Many travel restrictions are now in place after London authorities uncovered a terror plot aimed at airlines traveling from Britain to the United States. Restrictions apply to all flights in and outMore >>
With news of a mass murder terror plot in the skies, many people are having second thoughts about traveling.
Don't worry, in an effort to be respectful of their customers' concerns, many airlines are offering special travel change policies for the next several weeks.
For example, American Airlines is offering travelers the option to push back their original date of travel as late as Sept. 1, 2006, for any ticket issued August 9 or earlier, free of charge.
In addition, if you want to cancel your plans altogether, you can request a refund in the form of a travel voucher on nonrefundable tickets - again for no fee.
If you are having second thoughts about traveling, it definitely pays to contact your airline directly to learn the specifics on its policies.
If you still plan to travel, expect longer lines for checking baggage and getting through security.
You should contact your airport or airline ahead of time to figure out how early you should arrive at the airport.
Some airports, including those in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, are recommending that passengers arrive at least two hours in advance of domestic flights.
For those thinking about future travel, you may find that if airfares go anywhere, they'll go down.
Fares are currently at their highest price point since 2000.
However, it is unlikely there will be an immediate drop in fares.
There should be a reprieve in fares after Labor Day because of decreased demand following the summer holidays.
A long-term decline in fares will depend on how hassled travelers will feel, given the new security requirements.
If a major carrier like United or American Airlines thinks fewer people are going to fly and decide to drop prices, others will likely follow.
The airline industry is operating on thin ice, despite American, United, Continental and US Airways posting positive second quarter earnings for the first time in years.
The airlines that will suffer the most from this latest terror scare are going to be those based abroad, like British Airways.
On Thursday, shares of British Airways were down more than 5 percent.
American and United have the most at risk financially because they are the two largest U.S. carriers serving Heathrow Airport in London and were two of the airlines targeted in the terror plot.