B. Ben Baldanza has worked for commercial airlines for over 35 years, including eleven years as the successful if controversial CEO of Spirit Airlines. Before Spirit, Ben held finance, marketing, and operations roles at American, Northwest, Continental, Taca, and US Airways. Having joined the industry out of college just a few years after the passing of the federal Airline Deregulation Act, Ben has seen the successes, failures, and innovations of the industry first hand and has worked with some its most colorful personalities. He teaches a class called “Airline Economics” at George Mason University in Virginia, and now serves on Board of Directors for JetBlue Airways and GoAir in India.
Ben received on-the-job media training in his role as CEO, where he was often asked to explain Spirit’s policies and business model on CNBC, Fox Business, Fox News, CNN, CNN International, Bloomberg Radio and TV, and shows like the Today Show, Charlie Rose, and the O’Reilly Factor. His live TV interview with Gayle King is transcribed and used as a model for proper preparation and performance in a critical media program setting in the “Media Training Bible” by Brad Phillips.
Seth Kaplan’s role as transportation analyst for the NPR program Here & Now is an extension of a career in journalism, government and transportation. Seth worked as a newspaper and television reporter, covering aviation/transportation as well as other issues, before switching to the public sector with Miami-Dade County government, where he served in several executive roles. In 2005 he left to become managing partner and founding editor of Airline Weekly, where he saw an opportunity to combine his love of both aviation and journalism in an enterprise that would educate key airline industry stakeholders about the global industry. He remained in that role until the 2018 sale of Airline Weekly to Skift. Seth is a globally recognized airline expert. He is frequently asked by print and broadcast media to provide perspectives.
Within the industry, Seth speaks frequently at industry events and has taught airline economics courses to executives and staff at airlines around the world, providing them with insight about factors that drive airline profitability. He holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Florida International University and a Bachelor of Arts (journalism major) from the George Washington University. He lives in Washington, D.C.