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Insta-CoGo: Delwest, or Is it Northta?

Cindy Loose

The airline industry has been abuzz for months about a possible Delta merger with Northwest. The airline boards reportedly would have voted this week on the merger, but pilots from the two airlines apparently can't agree on how their seniority lists will be integrated.

CoGo assumes that with billions at stake, the airlines should be able to find a way around that hurdle. If not, and the deal is scuttled, someone else will likely merge with Delta. And that's most likely just the start.

Word on the street is that the mania for merger will be fed by, among other things, the desire to get merger deals before the Bush administration is replaced -- possibly by an administration less likely to look kindly on less competition in the air. The airlines, however, have an extra argument in their pockets: The Open Skies Agreement with Europe will introduce stiff competition from abroad, and bigger carriers would be in a better position to compete.

Some experts argue that mergers won't make much difference to passengers. What do you think? Are you more or less likely to fly an airline comprising Northwest and Delta?

By Cindy Loose |  February 26, 2008; 2:24 PM ET  | Category:  Cindy Loose , Insta-CoGo
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Am I more or less likely to fly an airline comprising Northwest and Delta?

Let me see: I live in Western Wisconsin about 90 minutes from the Twin Cities. So think I'm not gonna have a choice. MSP is about 85% NW flights - only one concourse (E) is NOT dedicated to NW.

Trust me, I'm watching this and praying they don't reduce the flights any more than NW already has if the merger goes through...

Posted by: Chasmosaur | February 26, 2008 3:39 PM

Ugh; two of the worst airlines in the country combining? No thanks!

Posted by: Liz | February 26, 2008 9:27 PM

Well, since the bulk of my frequent flyer miles are with Skymiles, and most of my Hotel points going there as well. I would say more likely. But, it does come down to cost. And I have had more recent flights on AirTran then Delta.

Posted by: rja112 | February 27, 2008 12:32 AM

They better have a hefty check made out to the State of Minnesota for all that NW owes. The Metropolitan Airport Commission better me negotiating with other airline companies to get some of NW's present gates. Unlikely to fly under the new banner airline.

Posted by: drh | February 27, 2008 1:29 PM

I'll avoid it for a while to let them work out the kinks. I still remember some of the hassles I had to deal with after the US Airways merger - in particular, when I lost an entire afternoon of a trip on hold while agents bounced me around because they couldn't find my flight and their computer systems weren't integrated yet (this was months after the merger, and I'd bought my ticket from the airline after the merger - the flights appeared to be assigned to one computer system or another based on the home city and routes flown, and it was clear that this temporary solution wasn't working.)

Besides, see this article about pilot issues in the wake of airline mergers: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/27/business/27pilots.html?em&ex=1204261200&en=06472d342e79903c&ei=5087%0A. It's bad enough to deal with a cabin crew who is demoralized and disaffected with their employer, but dealing with cabin crew who are at odds with each other? No thanks.

Posted by: adub | February 27, 2008 1:41 PM

No difference to hardly anyone. How many people would avoid an airline due the merger, if price and times were better than with others? Mergers can stifle competition and lead to higher fares, but the competition existent so far, together with rising air fares, inevitably led to the merger process. How many would pay more to fly in order to preclude mergers?

Posted by: Steve | February 27, 2008 2:27 PM

Northwest and Delta have been "partners" for a long time...it's not going to change very much from the passengers point of view. Maybe they'll give all of their current mileage holders some bonus miles to wet our desire to fly more...you think?

Posted by: gg7401 | February 27, 2008 3:15 PM

I was surprised to see Liz's comment that Delta and NW are two of the worst airlines in the country. I personally think they are the two best. Would not fly American if the ticket were free! I just worry about the first few months after the merger. Still remember the horrors following the NW-Republic merger.

Posted by: dave | February 28, 2008 4:26 AM

per dave's comment:

You know, you always hear about "Northworst" and stuff. Maybe it's because we do fly out of MSP and are Elite members, but *knocks on all surrounding wood* we rarely have a problem with them either.

Am I saying they're great? No - I don't think there *is* a great airline these days.

But compared to USAir, I'll fly NW every time. They haven't lost our luggage, flights are generally on time, and the staff are generally nice.

I will admit the gate staff seems to be less friendly/helpful the further we get from MSP, but they are still helpful...

Posted by: Chasmosaur | March 8, 2008 8:51 PM

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