News and notes from around the interweb:
- All the reasons rental cars suck are why Uber and Lyft are disrupting the industry (HT: Ryan C.)
- Cathay Pacific will reduce the frequency of deep cleaning of planes from every 14 days to every 21-28 days, in line with other airlines. (HT: Julian Mark Kheel)
- And need I remind you to always wear shoes on a plane?
- Silicon Valley‘s Kumail Nanjiani happened to be on a flight with a guy who didn’t just put his feet up on the bulkhead — he took off his pants. We even get the full play by play.
- Understanding China through the lens of Hainan Airlines’ global expansion: China’s HNA Group, which started out with Hainan Airlines in the early 90s, has been on an overseas travel business buying spree. They have stakes in Carlson hotels, Virgin Australia, Hilton, and aircraft lessors and servicers. Their return on invested capital is only 1% but interest payments have cost them less than 0.1% of their debt. They appear to earn more on idle cash than their borrowing cost, and their assets are now over $100 billion.
The son of a middle-ranking Communist Party official who’s been a delegate to China’s legislature, Chen has prospered over the years by always keeping on the right side of the government. He’s pointedly linked HNA’s overseas expansion with former President Jiang Zemin’s “go out” policy and made Xi Jinping’s “Chinese dream” slogan a core of the group’s mission statement.
In fairness Tyler Cowen points out to me, “Never trust Chinese estimates of borrowing costs!”
- Tourist flies homeless man to Sweden for Christmas