August 13, 2006

Will Terror Woes Mean Big Bucks for Some?

With the recent news that British authorities thwarted a potential terror strike on multiple airliners headed from the UK to the United States, where the alleged perpetrators were set to ignite liquid-based explosives disguised as carry-on drinks or even digital devices, many travelers are lamenting not only the extended lines making a bad situation worse at airports, but others are distraught over potentially being separated from their iPods and laptops for the duration of the flight.

But the end results aren't all bad for all companies. Some are sure to find a way to capitalize on any opportunity. Here's a not-so-tongue in cheek look at who benefits, and who loses, from the recent new security guidelines:


The Web meeting powerhouse has extinguished dramatic challenges from Microsoft's NetMeeting, PlaceWare, Centra and many others to remain the king of the hill in holding meetings and presentations online, rather than forcing executives to fly in to meet on site. If enough businesspeople tire of the long lines and forced inactivity at airports and on flights, WebEx might see increased business by customers and increased adoption from those who have been holdouts.

LOSER: Apple

I can't think of a better use for an iPod Video than on the airplane. There have been a few trips where I wish I could just break out the iPod and catch an episode of CSI or Law and Order, or even South Park. Additionally, the airplane is where I most frequently use the iPod Shuffle, just after the airlines say it's okay. While just about everybody who wants an iPod already has one, the airlines are a great place to display the white earbuds.


If you can't use your laptop, and you can't listen to your iPod on a flight, what are you going to do, start up a card game with your fellow passengers? No - you'll probably read, or sleep. Amazon is the de facto standard for purchasing books of all kinds on the Web, whether for business or for pleasure. Considering that the pleasure quotient at airports will be diminishing, maybe a good book will help take the edge off.

LOSER: United, American Airlines, etc.

The airlines have not been in good shape financially for a long time, and any incentives to drive customers away from flying certainly don't help. For United and American Airlines, the two largest domestic carriers, bankruptcy has never been that far away. Additionally, increased security requirements and more unhappy customers can further diminish margins and revenue for a business who doesn't need more of the same.


While the rest of the airlines have been slow to adapt to new technology, being very reluctant to even offer power ports on seats, and have instead focused on wedging as many passengers in a small area as possible, JetBlue is well known for offering customers DirectTV to every seat, in flight, whether you're first class or coach. If you think you absolutely need to be entertained during your flight, and who doesn't... JetBlue is a great alternative to the cattle pens of United and Southwest.

LOSER: Evian, Arrowhead, etc.

While airlines have done a fairly good job of keeping fliers near soda or water throughout a flight, others prefer to bring their own on the flight. With the latest news, this certainly will go away. While it may be an immaterial knock on the bottled water providers' bottom line, it will certainly break the habits some have and force them to go another way - maybe toward the $5 shots of hard liquor to keep them in a stupor until the plane lands...

Listening to ''Praise the Lord'', by Paul Oakenfold (Play Count: 6)