I grew up with a step brother and a ½ sister so I kinda get the whole not quite 100% family thing. Oh sure, I love my brother and sister but at the same time one of their parents are no relation to me at all. I mean my step mom was related for a while but she was my dad’s wife, not my mom.
Enter Alaska Airlines and Delta. They are not like Virgin and Delta where it is sorta a ½ sibling thing, no it is more like a step brother to me. They say all the right things, we love you Alaska MVPs etc.., but they are not really family. You know how I can tell?
When my step brother got something better than me I had to try to one up him. I was supposed to be happy for him, but really I was just jealous. Deep down my dad took my side and my step mom took my bother’s side. Delta & Alaska – same thing. Look at the routes they all want and the elites they want. They both add here and the other wants the same thing and BIGGER. One will offer 2x elite points and miles and then the other follows and does the same thing or more. Neither is working on a united front. What are the parents to do?
I think you must be sick of my family comparison so let’s see what I think is going to happen next. I could get lots of numbers and statistics and do an analytical comparison of why one choice or the other is the best but in the long run, even with these, it would all just be a guess and the final result could be the opposite of what the numbers show is the best action. So this is just what I think.
Delta wants to either beat up and buy Alaska at a good price or, if push comes to shove, just be the 500 pound gorilla and compete till they say uncle. Can Alaska run to the open arms of another major? I just cannot see the government allowing someone like AA to snatch them up in the middle of finishing the US Air merger. What I think would be great, not that it will happen, is for Southwest to merge with them. Alaska has a bunch of 737’s they love and the two both make money and would be a real size competitor to the 3 big boys (I have not compared routes etc. this is just what I would like to see).
Would it be good for Delta to buy Alaska? They know how to make money (right now) and Alaska is profitable too! It is clearly an area of the world that Delta wants to expand and it would make them even bigger in relation to the other 2 majors. Would it be good for shareholders in either company? That I think is the big question that will be the determining factor as every choice Delta makes is directly tied to what it will do to DAL share price.
Would it be good for Delta flyers? Medallions yes as the upgrades and routes will be more homogeneous and not dependent on the partnership rules. For Alaska flyers, not so much, as you would have to learn the ways of Skymiles and use our broken award site compared to the working one you have now. Also keep in mind what this would do for AMEX. Right now, BofA is it for Alaska. We all know as a Delta regular or even semi-regular flyer you just must have some kind of Delta AMEX card for the perks etc.. All these new AMEX customers would be a big motivation to have a financial backer behind any move to buy them out!
What do you think? Do you think things are going to get better in “the family” or is divorce on the horizon? Do you agree with anything I have said or none of it? Do you have your own ideas what is next? Wait, let me get my popcorn and let’s get started! – René
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