Terrell Jones, CEO of Travelocity

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, September 24, 2001.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, most airline stocks rebounding today in a big way, but they're still far from where they were before these attacks. Online travel firm Travelocity.com among those getting grounded as fear of flying gripped the nation.

Take a look at this: Travelocity shares losing about 40 percent of their values since the hijackings as they were down another 1/2 percent or so today.

Here to tell us what all this means to the company and his industry, Travelocity's CEO Terrell Jones.

Terrell, good to have you back.


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CAVUTO: Things look bad, huh?

JONES: Yeah, it's pretty tough, but it's getting better. You know, our volume was off about 75 percent right after the incident. Over the last two days off about 40 percent. So more and more people are coming back every day.

CAVUTO: So what happens, Terrell? In other words, the knee-jerk response: Quite understandably, people cancel vacation plans or business trips, then they start rethinking it as more time passes and recommitting, right?

JONES: That's exactly what's going on. Most of our customers book about 45 days out. So what we're seeing is different than the airlines. They're running about 25, 30 percent load factors. We're seeing people who are planning for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and we haven't, of course, seen the effect of the dramatic price decreases we all expect.

A few prices already cut. I saw Dallas-Vegas go from 198 to $50 today.

CAVUTO: You know, it's interesting, Terrell, but as we speak here -- and maybe we can take a look at the recovery efforts, the rescue efforts as they're still ongoing at ground zero. Every time I talk to friends or associates who've seen that, they say the same thing: I'm not getting back on a plane. How do you get them psychology on that?

JONES: Well, I think one of the most important things is to go ahead and nationalize airport security. Yesterday we saw the leaders of Congress say on some shows that they were behind that. We are very much in favor of that.

I think consistent security implemented the same everywhere will help, and I think as people look forward to, say, where they want to be for the holidays, I think we'll see increased bookings. But as you say, it's going to be down for a while.

CAVUTO: But you know what, you also hear from people who look very carefully at each and every passenger who gets on a plane now for fear of something like a hijacking could happen again. What is your own gut read on that? That if someone ever attempted to hijack a plane, I can almost picture passengers overthrowing the guy or guys immediately, that times have change that much in the last two weeks. What do you think?

JONES: Well, I think there is a different attitude. Obviously, there had never been an incident like this. It was always let's fly the plane somewhere rather than take it over and do something like this. So I think there is a different attitude. But I also think, remember, even with this air travel is incredibly safe, and it's safer now than it's ever been.

And I think if we move forward with some of the security recommendations that are going to go to the secretary of transportation on the 1st of October, that could help quite a bit.

CAVUTO: Do you have any problems traveling yourself?

JONES: No, I do not. I'm going to be on a plane tomorrow, and I'm going to keep traveling. And we've had a lot of people traveling.

And these two-hour delays that everybody talks about really aren't happening in most airports. It's quite a bit less. But it isn't consistent: You can't park at L.A., you can park at Dallas. Some places are taking tweezers, others are not. People need to have some consistency, and they need to think and believe that we have good security.

It's much better than it was, but I think if we move forward and nationalize the security force, it could be even better.

CAVUTO: But you don't have any skittishness about traveling abroad either?

JONES: No, not at this point. Obviously, we'll have to see what happens abroad, and nothing's happened yet. But you know, I'm traveling, and we're seeing more and more people booking every day.

CAVUTO: All right, Terrell Jones, Travelocity CEO, thank you, sir, very much.

JONES: Thank you, Neil.

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