The past 2 decades saw the number of major airlines in the US cut in half. See how consolidation in the 2000s left customers with fewer options as profits soared.
The current makeup of the modern-day airline industry is the result of numerous high-profile mergers and...The current makeup of the modern-day airline industry is the result of numerous high-profile mergers and acquisitions that took place over the past two decades in the US. Consolidation of the nation's airlines saw airlines grow larger than ever and established a new group of dominant carriers including American, United, and Delta. With the coronavirus pandemic crippling the industry and airlines asking for bailouts, consumers are asking how the airlines with billion-dollar profits can find themselves in such dire straits. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to plague the global aviation industry, the big three US airlines have all been asking the government for assistance in surviving the downturn, despite each earning billions in profit in previous years. American Airlines, United Airlines, and Delta Air Lines make up the big three as the largest airlines in the country, with 2018 full-year pretax profits of $2.8 billion, $2.7 billion, and $5.1 billion, respectively. Just 20 years ago, the profits weren't as large and the aviation landscape in the US was vastly different, with more names being seen at the nation's airport back then as opposed to today. The first high-profile airline merger occurred between American Airlines and Trans World Airlines shortly after the turn of the century, kicking off what would be a trend in American aviation as consolidation would take over a weakened industry rocked by the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, and the 2008 financial crisis. In the 19 years since the two carriers merged, the US saw eight more mergers and acquisitions shaping the current industry and setting the stage for record profits as some airlines grew larger with each transaction. The result from years of mergers and acquisitions became three dominant carriers in the US with smaller carriers operating in their shadows and in the gaps, leaving the American public with fewer options. With the US aviation industry on the brink of collapse due to falling demand amid COVID-19 fears, take a look at the most important mergers that shaped our current aviation industry. SEE ALSO: Delta, United, and other airlines are sending their largest planes to the desert for storage as they drastically reduce operations due to coronavirus DON'T MISS: Norwegian Air started a low-cost transatlantic revolution but coronavirus and the airline's Boeing planes pushed it to the brink of collapse 2001: American Airlines and Trans World Airlines Just months before the September 11, 2001 terror attacks would shake the aviation industry to its core, American Airlines had acquired Trans World Airlines, one of the oldest names in American Aviation. TWA had endured years of poor management, labor disputes, and bankruptcy filings, according to CNN. American Airlines had already acquired TWA's London routes, The New York Times reported, using them to set up shop on what would be its flagship routes in the years to come, but now American had taken out a competitor and acquired most of its planes, gates, hubs, and slots across the US. The deal was valued at around $500 million at the time. 2005: America West Airlines and US Airways In what was then the ultimate East Coast-meets-West Coast merger, 2005 saw America West Airlines and US Airways merge in a $1.5 billion deal to create a nationwide airline under the US Airways name. US Airways had, at the time, filed for bankruptcy for the second time of the century and was ripe for acquisition, especially as previous mergers with United Airlines had failed due to antitrust concerns, The New York Times reported in 2005. The two airlines, one based in Tempe, Arizona, and the other in Crystal City, Virginia, were among the top ten largest airlines in the country at the time of the merger, according to the Times. The combined network would give the East Coast-based US Airways a hub in the west that it never had, with Arizona positioned squarely in the American Southwest — and a quick hop to most major cities on the West Coast without the congestion of Los Angeles or San Francisco. 