Recently, while boarding a plane bound for Buffalo, New
York, I grabbed a copy of USA Today. USA Today is one of
my favorite publications, whereas, it is always an entertaining
read and just enough to quench the thirst of our short
attention span minded deficient world.
Some stories are so short they could be classified as a sentence
fragment or byline. However, like many of us, I enjoy USA
Today because a little bit of something is better than a whole
lot of nothing.
On this day, I did not have to open the paper before my
attention was quickly drawn to a topic of my interest. The
headline read: Skies Clear for US Airline Merger. After settling
in my seat, I determined that on a clear day one can see yet
another air merger. It was not too long ago that US Air and
America West were merging. Well now, US Air and Delta
This merger can be looked at kind of like the game of
Monopoly. Play the game long enough and what you have is
one person smiling and the others just are waiting to be
picked off by the evil slumlord holding the title to Marvin
Both US Air and America West are based out of Phoenix,
Ariz., and, if these mergers go the way of current discussions,
they might just make their first flight with all of their
employees to Sky Harbor’s new headquarters in the Midwest,
thus leaving Arizona terminally ill. Air mergers normally
mean fewer workers, less flights, higher rates, and MORE
profit for the big boys leaving the consumer with very few
In my experience, when it comes to past airline mergers, the
average day unfolds as the following:
First, you try to log on from your PC at home or office to get
your E-ticket. However, you cannot because the airlines have
not yet merged their databases and their websites are down.
Once you arrive at the airport you wait in a line for the airline
you thought you were supposed to be flying. However, at that
point in time they inform you that you have the wrong ticket
and you need to proceed to the next line. Once you finally get
to the checking area, the computer cannot find your name,
because the database number you have is for the other airline.
In addition to this, they have half as many employees
providing you with service because they already laid-off
workers to help offset the cost of purchasing the other airlines.
In the world of corporate takeovers, this is the best way to
make your corporation look irresistible. You go to the friendly
folks who want to buy you out and then they scale down to a
skeleton crew to show a higher profit margin and remain in
To make matters worse, as you board the plane you just might
notice that the plane you are boarding has a totally different
name on it. None of which you have seen in the equation yet.
This is practically scary when flying over seas. Anyhow, when
you land the real fun begins: Getting your luggage.
All at once, you are informed that they cannot locate your
bags, whereas they did not MERGE the databases. In this
particular case, my luggage was sent to New Mexico and I had
no intention of going there to fetch it anytime soon. I was
informed that it would take a few days to get it back.
However, for my convenience, I could call a number to check
the status at any time. When I called, I was informed that they
would be closed until the next morning. The next morning
when I awoke, I phoned the airline again. This time I was able
to speak to a very nice person that really did not have a clue
where my bags were. They did ask me why I was calling at
two in the morning, in which I replied, I am not, it is 2 p.m.,
and so, the only thing I can gather is that it was 2 a.m.
wherever they were at.
Merging now days has VERY little to do with how many eggs
you have in the same basket. It is kind of like having a family
reunion, you all get together and everyone knows who you
are related to, you are just not sure what your other family
members do for a living.
Back during the infancy of air travel, it was said that the ropespinning
humorist Will Rogers paid his weight in stamps to
get where he wanted to go. Maybe he had the right idea.
Okay, so here is my plan: We can cut a deal with Federal
Express, UPS or any of the other express folks to hitch a ride
Here are three simple reasons why:
1. The travelers would get a tracking number and if they did
not arrive, the friendly folks on the ground would be able to
log onto the Internet to see where they are at any given time.
2. If luggage were to get lost or damaged during the trip, they
would offer compensation just as they currently do for the
express packages they currently ship everyday.
3. If you do not make it in time, you get a full refund.
In conclusion, it is my feelings that, as a result of 9/11, no one
actually thinks they are flying the friendly skies. Frankly, they
are driving us all to drive.