When will the merger happen?
Months from now, at the earliest. First, the feds have to sign off -- and after the merger is approved, the airlines' operations won't be fully melded until 2012. So it could be well over a year before Northwest's planes get new paint jobs.
Who will be in charge?
They're billing this deal as a "merger," but make no mistake: Delta is buying Northwest. The top dogs are all from Delta: CEO Richard Anderson and right-hand man Ed Bastian. Northwest CEO Doug Steenland gets a board seat but no executive role.
Will the Twin Cities lose its hub airport?
The good news: Delta says it's keeping all Delta and Northwest hubs. The bad news: There's no guarantee for how long. MSP could be in danger of losing some international flights to Detroit and its shiny new terminal. But who goes to the chopping block first? You wouldn't want to be Memphis or Cincinnati right now.
Will Northwest employees lose their jobs?
Some of them. No job numbers have been released yet, but Delta plans to save $300 million a year by cutting overhead and improving efficiency. Many of those immediate cuts are expected to come at Northwest's headquarters in Eagan. The airlines say they won't lay off any "front-line employees" -- at airports and on planes -- because of the merger.
Should I use up my Northwest frequent-flier miles as soon as possible?
Don't panic. In an e-mail to some of its frequent fliers, Northwest said, "Your WorldPerks miles and Elite program status will be unaffected by this merger." When the merger happens, some things will change -- most likely the thresholds for redeeming your miles -- but the miles themselves are unlikely to go away.
Is it going to cost me more to fly?
Delta's answer: "Delta will continue to compete in a competitive pricing marketplace both at home and abroad." Bottom line: As long as fuel prices and other costs keep rising, airlines will keep trying to push through fare increases. A merged Delta-Northwest means there's one fewer airline around to block them.
Will I still be able to fly to Fargo?
Delta says it will maintain service to smaller cities -- and even improve it, although it doesn't say how. But, again, time will tell. If pressure to cut costs builds, these routes could be vulnerable.
Will the new airline bring back free snacks?
Too early to say, but a look at Delta's food-service options shows that Northwest fliers' snackless years may be over. Delta offers at least one complimentary snack item on all coach flights, and on flights longer than 450 miles you even get a choice of cookies, peanut butter crackers or peanuts. But, alas, no Spinzels.Sources: Companies, news reports