Wednesday, February 06, 2008

And Away We Go ...

Assuming the Financial Times is right, the long-rumored Delta-Northwest merger is about to happen. (Meanwhile, I'll wait till I see some confirmation in the Wall Street Journal).

... Oh

Then this.

The Northwest Airlines CEO is already assuring employees that a merger would be designed to be in their best interests. Translated: "Dear employees, you are about to get shafted ... again."

Wait till you see the executive-suite buyout packages.

As airline mergers happen, and this probably won't be the only one this year, Wall Street types will cheer -- which never means good news for airline passengers. Note already how the prospect for a merger to "squeeze excess capacity" is treated as a good thing.

No. For passengers, squeezing excess capacity means higher fares. Plan on it. In fact, if you have firm travel plans ahead, with fixed dates, book those tickets now.

Mergers mean mean fewer domestic seats, more crowded planes (which already are flying with record passenger loads) and fewer options when even routine disruptions occur, such as missed connections or long delays.

Remember, this is the year we'll later refer to as Annus Horribilis in domestic air travel. Plan on that, too.


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