2008: Southwest Airlines and ATA Airlines As the 2008 financial crisis loomed, Indianapolis-based ATA Airlines abruptly ceased operations and filed for bankruptcy protection in April that year. The loss of an important military charter contract helped bring about its ultimate demise, the Chicago Tribune reported at the time. Once the dust settled, Southwest Airlines announced a $7.5 million bid to acquire the airline's slots at LaGuardia Airport that enabled Southwest to get a foothold in New York City beyond Long Island's MacArthur Airport. The two airlines were close before ATA's closure, according to Southwest's records, with the two having a codeshare agreement that allowed Southwest to have an international network through the airline. ATA was Southwest's long-haul arm as the Dallas-based low-cost airline didn't start international operations itself until 2014, mostly serving Central America and Caribbean destinations with its fleet of medium-haul Boeing 737s. 2008: Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines Shortly after the two emerged from bankruptcy in 2007, a $3.1 billion merger was announced between Northwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines to form the world's largest airline at the time, The New York Times reported. The newly-merged airline would see Delta prevail as the dominant carrier with CEO Richard Anderson taking charge of Delta during and after its merger. Delta Air Lines would acquire a sizeable European and Asian route network thanks to Northwest Airlines' foreign hubs in Amsterdam and Japan. Delta maintains extensive operations in both cities today, though it is no longer the world's largest airline. 2009: Frontier Airlines and Midwest Airlines After both carriers were acquired by Republic Airways, regional carriers Frontier Airlines and Midwest Airlines were merged to form a single airline, CNN reported. The Midwest Airlines brand would be shuttered and the new airline would take the Frontier name, with bases in Denver and Milwaukee. In 2013, four years after the merger, Frontier Airlines was later sold by Republic Airways to the airline investment firm Indigo Partners. Its new owners would convert the airline into an ultra-low-cost carrier — one of the largest in the US. The Milwaukee hub would be downsized with a focus on a Denver hub and secondary bases across the country. 2010: United Airlines and Continental Airlines Four years after emerging from bankruptcy, United Airlines announced a $3 billion merger with Continental Airlines in 2010, according to The New York Times. United Airlines had been hungry for expansion, expressing interest in a merger with US Airways at the beginning of the century shortly before the carrier declared bankruptcy. The merger with the Houston-based Continental Airlines had made the newly-combined United Airlines the world's largest airline at the time, ousting Delta from the top spot. The newly merged partners combined the United name with the Continental logo, livery, and branding-style. United acquired Continental's East Coast European gateway in Newark, the Latin American gateway in Houston, and the Micronesian gateway in Guam. 2010: Southwest Airlines and Air Tran Airways Two-years after the acquisition of ATA Airlines' remaining slots at New York's LaGuardia Airport, Southwest Airlines announced the purchase of Air Tran Airways, a small Atlanta-based carrier. The deal gave Southwest valuable Air Tran assets including gates at Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson Airport and Boeing 717 planes, the latter of which were sold to Delta Air Lines. The acquisition expanded Southwest's route network and paved the way for international expansion in 2014. Southwest is now the fourth-largest airline in the US and the largest without any intercontinental service. 2013: American Airlines and US Airways Falling short to United and Delta, the two largest airlines in the world at the time, and two years into bankruptcy, American Airlines announced it would be merging with US Airways in 2013. The smaller US Airways would acquire American Airlines, though the latter's name would be maintained due to better brand equity at home and abroad. The new American Airlines, which had emerged from bankruptcy as a result of the merger, became and remains the largest airline in the world in terms of fleet size. True to its name, American would greatly expand its network in two key cities, Washington and Philadelphia, with the latter becoming American's East Coast launching pad and connecting point for flights to Europe. 2016: Alaska Airlines and Virgin America Virgin America launched flights in 2007 and just 11 years later the airline had disappeared from the skies. Another eccentric airline operating under the Virgin Group brand, Virgin America had bases in California with a focus on West Coast and transcontinental routes, making it ripe for a takeover as it matured and gained market share on popular routes. Before it could be known nationwide, Alaska Airlines and JetBlue Airways approached Virgin America with purchase offers. Though JetBlue seemed like the most compatible in terms of fleet and the opportunity for a more sizeable West Coast route network, Alaska Airlines ultimately bought Virgin. Integrating Virgin's all-Airbus fleet and Alaska's all-Boeing fleet under the Alaska Airlines name, the merger established Alaska as the West Coast's dominant carrier with bases from Seattle to San Diego.
