Saturday, September 16, 2006

More Airline Mergers?

From the Chicago Tribune...

Rumors are flying that some legacy mergers might soon make headlines--and headaches! Possible pairings include Delta and Northwest, both currently partners in the SkyTeam network, and United and Continental. Northwest would provide Delta better access to Asia, where it lacks a significant presence, and Continental would give United better access to Latin America and southern portions of the U.S. To flip the perspective, Delta would give Northwest a stronger transatlantic and east-coast presence, while United would provide Continental improved access to the west coast (in particular, LA and San Fran).

Although these mergers might shore up the convalescing but nonetheless ailing legacies--putting an end to bankrupty anxieties and strike-threats--they would trigger fare hikes, reduce domestic capacity and lead to jam-packed, delayed flights. Also, business travelers might find their frequent flier miles and elite statuses far less valuable. United passengers might smile if Continental's perks--like on-board meal service, even in coach--found their way on to United flights, but that smile might turn upside down when they find a paucity of upgrades and bulkhead/exit seats. We'll have to wait around and see...


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