Travel to Japan slows after quake

Chicagoans travel to Japan, but airlines cite a 'measurable decrease' in traffic

March 16, 2011

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WBEZ/Samuel Vega
Dennis Crawford is headed back to Japan, where he serves in the U.S. Navy. His father dropped him off at O'Hare.

Demand for travel to Japan has dropped off since the earthquake. And there are new fears today about a possible nuclear disaster near the capital city. But that didn't stop some passengers at O'Hare International Airport from boarding a plane to Tokyo this afternoon.

There was a steady stream of travelers coming from Japan at O'Hare. But travel going the other way was more like a trickle.

Dennis Crawford was one of the people headed to Japan today. He's in the U.S. Navy, and he was anxious to help with the cleanup, and to see his friends and fiance.

"She's scared and it's hard, it's very hard, but we just keep going, that's all you can do," he said.

His father, also named Dennis, came to see him off.

"I have my doubts, but God will be with him, and that's all he has over there. I can't be there," he said. "God will take care of him. And he knows what he's doing, so he's a pretty good boy."

United and Continental Airlines say there's been a "measurable" decrease in travel from the U.S. to Japan.