The American Airlines flight attendant union is calling on US airlines to step up precautions for the deadly Wuhan coronavirus
The head of the American Airlines flight attendant union called on US airlines to increase precautions...The head of the American Airlines flight attendant union called on US airlines to increase precautions over the deadly coronavrius outbreak in Wuhan, China. More than 630 people have been infected by the mysterious virus, and 18 have died. Airlines have said they are coordinating with US health officials. American said it is taking steps to communicate the risks, and hand out sanitizing wipes on flights to China. Delta said it would offer "flexibility" to customers booked to travel to Wuhan. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. The head of American Airlines' flight attendants union released on Thursday urged US airlines to buckle down and take "immediate emergency measures" to protect flight crews from the deadly coronavirus outbreak. "The health of our crew members and passengers is a top priority for us and we refuse to compromise their health or safety in any way," Lori Bassani, the president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), said in a statement. "I am urging American Airlines and all airlines to do everything humanly possible to contain the outbreak and minimize any chance of exposure." According to the APFA, measures could include "including providing crew members the latest information regarding the 2019-nCoV outbreak, identifying the signs and symptoms of illness in oneself and others, and practical procedures to manage potentially ill persons." The coronavirus outbreak, which originated in Wuhan, China, has killed 18 people and infected more than 630. The virus is suspected to have initially jumped from animals to humans at a seafood market. Scientists have since confirmed it can spread from human to human. Most cases are in China, around Wuhan specifically, but cases have been confirmed in at least eight other countries: Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and the US. Four people in Scotland are being tested for the virus. US health officials began screening incoming passengers from Wuhan at airports last week. However, the screening did not prevent infected passengers from getting onto planes in the first place, potentially spreading the virus. Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways said on Thursday that it would allow cabin crew to wear medical masks while working on flights to or from mainland China, according to Channel News Asia. Airports in Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, and South Korea are also screening passengers. The entire city of Wuhan has been quarantined by the Chinese government as officials race to contain the spread of the virus. Five other cities have also been placed under quarantine orders — about 23 million people are impacted. The virus is marked by fevers and pneumonia-like symptoms. Public health officials are particularly concerned due to the timing of the outbreak coinciding with the busy Lunar New Year travel period. Read more about the Wuhan virus: What you need to know about China's Wuhan coronavirus and how it could affect you Everything we know about the mysterious, deadly Wuhan virus sweeping across China A mysterious virus in China is a reminder that the world isn't ready for a pandemic. Bill Gates says we should prepare for a deadly outbreak as we do for war. The spread of China's mysterious fatal Wuhan virus is poised to get infinitely worse as the Chinese New Year travel rush begins A video of medics in hazmat suits scanning plane passengers for China's mysterious Wuhan virus is stoking fears of a pandemic SEE ALSO: Everything we know about the mysterious, deadly Wuhan virus sweeping across China Join the conversation about this story »
An American Airlines flight made an emergency landing, reportedly because a passenger started smoking and threatening people in mid-air
An American Airlines flight was diverted and forced to land when a passenger started smoking and...An American Airlines flight was diverted and forced to land when a passenger started smoking and threatened others on board, according to CNN and TMZ. AA2408, from Phoenix, Arizona to Minneapolis, Minnesota, was diverted around one hour and 20 minutes into its journey Friday. It landed in Denver, Colorado. At one during the flight, the man began smoking in the plane's bathroom, shouting: "You're all screwed," while he was inside, according to a passenger cited by CNN. After the plane landed, the passenger began smoking once again, video published by both TMZ and The Sun appears to show. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. An American Airlines flight was diverted and forced into an emergency landing when a passenger began smoking in the cabin, shouting at fellow passengers, and punching seats, according to multiple reports. Flight AA 2408 from Phoenix, Arizona to Minneapolis, Minnesota, was diverted around one hour and 20 minutes into its journey Friday, landing in Denver, Colorado to have the passenger removed. The passenger, who has not been identified, became unruly around an hour after the flight started, Jim Dickey, a passenger on the flight told CNN, and was yelling and threatening fellow passengers. "He punched the seat in front of him and the lady screamed," Dickey told the network. "You could tell by the sound that the plane started descending pretty quickly after the flight attendants started to notice." Read more: A flight in India was delayed when a swarm of angry bees covered the cockpit window and attacked staff who tried to remove them Dickey told CNN that, around 20 minutes after the disruption started, the pilot told passengers the flight was being