Up Front With Martin B. Deutsch



September, 1980 -- Frequent Flyer is intended to provide an important service to professional business travelers by offering information and insights that can facilitate arranging frequent—often hurried—travel arrangements…It looks like business travelers have finally gotten their own advocate: the CBS Radio Network

It’s not unusual for the obvious to be overlooked.

Conceptually, good ideas and crying needs are just that—until someone comes along, identifies them and decides to implement the idea and/or serve the need. It is particularly exciting and gratifying for us to have you in possession of Volume 1, Number 1 of Frequent Flyer magazine, a project that we firmly believe embodies a sound idea and serves an important need that grows more apparent each day: the significant requirements of the frequent flyer.

Before defining these points, let me give you a bit of background on this magazine and what led to its inception. In 1970, the publishers of the Official Airline Guide introduced the North American Pocket Flight Guide, a handy, condensed reference monthly listing schedules between major market cities. The PFG was something you would carry with you, use in a hurry, use in an emergency, use to plot an immediate change in plans.

There’s little doubt that the PFG was one of the most successful publishing ventures launched in the 1970s. Now, in September of 1980, as you pursue the first issue of Frequent Flyer, which you’ve received as Part 2 of the PFG, there are more than 225,000 subscribers to this magical pocket airline schedule—and the numbers mount month by month.

Two things of particular pertinence were happening as the PFC grew up. For one, a growing roster of advertisers wanted to reach the audience represented by the PFG. Out response to this idea was always negative. If we ran ads in the PFG, it would no longer be a pocket guide; it would lose its utilitarian appeal. Second, the airlines were recognizing the importance, the economic clout and the upscale demographics of the business customer. There are currently some twenty-six different in-flight magazines gracing the seat-back pockets of United States airlines alone, representing hundreds of advertisers and tens of millions of annual dollars seeking to gain your attention, your buying power.

Several years ago, we began to toy with an intriguing question: who has the best list of frequent flyers, the cream of the crop, the top end of the demographic scale? Why we do, of course, with the Pocket Flight Guide. We’ve got you as a subscriber. No waste, no uncertainties, no searching. We had the Rosetta Stone to this prime market, and we had the experience.

As the Travel Magazines Division of Official Airline Guides, Incorporated, a Dun & Bradstreet Company, we had been publishing editorial products for all segments of the travel industry for more than a decade; and our Guides Division produced the OAG publications.

Why not start a magazine to supplement, to complement, the Pocket Flight Guide? Provide an editorial environment geared to the needs and requirements of the business traveler; give him articles to help him in his travels, in his trip planning. We know our audience, we know what we have to provide you in editorial terms. Just scan the index page of this first issue of Frequent Flyer. And we’re just starting. In coming issues we’ll introduce a “Frequent Flyer Forum” to allow you to air your views and gripes on a wide range of business-travel-related subjects; we’ll provide special services, such as a Frequent Flyer Club, which will eventually indulge in such activities as tracing lost baggage, offering lists of books and magazines of special interest to the business traveler, plus other related services.

In our decision, editorially, to go beyond traditional entertainment or escapism, we know who we’re dealing with, why we have such a special audience. Recent surveys show that you, the PFG subscribers, earn more than $52,000 a year, take forty domestic round trips by air annually, use air for 77 percent of your vacation travel, frequently fly abroad for business, fill eighty-five hotel room nights every twelve months, and dine out at the best places often. You are affluent with a broad range of interests, read a great deal and are active in sports as a participant and as a spectator.

As Steve Birnbaum told his CBS Radio audience, Frequent Flyer is a long-needed advocate for an important and often-overlooked segment of the travel market. Frequent Flyer We agree. We intend for this magazine to be more than a publication: we will make it your spokesman, your ombudsman. We hope you share our excitement and enthusiasm with this premier issue of Frequent Flyer. Drop us a note with your thoughts, comments, suggestions. We’ll catch you again in October. Between flights.

This column originally appeared in Frequent Flyer magazine.

Copyright © 1980-2007 by Martin B. Deutsch. All rights reserved.