The USA Today reports that while United Airlines and Continental appear to be clear for merger take-off, some politicians who oppose the merger have threatened they might try to re-regulate the industry.
Chairman of the Houst Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, James Oberstar (D-Minn.), and Jerry Costello (D-Ill.) are considering “legislation (that) would impose federal regulation of airline pricing and re-establish a government gatekeeper role similar to that played by the old Civil Aeronautics Board prior to deregulation in 1978.”
Deregulation has been credited with making airline travel affordable for the average American. But Oberstar pointed to the $2.7 billion the airlines earned in baggage fees in 2009 as evidence that consumers are no longer benefiting from the system. He said he believes there’s support in the House for re-regulation.
Here’s some more travel news you can use:
- San Francisco International Airport today said it would roll out free Wi-Fi. Its terminals will switch from T-Mobile’s paid service to free access on September 1.
- Credit cards for Delta and Continental Airlines now offer cardholders one free checked bag for up to nine people when reservations are charged to these cards.
- By the end of the year, 18 more airports will deploy Advanced Imaging Technology as part of their airport security tool-set. The machines – which are already in place in 32 other airports – use either electromagnetic waves or X-rays to render a nude image of the body. Fear not weary traveler, the images are blurred to eliminate facial features.
According to the New York Times, United Airlines and US Airways are reportedly in talks on a potential merger that would create one of the biggest carriers in the world. No announcement of any deal would be expected for at least several weeks – and talks may still collapse, according to the Times.
Combining United, the third-largest US carrier, with No. 6 US Airways would create one of the world’s largest airlines, with an extensive route network. United has hubs in Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, and at Washington Dulles International Airport, while US Airways has hubs in Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Charlotte, N.C.
This isn’t the first time the two airlines have considered merging. In 2000, Chicago-based United and US Airways announced a $4.3 billion deal, only to withdraw. And in 2008, the two carriers held talks again on a merger before abandoning the effort, less than two months after Delta Air Lines Inc. agreed to acquire Northwest Airlines Corp., making it the world’s biggest airline. The previous talks between United and US Airways were held up because of the complexity of putting together the various union contracts covering each airlines’ employees, as well as sorting out which union would represent workers and how to account for their seniority.
Here’s some more travel news you can use:
- Low-cost carrier, Spirit Airlines announced Tuesday that it will charge passengers as much as $45 for each piece of carry-on luggage. This move goes beyond the baggage fees that other airlines that have instituted on checked luggage. According to Spirit’s new policy, carry-ons that fit in the overhead bin will cost fliers $45 ($30 if paid online). Fare club members pay $20 for each carry-on bag. There is no charge for carry-on items that fit under the seat. The carry-on bag fee is in effect for reservations made after Monday for travel on or after Aug. 1st. Will this move prompt other airlines to do the same? Only time will tell.
- iPad owners will get a small reprieve when going through airport security. According an AP report, the TSA said that iPads generally do not need to be removed from carry-on luggage when going through X-ray screening. Since the iPad is much smaller and thinner than laptops, it’s easier to see on the scanner. Also, the organization said that iPad users generally would not be carrying multiple bulky accessories, such as hard drives and chargers, which might otherwise obstruct a clear view of the device as it passes through X-ray equipment.
- This last news item is right out of the film, “Weekend at Bernies”: Two women were arrested in the UK for allegedly trying to smuggle a dead man on an EasyJet flight from Liverpool to Berlin. The women apparently brought the man to the airport in a taxi and then tried to check him in on the flight. The man was seated in a wheelchair and had sunglasses on. The women claim they thought he was sleeping. However airport staff soon noticed that something was seriously wrong and alerted security.