One year has passed since AA and USAir merger. So far it looks to be going more smoothly than the United/Continental merger in 2010. I think two important steps were taken to help in the success of the new AA. First, they did not make large material changes to their FF programs. (they didn't anger their best and most profitable customers) and two, they have announced not only $2 billion in fleet cabin upgrades, but they are upgrading their entire fleet plane by plane. By 2017 you won't see any more MD-80s and you will see all new aircraft. This goes along with my hope that the AA model would win out and early indications are that it has. My biggest fear was that the new AA was going to be a glorified Spirit like US Airways was becoming. Old, noisy, beat up planes, surly FAs and GAs, a crummy website, and no IFE. The new AA appears to not only be new planes, but new planes with great amenities. I am really really REALLY hoping that I don't fall for the same trick Smisek fooled me with back in 2010-2011. Honestly I don't see that happening here but I would like to see what everyone thinks. erc, IAHFLYR, kharada46, pluto77, vaboywnder
You're not alone ks77, Jeffie fooled many people most of all the UA Board of Directors by being elected to be the CEO of UA.
I have friends who have gone through the UA/CO merger as pilots from the CO side of the house. CO pilots were known and still are today as SCABS since they broke the Airline Pilot Association (ALPA) strike against Frank Lorenzo and Texas Air Corporation when he filed for bankruptcy in the early 80's right after Texas Air Corporation had bought Continental Airlines. This was almost 30 years ago and the UA ALPA group still ran hatred toward the CO pilots during the 2010 merger and still to this day almost five years later. Come on ALPA stop your nonsense and get along with your co-workers, after all had it not been for CO almost 400 furloughed UA pilots would still be out of a job rather than flying B737's for this merged UA after CO side of the pilot house prior to their pilot contract being ratified offered them jobs flying CO airplanes. Had it not been for CO merging with UA in my opinion UA would be GONE today.
Remember it was CO that had the new airplanes and UA nothing to speak of on order to replace an aging fleet of ragged airplanes with no technology either on the flight deck or in the cabin. CO had clean fresh planes and UA had the "Ghetto Birds" as some called them with the dark gray and blue livery.
Is the UA/CO merger getting better, oh yes for sure. Last week I flew on two UA A320's and both were comfy, well maintained, friendly pre-merger UA flight attendants except for one, but another story for another time/place. All in all it is coming together with UA pilots starting to fly B739ER's and having some CO flight attendants mingling with them, yet the UA flight attendants are still not allowed to fly with CO pilots. Oh well it is coming along and who knows when it will all be solved.
Now, having said all the above I also have friends who are pilots who for both AA and US. Both are equally happy their merger has gone much smoother and with much less bad press compared to UA. The pilots happy as well as other employee groups with contracts either finalized or close to being finalized as a unit. I believe much was learned by the America West and U.S. Airways merger that greatly helped push the AA/US merger to where it is today.
In all honesty I havn't been following this merger too closely. I have never flown American Airlines before although I will give them a try for the first time in January when I fly up to NYC. I havn't flown USAir in over 3 years and have only flown them about 5 times in the last 10 years. Most of the time I find myself flying Delta, JetBlue, or Southwest. The reason I chose to frequent these airlines more often is because the miles/points accrued on these airlines do not expire.
I have to admit that I've been a little dissapointed in Delta lately. They are constantly changing seat assignments without notification. My last flight I was suppose to sit next to my companion near the front of the plane and then they moved us to the back of the plane with a stranger sitting in between us. I spoke with several Delta agents about it and they were not able to assist since it was a full flight nor could they explain to me why the seat assignment changed. I was not a happy camper! So if Delta continues to deliver poor customer service I may start flying with United or "the new American Airlines" more frequently.
