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.
According to recently released data from the U.S. DOT, Southwest Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines carried the most passengers in 2009. Southwest carried 101 million passengers, followed by American with 85 million and Delta with 67 million.
According to the 2009 year-end data, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport held onto its coveted title of world’s busiest airport. Chicago’s O’Hare came in second and Los Angeles ranked third in the list of top 10 largest airports.
Also worth noting is the fact that U.S. airlines carried 5.2 percent fewer domestic passengers (618.1 million) in 2009 and 6.3 percent fewer international passengers (85.8 million) than in 2008.
If you’re a travel geek and want to see the complete air travel statistics for 2009, click here.
Here’s some more travel news you can use:
- US Airways passengers who check in online will now find more than a seat assignment and group number on their boarding passes. Just in time for the spring-break travel rush, the airline has started including advertisements, weather and other tourist information on the boarding documents. This leaves United as the last major carrier to hold out from printing the adds on customers’ boarding passes. Anyone want to fathom a guess as to when United will fall in line? The person closest to the actual date will get a $10 Starbucks gift card, courtesy of Yapta.
- If you live in Seattle, this news if for you: Alaska Airlines announced that it will allow passengers to earn and use its Mileage Plan miles on Seattle’s Kenmore Air and book Kenmore tickets through Alaska. Mileage Plan members will earn 250 miles for each Kenmore Air flight starting April 15, with Double Miles for Kenmore flights between April 15 and May 31. Members can redeem miles for award travel starting in June, with one roundtrip award ticket on Kenmore Air between Seattle and any Washington destination or Victoria, B.C., for 10,000 miles, or between Seattle and any other Kenmore destination in British Columbia for 15,000 miles.
- According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the airline industry globally is expected to bounce back to its pre-recession traffic levels in two or three months. I’m hoping this news means that airlines will pull some planes out of the desert and increase capacity.