Beating the Big Hotel Chains’ Cancellation Policies


By Robert McGarvey


There’s good news and bad when it comes to how business travelers can best cope with the new 48 hour required cancellation imposed by Marriott and Hilton.  Cancel later and you will be stuck with a one night stay penalty fee.  Ouch.

That adds up.  Hotel booking service HRS has estimated that the 48 hour policies will cost business travelers 2% in increased hotel costs this year. But there are smart ways to get this down to zero,

Understand, too, that Bjorn Hanson at NYU is forecasting a bonanza year for hotelier fee revenues.  According to Hanson, “total fees and surcharges collected by US hotels are forecast to increase to another record level of $2.7 billion in 2017. Fees and surcharges were higher than forecast for 2016; although occupied room nights were lower than anticipated, fees and surcharges were higher, with the largest increase in cancellation fees.”

Yep – cancellation fees are lining the pockets of hoteliers.

Hanson noted: “The industry also has become stricter about cancellation of reservations with fees for cancelling within two days of arrival as most common, but three days for an increasing number of hotels.”

He did not break out the exact contribution to profits of cancellation fees.

Hanson did wryly note: “Fees and surcharges are highly profitable; many have incremental profitability of 80 to 90 percent or more of the amounts collected.”

You bet.  Whacking a traveller for a room night just because he/she cancelled 47 hours before arrival is a pure profit play.

And when US hotel occupancy is about 60% who’s kidding whom that hotels need an advance notice of a cancellation in order to manage their supply of rooms.

Hotels did fine managing rooms up until a couple years ago even though the cancellation deadline was typically 4 pm of the day of arrival.

All that has changed is that the big hotel chains – enviously eyeing the fee income of airlines – want their share and they think they have us over the proverbial barrel.

They don’t.

Enter independent hotels.  According to a recent story in Hotel News Now, “Indies look for flexibility in cancellation policies,” said the headline.

The subhead got more specific:  “Owners of independent hotels said they’re unlikely to change their policies in light of moves by the major brand companies toward tighter cancellation windows.”

Richard Millard, CEO of Trust Hospitality, a boutique hotel management company, told HNN when asked if he planned to impose cancellation policies in line with airlines: “I don’t think we have the clout to do that,” he said. “It’s a different business model.”

Many independent hotels are sticking with a 24 hour cancellation policy or, in some cases, the classic 4 pm cancellation.

The odds – room availability – are on our side.  Don’t forget that when tempted to look at a Marriott or Hilton. If a meeting or event is there and you want to be in the thick of it, sure, go for it.  I’d probably do likewise.

But when the whole city is before me I will duck Marriott and Hilton and others with long cancellation windows and book elsewhere. I am sure I won’t sleep on a park bench.

At 3:45 pm PT on a Tuesday in late September I checked availability in San Francisco for that night. The Marker, a Joie de Vivre hotel, wanted $221 on Hotel Tonight.  The Hotel Zoe was mine at $209.  The Argonaut wanted $292.  Many more hotels wanted my business in Hotel Tonight.

Alternatively, per the HNN article, look for independents where you travel.  Many will be much more flexible than are the big chains that seem delusional in their sense of marketplace power.  When 4 in 10 hotel rooms are empty every night, it hardly seems hoteliers have the whip hand.

Incidentally, multiple San Francisco Marriotts had room available that very night, for booking at 3:45 pm PT. Which means you could do it on the BART from SFO into the city and that way you know you won’t be hit with a cancellation fee.

There’s essentially no excuse for getting hit with a Marriott or Hilton late cancellation fee. If you want to stay in those properties just don’t book until you land in the destination city.  Simple. Cost effective. And there will be plenty of rooms just about everywhere.  


Choosing the Right Multi-Factor Authentication Tools for Your Credit Union


By Robert McGarvey


The multi-factor authentication tools your credit union implements may win you members – but the wrong ones just may cost you members while driving away mobile and online banking users.  It’s also very, very possible that soon authentication will become a key battleground in member retention.

That’s how important multi-factor authentication (aka MFA) has become in today’s financial services.

Passwords plainly are broken.  Between epidemic breaches – Equifax for instance – and rampant user laziness (such as using the same password at multiple sites), a password alone is not adequate protection for most accounts involving money.

Enter multi-factor authentication which, often, rides on top of a password. The password may be adequate for low value tasks but when bigger money is on the line, it’s time to bring out multi-factor to provide beefed up protection.

