When US Airways' chief Doug Parker ended his hostile quest to buy Delta earlier this week, there were sighs of relief from several quarters.
Delta's creditors' committee dubbed US Airways' offer insufficient and hoped for better.
Delta's pilots and other worker groups feared that their salaries and benefits would be slashed in the event of a US Airways takeover. (US Airways promised that no jobs would be shed, but that claim was widely questioned.)
Delta customers fretted that little of the Southern-style hospitality that was so much a part of Delta's heritage would survive a US Airways takeover and makeover.
Lawmakers and others worried that the merger would inhibit competition and result in a loss of service for smaller communities.
Much of the anxiety surrounding Delta's undoing is probably well founded, as is the relief now that the threat has been averted. It's now up to Delta to prove not just that the company can survive without a helping hand from US Airways, but that it can deliver on the expectations of those who hoped for better than a US Airways look-alike.