Today Delta Air lines received government permission to operate its namesake service and its Northwest Airlines subsidiary as a single carrier. The single operating certificate from the FAA allows Delta to put its code on Northwest flights and phase out the Northwest name. That process will be complete in the first quarter of 2010. For now, travelers won’t notice anything different.
Operationally, the two carriers have been kept separate while Delta sought the FAA certificate. Delta plans to operate Northwest-coded flights until all seats and fares are consolidated in Delta’s reservations system. Once that occurs, it will remove the distinction for passengers of purchasing on Delta or Northwest, and the Northwest Web site will be folded into Delta’s.
Employees of both carriers are wearing the same uniforms, and the two carriers frequent-flier programs have already been combined under the Delta SkyMiles brand. Additionally, more than 80 percent of pre-merger Northwest aircraft have already been painted over with the Delta look. I bet Delta can’t wait to paint the other 20 precent and attempt to separate themselves from the failed terrorist attack that occurred on a Northwest flight during Christmas.
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