Posts filed under “Travel”

The Not So Friendly Skies


I’m excited about, the website that is currently being sued by United Airlines and Orbitz for enabling “hidden city ticketing” (which you should read up on before continuing).

I needed to travel to Cincinnati last spring. During a period in which my plans were tentative, round-trip fares were in the mid-$300 range or so, maybe close to $400. By the time I’d firmed them up, round-trip fares were around $900, and I was seething (along with trying to figure out why, if there was little demand and ample supply, the price would go up instead of down, but that’s another story). Although it was quite time consuming, I did manually what skiplagged has apparently now automated, i.e. found a “hidden city ticketing” opportunity that brought my round-trip price back down to under $400. The solution for me: I found a one-way, multi-city ticket that went NYC > Cincinnati > Chicago and sent an empty (but paid for) seat from Cincy to O’Hare. On the return, I found another one-way, multi-city ticket (different carrier) that went Cincy > NYC > Boston and sent an empty (but paid for) seat from NYC to Logan.

The airlines are, of course, apoplectic that someone has found a way to exploit and expose the inefficiencies and opacity of their ticketing schemes. So they’ve sued:

“Purchasing a ticket to a point beyond the actual destination and getting off the aircraft at the connecting point is unethical,” according to the letter by American, which isn’t party to the case.

Overbooking and bumping people, of course, is perfectly ethical. Also, I’m not sure if any airline official has yet commented on the ethicality of not lowering fares in the face of the price of oil – the airline industry’s single largest expense – being halved. Funny how prices aren’t sticky on the way up, but only on the way down. And before you shed a tear for the industry, read on:

The International Air Transport Association, an industry group based in Geneva, estimated that the industry’s profits would grow 26 percent next year, to reach a record $25 billion, not adjusted for inflation. The group expects $19.9 billion in collective profits in 2014. In 2013, the industry had nearly $11 billion in profits.

Airlines have been screwing passengers for decades – nickel and diming travelers with charges for bags, for peanuts, for earbuds, for blankets, for pillows and, of course, for a few extra inches of legroom. They are among the most reviled industries extant. Now Delta’s going to introduce a five-tiered seating plan. I’m sure that will work out well. Below is a leaked photo of what economy class will look like:

Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 6.16.13 PM

Technology has – and continues to – let multiple genies out of multiple bottles. And they aren’t going back in. Technology will continue to disrupt all manner of businesses and squeeze out inefficiencies, just as Uber, Netflix, Amazon, eBay, and countless other companies have done. There is no going back. If it’s not skiplagged who gives the airlines their comeuppance, it will be someone else. Either way, the jig is up.

If you want to contribute to skiplagged’s legal defense fund, you can do so here.

Finally, I went to Cincy to meet with Bonddad, who runs one of the most underrated blogs (on economics and markets) in the blogosphere. He should be in your bookmarks.

Category: Consumer Spending, Current Affairs, Really, really bad calls, Travel, Web/Tech

Fueling Road Spending with Federal Stimulus

Fueling Road Spending with Federal Stimulus Sylvain Leduc and Dan Wilson FRBSF Economic Letter 2014-25 August 25, 2014         Highway spending in the United States between 2008 and 2011 was flat, despite the serious need for improvements and the big boost to state highway funds from the Recovery Act of 2009. A…Read More

Category: Taxes and Policy, Think Tank, Travel

Apollo 11 Retrospective: ‘One We Intend To Win’

Source: Space

Category: Science, Technology, Travel

Data Visualization: What Does a NYC Taxi’s Day Look Like?

This is an absolutely fascinating — hypnotic even — depiction of what the daily metrics of a New York City Taxi looks like, overlaid on top of a map. You can track passengers, distance traveled, revenue, even tips. Bravo! I wish we could make the data from our business (Financial planning/asset management) look this compelling!…Read More

Category: Data Analysis, Digital Media, Travel

Volkswagen Public Service Announcement:

VW demonstrates why you shouldn’t text and drive.     Volkswagen – Eyes on the road 25 million views and counting

Category: Film, Travel

Start Up Idea: Disneyland (Prospectus)

Click for crazy cool graphic
Source: boingboing


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Category: Digital Media, Travel, Venture Capital

Very cool way to track public transit in real time

Source: Travic     Continues here

Category: Digital Media, Travel, Web/Tech

The Best Airports in the World 2014

Hmmm, nothing in the United States? Go figure . . .   Source: World Airport Awards, Award Categories, Top 100     The Best Airports in the World 2014 1 Singapore Changi Airport 2 Incheon International Airport 3 Munich Airport 4 Hong Kong International Airport 5 Amsterdam Schiphol Airport 6 Tokyo International Airport Haneda 7…Read More

Category: Digital Media, Travel

Government Space Programs

Source: Economist

Category: Digital Media, Politics, Science, Taxes and Policy, Technology, Travel

Follow the Money: The Booming Business of Global Warming

Last month, I wrote about global warming in the context of investment opportunities. As part of that discussion, I mentioned McKenzie Funk’s new book, “Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming.” I thought framing the financial opportunities of this might bypass the usual agnotology and political foolishness. To quote: “This debate is no longer about…Read More

Category: Investing, Travel, UnScience