Travel agents: Customers changing plans

17 Oct, 2014

Travel agents in the U.S. say that individual customers have canceled trips due to concerns over Ebola, although the travel market remains mostly unaffected overall. Tim Husted, a traveler-services executive for Carlson Wagonlit Travel, says fewer than 1% of the company’s leisure travelers have changed a booking and there is even less of a reaction among business travelers, although a few have requested routes that avoid Dallas. Maryann Cook, a travel agent in New York, says a Florida doctor who booked a $197,000 family safari trip to South Africa for 30 people next year wants to rebook it for 2016, even if it means losing a $60,000 deposit.

He didn’t feel a real urgency because South Africa is so far away from the problem spot, but he got a lot of stress from his children and his children’s children.

New York travel agent Blake Fleetwood says a client who booked travel to India is worried about a stopover in London, where there could be a greater chance of exposure to travelers from west Africa.

We’re hearing from everyone. Even people flying domestically are very nervous.

He says he understands the anxiety:

I wouldn’t fly on Frontier Airlines. I know that’s a crazy thing to say, but I just wouldn’t want my mind to be bothered. I would take another airline.

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