Good Thursday morning:

Thank you for the kind words and messages yesterday – much appreciated. Getting right into it, we are still shaken by the PRISM story.

Non-Travel Starters

  • In a series of articles, the FT covers the issues of personal data and data brokers. Currently, companies sell demographic data by the bucket, giving a price tag of your information of as low as $0.07, but could go up to $3, if you are influential. So, if the government is wrong to use your data, how about companies such as LeadsPlease.com. Based on my info, I am worth around $0.40 (calculator on site) LINK.
  • #Facebook is now into hash-tag territory, making it easier for people to follow real-time updates about events. The a-la Twitter feature did not appease shareholders, who blasted their concerns about the share price at the company’s first annual meeting. LINK.
  • One of my fav companies, Starbucks, moves into vending machines at office spaces in Europe. Good soundbite – about 100 purchases per day per machine is what the economics are. Selecta Group, a company into vending machine management, rakes in $930M in revenues. LINK.
  • PAs based on algorithms are getting traction. RelateIQ apparently does some cool stuff to infer from your mail, social connections, and CRM software to make sure it alerts you when you need not to drop the ball. Good stuff. LINK.
  • Something a bit boring – buyout firms are going for crazy-levered companies. In the proposed BMC buy-out for $6.9Bn, Bain Capital and Golden Gate Capital are putting only about 18% in cash, the rest in debt. LINK.

SNACKS

  • OneWorld opposes a second, fully-fledged international airport in BKK, arguing that connectivity is key for alliances (fair enough.). LINK.
  • Staying within the same topic, Etihad’s CEO James Hogan is happy to be outside of any alliance commitments. Given the prominence of the ME carriers, other carriers might be flocking to sign bilateral agreements with them anyway. LINK.
  • Travelport releases its mobile travel agent app in Asia – Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan lead the pack. LINK.
  • Congrats to Finnair for topping the on-time rankings – 93.83% of all its flights in May landed within 15 min of schedule. Good job. LINK.
  • HouseTrip enters the loyalty game to keep customers engaged. In a Costa Coffee kind of a move, you get one free night after you book 10 nights on the site. Restrictions do apply, but is this the only way to drive loyalty? LINK.
  • UberX targets the mass market with a slash in price, starting to compete with Lyft and SideCar at the low end. This is a beautiful, multi-class differentiation – high end black cars to even motorcycles as your private drivers. LINK.

DESSERT

  • Remember the JetBlue pilot who lost it mid-air? Well, now the legal case has been settled. No details provided, though. LINK.
  • In case you need to fly with firearms, here’s your guide on what, when and how you can bring on a plane. LINK.

YouTube of the Day

  • Today I randomly recalled the crazy of Coke and Mentos from a couple of years ago. Here’s a good video capturing this. Start at the 00:35 min mark.
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