CRASH CONCERNS MOSTLY UNSPOKEN

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It was business as usual-almost-on USAir last week, if the four flights I took were indicative.

Just days after Flight 427 crashed near Pittsburgh, killing all 132 aboard, the ground personnel and flight crews I encountered performed in a normal and generally upbeat manner.

One notable exception: a male flight attendant who, upon our landing, stood at the plane's exit and gave departing passengers only grim-face silent nods, rather than the standard smiles and warm goodbyes.

If travelers are avoiding the airlines, it wasn't apparent from my flights, all at least three-quarters full with primarily businesspeople.

Also, USAir commuter flights leaving Philadelphia were full and in some cases overbooked. And this on Yom Kippur, presumably a light travel day.

Most of my fellow passengers were outwardly calm, although it was obvious Flight 427 was on the minds of some. One man asked a gate attendant in Chicago about our flight equipment, and when told it was a Boeing 737 (the same as the fatal crash), he shook his head before boarding.

A group of sailors headed for duty in Connecticut huddled together at O'Hare swapping stories about the roughest flights they'd been on. The crash was never mentioned, but was clearly on the minds of these nervously laughing young men.

As we neared Pittsburgh on a flight from Scranton, Pa., my seatmate peered out of her window at the wooded hills below.

"I wonder if I can see any of the ..." Her voice trailed off. "Oh well, I don't think I really want to see anything," she said softly.

Editor's note: Advertising Age Corporate Projects Editor Mr. Goldsborough flew from Chicago to Philadelphia and then Scranton, Pa., last week to speak to the Northeast Pennsylvania Ad Club. He returned through Pittsburgh.

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