Business The Punt

Friday 15 November 2019

Hackers target BA air miles

The Punt can only shudder at the rows there will be at Heathrow tomorrow when flyers want to spend miles they no longer have (Getty Images)
The Punt can only shudder at the rows there will be at Heathrow tomorrow when flyers want to spend miles they no longer have (Getty Images)

The Punt

Frequent flyers among The Punt's readers will be well aware of just how valuable air miles have become in the post-crisis world.

Gone are the days, for most people at least, when companies would routinely book staff on first or business class for every flight they were taking for their employer.

In its previous life The Punt vividly remembers being booked on a low-cost airline for a trip after getting used to sitting up front with one of the higher-priced carriers. Nowadays, travellers are barely even aware that they could be sitting anywhere other than economy.

And that makes air miles so valuable in this day and age. It is one of the few perks still available to business travellers - with them comes the chance to claim an upgrade or lounge access or other small things that between them make flying a less painful experience.

So one can only imagine the pang British Airways customers will have felt after BA said its Executive Flyer programme had been hacked. The carrier didn't say how many accounts had been compromised, but said they have been locked down and can no longer be accessed.

There have already been several reports of BA customers having their air miles cleaned out of their accounts.

The Punt can only shudder at the rows there will be at Heathrow tomorrow when flyers want to spend miles they no longer have.

The end of the leading ad man

One businessman who never has to worry about being put on a cheap airline is the fictional ad man Don Draper, who returned to US screens this week for the final series of ‘Mad Men’.

For those who aren’t familiar with the show, ‘Mad Men’ is a superb drama set in the 1960s New York advertising industry. It is notable for many things. The style and the fact that the “good old days” weren’t better than today are chief among them, but the series also takes viewers through the evolution of the advertising industry in the ‘60s. Among the trends noted is the takeover of TV in the middle of the decade.

The Punt would be interested to know how Don and his colleagues at Sterling Cooper & Partners would handle the ad market today.

The structures of that time are long gone, and The Punt would love to know about an industry that still accepts three Martini lunches and a 5pm finish.

Somehow though, we think Don would manage to adapt.

Moto G gets a firm motoring

If Don Draper would be seen as a man out of his time were he around today, it is safe to say that Motorola has had the look of a company out of time for the past several years.

The telecoms firm was the world leader in its field for years and was up there with the likes of IBM and Exxon as a big, blue chip, titan of corporate America.

We all know what happened, though. As with several other firms, Motorola found itself as roadkill, crushed under the juggernaut known as the Apple iPhone.

It has since been bought and sold by Google and is now owned by China’s Lenovo.

It has gone all in on the Android operating system for its smart phones and the strategy looks to be bearing fruit at last.

Its “Moto G” mid range device has become the best selling phone in Brazil.

The phone boasts high end features at a mid-range price and is being lapped up by buyers who don’t need the specs or related costs that go with top of the line phones.

The Punt has a soft spot for the big firms of yore like Motorola.

Now lets see if  it, or anyone else for that matter, can put a dent in the dominance of the iPhone or the bloated Samsung devices we see today.

Irish Independent

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