Airline deathwatch: place your bets, please

Now that Frontier Airlines has filed for bankruptcy protection, it’s time to get serious about a game we bloggers haven’t played since 2002. It’s called airline deathwatch.

I’ve hinted at it in my MSNBC column, as have columnists like Scott McCartney and my blogging colleague Jeanne Leblanc. But now it it’s time for all of you to join in the fun.

Place your bets, please.

United Airlines. Business is down, fares are up. Is the end near? (Odds: 1,500 to 1)

American Airlines. The world’s largest air carrier has been paralyzed by inspection-related cancellations this week, including more than 500 flights today. Compensating passengers will cost it millions. Is it enough to push it into bankruptcy? (Odds: 1,000 to 1)

AirTran. Its top executive is overpaid, it recently added surcharges for a second checked bag, and its core customers — budget travelers — are becoming even more penny-pinching. Can high ratings save it? (Odds: 50 to 1)

Alitalia. Deal to rescue ailing Italian carrier fell apart last week. Is the end near? (Odds: 6 to 1)

Sun Country. This struggling airline replaced its CEO, furloughed 30 percent of its pilots and is facing an embezzlement scandal. (Odds: 2 to 1)

What do you think? Am I missing any other candidates? Spirit Airlines? Delta Air Lines? Northwest Airlines?

Step right up.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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