Afternoon Coffee: Corn/Soy Supplies Tighten, Cheaper Airfare (and More Expensive In-Flight Wi-Fi)

This editor is taking a break!
I'm headed out on vacation for the next week, during which time your Afternoon Coffee will be brought to you by Brianna Tonner. Try not to miss me too much.

"As the worst U.S. drought in decades pummeled crops over the summer, corn and soybean prices soared to records."
USDA Sees Tightening Corn, Soy Supplies -- U.S. forecasters boosted their estimates for the size of this fall's soybean harvest, as rainfall late in the growing season mitigated the impact of a severe drought. The Department of Agriculture, however, slightly lowered its projection for the corn harvest, a crop that already was far along in its growth when rains soaked parts of the Farm Belt in late August and early September. For both corn and soybeans--the country's largest crops--the USDA on Thursday forecast tighter domestic supplies a year from now than analysts were expecting. That led to a jump in futures prices, with corn futures recently up 3.3% at the Chicago Board of Trade, while soybean futures were up 1.2%.

The "miracle of flight."
Even with baggage fees, the 'miracle of flight' remains a real bargain; average 2011 airfare was 40% below 1980 average -- Q: Especially considering all of the added baggage fees and other fees that airlines have been charging recently, is it more expensive or less expensive to travel by air today compared to ten years ago? A: I think most people would answer "more expensive," but they would be wrong. It was actually less expensive to travel by air in 2011 than in 2001, 2000, 1999 and every year before that back to 1979, see details below.

Your flight may be cheaper, but your in-flight wi-fi sure isn't.
Why Wi-Fi In The Sky Just Got Ridiculously Expensive -- If you're flying between New York and San Francisco on Virgin America, getting online coast-to-coast using in-flight Wi-Fi could now cost you as much as $60. You can actually fly to another place from San Francisco for that much money. Before you get all everything is amazing and nobody is happy, inflight Wi-Fi is awesome -- but spending $60 on a cross country flight for internet speeds that can't stream Netflix (or post to BuzzFeed -- I tried) is not so awesome. A PandoDaily journalist was the first to notice that Gogo's standard fare of $15 for the day (or $12.70 if you buy ahead of time) wasn't available on his Virgin America flight from San Francisco to New York, and instead cost $10 per hour.

- Sheena Moore

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