Northwest Airlines takes

Northwest Airlines takes jab at United’s bid for federal loan guarantee. United has $2.7 billion in cash and $3 billion in aircraft that it owns outright. Northwest just raised $750 million in bonds back by their aircraft. Is there any reason United can’t do the same? United wants a subsidized loan of $1.8 billion from the federal government, but the argument about lack of access to capital markets seems weak — especially when Delta has recently raised $3.5 billion on its own.

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A humorous take on the

A humorous take on the pledge of allegiance by Gene Weingarten in the Washington Post. (Link via The Volokh Conspiracy. The pledge itself, while only the “under God” part is truly at issue, really is a silly thing. Young people recite patriotic indoctrination without really having any idea what it means. A law professor whom I admire, John Hasnas, tells the story of “how he became a libertarian.” In kindergarten, while being told to recite the pledge, he wanted to know “who is Richard Stands, and why are we pledging to him?” (“And to the Republic, for Richard Stands, one nation…”)

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Airfare arbitrage. Frequent travelers know

Airfare arbitrage. Frequent travelers know that sometimes different websites (and for that matter, websites versus calling an airline directly) will provide different prices for the exact same flight. What I never quite realized before today was that different countries’ versions of the same website may price differently as well. I did a bit of experimentation with United’s web site today. United has a whole bunch of local sites: United States, Canada, Australia, Great Britain, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Singapore — just to name a few. I tried pricing out some itineraries on different United website, and I got different prices. (Naturally, each site priced in its local currency, but I used Expedia’s currency converter to normalize prices into US dollars.) One example: Los Angeles –> Sydney –> Los Angeles, October 10 outbound and October 20…

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