Category Archives: travel

Bankers First

The Economist says that this photo is "one of the most apt visual metaphors for the crisis yet". I’m not sure that it isn’t literally true. After all, Charlotte is a banking center, and 23 of the passengers worked at … Continue reading

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The Rise of Cheap Airlines

BreakingViews has launched its Poor Getting Poorer index, complete with predictable members such as Walmart and pawnbrokers EZCorp. But there’s also JetBlue: Though leisure travel will take a hit, discount carriers like JetBlue will attract those willing to take 3 … Continue reading

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Airline Economics, United Earnings Edition

It’s not easy, being an airline. Thanks to high fuel costs, United lost $252 million in the third quarter, on an operating basis. On the other hand, United was hedged. And as a result of those hedges, United ended up … Continue reading

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Desperate Measure of the Day, Silverjet Edition

Tracy Alloway reports on how Lawrence Hunt, the CEO of Silverjet, paid for fuel expenses in the airline’s final weeks: Hunt’s solution was to put fuel expenses on his personal credit card while the company waited for its next round … Continue reading

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Goolsbee 1-0 Salmon

Back in March 2006, Austan Goolsbee was a little-known Chicago economics professor, and I was an all-but-unknown blogger. In a fit of dudgeon, I took it upon myself to attack an article that Goolsbee wrote in Slate on the subject … Continue reading

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A Fun Train of Thought

I’m heartened by Christopher Conkey’s piece in the WSJ today saying that Amtrak is getting more financial and political support than ever. And about time too! My imagination was also sparked by a stray metonym: One measure of progress will … Continue reading

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The Economics of Checked Baggage

What to make of Delta’s new sliding scale for checking bags? On domestic flights, the first bag is free, the second is $50, and the third is $125. This kind of thing is the exact opposite of most retail economics, … Continue reading

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Why Hotel Wifi is Broken

I’m never going to stay at the Hotel Felix again. Why? Lots of little things, which I shan’t bore you with. But one of them is their idiotic system of charging for wifi – the subject of Joe Brancatelli’s column … Continue reading

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Making Money in the Airline Industry

Eos? Dead. Maxjet? Dead. Silverjet? Dead. Clearly, anybody starting a business-class-only airline would be better taking classes in business. But astonishingly, it seems that the founders of the last airline standing in this market, L’Avion, are actually going to make … Continue reading

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Improbable Predictions, Airport Security Edition

Joe Sharkey talks to Kip Hawley, the director of the Transportation Security Administration, about new checkpoint-friendly laptop bags: Mr. Hawley said he did not expect that the new laptops would create undue confusion after their introduction, since security officers would … Continue reading

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The Economics of Frequent-Flier Surcharges

Call it the frequent flier arbitrage: rack up lots of miles when oil prices are low and flights are cheap. Wait a year or so for oil prices to skyrocket and fares to rise. Then cash in your miles, receiving … Continue reading

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Jet Fuel Datapoint of the Day

Joe Brancatelli: Long-haul flights are going because they burn fuel simply to carry enough fuel to make the long runs. In fact, one European airline executive told me that his nonstop flights to the West Coast use about 30 percent … Continue reading

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Airline Deregulation: Now Do It For Real

Bob Crandall, who used to run American Airlines, thinks that airline deregulation has been a failure and wants to re-regulate the whole thing. But his argument comes from the point of view of airlines, not of passengers: Deregulation did bring … Continue reading

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Silverjet: Phoenix or Zombie?

Are you worried about $140 oil and the concomitant rise in jet-fuel costs? Heritage isn’t. The Ireland-registered Swiss investment company wants to buy Silverjet for ߣ5 million or so (call it 12 cents on the dollar for creditors) and get … Continue reading

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Silverjet, RIP

Another airline bites the dust: this time it’s Silverjet, the all-business-class airline: it lasted just a few months longer than MaxJet. The official statement from Silverjet is pathetic, in the literal sense of the word: We extend our sincerest apologies … Continue reading

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Airlines Lose Their Jet Fuel Credit Lines

Another nail in the (legacy) airline industry’s coffin: A credit controller at a leading European multinational oil company told The Times that the oil industry was moving to jet fuel prepayment. “It’s common in the US and it is moving … Continue reading

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Airline Datapoint of the Day

David Robertson, on Eos shutting down: Rising oil prices are causing havoc in the airline industry and Eos is the seventh carrier in two weeks to seek bankruptcy protection or go bust. I guess that ballyhooed service from London to … Continue reading

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Luxury Air Travel: Still Not Proven

MaxJet is dead, and it’s blaming high oil prices for its demise, as well as “the resulting impact on the credit climate for airlines”. It might, on the other hand, have simply blamed the fact that three different all-business-class airlines … Continue reading

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Why US Airline Service is So Bad

Pico Iyer wants to know why US airlines are so crap – why "a place in Northwest’s business class has afforded me less comfort than a seat in the economy class of the national airlines of Bolivia, Cuba and even … Continue reading

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