FFIEC provides interesting insights into the role of multi-factor authentication in financial institutions:  “A common example of two-factor authentication is found in most ATM transactions where the customer is required to provide something the user possesses (i.e., the card) and something the user knows (i.e., the PIN). Single factor authentication alone may not be adequate for sensitive communications, high dollar value transactions, or privileged user access (i.e., network administrators). Multi-factor techniques may be necessary in those cases.”

Plainly we have entered an age where consumer expectation about the availability of multi- factor has vaulted ever higher. Personally I use multi-factor on Amazon.  I also have it setup on Google.  So of course I expect it, and use it, at Affinity Federal Credit Union.

Understand this however: there is ample evidence that many consumers rebel against MFA that is deemed too cumbersome, too much of a hassle.  It’s something of a double-bind. They want to feel protected by their financial institution but they also don’t want to feel hassled.

Yet good, trustworthy MFA increasingly looks to be critical in fueling credit union account growth, especially usage of lower cost digital channels (online and mobile).  But lots of Americans shy away from online and mobile banking because of fears of data insecurity in the digital channels. Multi-factor can be the cure.

Mark this as a key 2017 challenge: offering members MFA they will use, gladly, and that leaves them feeling their financial data are safe.  

That is easier to say than to deliver.

Increasingly, multi-factor offers a choice among something the user knows (a PIN perhaps, or a favorite teacher in grammar school), something the user has (a cellphone perhaps or an ATM card), and something the user is, that is, a biometric solution and gaining traction there are fingerprints of course – think Apple Pay and Touch ID – but also retinal scans, which have gained popularity at money center banks (particularly Wells Fargo).  

More attention nowadays is going into biometrics because, thanks to Apple, more of us are comfortable using a biometric tool to perform a financial task and, to most of us, biometric factors seem beyond the reach of most criminals.  

What should you offer? Best advice is to offer members a choice of multiple tools and let the member decide.  Some people still think retinal scans are creepy, others have seen it at high security office buildings and like them.  There is no disputing member tastes.

Put out a menu of maybe five or six tools and let members decide what they like.

Key is that what they use cannot seem intrusive or a hassle – to them. They get the only vote that counts.

Also good are protective tools the consumer may be unaware of, such as looking for trusted, known devices and trusted, known locations. When a member who lives in Phoenix, AZ is signing into a sharedraft account at a local credit union, that institution can breath easier when it recognizes the computer and the member location – and the member has no need to know these checks have been made.

Key also is providing flexibility. A member may like using voice as a biometric when signing into the credit union in the early a.m. from home – but probably would think it weird when signing in from a busy Starbucks at noon.

Give members choices and they will use them.

Also stay on top of news developments and, definitely, there is news in the multi-factor space.

A sore spot to watch is SMS which, frequently, figures into multi-factor authentication, where a PIN is sent to a registered cellphone number. The user then inputs that PIN at a banking site.  But – increasingly – there is evidence that smart crooks have figured out how to simply steal cellphone numbers and thereby hijack the SMS traffic.  Worries are big enough that the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has begun to back away from SMS, as awareness grows that the safety of the cellphone channel is in doubt.

Right now, cellphones and SMS remain integral in the multi factor techniques deployed by most financial institutions but smart money is betting that will change unless cellphone carriers impose better processes to safeguard number transfers.

Note: this author recently transferred a number from one carrier to another and from one device to another and, frankly, the process was frictionless – which has to raise security worries.  But – again – it would be easy enough to erect some hurdles in the process and that might restore confidence in cellphone SMS.

The message there: stay on top of developments. Crooks are energetic in hunting for new weaknesses to exploit. Credit unions have to be as energetic in their self-defense tactics.

Want more ideas about what tools to use? Good advice is to look at leaders in the field and recent ratings from Javelin Strategy & Research heap particular praises on USAA, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Bank of the West, and Fifth Third when it comes to preventing fraud involving member accounts. Only the very largest institutions were compared so don’t look for credit unions.  

Are your tools in the same class? They should be. That’s how to keep members.

Meantime, CU-2.0’s Kirk Drake pointed to emerging tools that credit unions need to know about.  Said Drake: “Using things like DAON, AnchorID, DUO, Averon, etc. really allow you to elevate the member experience while increasing security.” 

