Monthly Archives: January 2007

Nothing Like Eli’s Cheesecake….

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We know, and work with, some really special people.

Our PBB Brown Bag Analyst apparently decided we losing Saints fans here at the Worldwide Headquarters needed a “pick-me-up.” So lo and behold, what arrived here yesterday shrouded in dry ice but a tasty “consolidation” prize box from our friend in Chicago.

The Lou Malnati pizza is in the refrigerator, as it needs to defrost fully before we can pop it in the oven, but I had to sneak a piece of the Eli’s Cheesecake last night. Oh.Yum. Very light crust and rich, rich, and creamy, creamy.

Thank you my friend. You’ve made the agony of defeat much less daunting!

For those of you who might like to send Chicago food delicacies to someone you like — it’s pretty easy to do. Just go here to the Tastes of Chicago website.

And yes, this is airline related, as the first time I had a piece of Eli’s Cheesecake was on a United Airlines’ flight. Small world department — as it was on a Dallas-Chicago flight I was taking to go to United headquarters. I spent the day talking to the top management folks there.

The reason for the high-end lunch on such a short flight? United was making an effort to “upscale” their food offerings in an attempt to sway American customers.

Doubt they served the cheesecake in coach, however.

Thanks again to our friend and cohort in Chicago. His “winner’s package” will be on its way later in the week.

Okay, Let’s Get This Party Started

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After a day to lick my wounds and recover from stress levels not recorded in recent history — it’s time to get back to work. Well, that’s not totally true. I was back to work yesterday, just not here.

Looking over the airline landscape today, a couple of things of note. One, United Airlines reported earnings this morning. I’m off to listen to their call when I get done here, but the long and the short of it is this — the airline did not do as well as had been expected. Even considering their December Denver Dilemmas. As a result, shares here are under a lot of pressure today. Last time I checked, they were down 8% to 44.86.

Figures. I just put them in our first quarter basket of stock picks last week. Thanks guys.

That’s okay. The pick was not based on fundamental reasons anyway.

How’s that for an excuse? Weird, but true.

The airline said today that it lost $61 million, or $0.55 cents per share, compared with $16.9 billion, or $145.47 per share, a year earlier, while the company was still in bankruptcy. (This comparison is not really very relevant, given all the reorganization charges included in that loss for the fourth quarter last year.) But what is relevant is the airline had been expected to only lose $0.42 a share.

In other news — not sure if the hearings are going to be on C-Span or not (their online scheduling calendar is not working at the moment — at least not for tomorrow’s events), but tomorrow, hearings will be held on Capitol Hill by the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee — as they take a look at airline consolidation.

For those of you who are located in the Big Apple — here’s a nice way to spend your lunch hour tomorrow. Go to a book signing.

Code Newhousejohn

John Newhouse, author of the new book “Boeing versus Airbus: The Inside Story of the Greatest International Competition in Business,” will speak tomorrow at noon at the 92nd St. Y’s Makor-Steinhardt Center. That is located at 35W. 67th St.) Tickets for the event are $16. Copies of the book will also be available for purchase and John will be happy to sign your book, or answer your questions.

For more info, you can click here.

Bears Win; Saints Fairy Tale Ends

Yikes. Well, at least it was over for much of the fourth quarter, so I didn’t have to suffer that long. (Actually it was more than long enough.)


Hey, if you have to lose, at least we lost to a class organization that’s led by a class act for a coach.

Congratulations to the Chicago Bears and Lovey Smith. All hail the Soldier Field warriors!

…….is this in any way related to the airlines?

Of course. The Saints will be flying back to New Orleans on a Delta Air Lines operated charter aircraft!

Let’s go see what the Colts and the Patriots have up their respective jerseys.

The Bets Are Set


Okay, our PlaneBusiness Brown Bag Analyst, who just happens to live in Chicago, and I have come to terms on the bets for tomorrow’s game.

No surprise given the two cities. It’s all about food.

You didn’t really think we’d dress up in funny outfits and make fools out of ourselves, now did you?

So if the Saints beat the spread, I get a huge “Taste of Chicago” care package including Eli’s cheesecake, hot dogs, and PIZZA!

If, god forbid, the Bears beat the spread and win, he will get two New Orleans’ muffalettas, gumbo, coffee, and crayfish etoufee.

Oh, and for those of you who read PBB this week, in which I implied I had expended all available emotion for the game last week and therefore had none left for this one tomorrow — you didn’t believe that did you?

Yep. I’m a nervous wreck.

Go Saints.


PBB Posting Update

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It’s going to be tomorrow for this week’s issue folks. Nothing out of the ordinary. I’ve just become wrapped up in earnings numbers, calls, whatever. I’ll give you guys an update in the A.M.

TSA: Your Government at Work. Not

Okay, so the brilliant minds at TSA have decided to invest in yet another new piece of technology to help make us more secure when we fly. Or rather, some of us.

What was this latest bit of technology supposed to do?


It was supposed to let those flyers who have paid for the right to be dubbed a “Registered Traveler” the ability to just walk through security without taking their shoes off.


No surprise then, that the machines just also happened to be marketed to the TSA by the private companies, such as Stephen Brill’s Verified Identity Pass, that are the ones behind the “registered traveler” program. After all, unless their clients who are ponying up big bucks to become a “Registered Traveler” can actually clear TSA security lines quickly, what’s the point?

According to USA Today Wednesday,

“Many air travelers who were screened Tuesday by a revolutionary new machine aimed at letting them keep their shoes on through airport security got an unexpected surprise — they had to take their shoes off anyway.

About half of the travelers using Orlando International Airport’s first-in-the-nation ShoeScanner underwent the very hassle the machines were designed to ease — putting shoes through checkpoint X-rays — because the ShoeScanner detected metal in their shoes.

“It’s a waste of time,” Tracey Grenkoski of Orlando said after spending more than a minute on a ShoeScanner only to be told to remove her high-heeled shoes. “What’s the point of me standing there if I still have to take my shoes off?”

Grenkoski had company. Of 50 travelers who used the ShoeScanner in a one-hour period here Tuesday, 28 had to remove their metal-laden shoes, according to USA TODAY’s observation.”

But here’s the good part.

“Brill’s company submitted the machine last year to the TSA for approval. General Electric’s GE Security, which makes the $200,000 machine, hoped it would detect explosives and distinguish between metal commonly found in shoes and metal that could be a weapon, said company product manager Daniel Mahlum. The company is trying to upgrade the machine so it can allow passengers to wear shoes that contain harmless metal.

For now, TSA spokesman Christopher White said, if the ShoeScanner senses any explosives or metal, “it’s going to require additional scrutiny.

Brill said he expects people in Registered Traveler to stop wearing shoes with metal.”

So let me get this straight. People are expected to pay about $100, be fingerprinted, have their eyes scanned, reveal a raft of personal information, and now, now, Mr. Brill says for his program to work, “Oh, and by the way, you have to stop wearing any shoes with metal in them.”

Yep. Right. Okay.

Pinnacle Snatches Up Colgan Air

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Just never know what a Thursday is going to bring, do you?

Today it was reported that Pinnacle, the Northwest Airlines’ regional with a newly rejuvenated life — thanks to Northwest — is buying smaller fry Colgan Air.

Heh. I flew on Colgan Air twice. And you know, nothing personal to the fine folks at Colgan, but that was enough for me.

The most interesting thing about this news is that Colgan currently flies for United, US Airways and Continental.

So what does all this mean? Hmmm. The twisted turbine is in high gear over this move.

You can read about it here.