- In 20 years technology will advance enough that planes will drive like cars making air traffic control obsolete.
- There aren’t actually a lot of people out there trying to blow up airplanes and the only useful changes in aviation security post-9/11 have been reinforced cockpit doors and a new equilibrium where passengers will fight back against any hijacking. In fact, more people have been harmed by the germs they’ve picked up taking off their shoes without socks walking through security checkpoints than have been protected by the TSA (which has never caught a terrorist).
- On American’s earnings call last week airline President Scott Kirby made the point that they make money on the lowest fares they sell (when matching ultra low cost carriers like Spirit) because their marginal costs are so much lower than average cost. Taken seriously high revenue customers aren’t always an airline’s best customers and airlines focusing only on ‘rewarding spend’ do themselves a disservice (though ironically Kirby may have hinted at moving in that direction). The fundamentals of recognize and reward are universals and mean that travel loyalty programs have a strong future.
- Travel insurance is a complete waste except for the most expensive ‘once in a lifetime’ trips
- New payment technologies will compete down credit card interchange rates, making it uneconomic for banks to offer frequent flyer miles as incentives for spending on their cards. Basically that competition will do to credit card mileage earning what the Durbin Amendment did to debit cards.
- ‘Chip and PIN’ credit cards will eventually shift liability onto consumers with a presumption that credit card fraud results from an individual failing to safeguard their PIN.
- The Justice Department has no case in its collusion investigation against the airlines, especially with airfares falling (although that doesn’t mean the government isn’t strong enough to extract a settlement if they’re determined enough). That’s even accounting for,
[M]y starting point is an assumption that there are almost always anti-trust violations. Anti-trust is something you almost can’t not violate. If prices are too high, it’s indicative of market power. If prices stay the same it’s collusion. And if they’re too low it’s predatory pricing.
- The Citi Prestige card’s benefits are too generous to last in their current form
- We don’t need nicer airports in the U.S. Instead we need airports that get people in and out quickly, and get planes in and out of the air quickly.
Passenger Dropoff at New York LaGuardia’s Central Terminal
- The US government will ultimately side with American consumers over the airlines in United, Delta, and American’s quest to limit flights by Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar. The Gulf carriers aren’t really that much better than US airlines in business or economy, and clamoring for protectionism keeps the US airlines from actually competing effectively.
US Airlines Believe Emirates Showers in the Sky are Unfair
- The central theme of Star Wars “is that power corrupts, but also that good guys have power too. Our possible safety lies in our humanity, not in our desires to transcend it or wield strange forces to our advantage.” In the new film out in December, is it Luke who revives the Dark Side of the Force?