The point: credit unions have a growing number of authentication options. New ones are emerging. Learn about them, use them.  This just may become a key battleground in member retention in the years ahead. Falling behind is not an option.


Can a Credit Union Satisfy a Frequent Traveler?


By Robert McGarvey


“Oh, I couldn’t belong to a credit union.  I travel too much. I need to be able to do my banking wherever I go.”

I hear that a lot from business travelers when they learn that a primary work interest of mine is credit unions and that’s because I view the member owned institutions as honest and decent and usually community minded.

So how do I travel and also depend upon credit unions for the bulk of my banking when most are hyper community focusd with a handful of branchs?

Know too that the nearest branch of my primary credit union, Affinity Federal, is about 2400 miles away in north Jersey.  I moved to Phoenix from Jersey City five years ago and took Affinity with me.

Why? I had BillPay set up. I had the Affinity account set up to receive direct deposits from many clients.  It also works with my person to person payment network accounts. I could unravel all those strings but why?

At the Affinity website I input my zip and up pop dozens of ATMS where I have surcharge free access – mainly at 7-11s, by the way – and there are also a few nearby credit unions where I can enjoy what’s called “shared branching” and that means I can make deposits.

Mobile Remote Deposit Capture – snapping a photo of a check with a cellphone – lets me refill my accounts with a few clicks.  I don’t even need to walk to a nearby ATM to make a deposit. I do it at my desk.

CO-OP, the company that manages the shared branching network, says it has 5600 locations. That’s second only to Wells Fargo with 6100.  It’s ahead of Chase with 5300 and Bank of America with 4300.

That means my north Jersey credit union has a more convenient footprint than just about all banks.

CO-OP also has around 30,000 ATMs where there is surcharge free access.  About 7500 also take deposits.

CULiance runs another ATM network numbering some 300,000. This is the country’s largest surcharge free ATM network. (For the record, I do blogging for this company.)

Among banks, Chase operates the biggest ATM fleet with around 19,000 machines.  B of A has around 16,000.  

So, you see, a credit union actually provides more convenient access than any large bank.

Oh, even if you travel abroad, your credit union ATM card will work as well as a bank’s.  I’ve used mine in Italy, Germany, Spain,the United Kingdom and other countries I am blanking on.  No problems. Note: Joe Brancatelli pointed out to me that just about no cedit union offers surcharge free ATM access abroad. If that’s important to you, shop accordingly.

Not all credit unions belong to CO-OP or CuLiance.  Most do – thousands of them. But ask before setting up an account if far-flung ATM access matters to you.

Can you do everything at a credit union that you can at Chase?  Nope. Maybe at a handful of the very biggest credit unions but maybe not. Navy Federal is the largest credit union and has been for some years; its assets are around $81 billion. J.P. Morgan Chase’s assets are about $2.5 trillion.  That’s a lot bigger and I know just about any banking need, in just about any corner of the globe, can be handled inside Chase.

But the other reality is that for most except the 1%, credit unions have ample services and products.

Truth is, I also have a Chase account which I have because I write about banking and Chase is a good one to study.  It’s also convenient – there are two branches near me – when a deposit is above my MRDC limit at Affinity (and, yes, I could get it raised with a phone call but why bother).  And I used Chase to handle a six-figure wire transfer in association with a real estate purchase a few years ago because it was easier to do it in branch and I also happened to be in Las Vegas at the time  and a Chase was a short cab ride off Strip.  

Could I get by without the Chase account? Yep.

But my suggestion isn’t to burn all bridges with money center banks.  It’s to open a credit union account and see what it’s like to bank in an institution in which you are an owner.



Big Data or Bust: The Credit Union Wakeup Call


By Robert McGarvey


Ask credit union executives about big data and what you are most likely to hear aren’t cheers of approval but grumbles and that is because many institutions have shoveled money into big data initiatives but have enjoyed scant benefits.

That’s fact: big data plays require a lot of thought, planning and sophistication to do successfully. It is very easy to get this all wrong.

But also know that from Amazon to the money center banks there’s a rush to harness big data in order to better serve customers and in that way make more sales.

The whole concept of big data may in fact seem to fly in the face of a lot of what credit union executives believe their businesses are based on, that is, face to face interactions with friends and neighbors whom we know and therefore who needs big data?

Credit unions do.

