US Airways

The US Airways Livery Is Dead

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A lot has happened since American and US Airways first announced their merger in February 2013, which has made them the world’s largest airline. If you were loyal to either airline, you’re likely familiar with just about every major milestone of the merger, given that it impacted the passenger experience.

These steps included the merger of the AAdvantage and Dividend Miles programs, the two airlines getting a single operating certificate with the FAA, the two airlines getting on a single reservations system, employees of both airlines getting the same uniforms, etc.

Even wth all of this alignment, as a customer you can still quite easily tell whether you’re on a legacy American or legacy US Airways plane. Does the plane not have any power ports or Main Cabin Extra? You’re probably on a legacy US Airways plane. Are you not getting a pre-departure beverage? You’re probably on a legacy American plane. šŸ˜‰

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American’s New Domestic First Class Seat Looks Familiar…

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Now that the merger between American and US Airways is complete, the “new” airline has the task of aligning their onboard products as much as possible. US Airways’ planes are notoriously outdated, as the domestic fleet doesn’t have any personal entertainment, or even power ports (which is what I care most about). Furthermore, American is retrofitting much of the US Airways fleet with Main Cabin Extra, which is their extra legroom economy seating.

In the case of the former US Airways Airbus A319s, this is both good and bad news. The bad news is that they’re reducing the number of first class seats from 12 to eight. The good news is that they’re adding Main Cabin Extra and updating their interiors.

However, what’s surprising to me is that American isn’t using the same first class seats for the former US Airways A319s that they’re using for their own A319s. The product between the two carriers is already so inconsistent, that it’s sort of surprising they’d choose different finishes yet again.

Adam snapped the below picture of those new first class seats, and there’s one thing that’s especially interesting about them.

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The Death Of US Airways’ Single Most Egregious Policy!

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This past weekend, American and US Airways completed the last huge “milestone” of their merger, whereby they migrated US Airways over to American’s reservations system. I was preparing for the worst (given the scale of what they were doing), though it went over without a hitch.

US Airways as a brand is now dead, and there was even a special commemorative flight to mark the occasion.

Not surprisingly, in terms of the customer experience, things didn’t change overnight. While policies are now completely aligned (in terms of the frequent flyer program, standby, fees, etc.), American and US Airways planes still feature very different products.

American is taking delivery of new planes with entertainment at every seat, power ports, etc. Meanwhile US Airways doesn’t have any power ports or inflight entertainment throughout any of their domestic fleet.

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Video Of The Last Ever US Airways Flight

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This past weekend, American and US Airways completed the last “major” step of their merger, whereby the two airlines integrated their reservations systems. With this step, US Airways officially ceased to exist as a brand, as “legacy” US Airways flights now operate with American flight numbers.

Merging reservations systems to create the world’s largest airline is no simple task, so I was suggesting to be prepared for the worst this past weekend. As it turned out, American did a spectacular job this past weekend, and everything went over without a hitch. That’s massively impressive, when you think of the scale of what they were undertaking.

As part of the US Airways brand disappearing, there was a special commemorative US Airways flight this past weekend, which went from Philadelphia to Charlotte to Phoenix to San Francisco to Philadelphia. The flight was aptly numbered #1939, which was the year that US Airways’ predecessor started operations.

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About That Lady Who Was Kicked Off The American Flight…

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On Tuesday I posted about the story of a lady who was kicked off a US Airways flight between Phoenix and Portland after getting in a disagreement with the flight attendant.

It’s fairly common for passengers to be removed from flights nowadays, as airline employees have a ton of discretion post-9/11 to do things in the name of “security.”

What made this situation unique is that all of the passengers who witnessed her being removed from the plane were outraged at what happened, to the point that they talked to the captain after the flight.

Here’s the YouTube video of the passenger being removed from the plane, along with the caption:

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Flying American This Weekend? Be Prepared!

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The merger between American and US Airways is almost complete, after a process of over two years. So far weā€™ve seen the airlines merge their frequent flyer programs and get on a single FAA operating certificate.

This weekend the last major step of the integration will occur, whereby American and US Airways are combining reservations systems.

That’s scheduled to happen on Saturday, October 17, 2015. At that point US Airways flights will officially cease to exist, and there’s even a commemorative last US Airways flight to mark the occasion.

Anyway, American has been doing a great job overall with the merger in terms of managing expectations and completing things on the promised timeline. While I think the merger has gone down in an almost textbook perfect fashion in terms of communication and execution, this coming weekend’s task is the biggest of all.

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Video Of Lady Getting Kicked Off Flight After Crew Power Trip

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On Sunday I wrote a post entitled “Why Are Some Airline Employees So Damn Hostile?”

The post was specifically about a gate agent I witnessed who went out of her way to make her job difficult and be rude to a passenger. But it’s a trend I see overall in the airline industry. Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing people working in the airline industry, but also some of the most hostile people out there.

In a way, the hostility is supported by the airlines, given that they give employees so much latitude to remove passengers from flights in the name of “safety” and “9/11.” I can’t think of a single other for-profit industry where employees can get away with being so rude to the people paying their bills.

