Andrew Romano

Stories by Andrew Romano

  • Budget Airlines: It's Been A Bumpy Ride

    Braniff: Known for aiming to fly anywhere with a landing strip, Braniff was the first (but not the last) major U.S. airline to go bankrupt in the wake of deregulation in '78. Braniff never recovered, but its influence persists: the latest discount carriers all place a premium on style.Southwest: The original. Founded in '71 by two quirky Texans, Southwest (think wisecracking attendants and ticketless travel) soared in the de-regulated market.Laker Airways and Skytrain: On Sept. 26, 1977, Laker Airways launched Skytrain--the first no-frills round-trip transatlantic service. Offering nothing but transportation, Skytrain got you from New York to London and back for $236 ($400 less than the going rate). Breakfast was $1.25 extra. Laker soon went belly-up.People Express: Of all the postderegulation upstarts, it flew the highest--and crashed the hardest. Founded by Donald Burr in '80, PE offered regional flights for the price of an intercity bus ticket. But its unprecedented growth led...
  • Swing State Watch

    Some polls have Bush pulling away; others show the race tightening up. But campaign insiders give him a 3- to 5- point edge. With W taking to the trail in key Blue States, the ball is in Kerry's court.SPOTLIGHT: NEVADA ...
  • Swing State Watch

    It's smaller than you'd think. Coming off a clockwork convention, Bush last week shook Kerry's support in crucial Blue States and gained ground in the Southwest. But W still doesn't stand for "wrapped up."SPOTLIGHT: WISCONSIN ...
  • SEATTLE SUPERBUS

    Jim Boon is a hybrid kind of guy. He drives a Toyota hybrid to work, a Honda hybrid on weekends and, as a manager for Seattle public transit he recently placed the world's largest order for hybrid electric buses.Now, with the biggest hybrid-bus fleet in the world, Seattle has become the main testing ground for a technology that claims it can drastically cut air pollution and fuel consumption. In the 1990s, demo fleets of 35 buses or fewer started cropping up in cities such as Tempe, Ariz. Sixteen of these early hybrids still service Genoa, Italy, where drivers switch from diesel to electric power when passing the city's downtown architectural treasures. But no city has gone as far as Seattle, which last year bought 235 GM hybrid buses at $645,000 a pop. When the final one rolls out this December, the region's bus system will be 15 percent hybrid.But why Seattle, and why now? The Pacific Northwest has long been a hotbed of both Green politics and cutting-edge technology. Fourteen...
  • The Sounds of Fall

    Fall is here and life is good. Switch on the TV: No more reruns. Visit the local multiplex: No more "Catwoman." Soon enough, record shops will start stocking stuff that's actually worth paying for. To guide you through the racks, NEWSWEEK takes a sneak-peek at this season's most-anticipated CDs. Don't panic--there's still time to free up space on your iPod.R.E.M., 'Around the Sun' (Warner Brothers)Popular music rarely benefits from a pinch of politics. Bob Dylan got better in 1965 when he dumped his Woody Guthrie act; three decades later, Bruce Springsteen revived the role for "The Ghost of Tom Joad"--for the worse. Undeterred by these lessons from Rock History 101, R.E.M. has spiced the songs on "Around the Sun" (Oct. 5) with a heavy dose of liberal outrage. "It will shock some people," lead singer and lyricist Michael Stipe has said. Since founding drummer Bill Berry retired in 1997, R.E.M.'s output has been patchy at best: "Up" (1998) tried too hard for artiness; "Reveal" (2001)...
  • SWING STATE WATCH

    Kerry's the windsurfer, but it was Bush who emerged last week with the breeze at his back. Where did they go when the balloons dropped? Hint: it's not Disneyland. Welcome to the homestretch.
  • Swing State Watch

    PERISCOPEAs a wounded Kerry retreated to Nantucket and the GOP invaded New York, Bush tore through eight states in six days. Now the smoke has cleared -- and the race is tighter than ever.
  • Seattle Superbus

    A Northwest Oasis Is The Main Testing Ground For Hybrid Mass Transit
  • Seattle Superbus

    Jim Boon is a hybrid kind of guy. He drives a Toyota hybrid to work, a Honda hybrid on weekends, and as a manager for Seattle's public transportation system, he recently placed the world's largest order for hybrid electric buses.Now, with the biggest hybrid bus fleet in the world, Seattle has become the main testing ground for a technology that claims it can drastically cut air pollution and fuel consumption. In the late 1990s, small demo fleets of 35 buses or less started cropping up in cities such as Tempe, Arizona. Sixteen of these early hybrids still service Genoa, Italy, where drivers switch from diesel to electric power when passing the city's downtown architectural treasures. But no city has gone as far as Seattle, which last year bought 235 GM hybrid buses at $645,000 a pop. When the final one hits the streets this December, the region's bus system will be 15 percent hybrid.But why Seattle, and why now? The Pacific Northwest has long been a hotbed of both crunchy green...
  • SWING STATE WATCH: A RISING TIDE OF WORRY

    John Kerry and President George W. Bush played another round of leapfrog last week hitting four of the five swing states: Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Oregon. Kerry attacked Bush on taxes, pouncing on a new report showing that Bush's policies heavily favor the wealthy. But Kerry played defense after saying he would have still voted to authorize military action against Iraq knowing what he knows now, though he would have handled things "very differently." "He now agrees it was the right decision," said a delighted Bush, who went on to ridicule a "new nuance" from Kerry. Vice President Dick Cheney mocked Kerry's vow to fight a "more sensitive" war on terror (though Bush has also called for a "sensitive" use of American power.) And Laura Bush raised her profile with a new campaign swing.One critical stop in Bush's tour: Florida, where elections rival hurricanes as the state's primary source of disaster. For months, voters have witnessed a string of snafus. The state scrapped a list...
  • SWING STATE WATCH:BANDS ON THE RUN IN THE BATTLEGROUND

    Last Thursday in Washington, Mo., John Kerry waved from his train, the "Believe in America" express, to 300 locals lining the tracks. Shoved to the back, Bush supporters chanted, "Four more years!" Kerry's fans suggested an alternative: "Three more months!" Like 96 percent of Missourians, these voters have already picked their president. So Kerry spent last week tooting horns--the train's and, more often, his own--to get the attention of another audience: the 4 percent of Missouri voters who simply aren't sure. If more swing to him than to Bush, Kerry will win the state's precious electoral votes--and possibly the White House. During a normal election year, August, is sleepy. But with postconvention polls showing the country still split into Red, Blue and Gray, Bush and Kerry have hit the battleground running. The first 10 days of the fall campaign were a montage of near misses. Bush woos voters in Eastern Ohio; Kerry stumps 25 miles away. Kerry munches corn in a small but crucial...