The terrorist attacks that shook Paris Nov. 13 week aren’t stopping Minnesotans from traveling to the City of Light, according to local travel experts.
Sandy Lovick, owner of several Travel Leaders locations throughout the Twin Cities, noted Wednesday that her own associate was on her way to Paris, which has been nursing its wounds since the Nov. 13 attacks that claimed the lives of at least 130 people.
“They certainly had problems in Paris, but not necessarily in the very midst of the most popular tourist spots,” said Lovick, speaking of the reason travelers are still packing for France.
She added: “But certainly, there are people who are going to think about going, and we would tell them to be most vigilant to their surroundings.”
Agency sees no cancelations
Lovick, who has nine travel-agency offices in Minneapolis and St. Paul, sent messages to her employees after the attacks, checking to see if clients wanted to change their flight dates. So far, the agencies have not heard a word from people wanting to cancel or delay their plans.
“While there are people who probably hesitated [to travel to Paris], we — at our own offices — have not had any changes from any of our clients,” she said.
Lovick added: “We have not had on any reports of any delays on our flights to Europe. However, there are certain planes that have been delayed.”
According to various reports, two flights from the United States to Paris were diverted last Tuesday to airfields in Utah and Canada after anonymous bomb threats were made through Twitter.
One of the flights had departed from Dulles International Airport in Virginia to Paris, but was redirected to Canada. The other airliner had taken off from Los Angeles to Paris, but was redirected to land in Utah.
Both, however, were later cleared without incident.
Between Nov. 20 and Dec. 1, more than 2.5 million Americans will travel on airlines — the highest in eight years — according to a recent estimate by Airlines for America.
“While it’s a popular time to travel, it’s not necessarily the most popular time to travel from Minnesota to France,” Lovick explained.
Like Lovick, One World Travel Manager James Wung said the security issues in France haven’t had an impact on his clients — and on his business — so far.
He added that he’s concerned that such violent attacks and fear of terrorism anywhere might have a negative impact on his 22-year-old travel business. “If there’s a problem with traveling, of course we are going to sell less tickets,” Wung said. “That’s for sure.”
Security at MSP
Patrick Hogan, director of public affairs and marketing at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), said that flights to Paris and elsewhere have been on schedule despite the attacks.
Hogan said that security at the airports in the United States is top-notch, adding that MSP remains “particularly vigilant since the Paris attack.”
“Everybody is well aware of what’s happening around the world, and I think it’s on everybody’s mind,” he said. “Everybody is particularly vigilant these days, including the travelers.”
Though the security has been tightened at the airport, travelers won’t notice any change when they come to MSP, Hogan added.