What a @USAirways @AmericanAir merger would mean for me

What would a merger mean for me… because after all, it is all about me.  A friend (@edoksa – food critic for the Charleston City Paper – follow him on Twitter) asked me why I haven’t been talking about the rumored merger.  It’s true, until now, I haven’t been talking about it – for a few reasons a) it’s giving me a headache, b) it’s giving me a headache and c) did I mention it was giving me a headache?


Where I stand

I am a US Airways Chairman.  Earlier this year, I considered making the switch over to United – but after 1 terrible trip on United to London, I realized that the grass isn’t always greener.  After that trip – I’m still so traumatized that I haven’t blogged about it – I pretty much decided to stick with US Air where I have top-tier status and know what I’m getting.

So US Airways and American might merge.  What does that really mean for me?


Airline Alliances  – it seems likely that US Air would leave the Star Alliance.  That thought gave me my first headache. It would be disappointing because I love using miles to fly Singapore, Lufthansa, Thai and other great Star Alliance airlines.  American is the only US based airline in the OneWorld Alliance – and there are some good international partner carriers like Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific, British Airways – and if US Airways joined, it would add more flexibility for flights from the US through Philly and Charlotte and Phoenix to connecting OneWorld routes.


Routing – After a lot of thought – and initial shock – headache #2 – it actually seems like it really wouldn’t mean much to me in terms of routing. It is, and always will be, a pain in the ass to get anywhere internationally from Charleston, South Carolina, my home base. Although it’s called Charleston International Airport – there are no commercial international flights. You could try to hop a C-17 to Afghanistan or a Boeing Dreamliner 787 being built for Air India (it’s set to roll out of the plant on April 27). Other than that, if you’re flying out of CHS there’s a connection in your future!   A merger would open up direct flights for me from CHS to MIA and DFW.

I fly to Europe on US Air – that wouldn’t change.

I fly to SE Asia on Thai, usually, and that would have to change.  However, since Thai cancelled its direct flights to/from LAX, OneWorld routing wouldn’t be much more complex than Star Alliance routing has become. Today on Thai my routes are CHS – CLT – LAX – ICN – BKK or CHS – CLT – FRA – BKK.  Believe it or not, it now takes less time to fly from CHS through Europe to BKK.   On OneWold my route would likely be CHS – CLT – LHR – BKK or something similar.

I fly to Australia and that would likely become a bit easier w/Qantas and Cathay Pacific options. Still a lot of time and connections from CHS.


Frequent Flyer Benefits – now, this is one area US Air could benefit from in a merger.  AA offers its top-tier flyers 8 system wide upgrades – US Air gives out 4.  AA offers the ability to purchase 500 mile upgrades – a nice benefit if you have friend traveling w/you but not on the same itinerary.  Other than the fact that I’d hate to give up the Star Alliance benefits, it might work out better for US Airways members if an AA merger did happen.



So in the end, after I took and Advil, I realized that it wouldn’t really have much of a direct impact on me.


Have you thought about what the merger would mean to you?  How would your travel change?

13 Comments on "What a @USAirways @AmericanAir merger would mean for me"

  1. Works really well for those of us near DCA. 🙂 I’m passionately indifferent about a merger, but I have to admit that the prospect of earning AAdvantage miles for travel within the SE USA has some appeal to it.

  2. It does work great for those people near a hub! I’m used to the connections by now…but I still like to bitch about them.

  3. Levi Flight | April 23, 2012 at 4:14 am |

    I am currently in UA. Having US as a *A partner was handy for some trips. One world is the least of the 3 alliances I fly. Will be a shame to lose an alliance option.

  4. Mike from Berlin | April 23, 2012 at 5:30 am |

    It would be a nightmerge for many people, reducing the choice of non-no-frills airlines in North America, even further.

  5. Nothing to add about the merger – I haven’t been on a plane in years (can I admit that here?) – but I really liked the tone of this post!

  6. @Gilly, yes, you can admit that here – it’s a safe place for non-frequent fliers too
    Thank for the comment!

  7. @Levi Flight – yes, it might be tougher on United fliers who rely on US Air flights.

  8. I enjoyed reading your take on the possible merger. As an employee, I have many questions, but know those to will have to just wait. My hope is not to have to retire, not have to relocate, and foremost continue to providing the best customer service I can to our our customers and preferred members such as yourself. you gave me a Monday morning chuckle. Thanks for staying with US!

  9. @Kcb, thanks for the comment! I am happy to be with US and really looking forward to flying in the new Envoy config this weekend!
    Good luck and I hope you keep your job too!

  10. johnmoorenow | April 23, 2012 at 8:01 pm |

    With the vast majority weighing in that Citibank (AA) will win the credit card program over BarclayUS (US), now might be the time to apply for the US Airways credit card. Promo links for 40,000 at first purchase + 10,000 First Anniversary + 10,000 each Anniversary + 10,000 on balance transfer are still alive which wins over the current site promotion. The points could be a huge win especially on a card with the first year annual fee waived. If the merger would happen, the integration of US/AA would take over a year, so capitalizing on most of the points could be a good bet. Citibank cards would be the next stop on the tour with probably a sweetened deal down the road.

    @Stacey – What has been your experience with the $99 Companion vouchers?

  11. @John, I actually don’t have a US Airways credit card. I use the Chase Sapphire Preferred because it has no international transaction fees and it literally saves me, my company and my clients thousands of dollars a year. I like the idea of capitalizing on the credit cards now though – especially is US Air runs its Grand Slam Promo again this year. You could really stock up on points.

    I was speaking with two people last night about the US Air companion vouchers and they were having a terrible time using them. Also, my friend, @edoksa (on twitter) who inspired this article, never got his vouchers from US Air this year and is having trouble getting them to re-issue them.

  12. There should never be an issue redeeming the companion vouchers, you must have the code to redeem. lost vouchers not replaced however. Book lowest fare $250 more and take up to 2 companions for $99, best book as much advance to get a $250 fare. Everyone earns miles also a plus. Most cc holders throw the vouchers out without realizing it. Other benefits, 5k mileage award discount, big plus if your booking multiple tickets. I love my US Airways mastercard, not the $79 fee but it does pay for itself if you use the benefits offered.
    If vouchers were never received the bank should be able to reissue with a phone call.

  13. AA doesn’t allow award routing through Europe to go to Asia. If that continues LHR would not be an option.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.