It is really amazing to see what has happened with American airlines over the last generation or so. We have airlines like Southwest and JetBlue that have presented some great, regular deals and fairly good on-board products as they fly newer airplanes across their fleets.
Then we have other airlines like Hawaiian, Virgin America, Spirit, and Frontier that are more on the fringe of airlines yet still have cities that they have great presence in. We also have Alaska Airlines that has really made a great play in several markets and presents one of the most unique elite programs as far as how you can achieve it with partners and what partners you can redeem on.
Finally, we have the legacy airlines – the new American Airlines, Delta Airlines, and United Airlines. Each of these airlines have had mergers that took place and are now the airlines we are familiar with. But, remember Northwest Airlines (until merged with Delta), Continental Airlines (now merged with United Airlines), and US Airways (in the merger process with American Airlines)? Each of these airlines and current airlines have actually had many mergers over the years since 1950.
Check out this link to Aviation Week to see what the merger timeline looks like since 1950. It is pretty cool! See if you can think of all the airlines pre-mergers before you click!