American/US Air merger gets OK


American and US Air are going to merge. Does that mean the end of airline deals as we know them?

From the very beginning, I had no objection to this merger. But the Justice Department decided in August that it was time to cry, “Oh no, we’ve allowed airlines to become too powerful!” But that was kind of late in game, no? We’ve already seen mergers like Delta/NW, United/ Continental, and Southwest/AirTran.

American and US Air will form the world’s largest airline. In order to do that, they have to give up slots at Washington D.C.’s Reagan National and some other spots. And that leaves us with 3 full fares: American/US Air, United, and Delta. But the real action for deal hunters will be with discount airlines.

Look at Europe. You have behemoth airlines that are getting killed like 98-pound (49 kilo?) weaklings because they can’t compete with efficient, low-cost providers like RyanAir and easyJet, plus AirAsia and other Asian discounters.

Here in America you have Southwest, though they’re having a mid-life crisis, and others like Spirit Air and Allegiant Air. I’m no fan of Spirit’s customer service. But they do offer low fares. Frontier Air is now becoming a deep discounter too. Remember, the discounters are where it’s at in the marketplace!

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