Crashes Don't Deter Students

Airlines Safe Enough for Undergraduates, Travel Agents Say

Despite a recent rash of airplane crashes, Harvard student headed for the air this holiday season apparently still consider the skies to be friendly.

For example, Caswell F. Holloway '96 has a ticket to Philadelphia on USAir, which has been plagued by safety problems recently, including a major crash in October. But the airline's record doesn't seem to be keeping Holloway awake at night.

"Generally I look at flying as a pretty safe way to travel," he said yesterday.

"I just don't think about it," Clindy H. Moon '98, who will fly to Texas on American Airlines today, said.

Some students said they actually think the crashes will cause an improvement in airline safety.

"I'm rather confident about flying USAir," Jeremy R. Jenkins '97 said. "If anything, them having problems means they are more likely to be careful. I would rather fly on an airline that has been jerked back to reality."

Other students haven't thought about the situation in that degree of detail.

"I just hope [an airplane accident] won't happen to me," Lourdes M. Gomez '95 said. "I guess it's always in the back of your mind, but I don't think of it constantly."

Thomas Cook Travel, a popular travel agency in the Square, confirmed the perception that most students are not letting the recent crashes influence their holiday plans.

"There is no difference this holiday season," travel agent Karen A. Boonstra said. "Most students are on USAir and they don't care."

An increased fear of air travel would typically cause more people to choose travel by automobiles, according to Bill Jacklin, director of Washington public relations for the American Automobile Association.

But the Association's Massachusetts/New Hampshire office said they had not seen any increase in people interested in driving this season.

According to statistics from 1990 to 1992 recently published by the National Safety Council, students choosing flying over driving are on the right track.

The Boston Globe reported today that the Council said that airplanes were nearly 100 times less likely to cause a death than were automobiles.