Business Stories of the Week: July 14, 2017

by July 14, 2017
After a rough start to 2017, United may have found a way to solve its oversold-flight issue. (Photo by Flickr user Tomas Del Coro CC BY 2.0)

After a rough start to 2017, United may have found a way to solve its oversold-flight issue. (Photo by Flickr user Tomas Del Coro CC BY 2.0)

United will resell double-booked seats

After months of negative press (remember Dr. Dao, who was dragged down the airplane aisle?), United may have an answer to its oversold woes, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday. Instead of offering four-figure payouts to passengers at the gate who are booked on an oversold flight, the airline will offer travel vouchers up to five days in advance to passengers who agree to have their travel plans tweaked. It’s a rare case of win-win for the airline and its passengers: consumers with flexible travel plans can earn a little bonus and United can resell their ticket at a higher profit margin.

Internet giants stage digital protest

Some of the web’s most popular pages looked a little different on Wednesday, as companies like Netflix, Etsy, Amazon and Kickstarter, joined forces to stage a “Day of Action,” the Internet’s show of support for the current net neutrality rules that could be at risk under new FCC leadership, NPR reported. The protest included things like pop-ups, banner ads and the perpetually spinning wheel, all in an effort to show users what the web could be like if net neutrality regulations were rolled back. The online standoff came five days before the first deadline for comments on the FCC’s planned rollback, which would remove the regulations that prevent Internet service providers from blocking or slowing websites or charging special fees to get their content in front of viewers.

Fed cites robust economy—and inflation concerns

Chairwoman of the Federal Reserve Janet Yellen took to the mic on Wednesday to deliver an optimistic message on the state of the American economy, focusing on job growth and the Fed’s plans to begin reducing its bond holdings in the fall. But she took a more cautious tone when discussing inflation, the New York Times reported, noting that persistent weakness could cause the Fed to raise interest rates more slowly.

Defense Department binges on jets

The U.S. military’s arsenal of F-35 fighter planes will soon grow by 74, as the Defense Department announced Monday it will pay $5.6 billion for the new “lot” of aircraft, the Washington Post reported. The government is in negotiations with Lockheed Martin for the first 50 units, but what remains to be determined is the cost of each plane: The F-35’s helmet alone runs $400,000. Designed to be the next generation fighter jet, the planes make up the single most expensive military program in the history of the Pentagon, and account for a quarter of Lockheed Martin’s annual revenue.

Honda’s trucks cruise past Ford’s

If you build it, they will buy—a good truck, that is. Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that in the last six months, Honda has sold 400,00 of its Ridgeline model, a car-like pickup that is popular with both truck aficionados and car drivers alike. Honda managed to not only nab some of the market-share from competitors like Ford, but it has also brought in new customers, converting sedan devotees to truck owners. In what could be considered a response to the Ridgeline’s success, Ford has announced plans to bring its smaller Ranger model back to the U.S. market in 2019.

Apple and Google differ on dollars

As the market’s two most valuable companies, Apple and Google both have an opportunity to shape the future of our economy. The Atlantic explored the companies’ differing philosophies, as each one tries to determine what public companies should be doing with all the money they’re making. In Google’s world, fund managers decide how to spend, while Apple allows its big investors to call the shots.