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March 31, 2009

Filed under: SFO,United Airlines,Virgin America — Chris @ 1:50 am

We all know that the airline industry is in dire straits this year as demand plummets. But what’s really scary for SFO travelers are the recent reports suggesting two of the airport’s major players, United and Virgin America, are teetering near extinction. In recent weeks there has been a new batch of stories about red ink and questions about ownership at Virgin America. (Thankfully a lot of that hullaballoo has passed…but still…) Then last week, our colleague Joe Brancatelli, who writes a must-read business travel blog ( suggested that United might not make it through this year. Some key lines from his post: “The airline is literally disappearing before our eyes. Forty percent of what flies as United Airlines now is actually operated by a grab bag of commuter carriers. What is left of the actual United Airlines has largely abandoned Latin America and turned huge chunks of its European capacity over to the Star Alliance . . . And the carrier is quickly burning through its miniscule cash reserves. Time is running out on the nation’s worst-managed major airline and a merger, dismemberment or liquidation seems far more likely than a revival of its fortunes.
Is it time to cash in those big banks of United miles? We love our Virgin America, but should questions about its financial standing or ownership scare us away? Let me know what you all are thinking! Post your comments below.


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