Special Report: London Gets Back to Business

Word from travel professionals suggests that the London terror attacks will not have a devastating affect on the industry in Europe

By: Janeen Christoff

The July 7 terrorist attacks on London’s transport system, though devastating, are not likely to have a bruising affect on the travel industry. A day after the bombing, airlines and tour operators report few cancellations.

April Merenda, vice president of sales and marketing for Maupintour and Gutsy Women Travel said there were no cancellations on their Classic Family Adventures tour, leaving this weekend and stopping in London.

“London handled the situation well. I think there was a similar reaction to Madrid. It’s not like the fallout after 9/11,” she said.

To reassure clients about travel to London representatives made phone calls to travelers on the tour.

“We reassured them that everything was okay and I think that helped,” said Merenda.

Apart from seeing an in-creased volume of calls in their call center, Scott Nisbet, vice president of marketing for the Globus Family of Brands had a similar opinion.

“There hasn’t been a flood of cancellations; you could count them on one hand,” he said. In fact we have about the same number of cancellations for Europe as for the hurricane in the Caribbean. Things have been very similar to Madrid.”

In London, Globus is seeing tours running and only a few clients have been diverted to alternate hotels.

“The theaters are dark tonight and some people have been diverted to different hotels because they were inaccessible but really, it’s business as usual,” Nisbet said on the day of the attacks. “A lot of the precautions, like 24-hour cancellation insurance, have been in place since 9/11.”

All normal cancellation policies are in affect for the company.

Airlines like United and American have posted notices on their Web sites alerting passengers to the attacks and informing them about new policies for passengers ticketed to London.

United’s site states that the airline has revised its ticketing policies for travel to and from London Heathrow Airport. The new policies apply to passengers ticketed until July 22.

American Airlines has a similar policy allowing ticketed passengers going to London to change the origination travel date up to July 31 without a fee or penalty.

A day after the attacks, London Transport is up and running with delays listed on their Web site. Theaters and restaurants were determined to return to normal schedules. The city is once again welcoming visitors.

Editors Note: The Web Exclusive on changes at LAX that was scheduled to run was moved to a later date so that we could bring you this breaking story.
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