ks77, right you are, but the worst is yet to come. All the improvements seen are thanks to Tom Horton, not to Doug Parker... I expect Parker to eventually force is US Airways ways onto AA. He's already said future aircraft orders likely will not include IFE and tried changed domestic meals to match what US was doing... which ticked off a lot of people and caused them to backtrack a little, but not enough... They also eliminated free stopovers on award flights without warning and ticked even more people off! But I am grateful that they haven't devalued AAdvantage (yet), though I suspect that'll come in 2016/2017. And the biggest challenges lay ahead for 2015, the integration of FF programs and the reservation system. Another Parker change that I'm assuming will happen is that all new aircraft orders will likely be Airbus, since he really only orders from them, while AA was traditionally MD and then Boeing.... Not looking forward to that either. But for me, while things seem good now, they can only get worst, and given Parker's track record, I assume they will
You are right, the biggest hurdles will be this year and will lend a great deal of insight into the long term outlook. I am hopeful that since the first few steps have gone well and since as IAHFLYR has mentioned, the employees of both AA and US are relatively happy with what is happening, that things will go smoothly. I am bracing myself for bumps and hiccups along the way as well but as long as they do a measurably better job than the UA/CO bungling merger then they will be in a much better spot. *fingers crossed*
Here's an interesting read regarding the topic at hand: ANALYSIS: Exploring Progress Made in the American Airlines-US Airways Merger
The interview info is a bit dated, but it's still quite interesting. The thing that may be worrisome here is the rejection of the new contract by the flight attendants. As the article said, it could cause issues with management relations in the future. But again, I do believe it'll go much better than UA/CO. My primary commencer is still with the future. I still think Parker may try to turn AA into a glorified Frontier down the road... nothing seems to matter to him more than financial performance.
well I have flown this group for 27 years going back to America West. It certainly to me hasn't gotten better over the years . I still expect minor differences between the three big airlines . They will all go to dollars vs miles and fares will stay high until an upstart or two starts infringing on territories. I agree the Marriott deal with United has given me another option vs AA and Southwest since at least you can get a bag checked and get on board earlier.
I, like yourself, do believe that Parker et al. have, to their credit observed the debacle at United and so far have worked hard at avoiding the snafus faced by IAH's pals. As the saying goes though, the proof is in the pudding, and the general consensus among financial analysts is that This is the year of integration (frequent flyer programs, routes etc) that determines the success and forward momentum of the deal. So, certainly as a flyer of American, I'm hopeful for the continued smoothness of the merger, but I'm steeling myself for the almost inevitable bumps. Thanks for sharing.
As a member of Alaska Airlines FF program, I'm hoping that flights operated by USAir will start earning miles for AS. So far only flights operated by AA count. No word on a change anytime soon.
For now it means flying AA or DL out of CMH since AS doesn't serve my home airport (I've been a AS FF member dating back to the late 90s when I lived in Seattle). Either that or using UA (since I signed up with them a few years back).
Long ago (before I moved to Seattle) I had was a FF with America West which had a hub at CMH. Once I used up all my miles, I let that one expire.
I can't really comment too much about this, since I've only really started flying AA again this past year. So far, the merger has impacted me minimally and certainly nothing negative. I flew on one of their new aircrafts coast to coast recently and I was very impressed with it. They claim that it's through the merger (true or not) that they are able to offer up a newer, modern fleet. I must honestly say, and being a Boeing 737 loyalist, I was very impressed with my recent ride on one of AA's new A321T's. The cabins have all of the whistles and bells. The gate experience at JFK was comfortable, had power outlets and appeared to be recently updated. When I went to book my overseas award flights using US Airways miles on AA metal, it was troublefree. I do not ever fly US Airways (my destinations just don't jive with their routes, and the only reason why I had US miles was because of a Marriott travel package combined with a US mileage offer that couldn't be passed up). I will look forward to having the remainder of my US Airways miles dumped into my AAdvantage mileage account.
I could probably gain AA F/F status this next year (greatly helped by plugging in my AAdvantage number into my AS flights and getting AA credit for the segments), but I probably won't. I will probably just continue to do the reverse, as I get more bang for my buck with AS lowest tier status over AA lowest tier status (I can't compete with AA F/F's).
I never fly U.S. carriers overseas. Depending on how my mileage award flight with AA goes next Spring, I might consider future AA international flights again. If I like their 767/777 timetables, itineraries and service and they are reasonably less expensive than QF, AF, LH and others, then I may switch back. It would be nice to no longer see my QF, AF and LH miles disappear into a black hole.
Anyway, so far, so good. For me.
There is one thing... the US Airways Barclays card gives cardholders 2 free companion passes every anniversary. The AA Citibank card does not. So when the Barclays card converts over, I imagine the companion passes will disappear.
