After Delta and Northwest merged in October 2008, we saw job losses and slashed routes, and even the closing of an entire concourse in one of the major hubs, Northern Kentucky-Cincinnati International Airport. And let's not forget about frequent flier programs. Sure, you won't lose your miles on either carrier, but what about using those miles? It's hard enough to buy a seat, but airlines never want to give up a frequent flier seat if it means displacing a revenue passenger.
My advice: If you have mileage on either carrier, consider redeeming it today. As in now! Even if it means reserving as far out as 330 days ahead. Call me cynical, but mergers don't make me happy.
Watch Peter's special report on the state of the airline industry today at PeterGreenberg.com.
Two years ago, we had six major network air carriers, Now with Continental-United, we'll be down to four. And if US Airways can't stand alone—they have only 8 percent of the market share—it's going to be three. Less competition translates into less service, fewer flights and higher fares.
Fasten your seat belts, boys and girls. It's going to be a bumpy ride.
Peter Greenberg is the Travel Editor of CBS News, host of a nationally syndicated weekly radio program and publisher of travel news site PeterGreenberg.com. He has been a featured guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The View, Late Night with Conan O’Brien and Larry King Live.
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