Travel agents concerned about airline merger

LOS ANGELES "This company is going to be able to serve our shareholders, our stakeholders and our employees in ways that frankly, neither /*Continental*/ nor /*United*/ could do if we weren't about to embark on this journey," said United CEO Glenn Tilton.

This journey works for the business side of this mega-merger, but what about the consumer? How will this new marriage between United and Continental benefit them?

Travel agent, Tama Taylor Holve of Willett Travel in Studio City, says this new flight plan doesn't look good.

"I don't think that anything that gets bigger necessarily gets better in terms of service," said Holve.

Airlines have been trying to come up with ways to increase revenue for some time now and Holve figures, at least in the short run, fares are likely to rise.

"I don't see where it is going to make it less expensive," said Holve." It is competition that drives prices down."

"This is a merger of equals, a true merger of equals," said Continental CEO Jeffery Smisek.

As a result, United will keep its name and Continental will keep its colors, but together they will have ten different hubs -- in the beginning anyway. Then it's expected those will shrink.

"It will probably mean fewer choices in how they get somewhere," said Holve.

About the only thing one can expect to be a positive will be the combination of frequent flier programs.

"Now they'll be able to combine those miles and earn free travel more quickly," said Holve.

So why are they doing this? Well the two companies believe this merger will save them over a billion over the next couple of years. Of course none of this is going to happen right away because it will require the approval of the federal government and their employee unions could get in the way too.

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