affected me in that it has cheered me to see BA and some other carriers in trouble. While I'm not pleased to see BA staff laid off, god knows they've suffered enough under the yoke of BA's management philosophy, nor am I glad of the circumstances that brought these troubles to a head, I am truly happy at any discomfort felt at the top of the company hierarchy. I fly over eighty times a year on business and have always found BA's corporate smugness off-putting. They are driving away the economy class traveller in favour of business and first class customers. It was bound to backfire and I'm glad it has.
Yes, I have been affected by the chaos. My flight to Bangkok was cancelled by Finnair after the attack on the US. They were able to
get me on one of their other flights fine though. I am still happy to fly but hope conditions don't get worse and that safety will soon be completely restored.
I went to Gatwick last Monday, fully expecting heavy delays, especially as we were catching a charter flight. We did experience some delays but these were due to a technical fault. Our carriers BWA, handled us admirably and we were soon on our way. On the way home we saw no delays at all. The only inconvenience was that we were only able to take a small bag on for hand baggage, but other than that it seemed to be business As usual.
I will be flying from London to Scotland next month, my parents are currently in Greece, and friends in the US are still intending to take their holiday in Ireland. Since I don't usually travel to places that are affected by any military action, why should I be afraid? Security levels at airports are probably higher now than they ever have been, and with more checks on passengers before boarding we should be safer on the flights too.
As an organiser of overseas business delegations, we have been hit hard with many companies pulling out of proposed trips. One MD told us he did not care where his staff were planning on travelling and ordered them to remain in the UK. This is from the MD of a big multi-national company so what hope have us mere mortals got of trying maintain normality?
Far from it. As I see it there are cheap flights and better security. What better time to get away.
I am one of those people that will never let disasters affect my travel plans. To do so in this case is to admit that the terrorists have won. That said, it does make me a lot more nervous about travelling, but then I am still more likely to be killed crossing the road than flying. I would also rethink my holiday destinations in light of the attacks and believe that we all have a role to support British industries to keep the economy going. Fly to Scotland and spend the money there. That way our tourism and our airlines benefit.
I flew with Ryanair on Sunday, a bit more security, but no problems at all.
03 Oct 01 | Business
Swissair shares wiped out
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