No single event changed modern travel, the travel industry and the world like 9/11 did.
The headline for this edition of ‘It Happened This Week’ is: After a week from hell, travel industry braces for a slump in bookings
Travelweek’s Sept. 13 issue, wrapped up on Sept. 10 as per its usual Monday deadline, had already gone to press when the unthinkable events of 9/11 began flashing on the TV screens of billions of people around the world.
By the time Travelweek’s Sept. 20 issue came out, travel retailers and suppliers were just starting to fully grasp the knock-on effect for the travel industry for the months ahead – when they had time to reflect at all, amid the wave of rebookings and cancellations. A national ground stop on all flights in the U.S. was ordered by then-National Operations Manager for the FAA, Ben Sliney (working his first day in that position on 9/11). Canadian airspace temporarily closed as well.
In those first frantic days and weeks, even after the FAA’s ground stop lifted on Sept. 13, travel advisors worked around the clock helping clients. As Travelweek’s story notes, “Following the horrific events in the last week, travel agents worked heroically to keep their clients informed as civil aviation came to a halt throughout North America, an unprecedented event.”
Travelweek added: “In the past, agents have had to deal with an airline strike, weather delays and even air traffic controllers’ strikes but nothing of the magnitude of last week’s events.”
The heartbreak and disbelief of 9/11 soon led to fear and distrust, and that impacted air travel bookings. Already cash-strapped airlines began cutting capacity and laying off workers. It wasn’t until several years later that airline passenger numbers recovered to pre-9/11 levels.
Did the headline appear in Travelweek in 1991, 2001 or 2011?
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