I’m looking at a ranking of credit unions by membership and the leader has 4.7 million members. Over 50 credit unions have more than 200,000 members.  These numbers are way past the old beliefs about friends and neighbors.

Nobody is saying to ignore personal interactions. Cherish them.  They are indeed some of what can make credit unions special. But also embrace the big data driven insights that let an Amazon recommend exactly the book you had been wanting to read but didn’t know it existed.

For a credit union, the right data analytics can deliver powerful results. In a white paper sponsored by Filene, Philipp Kallerhoff observed: “What and when people buy and how much debt they’re carrying can indicate how likely they are to upgrade (or close) their accounts. The cluster analysis undertaken here can predict the next best product with 30% accuracy. “

In other words: credit unions can enjoy the same kinds of data analytics triumphs as Amazon.

That’s easy to say but many credit unions will tell you hard to do.

But tune into what experts at OnApproach – a data focused CUSO – are saying. Read this stark observation in a recent OnApproach blog: “The financial services industry is facing a period of sweeping changes in the forms of fintech disruption, challenging regulations, and evolving member preferences and expectations. In order to remain relevant in this new arena, credit unions must be able to integrate and optimize data.”

Harness your data – or maybe face extinction.

You face many challenges.  Data may be the cure.

Where do big data initiatives go awry?  You remember that old saying: Garbage in, garbage out.  

OnApproach’s Austin Wentzlaff blogged this: “ In a credit union, data is coming from many disparate sources from all facets of the organization. In order to overcome this, a data warehouse is essential. However, when a data warehouse tries to combine inconsistent data from disparate sources, it encounters errors. Inconsistent data, duplicates, logic conflicts, and missing data all result in data quality challenges.”

Data comes in two piles.  There’s what you might call little data – this is structured data that comes in known forms, such as the data created in a core system.  It’s rather easy to process but the problem is that it gives only a one dimensional view of a member.

Enter big data which, by definition, is unstructured and voluminous.  Think all the data on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter, plus SMS messages, maybe email, and a whole lot more.

Marrying those two heaps of data is the rub – but it also is critical. Austin Wentzlaff noted, “In the world of data and data analytics, credit unions must leverage all the data accessible to them.”

Yep.  Insights come to those that gather all the information they can.

But making use of it isn’t easy.  Austin Wentzlaff sketched a how-to road map: “Credit unions should start with the structured data within their own operational systems by developing the data infrastructure to manage, store, and analyze the data. Once the credit union has all of their structured data in a single repository, planning should begin to leverage unstructured data from available data sources.”

He added:  “If the data warehouse does not support the move from structured data to unstructured data there will be a serious loss of value. While both Big Data and Little Data are extremely powerful, the marriage of the two is where the real value lies.”

One estimate is that maybe 5% of credit unions have their data in good enough shape to get real value from big data analytics.

That mean 95% don’t.

Big pushes in 2017, at least at the money center banks, are the rise of machine intelligence aka artificial intelligence.  But getting there requires rich data the machines can readily process – and for many credit unions that takes them back to square one.

What needs to happen to actually make use of all the data a credit union has?  The data – basically – has to be massaged into a usable form.  Frequently that means putting the data into a data warehouse and the core concept is that data can be manipulated – rearranged and cleaned up – without fundamentally distorting its meaning.

Huge progress has been made into this regard.

Many projects are still failing but, said experts, the primary cause now is because they are underfunded.  Good data scientists and their tools don’t come cheap.

Does that mean only the very largest credit unions can make use of data analytics? Nope.  Data analytics skills are become more widespread and at the same time there are more options available.  Some credit unions are hiring internal data scientists.  Others are contracting with large vendors. Still others are working with CUSOs to attempt to keep costs down.  Either way, there are many more data focused companies aimed at credit unions and community banks.

The best advice: start now to set big data goals. Such as? A common goal is how to get smarter in offering members new products – which Filene already tells us is prime for a big data revolution.  Know too that the money center banks are investing heavily in exactly this. They want to offer a customer a car loan minutes before he or she walks onto a dealer’s lot.

A credit union needs to stay determined to develop that same sort of timely pertinence and, very probably, the answers are in fact already in the data that’s on hand.

Ditto for when is the right time to offer a member a CD, a new credit card, maybe an upgraded share draft account.

The answers are in the data when you know how to harvest and analyze it.

Make 2017 the year you put big data to work for you and your members.

