BA cancels flights on anniversary of attacks  

British Airways has cancelled a third of its transatlantic flights on 11 September because travellers are reluctant to fly on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

Whether out of superstition, respect for the bereaved or fear of a repeat attack, bookings have fallen sharply a year after the hijacked aircraft smashed into the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, the carrier has found.

American Airlines and Virgin Atlantic have also been affected, though they have yet to decide whether to cut any services.

Twenty-four British Airways flights to or from America and one to and from Barbados have been cancelled. The routes affected are from Heathrow to San Francisco, Washington, Philadelphia and Miami, as well as from Gatwick to Phoenix and San Diego. The airline has also cancelled a Heathrow-to-Washington flight on 10 September and the return trip two days later.

"The reason for these cancellations is that bookings are low, but we have ensured that people from those flights are accommodated on others to the same destination," said Cathy West, a BA spokeswoman. "It's difficult to know the exact reason for the lack of bookings but, understandably, people are choosing not to fly on the anniversary."

Concorde will operate as usual, as will four of the normal, subsonic London-to-New York services.

Since September, airlines have noticed more customers waiting until the last minute before committing themselves to a flight, although there was little early indication of a dip in charter-flight sales or those to long-haul destinations on 11 September.

But now, almost across the board, the main carriers have experienced a fall in demand for the infamous date. American Airlines, which lost two planes in the hijackings, has yet to decide on its services for the first anniversary.

The airline's spokeswoman, Rebecca Aldridge, said: "We have noticed some fall-off in bookings, which is to be expected, especially among Americans. We have made some reductions to US domestic flights but we have not made any decision about international services."

She added: "We believe this is because people may have other priorities such as memorial services and spending time with their family, particularly in the US."

Virgin Atlantic also reported a slight cut in bookings. While it still planned to operate a full service to destinations including New York, Washington, Boston and Miami, the situation would be reviewed, the airline said. A spokeswoman, Anna Burdsall, said: "Bookings at this stage certainly look lower for New York flights on 11 September, but it is slightly too early to tell."

Mike Carter, of Continental Airlines, conceded that sales were lower than for last year but insisted there was no "significant shift". He said: "Wednesday is typically one of the least busy days of the week. Although our thoughts will be with the families of the victims of last year's tragedy, it will be very much business as usual."

New York's tourist office, however, was convinced the date would affect numbers of travellers. "There are a lot of people that are unsure about flying to New York around 11 September but some people seem to think that it might be the safest time to travel," said a spokeswoman.

Predictably, bookings have been hit hardest in the United States. Sean Tipton, of the Association of British Travel Agents, said this might be one reason why the transatlantic carriers, which also rely on trade abroad, had suffered the most. In contrast, there is little fall in demand for the charter airlines. "September is also a pretty slow month for us and Wednesdays are very quiet. So no one has reported any significant change. If the attack anniversary had fallen on a Saturday in August it might be different," he said.

Certainly, there were few indications yesterday that events would grind to a halt on this side of the Atlantic on 11 September. Few theatres, hotels, restaurants or corporate hospitality venues have reported any significant drop in bookings, though many acknowledged that it might be too early to say.

Jason Ludlow, of Events UK, said that, while they had no bookings for that day, this was not necessarily significant. But he added: "I would not want to do anything on that day; our clients are inviting their clients to an event and it could be seen as bad PR to do anything on 11 September."

voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

VB.Net Developer

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...

SAP Business Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £55,000, Wakefield

£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...

Java Developer

£40000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a...

SAP Functional Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £45,000 - £55,000.

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Functional ...

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn