What we’re reading: Mergers put pressure on American, TSA’s plan for body scanners, Virgin America wants your photos


Rival mergers put new pressure on American

With the merger between United and Continental all but a done deal and the pending deal of Southwest and AirTran, analysts are saying that American needs a merger partner.

“They find themselves facing the market from the bottom of the top three as opposed to from the top of the top three, and this really hurts you in the corporate travel marketplace,” said airline consultant Robert Mann.

Well-heeled business travelers, the bread and butter of the big U.S. airlines, gravitate to the carriers with the most extensive route networks, Mann said. American simply cannot make that claim anymore, he added.

TSA plans to deploy as many as 1,000 body-scanning machines by the end of 2011

TSA plans to deploy 250 more whole-body scanners by the end of the year and has plans to install additional machines by the end of 2011

The agency’s proposed 2011 budget includes funds for 500 additional AIT machines, [US Transportation Security Administration Assistant Administrator-Office of Security Technology Robin Kane] said. That would potentially bring total deployment to 1,000 units by Dec. 31, 2011. The agency has spent nearly all of the $1 billion it was allocated in the US government’s 2009 stimulus, Kane noted.

Virgin America wants your family vacation photos

Ever take a family vacaition photo that you never want the world to see? Virgin America wants that photo and it could win you four round-trip tickets to anywhere Virgin America flies.

In celebration of Virgin America’s San Francisco-Orlando flights, the always entertaining airline launched an online promotion with Awkward Family Photos that celebrates family vacations. All you have to do is upload your “most awkward” family vacation photos for a chance to receive four roundtrip tickets anywhere Virgin America flies for your next family vacation. In addition, those who submit a photo or vote on their favorites will score a 33.3 percent discount off their next family booking on the airline’s Orlando flights

(Photo: BriYYZ/Flickr Creative Commons)