The Big Winner: AmericanMore than any other carrier, the one most likely to benefit from UAL's bankruptcy is the nation's largest, American Airlines. These two rivals fight head-to-head in Chicago, United's biggest hub, and in California, one of the nation's largest and most competitive travel markets. With UAL cutting flights and services, many analysts feel that American can steal back some market share, without cutting too deeply into profit margins. Prior to the Air Transportation Stabilization Board's rejection of UAL's request, some industry watchers expressed concern that a UAL bankruptcy would trigger a domino effect where more carriers would go bankrupt. The thought was that a bankrupt UAL would gain significant price advantages against rivals, especially AMR, and use it to drive them out of business. But most Wall Street analysts dismissed this idea, arguing that UAL management will act rationally, understanding the risk to the overall industry in triggering a price war. "We do not subscribe to the domino theory of bankruptcy in the airline industry," wrote Higgins. "Ultimately, what it takes for UAL's competitors to maximize revenues is almost exactly what it takes for UAL to do the same -- any damage UAL does to its competitors' top line would hurt it as well -- and we believe UAL understands that." While this theory won't actually be tested until UAL files Chapter 11, it does make some sense, considering that USAir has made numerous attempts to raise prices, not lower them, while in bankruptcy. AMR will also benefit on the labor front, since UAL's unions will likely have their wages reduced while the company restructures. American's pilots are flying under an open contract and will be far less likely to be demanding at the negotiation table, not while pilots are being sacked at UAL.