DMers Find Airport Security Comforting But Tedious

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CHICAGO -- Having overcome their anxieties from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks enough to get on airplanes, direct marketers found getting to the DMA's fall show more an exercise in tedium than anything else.

Those flying out of Newark on Friday, for example, spent two hours winding their way through a serpentine line and various checkpoints. Showgoers who came through other airports reported similar security measures.

Airline officials asked for photo identification three times: once at check-in, once at the metal detection area and once just before boarding.

Passengers also were asked to take their laptop computers out of their bags and put them through the X-ray machines separately. Soldiers carrying M16 rifles and side arms stood by at the metal detection area.

Overall though, DMers were patient with the extra security.

"I didn't object, but it was sort of exhausting," said Judith Kincaid, president of JK Associates LLC, a consulting group in Palo Alto, CA. "I got up at 3:30 a.m. for a 7 a.m. flight."

Kincaid said other direct marketers she spoke with had become reasonably comfortable with flying again.

"All of us have come to the point where we're saying 'If my number comes up, my number comes up, and if it's going to be on a plane, then so be it. But it's more likely to be in my car,' " she said, echoing the sentiments of many showgoers.

Security in the San Francisco airport was similar to that of the New York City area airports, said Kincaid, who was also to compare current flying conditions to those just after the attacks. She was in New York City on Sept. 11 and unable to leave the city to get back to her family in San Francisco until Sept. 16.

"Now that was eerie," she said. "The airport was empty."

This week's flights were closer to normal, she said. While during her flight to San Francisco on Sept. 16, the crew repeatedly told passengers not to mill about the cabin or form lines at the lavatories. During her flight to Chicago, the crew made that announcement once.

"They still mentioned that you should stay in your seat, but it's getting back to feeling that much more normal," she said.

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