The Outsourced Credit Union Survival Strategy

By Robert McGarvey


Call this a tale of two kinds of credit unions – and know that there is no simple answer to the question: Is a path to survival for credit unions to outsource many IT functions?

A reality is that many credit unions – especially smaller ones with assets under perhaps $250 million, roughly 80% of all credit unions – have targeted outsourcing as a key tactic in an environment where providing basic technical services has gotten ever more necessary and also expensive.

But another reality – more details later in this piece – is that many bigger credit unions (with assets over $1 billion, roughly 300 out of the nation’s 5800 credit unions) are going the exact opposite route, seeking to differentiate by offering customized, personalized tech.

Both groups may be doing exactly what’s right for them.

They also wind up on very similar paths.  Eventually. Because there’s a lot to like about smart outsourcing regardless of credit union size.  The crucial word is “smart.”

The Outsourcing Benefits

It’s about saving money while getting IT that’s as good as, maybe better than, what can be done inhouse.

Here are the top places where credit unions outsource:

Core systems.  About 2500 credit unions, nearly one in two, now get core processing through a hosted or service bureau solution. The core itself resides outside the credit union. So do the employees who work on it and they in fact typically are employees of the hosting company.

Experts say many credit unions can cut their core costs by 25 to 50% with a hosted solution.

Going the hosted route involves trade offs. Independence is lost. It’s not a solution that would work for every credit union.

But for many smaller credit unions, hosted cores are a lifeline that let the credit union provide members with the services they want but at costs the credit union can afford.

Compliance.  Amid the thicket of federal requirements – involving everything from the Patriot Act to BSA – more credit unions are turning to outsourced solutions, sometimes provided via state leagues.  The big advantage is that the credit union stays compliant with regulations that it may not fully understand.  

Mobile banking.  Mobile may be the primary channel in future years but, right now, of the credit unions that offer members a mobile banking app about 98% use off the shelf packages where the technology and much of the servicing is done by a vendor.  

One vendor has about a 25% market share, and that means one in four credit unions use essentially the same app.  But the credit unions that use off the shelf apps like the convenience and reliability.  

CISO as a service. CU 2.0 founder Kirk Drake talks about how many credit unions would benefit if they turned over the bulk of their IT security to an outsourced provider. That would mean lower costs and very likely higher skill levels.  As the tech IT battles intensify, the need for ever better security climbs.  Watch more credit unions explore third party CISO alternatives.

Inventive credit union leadership is finding still more places to outsource. That’s because outsourcing brings benefits to credit unions.

The real benefit may be that when a credit union uses outsourced solutions for many functions that frees management to focus on improving core competencies which, at a credit union, revolve around better knowing and servicing members and finding ways to upsell members into more services.  All of this is hard – especially because the competition in many cases are money center banks with vast resources.  That’s why success is more likely for the credit unions that go after member focused improvements with their full energy.

The Other Perspective: Homebrewing Tech

Just as many credit unions are looking to outsource more of their functions, some are looking to bring work back inhouse.  Case in point: Congressional Federal Credit Union where CTO David Hufnagel told me that in fact he planned to introduce a home banking product that explicitly gives him substantially more opportunity to offer custom features.  Why? “We want to differentiate ourselves in the market.”

Hufnagel is right. Custom home banking is a stand out because it is rare. A handful of vendors provide the bulk of off-the-shelf home banking tools.  

As digital becomes the primary channel, institutions like Congressional Federal are exploring the how-to of taking more control of those channels so that they can own the member points of contact.

That’s smart.

Congressional Federal also has a membership with an unusual trait: most are paid once monthly and that, said Hufnagel, introduces special challenges for members.  He wants more digital tools that can accommodate that pay schedule.

Congressional Federal is not alone in this charge. For instance,  a growing number of large credit unions – generally with assets over $1 billion – are now deploying home-brewed mobile banking apps.  They cite the ability to customize, both the look and the tools, as the key driver.

They also like having a mobile banking app that is not twin to the many thousands of other apps in the Apps Store.

In many cases, incidentally, taking back control of mobile banking will reduce costs because most third party packages involve per user fees and as the number of users climb into the hundreds of thousands, for some credit unions million, those monthly checks are tough to write.

How many credit unions are doing this, either with home banking or mobile banking? Perhaps as many as 100.

That number will grow as credit unions differentiate themselves as a central competitive strategy.

