GUEST COMMENTARY. "Merger mania" is one of the new buzz phrases in the airline industry these days, along with "runway incursions" and "air traffic control delays," of course. Soon after the proposed acquisition of US Airways by United Airlines was announced, mergers of American with Northwest Airlines and Continental into Delta Air Lines were also floated. These proposals don't exist in the "we never met a merger we didn't like" environment of the 1980s-era Department of Transportation, yet they are accompanied by better-prepared spin doctors and much slicker public-relations efforts. How to make sense of all the hype and "blowing snow"? Airline captain and industry analyst R. Michael Baiada takes on the UAL/US Airways proposal and cuts through the haze.