Consumer Confidential: AOL, mortgages, cheap flights
Here's your threadbare-Thursday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:
-- Remember when AOL was, well, AOL? Now the former online giant is struggling to find its place in a cyber-world it once dominated. The company, which is being spun off by Time Warner Inc., is offering buyouts to 2,500 employees -- more than a third of its workforce -- and says it wants to trim costs by about $300 million. So what will the leaner-and-meaner AOL look like? The company hopes to be a content-rich destination, like Yahoo. And look how well that's working out for Yahoo.
-- A record number of homeowners are behind on their mortgage payments. That's the word from the Mortgage Bankers Assn., which says about 4.5 million borrowers are now delinquent. "Job losses continue to increase and drive up delinquencies and foreclosures because mortgages are paid with paychecks, not percentage point increases in GDP," says Jay Brinkman, the association's chief economist. In other words, things won't improve until the employment picture brightens -- and that probably won't happen any time soon.
-- But we'll always have Paris (or wherever). And our friends at JetBlue are offering a one-day sale on international and domestic fares, with prices running between $29 and $129. Not surprisingly, though, there are a few catches. Tickets will be good only for flights between Dec. 2 and Dec. 16, as well as on Jan. 14, 15, 18 and 19. But if that's when you'll be wanting to travel, get 'em while they're hot.
-- David Lazarus
Photo: Henny RayAbrams/AFP/Getty Images