A lasting impact on travel
The Sept. 11 attacks may have been a continent away, but the effects on the North Coast's travel-related businesses were immediate.
"It definitely affected our business," said Fran Tanner, manager of University Travel in Arcata [on the right in photo at left, with Barbara Branco]. "From Sept. 11 to the end of the year practically everything we had on the books was refunded."
The steep drop in flights nearly bankrupted major carriers including United Airlines, which services the North Coast. As a result, smaller carriers had to pick up the slack, leading to bittersweet boom times for outfits like Horizon Air.
"We were one of the few companies that didn't furlough anybody," said one Horizon flight crew member. He said his first day on the job was Sept. 10 last year. When he woke up and watched the news he thought he was out of a job, but if anything the company is better off now than it was before. "We're getting short-to mid-range flights that used to go to United," he said. "Regionals are the answer to the majors' problems."
"It makes us happy as clams," another crew member added. " But we don't like that we're prospering on someone else's loss."
Not just travel agents and pilots were affected by the terrorist attacks. Retail outlets that cater to travelers also got hit hard.
"Selling flags and globes and world maps kept us going [last] September," said Janyce Neiman, owner of Going Places, a Eureka travel shop. "People wanted to know where Afghanistan was."
She said that over the year business has picked up again, though it still seems that fewer Americans are travelling.
"When I was in Italy this March there were definitely less Americans," Neiman said. "Most Americans I met were visiting family or had some other reason to be there -- not really interested in experiencing Italy."
Neiman, who has operated her shop for 16 years, said her experience in dealing with the Gulf War during the last Bush administration -- an event that also hurt business -- helped her get through the tough times.
Overall nobody seems to have closed up shop despite the drop, and Tanner, for one, never considered it.
"I didn't even think about
giving up completely," Tanner said. "You just pull
up your bootstraps and carry on."
-- Andrew Edwards
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