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No dip in business travel despite Ebola

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The Ebola scare that has prompted calls for a travel ban and a quarantine of visitors from West Africa has done little to dampen business travel from the United States.

Nearly 80 percent of corporate travel managers surveyed said the Ebola outbreak had either no or little effect on scheduled international travel, and more than 90 percent said the disease had no or little effect on domestic travel.

The survey of 421 corporate travel managers by the Global Business Travel Association was taken Oct. 13 to 15, about the time of news that a Dallas nurse flew on two Frontier Airlines flights before testing positive for the deadly disease. Amber Vinson, 29, contracted Ebola while treating a Liberian man who died of the disease.

Fear among travelers continued to grow last week when Frontier Chief Executive David Sie­gel said he was told by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that Vinson may have had symptoms when she flew from Cleveland to Dallas on Oct. 13 with 131 other passengers.

The Airbus A320 that carried Vinson was moved to Denver for further cleaning, including removal of seat covers and carpeting around Vinson’s seat. The crew of the plane has been put on 21-day paid leave.

VIRUS SPURS TRIP INSURANCE INTEREST

Meanwhile, the Ebola scare has sparked new interest in travel insurance policies that pay for treatment and transportation of sick travelers or allow anxious travelers to cancel a trip for no reason.

"We’ve had a lot of calls from travelers concerned because of Ebola," said Jim Grace, president and chief executive of InsureMyTrip, one of the world’s largest online travel insurance companies.

The calls from anxious U.S. travelers began primarily among those who are planning to travel to Africa, Europe and other far-off destinations, he said. But with news that Ebola has infected two health care workers in Texas, Grace said he is getting calls for insurance policies for domestic trips.

"Whenever there is this kind of uncertainty, people want to be in the driver’s seat," Grace said.

Hugo Martin, Los Angeles Times

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