New Travel Restrictions Kick the Airlines While They’re Down

New travel restrictions require extra time

Airports will likely be a little backed up for New Years travel. Image from Flickr.

Airports will likely be a little backed up for New Year's travel. Image from Flickr.

Federal officials have been purposely vague about the new travel restrictions being put in place after an attempted terrorist attack on Christmas Day. But one thing is for sure: It can’t hurt to get to the airport extra early. So far it appears most of the new travel restrictions only get started to international flights, but I say better safe than sorry.

One blogger recommends you arrive an additional hour early than usual, so two hours before your flight is scheduled to leave. I say use your best judgement, but that’s really not a bad idea. Of course, for some people, their best judgment is to not set foot in an airport in the first place.

New travel restrictions affect airlines

I bet airlines are wishing they could get payday loans to help them through the next couple of years. Attempted terrorist attacks have a lesser effect on how often people travel than attacks that get carried out. Still, a lot of people will very likely decide that getting on a plane isn’t worth the risk.

I know plenty of people who decided to never fly again after the Sept. 11 attacks. Airlines already saw their profits slashed after that day, and when the recession began, business got even worse for the airlines. Now, with stories about the attempted terrorist attack all over the news and new travel restrictions slowing down the security lines at airports, airlines are likely to see their profits fall even more.

Up and down

This damper on airline business comes at a tough time for a couple of reasons. Airlines generally see a spike in ticket sales around the holidays for obvious reasons, but that is usually followed by a very slow period. January is already a very slow month for travel, and because of the attempted attack and new travel restrictions, airlines will probably see an extra slow season this year, possibly longer.

People who’d normally take advantage of super-low ticket prices during this slow season might decide it’s not worth the risk and the hassle. Some people will be understandably skeptical about whether the new travel restrictions will even have any effect at all. Why do I say understandably? I’m glad you asked.

Federal failure

If procedures already put in place had been followed properly, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab would have never made it onto that plane on Christmas Day to attempt to blow it up. Abdulmutallab’s father called the American Embassy in Nigeria about a month ago to report that his son was a threat. Nonetheless, his name was not added to the “no fly” list.

President Barack Obama was furious that Abdulmutallab was allowed on a plane, and though we don’t know details about the new travel restrictions in place, nothing I have heard so far would have prevented this. Abdulmutallab has warned that there are other bombers on the way, and all we can do is hope that the authorities will take blatant warning signs seriously this time.