I am a seriously frequent flyer on AA and went into this merger with much trepidation. One year in and I must say that I am mostly pleased all around. A few months back, us AA members were finally able to get upgraded on USAir flights, and I have been upgraded more often than not. Also, I actually find the larger US planes roomy and quiet, compared to some of the AA equipment. No, air travel is nothing like it used to be, but this merger has not lowered the bar as I had feared it might. That's my opinion.....
Fear not pluto77! If you have a US Airways card now, you will be able to have a Barclay's issued card for AAdvantage: http://thepointsguy.com/2014/10/barclaycard-launches-aadvantage-aviator-silver-card/
Thanks for the info, Kyle. It might've been a good deal, but 1) the deadline for the silver card was Dec. 1, and 2) even with silver, you have to spend 30K annually to get the companion passes. Right now, they're "free" each year with the annual fee. I think that once my Barclays card converts to (red) AAdvantage, I will ditch my Citi AA card for just over one year, then when eligible, re-apply and get the mileage bonus, and then ditch the Barclays card.
I'm a multi-million miler for AA and long term Exec Plat with them. I have noticed a number of things that seem to look good on the cover, upgrading on USAir flights being one. I am very interested in how its going to shake out long term though. I am hoping the massive devaluation of miles can hold off until after next December though. I've been saving miles for a big Australia/NZ trip with the family and hope to finally book next year when my youngest will be old enough to appreciate it.
The small changes I've seen are annoying but not horrible. The FF program aligning worries me a little because I normally make EP with segments but with a little planning I can make up the 10k miles I was short the last 2yrs. This year I'll actually meet 125 segments and 140k miles with projected growth in my travel next year. If they are working to reduce the overall upper cap, is it to get back to 4 tiers like USAir had and others have? Beyond the FF program its the little things like no more pepsi products, all coke ones. Changing the booze selections, meals, etc. The biggest problem I have is that while they continue to do little subtle things that in my mind cheapens the product they deliver, their pricing is increasing. For the same flights for example RDU-TPA next week, AA operated flights were 50-200% more expensive than USAir operated flights. The same flights prior to the merger were roughly the same cost, I've been doing this route for 20 months now so I've got a fair handle on this particular market.
My fear is that instead of maintaining a higher level of product that AA has had for many years, they will allow the overall airline to slide to the less options, less featured airline that US Air has been. Neither has a stellar international product but between then the AA was better in my experience. If they are going to really put themselves out there for a leading global carrier they'll need to greatly improve their "front of the bus" experiences and provide some increases in what the folks in coach experience as well. I'm already battling some internal discussions about flying Delta and others internationally since they are a great deal cheaper than AA's prices. At 50% less for ticketed business class international flights, it's a difficult argument to fly AA just to maintain status.
WOW 50% less, I'd be on that flight in a split second. I've looked at similar things with UA in comparing fares, but what I've found is a FC seat from IAH-SEA on UA was around 40% less than AS which I found just nuts. I'd love to fly AS however; guess I'll continue to fill my MileagePlus account as I can't justify the cost difference regardless.
Yep, so I'm flying USAir operated flights this week to TPA. My flight was right at $400 booked through AA.com, RDU-CLT-TPA. The one I have been on that was RDU (or LGA) - MIA - TPA historically has been about $400 give or take $20. This time it was over $800 for RDU-MIA-TPA. Going through DFW was almost $1100, which by mile costs I can see but for some reason I dont think that really plays into it because I've seen ridiculous routing that was 4x longer but 1/2 as much in costs.
The frustrating part of it all is on AA planes I have the run of coach. On USAir planes, even their chairman's level folks still have seating that is fee based. I'm not a fan for many reasons but sometimes I can call the AA EP desk and they'll waive the fee and assign seats, sometimes like this one, the AA rep couldn't even book the flight even though on AA.com it was available. So a few middle seats it is, with a prayer for the upgrade and 50% savings in costs.
I was very tempted to book delta but figured I'd stick with AA just in case something were to go wrong. Flying with no status that close to the holidays is NOT my idea of fun
Oh an yeah, internationally RDU-LHR routing seems to come in around $2800-3200 through delta.com with a mix of Delta and Virgin flights, as well as varied connection cities (Detroit, Boston, etc). With AA, its 5500-6000 for their business class seats. Its about 1000-1400 for coach on AA and I have my system upgrades so I can work it out a little but still, vast differences.
