BREAKING: United and Continental airlines to merge?

We hear rumblings of airline mergers every day here at Gadling headquarters, but this one is starting to pick up traction. Chicago-based United Airlines and Houston-based Continental Airlines are reported to be in merger talks, with each respective board meeting to discuss possibilities and logistics this week.

What would a merger this mean for the average world traveler? The combined airline would overtake Delta Airlines as the largest carrier in the world, and with fewer players in the market, prices will undoubtedly go up. As of this year, both Continental and United are in the same Star Alliance, so those saving miles won’t be seriously affected by the merger.

The main concern that travelers will need to mull is the change in customer service. Larger ubiquitous airlines tend to cover the spectrum of destinations well but fall short on loyalty programs and public relations (see: Delta,) so those looking for a more boutique experience may shirk away to JetBlue or Virgin America.

Conversely, if the mega-airline can emulate the current outstanding service that Continental hosts then they’ll earn some serious passenger loyalty and subsequent cash. Let’s hope that’s the route they take.

An announcement on the merger could come as early as next Monday.

Yuck. Fetus found in Continental airplane bathroom

I’m still kind of grossed out as I write this. Yesterday, Continental Airlines janitorial employees found a human fetus in a lavatory bathroom after a flight between New York City and Houston had deplaned. It was almost an hour after the passengers had left the aircraft and cleaning had commenced before the workers found the fetus in the lav trash.

At that point authorities couldn’t track down the woman for questioning as she may have already connected through another flight, so the FBI is now involved and digging through the passenger manifest, trying to locate the mother.

Still, not the sort of thing that you want happening on your aircraft or in your lavatory, much less something you want to hide from the authorities. Hopefully the mother is ok.