united us airways mergerAccording 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.