With the announcement of the merger approval between Delta and Northwest, costume changes are coming. With a thankful nod to frugality, the new costumes will be the old Delta uniforms. Guess Delta’s brass learned their lesson from the Kate Spade Song outfits that only managed to push inevitable losses higher than they might have been.
It’s goodbye Northwest Airlines. The farewell will take place gradually over the next two years, but on paper, Northwest as a company doesn’t exist anymore.
We’ll be covering the changes to the airline system that will be emerging as these two organizations merge their cultures, their fleets, their pilot unions, ground crews, flight attendants and gate agents. There is a lot of sorting out to come.
Will Delta adopt a $15 first-checked-bag charge like Northwest? Or will they adopt the first-checked-bag charge and increase the second-checked-bag charge to $50? Will they keep three relatively close airports — Detroit, Minneapolis and Cincinnati — open as hubs, or will they slowly close one of these seemingly excess hubs? How will the frequent flier programs be combined? Which regional airlines will Delta choose to keep and which of the connection services will be let go? How many overlapping flights will be combined to cut current capacity?
Beyond the Delta/Northwest-specific issues, others lurk. One of the most intriguing will be how the other major airline will respond to the new Delta. Will they begin merger talks, sharpen their competition or retreat from the airports Delta finally selects as their main hubs?
As each merger integration shoe drops, we will be here to analyze the impact of the coming changes on consumers, the economy and the travel industry. It will be a new world with one fewer major airline.