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Shrinking Coach-Class Seats on American?

Even though some airlines are showing big profits, the worldwide economic slump is taking its toll:

Seating Crunch

Images of American’s new 777-300ER layout strongly suggest that line will go to ultra-narrow 10-across seats in economy. That’s bad news for consumers. So far, American isn’t saying more.

Europe: Low-Cost Carriers

Two small European airlines—SpanAir and Air Alps—are folding. Although it’s not likely that many North Americans will be affected, this is a sign of the times. Beyond the two giants, EasyJet and RyanAir, Europe has close to two dozen small low-fare airlines fighting over what seems to be, at best, a static market, and more are likely to fold or merge. If you’re looking for a cheap intra-Europe flight this summer, stick with the biggies if you can.

Possible U.S. Mergers

The industry continues to buzz about mergers among U.S. airlines. Among the possible combinations under active consideration on Wall Street: Delta acquires American, US Airways acquires American, and Delta acquires US Airways. At this point nobody knows how it will all finally end, but one conclusion is clear: Any of those acquisitions will be bad for consumers.

Asia Service

Thai Airways will cut its nonstops from Bangkok to Los Angeles by April 30. Thai will continue its one-stop service, but the flight will take longer and the economy class accommodations will be less comfortable.

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