On Fear of Flying, Terrorism, American Biz & LISTS (962 words)
by Denny Hatch
I took the train to Chicago and back for the DMA Conference. No, I am not afraid to fly. This is certainly the safest time to fly -- probably in my lifetime. Security is at an all time high and 20 percent less planes are in the sky, which means the air traffic controllers are really in control. No, I opted for the train for two reasons: time and self-esteem.
Let's start with time. Given the current panic and paranoia, if you are advised to be at the airport three hours in advance, arrive at the wrong time and you stand in lines for two to three hours. Hit it right and you find yourself sitting around a waiting room for two or three hours. Flying, these days, is a lousy way to travel. On the train, I got two full days of uninterrupted work on my laptop, read and climbed in between clean sheets in a berth where I was rocked to sleep like a baby. Center city Philly to Center City Chicago. No expensive taxi rides and times getting to and from airports. The train was my hotel room for two nights, so I actually saved money.
The second reason I decided to take the train goes a bit deeper into my psyche. The secret of direct marketing -- indeed of success in all businesses -- is lists. A salesman without his list of customers, an insurance broker without his list of insureds, a car dealership without its list of buyers -- all would be out of business. The United States does not really want Osama bin Laden; we want his lists of worldwide terrorists, Saudi contributors, bankers, arms dealers, money changers and miscellaneous thugs, thieves, weasels and operatives that make al Qaeda viable.
And, frankly, the airlines have a list problem.