Your Road Ahead

Just maybe the biggest and smaller credit unions have more in common than they might think.

Here’s the irony. Probably the smart move even for credit unions that want to bring back inside tools they consider mission critical – such as home banking or mobile banking – is to outsource technology that is not mission critical.  That puts this tech in the domain of a company that does it for a living and frees the credit union to focus on the areas where it can in fact differentiate itself.

There have not been many members who have praised a credit union for its Bank Secrecy Act compliance.

And just about no member knows what a core system does.

Start looking for services and technologies to turn over to third parties.  And put a stronger focus on touch points that matter to members and make these places where the credit union can puts its own spin on what it provides.

Look for ways to differentiate. That’s how to stay ahead in the 21st century.

Would you Fly a Supersonic Plane If Available?


By Robert McGarvey


Start-up Boom now is saying that by 2023 it will have in service a supersonic airplane that is faster than the Concorde and will cut our over the ocean flight times in half.  Of course there are skeptics Boom will do anything but go bust but put that aside for now.  Just feast on the idea of getting to Europe, or China, in half the time of today’s flights.

The fundamental question is: will you want to fly it?  Note that Boom will involve carriers you know – Virgin has publicly signed on.  Boom has said there are four others but has not named them.

The bigger question is: can you persuade employers or clients to pay the bill which, supposedly, will be about the same as trans Atlantic business class fares? That’s about $5000 for the New York – London roundtrip.  

If you already fly business class, there’s no reason not to at least consider SST transport.  If you don’t fly business, can you sell your employer on the idea that cutting flight times in half will make you more efficient and effective on the ground?

Just maybe it in fact will deliver precisely those benefits.

Why fly SST? Speed.  Boom will fly at Mach 2.2, about 1451 mph, a notch quicker than the retired Concorde which flew at 1350.

On Boom, New York – London is 3 hours, 15 minutes.  San Francisco-Tokyo is 5.5 hours.  Los Angeles – Sydney is 6 hours, 45 minutes.

Present flight time Los Angeles – Sydney is 14 hours, 55 minutes, more than twice as long.

Flight time on a conventional plane San Francisco – Tokyo is 11 hours, 5 minutes.

So Boom is promising to cut flight times in half.

Even so, the Concorde failed – so why will Boom succeed? Blake Scholl, Boom co-founder, told Skift that his plane will be about 75% more efficient to operate than the Corcorde. He claimed better fuel economy, also higher rates of utilization.

Scholl claimed there are around 500 routes with enough traffic to support SST flights.

The math, he insisted, supports the belief that SST can profitably fly.

There are no reasons to believe that the FAA will permit over land SST flights in the US.

But there are plenty of over water routes that, in a global economy, we are all flying more often.

Another hitch is that the plane has a range of around 4500 miles, meaning it has to stop to refuel on long flights.  On a San Francisco to Shanghai route it would stop in Anchorage for fuel and, said Scholl, refueling stops will be quick, really a matter of a few minutes, so the ding on time is less than you might fear.

Air miles JFK to Paris is around 3650.  JFK to Berlin Tegel is 3961, which is probably about the maximum route that can be made without refueling.  LAX to Maui is around 2500 miles.

Scholl spelled out the choice we will face: “Your choice will be: Do you want to spend 16 hours in a flatbed seat or do you want to speed six or seven hours and truly go to sleep and wake up in the other city?”

Sign me up for the SST.  I really like that math. I’ll find a way to convince clients to foot the bill.

Naturally, I’m skeptical that comparative airplane newbies can pull off Boom and its innovative SST – but who saw Tesla, a Silicon Valley car maker, shaking up Detroit and Munich and Tokyo?  Just maybe what the airline industry needs is a disruptor from outside.

And the retirement of the Concorde in 2003 is not a predictor of how SST will fare.  For one thing, the plane was dated, 30 year-old technology when it was killed off.  Concorde’s reputation also took a serious hit in 2000 when all 109 passengers and crew on board died when the plane burst a tire on takeoff which apparently caused the fuel tank to explode.  A lot of business fled the Concorde in the aftermath.

Think too of how many executives now are flying private planes.  In the age of the 1% could many of them be lured to fly faster SST planes?  Probably.  

I’m not saying I am optimistic about Boom’s prospects – it is hoeing a very tough row where lots of entrenched interests much like the non SST status quo – but I certainly can cheer the company on and that is what I will do.