The CFO also said that if United would offer enough money, they would most likely go for it. And I bet that United just might do so, for the following reasons:
- Little route overlap. United has hubs at LAX, SFO, DEN, ORD, and IAD; Continental's main hubs are at IAH, CLE, and EWR. The only hubs there that overlap are ORD/CLE and IAD/EWR. United is strong on the West Coast doesn't have a shabby Midwest network; Continental has a strong East Coast setup. And don't forget the international network: United is dominant in Asia and has coveted landing slots at London Heathrow and a pretty extensive European network; Continental has a strong Latin American and European network.
- OK fleet commonality. United has primarily the A319/A320 for short haul, the 757 for medium haul, and the 747, 767 and 777 for long haul. Meanwhile, Continental has the 737 family for short haul (as does UAL, but it will get rid of its fleet of 737s over time), the 757 for medium haul, and the 767 and 777 for long haul.
- US Airways + America West (already happened)
- United + Continental
- Delta + Northwest (this has been speculated upon quite a bit)