Virgil Winston: Marketing Guru

Like many people, I used to have an unhealthy fear of flying. I don’t mean I was a little nervous about taking to the skies; I mean I was a certified white-knuckle flier. Since my business requires me to fly almost 100,000 miles a year, my fear was becoming an increasingly difficult issue. My wife thinks it was my repeated viewings of “Airport 77”, “Alive” and “Snakes on a Plane” that turned me into a scaredy cat but whatever the reason, one thing was clear, I had to get the problem under control. I tried everything from therapy to hypnotism and was about to resign myself to traveling by rail when I happened upon a little blue book called, “Ask the Pilot” by Patrick Smith, whom I heartily thank for curing me of my phobia.

Being a man of many words myself, my fears were calmed by the 269 pages dedicated to answering all my questions (and many I hadn’t yet thought of) about aviation safety. For some reason, seeing it in print really hit home for me and after reading the book three times, insomnia has its perks, and vowing to never watch another movie about planes crashing or being overrun by giant snakes again, I am proud to report I am flying phobia free.

Since I know at least a few of you share my former pain, I’d like to take this opportunity to allay some of your flying fears. As I’m sure you know, “they” say that take off is the most dangerous part of flying and after reading Mr. Smith’s book I found out that “they” are right. I also learned that, while not ideal, a plane could still take off and climb to safety while experiencing total engine failure. So, while it’s okay to say Hail Mary’s during take off, it’s good to know that you probably don’t need to. The other thing I learned was that turbulence is just a fancy word for wind and that wind, or turbulence, won’t cause a plane to crash, flip or otherwise plummet from the sky. In fact, rough air is such a non-issue to pilots; they rarely remember whether or not a flight was bumpy. So, although you can, you don’t really need to order that third drink when your flight hits a rough patch. I still have a tendency to stare at flight attendants to make sure they seem calm but at least I’ve stopped grabbing my seatmate’s arm after every bump.

To celebrate my personal triumph, the featured product of the day is the Aviator Identification Tag. It has a large ID window for business or identification cards, making it easy to spot your bag on an airport baggage carousel. The generous imprint area also insures that weary travelers everywhere will see your logo as the luggage it is attached to circles the carousel for the tenth time. It’s the perfect anytime promotional giveaway, because everyone knows that the only thing worse than flying is losing your luggage in Duluth.

I’m off to New York to see the biggest stained glass window in the world; remarkably it is located at American Airlines Terminal 8 at JFK. In the meantime, try and forget the words of Winston Churchill who said, I must place on record my regret that the human race ever learned to fly.”