It certainly wouldn't come as a surprise to anyone to hear that frequent fliers were staying close to home in the aftermath of the announcement of the deadly Sept. 8 crash of USAir flight 427 near Pittsburgh.
But investment professionals didn't skip a beat.
For institutional marketing directors, chief executives of money management firms and other top investment brass, the days since the crash have been business as usual. In other words, three or four flights a week.
"I've flown so much and so often that I think - having felt enormous sorrow for the people and families involved - I have to go back to the percentage aspects. I live in New York. Walking the streets of New York City or driving the car to the country makes for pretty exciting times too .*.*. One has to take a rather quixotic view of air traffic accidents because they are so infrequent," said Peter Lusk, chief operating officer of Forstmann-Leff Associates, New York, who had just come off a red-eye from California.
Echoed Frank Minard, chairman and chief executive officer of Mitchell Hutchins Asset Management Inc., New York: "It's had no impact whatsoever. When you get on a plane these days it's like getting on a bus. In fact, a plane is a lot safer."
John Rogers, chief investment officer of Ariel Capital Management, Chicago, said he and the firm's senior vice president of marketing "travel two days a week like a lot of people in this industry. We're not even giving it a second thought."
Those interviewed do not fault USAir for the accident. Nor do they plan to avoid the Pittsburgh airport.
Mr. Lusk noted that while Pittsburgh is not one of his favorite airports, it has "one of the best fresh-baked soft pretzel stands at gate 18."
Robert Bartkowiak, vice president of Barnett Banks Trust Co. N.A., Jacksonville, Fla., said: "I fly USAir. I'd see these (events) as random occurrences, not company-specific."
"In the back of your mind you think that it could happen, but (flying) is part of what you do for a living and statistics say it's safer than driving," he said.
Mr. Minard said: "Fortunately I don't take USAir often anyway, but it will probably be safer than ever from now on."
"I think seriously about the kind of aircraft and where the pilots were trained, but if you're keeping to a schedule one doesn't have a lot of choice," Mr. Lusk said.
For international flights, he sticks to the home country's major airline or U.S. carriers.
The choice of domestic carriers is almost entirely driven by time and scheduling constraints, Mr. Lusk said.