Despite fears of new terrorist attacks and a widespread decline in U.S. travel, parents of Yale students will flock to New Haven in large numbers this weekend.
Local hotels predict attendance at Parents’ Weekend will remain similar to previous years’ numbers, expecting that students and family members will particularly wish to see each other. Some students, however, will not get to see their parents, who elected not travel as a result of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Students and administrators are generally surprised because many believed that parent turnout might be slightly lower this year in light of recent events.
David Jurcak, general manager of the Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale, said the number of cancellations has been no more than normal.
“I think that, at a time like this, everybody wants to make an effort to be close to their kids,” he said.
The New Haven Hotel and the Holiday Inn also have not seen a decrease in reservations for this time of year, nor have they seen an increase in cancellations.
Employees at The Colony Inn said their overall numbers were about the same as last year but that they have received a small number of cancellations as a result of the attacks. The cancellations came mainly from parents who needed to fly in and were worried about the level of safety on airplanes.
Across the country, travel safety concerns have been the primary cause of a large decline in traffic among U.S. airlines. American Airlines, the country’s largest carrier, has seen its traffic fall 33.7 percent. United Airlines has been forced to cut business fares by as much as 50 percent in an attempt to counteract the decrease in demand.
“My mom is afraid to fly. It’s really irrational. She was planning to come, but she decided to cancel the trip,” said Daniela Dover ’05.
Parents’ Weekend is one of the busiest times of the year for local hotels, as thousands of parents come to New Haven to get a glimpse of their children’s college lives. Many hotels fill up their reservation books months or even years in advance, and some even raise rates in anticipation of the weekend.
The University and its students have scheduled many events, such as lectures, panel discussions and a cappella concerts, for the weekend.