Travel plans disrupted by attacks

While yesterday’s terrorist attacks made their biggest impacts in New York City and Washington, D.C., the aftermath has affected lives here–especially if you were planning to fly somewhere or drive across the U.S. border.
And things still weren’t back to normal as of this morning.
Despite some media reports yesterday, the Canada-U.S. border was never closed. But its officials were put on the highest level of alert.
“It was about security precautions. We were never closed,” said Tom Kantos, port director with U.S. Immigration at the border in International Falls.
“But it’s not back to normal today. It’s going to be a little more intensive,” he added.
Kantos noted traffic definitely was slowed due to searches at the border.
“There were people that cut their vacations short. And of course, with no air flights, there were people renting cars to travel,” he remarked.
“When you close off major transportation, it affects more people than you can know. I think this is going to be a long-time episode,” Kantos added.
Meanwhile, aircraft were still grounded across North America as of this morning, including tourist outfitters like Rusty Myers Flying Service here.
“[Air travel has] ceased in Canada and the States. We just had one take-off with special permission from Med-Vac,” flight attendant Gary Romas said yesterday afternoon from the Fort Frances Airport.
“We just talked to them [Thunder Bay Flight Services] and this could last from now to who knows when,” he added. “Anyone that comes in from the States, they have to be checked by Customs. And anyone who leaves or enters here, the OPP has to be notified.
“We’ve had cancellations. It’s economically affecting us,” Angela Korzinski of Rusty Myers noted this morning. “We were supposed to send people out yesterday and we’re supposed to send people out today.
“We heard things could change by this afternoon but you never know. It’s affecting other fly-in services, too. It’s a ripple effect,” she added.
Pat Herr, owner of International Travel Services here, said phones were ringing off the hook there yesterday, and she wasn’t sure when people’s travel plans would return to normal.
“What we’ve been told is it’s day-to-day. We’re hearing a lot of people are stranded or supposed to go somewhere, but aren’t,” she remarked.
“We’re trying to do the best we can. But most people are reluctant to travel today anyway. Everybody’s devastated. It’s going to be chaos tomorrow,” added Herr.
“We’re putting people on flights that will hopefully take off tomorrow. But it’s hard to say,” echoed Wendy Spottiswood, owner/manager of Border Travel American Express here, adding they received some calls from “apprehensive flyers” yesterday.
“At this point, Air Canada is giving full refunds on flights booked Sept. 11 and 12, no questions asked,” she added.
The Grey Goose bus route from Thunder Bay and Winnipeg continued running as normal yesterday.
In related news, an ecumenical service for the victims of yesterday’s terrorist attacks in the U.S. is planned today at 7:30 p.m. at Calvary Baptist Church in Emo.