Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Kept Delta My Delta

Something that I've been following rather religiously instead of doing things like blogging (which is either a good or a bad thing, depending on who you talk to) is the ongoing takeover battle between Delta Air Lines and US Airways. While I'm not the most frequent flyer in the world, I fly enough that I have got status and built a loyalty to a particular airline. Delta's gotten to be in that position in large part because of their Salt Lake City hub. I love not having to fly to Chicago or to Texas to get to most destinations in the US. On top of that, they've hooked me up with a variety of different perks, from the free upgrades to first class to pole position for operational upgrades across the ocean and a gaggle of miles that makes my personal trippery free. I got a trip to Japan this way and am headed to Germany and Austria next through this as well (both in business class). It's a sweet deal. Add that I like their service as much as someone can for an airline and that they're upgrading their business class to this seat and adding personal TVs to every flight and I'm a happy man. I was rather annoyed that US Air would go after Delta, in large part because they still haven't finished their merger with America West and because they have decided to follow Southwest and be a Greyhound of the skies. It seemed like this was inevitable at first, but here we are and US Air has dropped their bid. I am extraordinarily happy with this. SLC will remain a hub, we may get a flight to Paris, and my airline is still my airline. I really think that the way Delta ran this is almost a textbook example of how to run a defensive strategy. Delta was on the ropes with a good offer from US Air, the debtors wanted it, but Delta used their pilots, politicians, and people like me to make it seem as though Satan himself (or at the very least Frank Lorenzo) was after them. I think that in a sense he was. The CEO of US Airways, Doug Parker, while he seems to be pretty nice, looked to be on an ego trip with this. He hadn't finished the first merger and he was trying to go after something much bigger, constantly backtracking from his prior statements. Delta would have been better off in almost any other situation, which is why it is so satisfying that they have made it. Well, that and all the new stuff Delta's been putting on their jets.

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