Has The US Airways American Airlines Merger Changed The Way You Fly?

Back in April of 2012 I wrote a post called, What a USAirways- American Airlines Merger Would Mean For Me.  I came across that article today and thought it would be fun to look back and see if any of my predictions have come true. 

What I wrote in 2012:

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?

 Where I stand today: 

I’m still a US Airways Chairman and I still agree, the grass isn’t always greener.  

What I wrote in 2012: 

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.


It’s true, US Airways has left the Star Alliance and joined OneWorld.  In 2012 that thought gave me a bit of a headache.  I was working for a company that had me traveling to Europe, South East Asia and Australia.  In 2013 I took more than a 1/2 dozen trips to South East Asia and Australia and in the first 4 months of 2014 I flew to Australia twice and Hong Kong twice. So today, I might have felt the same way, but I don’t have that job anymore and don’t foresee any business trips to those regions anytime soon.  

Since the announcement of the merger I’ve been able to earn more miles because there are new routes open to me. I was able to fly Fiji Airways and credit the milage to American Airlines.  I have also been lucky enough to get two upgrades on American Airlines from coach to business class!  So, things are looking so bad. 

What I wrote in 2012:

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 at this time. 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.


As I mentioned, my international travel days are limited to vacations now, so I do care about routing.  It’s still a pain to connect to many places from Charleston, but the merger does open up a few new routes and new hubs to connect through.  I also have started flying on JetBlue from Charleston to New York because it’s convenient.  

What I wrote in 2012: 

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.

Well, we don’t know a ton yet. The two programs are still operating independently. Many elites, including me, have gotten reciprocal upgrades even though the programs don’t official provide that benefit.  Rumors are that they’ll become official sometime in June, but again, that’s just a rumor as far as I know.  At some point the US Airways Dividend Miles and American Airlines AAdvantage Miles will be merged and the great benefit there will be the ability to use the miles jointly.   

Currently members  can earn and redeem miles on either airline, and eligible travel on either airline will count toward elite status on the customer’s chosen program.  Starting June 1, Dividend Miles members will be able to book last seat availability awards for flights year-round without any blackout dates. AAnytime award travel will be available more for than half of the year at an even lower redemption level. Previous redemption rates were 25,000 miles one way, and the new redemption rates will start at 20,000 miles one way. 

There will be many more changes to come, and we’ll all just have to wait to see what is rolled out next.  How has the merger changed the way you travel? 

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