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It's a Match...Again! US Airways and American Airlines Receive Permission to Merge from the Department of Justice

First there was the marriage of Delta and Northwest. Next, Continental united with, well, United. And then Southwest got hitched to AirTran. The first of these mergers was in 2009 and according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics the cost of a flight has risen 15% in that time (the cost of holiday travel is a whopping 10% higher this year than last).

Its only going to get worse, with the United States left with just 5 major carriers and a handful of smaller ones. Competition? Yeah, maybe for an aisle seat, but its been wiped out for airfares.

Sigh.

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So what will this latest merger mean for loyalty point holders and those who've already bought tickets on one of the two carriers for the coming months. Absolutely nothing. It will still be months before the final merger takes place and if recent history is any guide, nobody will likely lose any points (though the competition to use them may grow more fierce).

Obviously, Frommers isn't the only media company to be covering the merger. For commentary on what this will mean for passengers, click here to read Scott Meyerowitz of the Associated Press' take. For information on the business side of all this, take a look at this excellent article by the New York Times.

What's your take? Is this move good for travelers or bad? Did it save an airline from bankruptcy or simply create another unweildy monolith? I'd love to hear your take.

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