I’ve been spending my day

I’ve been spending my day answering queries on Norm Mineta and haven’t been blogging with my usual voice or with my usual offers. If you’re new to this site, dig down into the archives because posts on most days include great ways to earn free travel and fly first class…

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Old charges are new again.

Old charges are new again. Wall Street Journal reporter Thomas Petzinger’s book on the business of the airline industry carries an interesting story about Norm Mineta (p. 93 of the hardcover). Mineta was a swing vote to deliver airline deregulation in the house. So far, so good — you’d think I’d admire the man! However, it seems he sold his vote to Ted Kennedy is exchange for Kennedy headlining a fundraiser for him in California.

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An otherwise excellent

An otherwise excellent USA Today piece on the air traffic control blow-by-blow of September 11, 2001 perpetuates the myth that Norm Mineta was decisive in grounding all the aircraft in the country. The decision had already been made by Monte Belger, the no. 2 official at the FAA. Mineta spreads the myth, but it rings false.

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USAirways filed for

USAirways filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. They got a $900 federal loan guarantee and employee wage concessions. They still need to wriggle out of aircraft leases and other obligations. As far as I can tell, this bankruptcy is not a death knell. Frankly, I’ll keep flying them. First, because their partnership with United will help them going forward. Second, because not only did they get $500 million debtor-in-possession financing, but they got a new $200 million equity investment from Dave Bonderman’s Texas Pacific Group. In exchange, they pick up 38% ownership. This is a shrewd LBO firm. They turned around Continental Airlines, and won’t be sinking $200 million down a rat hole. N ow, it’s possible that USAirways will never prosper, and Texas Pacific Group will just make all or most of its money in…

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