News and notes from around the interweb:
- Expedia attaches sensors to peoples’ cheeks to figure out how to make them buy travel. Although Google believes sites should focus on revenue per user rather than revenue per search, focus less on conversions, since customers come to travel sites for a variety reasons not always ready to book.
- VietJet signed a deal for 100 Boeing aircraft in front of the Presidents of Vietnam and the US. Obama then lifted the ban on arms sales to Vietnam.
An interesting juxtoposition: the head of the US government selling planes on behalf of an ostensibly private company, while the buyer in Vietnam was the fast growing and successful private ‘bikini airline’ VietJet not the state-owned Vietnam Airlines.
- Via Airline Weekly, first quarter operating margins from airlines around the world. Note that you do not see Delta in the top 10. I’m not sure I believe Hainan’s numbers. Ultra low cost carriers, plus Alaska, Southwest and JetBlue top the list. Delta had an 18% margin, American 15%, and United 10%.
- An Aerotrpolis Grows Near Zhengzhou (HT: Tyler Cowen) Are airports key to industry and should civilization gravitate towards airports rather than the other way around?
- Members whose Marriott Rewards account is registered outside the United States can earn double elite qualifying nights through the end of the year. Not available to US members.
- Triple JetBlue points in June if you book by May 25. Tickets booked prior to registration don’t get the bonus, which is super lame, JetBlue’s already loyal customers don’t get rewarded. Programs do this to limit their spending to customers whose purchases they can influence at the margin.