diverted. TMZ reported that the plane's pilot told passengers that the diversion was because of a "security issue in the back." Dickey told CNN that at one point during the flight, the man began smoking in the plane's bathroom, shouting: "You're all screwed," to flight attendants outside the bathroom while he was inside. The man was in the bathroom for around 10 minutes, according to TMZ. The site said that while he was in the bathroom three American Airlines crew were "super concerned and huddled around the bathroom door." TMZ said that the passenger was smoking cannabis. A video published by the site includes a passenger describing the item being smoked as "a joint." According to both TMZ and The Sun newspaper, the man told fellow passengers during the flight that he was under the influence of cocaine. Read more: A flight from Vietnam to South Korea was delayed for 11 hours after the pilot arrived at the airport and realized he had lost his passport Both TMZ and British tabloid The Sun published the same video, purporting to show the same man after the plan landed in Denver. It shows him smoking and then striking a fellow passenger as he gets off the plane. The passenger throws a punch around three minutes and 15 seconds into the video: After the man was removed from the plane by law enforcement officers, he was placed on a medical trolley, a separate video published by TMZ showed. In the video, the man can be heard asking officials to remove handcuffs put on him, becoming increasingly angry, and eventually shouting: "Take it off, it hurts. I'll f------ kill you!" The man was not arrested and did not face any charges, but was treated in a Denver hospital, local police told The Sun, saying he had a "medical related" issue. After a delay of around two hours, the rest of the passengers returned to the plane and continued their journey, TMZ said. "When we got back on the plane in Denver and continued on to Minneapolis, I don't think anybody said a word," Dickey told CNN. American Airlines confirmed some details in a statement provided to multiple news outlets. It said: "Flight 2408 diverted due to a disruptive passenger. Law enforcement met the flight, and the aircraft re-departed. Thank you to our crew members for taking care of our customers during this situation."Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Will Boeing recover from the 737 Max crisis?
Six flight attendants told Business Insider what they wish they could tell passengers but can't for...Six flight attendants told Business Insider what they wish they could tell passengers but can't for professional reasons. The flight attendants work for American Airlines, United Airlines, Piedmont Airlines, PSA Airlines, and Alaska Airlines. Their responses suggest that being conscientious can go a long way toward making a flight attendant's life easier. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Flying can be stressful, and travelers sometimes let their frustrations get in the way of being polite to flight staff and other passengers. Six flight attendants who work for a total of five airlines told Business Insider what they wish they could tell passengers but, for professional reasons, can't. Each flight attendant requested anonymity for fear of reprisal from their employer. Their responses suggest that being conscientious can go a long way toward making a flight attendant's life easier. These are the six things flight attendants want to tell you but can't. Are you a flight attendant? Do you have opinions about how much you're paid? Contact this reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org.SEE ALSO: 2 American Airlines flight attendants tell us the travel essentials they'd never fly without "A little patience and a little kindness goes a long way." "We want to take off on time too. We're all going to the same place. We're all leaving at the same time. I think people tend to be overly rushed," a flight attendant for United Airline said. "A little patience and a little kindness goes a long way." Don't walk in the aisle without shoes. "I think people don't realize how dirty the planes are," said a flight attendant for PSA Airlines, an American Airlines Group subsidiary. He said that while flight attendants pick up trash between flights, the planes receive a thorough cleaning once a day. "Cut us some slack." "Cut us some slack," a United flight attendant said. "Be compassionate, because we're trying to be compassionate toward you." SEE ALSO: Apply here to attend IGNITION: Transportation, an event focused on the future of transportation, in San Francisco on October 22. "We're not mind readers." "We're not mind readers," a flight attendant for Alaska Airlines said. "We may not necessarily know how to serve that individual person, nor can we tailor our service to every individual person, and I think sometimes people forget that." Take responsibility for your scheduling decisions. "I just wish I could tell passengers, 'Be more responsible for yourself,'" a flight attendant for American Airlines said. "Take accountability for your actions. You booked this flight this way. You're giving yourself 20 minutes to get to your other flight. Be more responsible." Don't ask if a delay will result in a late arrival. "Don't ask me if the plane's going to be late because of the delay, because I don't know," said a flight attendant for Piedmont Airlines, an American Airlines Group subsidiary. Read more: Flight attendants reveal one of the worst parts of their job — they don't always get paid for all of the hours they work Flight attendants reveal 10 things they notice on a plane that you probably miss Flight attendants reveal how they spot victims of human trafficking The 9 best questions you should ask flight attendants to ensure a smoother, more enjoyable flight