Ok ok ok - I fully expect to be thoroughly pounced on for even suggesting this.... BUT........ IF US and HP merge/takeover one or other, or whatever, its NOT going to be a cheap option, even if it, hopefully, saves one or both of them from closing down.
Virgin USA seems to be, at least, stalled right now, but Sir Richard B obviously wants to get into the US market somehow.
How practical would it be for what funds were going to be used to set up VS USA to be diverted into investing in the new combined carrier, to help provide a welcome injection of working capital, and pay off some of the incumbent debt? Foreign ownership regulations being what they are in the US, VS would not be able to be a majority share-holder, but big enough to justify operations under a Virgin USA banner for the combined operation? Even the US trans-Atlantic and Caribbean networks would be pretty complimentary to VS's and there would be some long-needed feeding onto a US domestic network via a number of common points.
A bit of the VS customer service motivation and/or philosophy (i.e HAVING ONE) injected into US/HP wouldn't go amiss either......
Ok - I'm taking cover. "Armchair experts", do your worst!