Boeing is one of the largest exporters of anything in the U.S. in terms of dollar value – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
Before their summer recess, the U.S. Congress didn’t get many things finished; some would say intentionally. Most crucial for those of us in the aviation realm is the “sunsetting” of the U.S. Export-Import Bank. What is this bank, exactly? Well, it’s almost more of an underwriter.
Founded in 1934 by executive order, but affirmed into its own agency by law in 1945, the Export-Import Bank of the United States exists to offer insurance, loan guarantees, and other financial products to foreign customers. Why? Well, the goal of the bank is to provide American jobs and revenue to American companies while selling the goods abroad.
Screen shot of the bank’s website, taken on July 2, 2015
Who is America’s largest exporter in terms of real dollar value? Boeing!
What does Boeing do? Well, you are reading this siteÂ – you probably have an idea. Boeing, especially Boeing Commercial Aircraft, depends on the Export-Import bank to offer competitive financing rates to international customers. Or, if financing rates have already been obtained externally, offering an extra back stop for customers that do not have a long history of highly-rated credit.
The Ex-Im bank is not a lender of last resort – they are a paramount of financial virtue and do everything by the book. More importantly for those of us in America, they can sometimes offer better rates than the commercial markets in the name of continuing U.S. trade. Truly, to explain the Ex-Im bank’s importance would require a thesis-length article with lots of graphs. No one, but me, wants to read that. So let’s keep it simple, shall we?
WiFi is becoming common, but doesn’t mean it isn’t complex – Photo: Jason Rabinowitz
A few weeks ago, Gizmodo ran an article claiming to rank and explain every major U.S. carrier’s WiFi system. At Routehappy, a big part of my job is to do exactly that. I need to know exactly what WiFi system is installed on every airline fleet and subfleet in the world, how it performs, what its limitations are, and how it ranks in the overall ecosystem. When I read through this article, I couldn’t help but notice it contained a few errors.
It’s a very complicated ecosystem, but not so complicated that it can’t be figured out. While the article does a greatÂ job of explaining how in-flight WiFi works and the technology behind it, I felt it was necessary to clear up which airlines currently offer what systems. Gizmodo’s 1-9 ranking is unchanged.
Below are excerpts from the original Gizmodo article, with my comments added under each.
Familiar to anyone? Perhaps we could change this scene?
On a recentÂ flight, I was getting myself situated in my seat, while boarding continued around me. I had boarded in Group 1 (thank you Star Gold) and was waiting for the other people in my row to join me. Â It was about halfway through the boarding process of the fully sold-out flight that I saw something that shocked me. A passenger was carrying a giant hiking pack through the aisle, heading for their seat. I was blown awayÂ that this giant backpack somehow made it past the gate agents and on-board the aircraft. Surely this person was not seriously thinking that a giant backpack like that would pass as â€œcarry on.â€ Â But sadly, it had.
Delta Boeing 747-400 tail seen from a Dreamliner – Photo: David Parker Brown
This week, Delta Air Lines announced a major change to their Skymiles frequent flier program, while many in the industry speculated was coming. The changes to the Skymiles program will see an end to their current (and, some would say, traditional) points earning process, to now be a revenue-based model.
Similar to airlines like Jetblue, Southwest, or Virgin America, it no longer comes down to how far you fly, but rather how much you spend.
As of January 2015, Delta will move from a â€œ1 mile flown = 1 point earnedâ€ model, to a new revenue-based system where for every dollar you spend on your airfare you will receive 5 points (though they are still using the term â€œmileâ€ for some reason). As with the current program, the higher your elite status, the more miles you get as a reward. By using a co-branded Delta credit card, you can earn yourself a few extra points as well.
But we wanted to share our opinions from both the perspective of a miles and points junkie (Mal) and someone who doesn’t really care about miles (David).