American Airlines Chief Information Officer Monte Ford is the only executive from a travel company named on Fortune's smartest people in tech list -- a designation that's a jaw-dropper to everyone I've mentioned it to.
This is no diss of Ford, who joined the airline in 2000, and may be the sharpest guy in the world.
But, American isn't exactly known for its tech leadership.
Fortune credits Ford, number 34 in its top 50, for dismantling the airline's mainframes, signing a new reservations-system agreement with HP that emphasizes cloud computing [and, I have to point out, may be years away from implementation], and introducing a handheld device which enables airline employees to assist passengers at airports.
But, these accomplishments hardly position American Airlines as a leading technology light in the travel industry -- let alone in U.S. business as a whole.
While American is in the very initial stages of providing some tech leadership with its new AA Direct Connect ancillary services strategy, the airline lags many others in its consumer-tech strategy.
For example, American is way behind some other carriers in getting its fleet outfitted with Wi-Fi, and AA.com still doesn't enable travelers to pay for their checked bags online.
Customers have to pay for their checked bags at the airport at a self-service kiosk, curbside or at a ticket counter.
And, according to U.S. Department of Transportation statistics (pdf) which cover May 2010, American had the most mishandled baggage reports per passenger of any U.S. major carrier.
Certainly, the travel industry has other luminaries in addition to Ford to offer as candidates for the smartest travel people in tech.
Which individuals from the travel industry would you pick and why?
Also, Fortune limited its list to smart techies at large U.S. companies.
Your candidates might include global choices, from travel companies large and small.
Please don't make your nominees self-serving ones. [PR representatives -- you know what I mean.]