Will The Continental / United Airlines Merger Screw Consumers?

The prevailing attitude has been that impending nuptials between United and Continental will be a disaster for consumers, but the NYT has taken another look and come to some slightly less hysterical conclusions.

Basically, the idea is that because they joined Star Alliance (a global airline alliance) they were basically already partners rather than competitors.

That doesn’t mean, however, that prices won’t be going up… but according to this article it’s probably because of high fuel costs and fewer fancy business travelers rather than the merger.

Will Prices Go Up?

As for whether fares and fees are likely to go up, Mr. Boyd said, “Plan on it, but not due to any merger.”

United States carriers lost $2.5 billion in 2009, primarily because of high fuel costs and fewer business travelers buying expensive tickets, so that fares have already been inching up, and most analysts expect that to continue. The same goes for fees for services like ticket changes (now $150 on many carriers).

So basically, according to this guy you are already screwed, so you might as well calm down.

When Two Airlines Tie the Knot [NYT]