Our company's business and my role in the company are changing to more international focus so hopefully I can stay with AA enough to keep my status.
Here's some more interesting tidbits regarding the evolution of AA
lol no kidding IAHFLYR! I wouldn't hold your breath.
I hear UA's business plan say "monkey see, monkey do" lol
This is the latest news that I have received. Has anyone else taken a look at this? Thoughts?
Really? Did it really? Cuz I'm thinking not. Airfares are just getting higher and higher. Last year my flights to Nashville (from west coast) to see one daughter were about $550 (for extra legroom seats). This year it has gone up to around $650. Looking at flights for late Spring next year and now we're talkin' over $800! I can fly first class for just $300 more. I think that may be their strategy. Jack up the economy prices, get more people to pay for first class and then give them "extra" miles for it (these are the new "extra" miles, that is - really not much more than the old ones, only structured differently and also not that much considering how much more you're spending.) And while they're filling more first class cabins with actual paying customers, the amount of upgrades for status customers diminishes. It's a total scheme. Either they think we're stupid or they've got us by the ropes. Or both. I may have to work longer than I had planned just to stay in - travel, but then work keeps me away from my grandchildren. Aaargh!
I'm a USAir Platinum and from our side, this merger is not my cup of tea. Free upgrades, and I get them about 100% of the time, will soon be gone. The Credit Card was good for a 5000 mile discount on Award travel, that is going away. The Credit Card also would convert 10,000 bonus miles to elite qualifying miles after 25,000 in purchases...sadly, this is going away also. I know the American folks like their airline and didn't have much to say for US Air, but I feel the same from the other side. AA looks to be a giant, peopleless outfit, that has dollar signs sparkling in their eyes.
Oh, and I have not been upgraded on one of the 8 flights on AA this year. From 100% to 0% is quite a drop.
It is interesting to compare. You know what you had and realize what you are loosing. I am platinum with AA and the same. From what I hear, US Air is more generous with upgrades. Since I never had that, I don't miss it but it would have been nice if it had gone in that direction. I ticketed a business class trip to Europe this coming summer. I used 100,0900 American miles. If I did the same with US Air, it would have cost 300,000 - 5,000 for credit card. If it moves in that direction, it will be really bad for me. I just ticketed a trip and could not make a stopover an the award trip. I did this this year and was able to spend time in Florida and then go on to South America and then return home directly from SA. It cost 100,000 for business class. This year I had to pay for the extra segment with out of pocket cash or could have used more miles. I was told that AA stopped that in April because US Air doesn't allow the stopover. The AA credit card refunds 10% of miles used on an award up to 10,000 in a year while as you say, Us Air takes 5,000 of each trip but the trips cost more miles in every case that I priced. I am sitting on 220,000 US Air miles and just waiting for the programs to merge and hope that they use the AA program as opposed to the US Air.
Usually I agree whole-heartedly with your positions. However, I really dislike USAIR, and wish this merger never happened. The usAIR planes are old,tired, and rickety. Similar to most of the flight attendants.... the lack of food service or video availability is appalling as well. And, I understand that Exec Plat will now be the same as chairmans preferred and need 125k or 120 segments, up from 100k or 100 segments. This will likely pull me down to Platinum.....
Shoe and Cali,
I appreciate your opinions. I'm guessing since US Air has been a regional carrier, they never went after the big flyers. I agree they don't compare well with the food service or video options. Since I rarely had that, I don't miss it!... The bottom line is probably us US Air folks that were lucky enough to obtain status were the big fish in the US Air small pond. Now we've been swallowed by the AA whale and we're just another body. It was fun while it lasted...lol
I can understand where you are coming from. Lots of upgrades vs none sure stinks. I have flown US Airways FC a couple times back in 2010 and boy it was nothing to write home about. EWR-BGI and there was no entertainment at all. It was award travel so I couldn't really complain much but a 4 hour flight with no tv, no wifi, a beat up seat, and a noisy plane. I wouldn't be happy losing FC upgrades but when upgrades only get you a larger beat up seat and no IFE it doesn't seem like losing much. The AA FC product on some regional routes is great. My wife flies as an AA Plat ORD-EWR/LGA and the new ERJ 175s have great FC seats and service.