delta_northwest_mergerToday 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.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • Orbitz is offering up to 50% off at hotels world-wide through its Winter Hotel Blowout sale.  For trips booked now through Feb. 14 on Orbitz.com, travelers can save up to 50% on thousands of hotels in destinations, including Mexico, Hawaii, the Caribbean and Europe.  Orbitz is Yapta’s hotel booking partner, so if you search for hotels on Yapta and want to book it – you’ll be eligible for the sale price from Orbitz.
  • Marriott is boosting its rewards program this spring with promotions that allow members to earn extra points.  Between Feb. 1 and April 30, members can earn 2,500 bonus points per stay starting with their second stay, for up to 25,000 bonus points. MegaBonus points can be earned at more than 3,100 Marriott International hotels. Travelers must register by March 31 at MarriottRewards.com/Megabonus or by calling 1-888-627-7468.
  • New York City’s Buckingham Hotel is holding a seven-day sale starting Jan. 4 and offering rates starting from $149 for stays through April 6. Visit buckinghamhotel.com/Seven_Day_Sale.