Thursday, June 19, 2008

Changes in the skies

Today, Continental Airlines announced that it will be leaving SkyTeam in favor of joining the Star Alliance. It's a move that has been predicted for months by some analysts, who noted that the pending merger of Delta and Northwest Airlines would leave the Houston-based carrier as the junior U.S. partner of SkyTeam.

The shift won't happen overnight; Continental anticipates a transition period of at least a year, during which time reciprocity with Delta, Northwest, Air France, and other SkyTeam airlines will continue. But when it's complete, Continental will count itself among the members of the largest airline alliance in the world, with more than 20 members including heavyweights like United, Lufthansa, and Singapore Airlines.

Frequent flyers, take note: this changes everything.

Of somewhat less significance is the failure of another all-business class airline. SilverJet stopped flying on May 30 with little fanfare, joining MAXjet and Eos in bankruptcy and leaving France's L'avion as the only remaining airline of this sort still operating. For how long?

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