So Delta Air Lines is reportedly looking to get hitched. Again. Is anyone surprised? The front-runners include United Airlines and Northwest Airlines, if news reports are to be believed (they’ve been dead wrong many, many times, so take it for what it’s worth). But what hasn’t been widely reported is that if any of these airline marriages happen, they could create the world’s least favorite airline.
I’m not talking about a bad airline from an investor perspective. In fact, combining Delta with Northwest or United or even US Airways could create a more profitable carrier, at least in the short term.
I’m talking about what would happen from a customer perspective. Have a look at the latest Air Travel Consumer Report and check out the “complaints” section. Do a little math. A combined Delta/Northwest or Delta/United would become the most complained-about airline overnight.
Probably the worst performing airline, too. Case-in-point: post-merger US Airways. What a disaster.
The management of these airlines will probably tell regulatory authorities that hooking up will be a “win-win” for passengers and somehow create a more “competitive” airline industry.
It’s nonsense, of course.
Allowing any of these mergers would be a “lose-lose.” The industry would become more monopolistic, less competitive and consumers would pay higher fares and will probably get treated worse than they were before.
The only winners? The lawyers who are handling the deal. The managers who will award themselves big bonuses and softly land in waterfront mansions in the Caymans, courtesy of their golden parachutes.
Perhaps Delta should merge with Greyhound instead?