Which brings us to today’s viral story, of a lady who on Sunday was booted from a US Airways flight between Phoenix and Portland.

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Only Days Left To Redeem US Airways Companion Certificates

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One of the nice perks of the former US Airways MasterCard was an annual companion certificate, whereby you could have up to two companions fly with you for $99 each, plus taxes and fees.

This credit card is no longer being issued (only Citi is allowed to issue credit cards for the “new American”), and as of the second quarter of this year the US Airways MasterCard has been converted into the AAdvantage Aviator Card.

That being said, a lot of people who had the US Airways MasterCard still have companion certificates, which on paper are valid for bookings made through September 30, 2015, and for travel through December 31, 2015. The good news is that because US Airways officially ceases to exist on October 17, 2015 (due to the integration of the two airlines’ reservations systems on that date), you can actually use this certificate for travel on American flights as well.

Anyway, under the published rules, these certificates would expire in a few hours, though as it turns out the expiration date of US Airways companion certificates has been extended through Monday, October 5, 2015. That’s the book by date, and as before, the certificates are valid for travel through December 31, 2015.

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Flights No Longer Bookable On US Airways’ Website

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American and US Airways are in the final stages of their merger. The Dividend Miles program has already been merged into the AAdvantage program, and the two airlines are already on a single operating certificate (meaning they’re one airline as far as the FAA is concerned).

The last major step is that the two airlines need to merge their reservations systems. American and US Airways will be merging their reservations systems on October 17, 2015, though there’s quite a bit leading up to that.

Here’s a summary of how that will go down:

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American Cutting Philadelphia To Tel Aviv Flight In 2016

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American has been undergoing a ton of international growth the past several years. Prior to the merger they were strong in Latin America, but pretty weak in most other international markets. They were way behind Delta and United when it came to their Asia route network, and were also lagging when it came to their Europe destinations.

But American has been working on growing their international network considerably, in particular to Asia. Just the past couple of years they’ve added additional flights to Beijing, Seoul Incheon, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, and as of later this year, even Sydney. Going forward, apparently we’ll see more international growth out of Los Angeles.

American has claimed most of these routes aren’t profitable yet, but they’re a long term investment in American’s route network, as it can take a while for demand to ramp up in a new market. The good news is that they’re codesharing with Qantas to Australia, and their Asia service is to pretty established destinations (ie, there are lots of connection opportunities in Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific).

There’s no denying it’s a tough time to grow international flights, though. With the US Dollar as strong as it is, international demand for travel to the US is down. Furthermore, the worldwide economy is pretty weak, especially when you look at what’s going on in Europe, China, etc.

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DON’T SPEND YOUR MILES THAT WAY!!!

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While I’d argue some uses of miles are better than others, I’m generally pretty libertarian when it comes to redeeming miles. Redeem them however makes you happy, in my opinion. What matters is that you feel like you got a decent value.

The good news is that for the most part I don’t have to observe others redeeming their miles poorly. If you redeem 50,000 American AAdvantage miles for a domestic economy ticket which would have cost $200, I’d of course be sad if I knew about it. But the good news is that I probably won’t — you’ll book the ticket in the comfort of your home, and probably won’t talk about how much you spent on the plane.

But then sometimes you’re sort of forced to witness really bad uses of miles.

I was at the Admirals Club in Phoenix this morning, and as I was at the front desk, the lady being helped at the counter next to me found out that her Admirals Club membership had expired.

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US Airways Plans Commemorative Last Flight For October 16, 2015

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The merger between American and US Airways has been going on for about two years now. So far we’ve seen the airlines merge their frequent flyer programs and get on a single FAA operating certificate.

The last major step in the integration between American and US Airways is combining reservations systems, which is scheduled to happen on October 17, 2015. When this happens, US Airways will officially cease to exist, as all flights operated by the “new” American will have American flight numbers.

To commemorate the history of US Airways, there will be a special flight on October 16, 2015, which will officially be the last US Airways flight.

US Airways’ predecessor (All American Aviation) was founded in 1939, so to celebrate US Airways will have flight US1939 on October 16, 2015.

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A Lucky Rebooking… Or What I Should Have Expected?

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My schedule has been crazy the past few weeks, and as part of that I’ve been booking travel very last minute. I was in Los Angeles this morning and decided it made sense to fly home to Tampa same day, since I need to be on the ground during the day tomorrow.

From looking at availability, it seemed I had two practical options:

— The US Airways redeye from Los Angeles to Tampa, which was completely full in first class and had slim pickings of good seats in economy (as I recently wrote about, I do everything in my power to avoid redeyes nowadays, and I need to be at least reasonably “fresh” tomorrow)
— US Airways through Phoenix with a roughly one hour connection (I got the upgrade on Los Angeles to Phoenix, while first class was sold out on Phoenix to Tampa, though at least I could snag an exit row window seat, which didn’t seem horrible)

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US Airways’ Single Most Egregious Policy?

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The integration between American and US Airways is well underway. The two frequent flyer programs have been merged, the two airlines are now on a single operating certificate, and as of October 17, 2015, the two airlines will also be on a single reservations system. That’s really the most exciting development as a customer, since…

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