It’s a Tough Winter for Airlines–Hence the Merger Talk

Merger mania is the topic du jour for Airlines, with Delta making noises about a merger with either Northwest Airlines or United. Who can blame them, with terrible winter storms, the resulting flight delays, and the specter of $100 per barrel oil looming over carriers like the devil. Yesterday’s Wall St. Journal reported bad news and tough times for all US carriers.

Only Continental and Southwest managed to avoid losses last quarter, the first expects to break even because it has a higher number of lucrative business travelers and more overseas business.

Personally, I think that if Delta has to merge, it would be a terrible thing for them to choose Northwest. Every time I’ve had to fly this miserable airline, the experience has been bad. No food, not even snacks, are offered on the flight. Movies? No way, in my flights from Bradley to Minneapolis, it was a quiet, film-free ride. United at least makes more of an effort to make passengers comfortable, offering tasty food for sale and playing movies that at least we get a chance to pay to watch.

Whatever the Delta stockholders decide to do, mergers are what we’ll be seeing in 2008, as these big businesses try to cope with costs and benefit from being able to reduce their payrolls.