Aviation News

January 7, 2014

A Day of Passenger-Facing Changes at American Airlines and US Airways

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Written by: Ben Granucci
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combined_logo_CroppedFollowing the closing of the merger between American Airlines and US Airways last month, the combined carrier today began its implementation of customer related changes. American Airlines Group has declared today to be “Customer Day One”, or the first day that passengers will see changes resulting from the merger. The majority of today’s changes had to do with the airlines frequent flier programs. Other changes were related aligning check-in procedures and airline club memberships.

Several of the changes made today involve how members of both airlines’ frequent flier programs are treated. For example, members of both American Airlines’ AAdvantage and US Airways’ Dividend Miles programs can now earn and redeem miles for travel on either carrier. Miles earned across both brands now also count towards elite status in the traveler’s program of choice. Meanwhile, elite members of both frequent flier programs can now enjoy recognition of that status at both carriers. This means that an elite traveler in one airline’s program can enjoy such things as priority security and boarding, complementary access to preferred seats, and free checked bags on both airlines. Boarding announcements at both airlines will be modified to accomodate both carriers’ elite-level passengers.

Another change is that those individuals who are members of American Airlines’ Admirals Club or the US Airways Club now have access to both sets of clubs. This also holds true for holders of the AAdvantage Citi Executive credit card. Other changes going into effect today include the alignment of check-in timeframes, both online and in person, across both carriers. Finally, New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport becomes the first airport in the system to have the ticket counters and gates for both airlines consolidated. This follows US Airways move into American’s Terminal 8 at JFK last August.

Of course today’s changes mark only the beginning of the many that will be required for the two airlines to fully integrate. In the coming weeks, the airlines expect to begin codesharing, allowing expanded access across the combined network. Once implemented, the codeshare will allow travelers to fly both American Airlines and US Airways aircraft on a single ticket. At the end of March, US Airways will depart the Star Alliance on one day and then join the Oneworld alliance, of which American is a founding member, the following day. Also expected to occur by the end of March is the consolidation of gates and ticket counters at several key airports across the system. This will include airports both inside the United States and internationally. Chief among these will be Miami International Airport and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, each a hub for American and US Airways respectively.

A321 AAWhile significant, today’s Customer Day One changes weren’t the only thing happening at American Airlines. Today also marked the launch of new Airbus A321 Transcontinental service between Los Angeles (LAX) and New York (JFK). The New A321Ts will be replacing the aging fleet of Boeing 767-200ERs that have been the mainstay of the airline’s transcontinental service for several years. Along with the new airplane comes a fully revamped transcontinental service experience. This experience includes enhanced food and beverage options along with greatly improved in-flight entertainments. American is now the only airline offering three class service on flights between New York and Los Angeles. NYCAviation is onboard one of today’s inaugural flights and will bring you the full story later this week.

About the Author

Ben Granucci
Ben Granucci, Senior Editor, is an aviation enthusiast and plane spotter based in New York City. Growing up in Connecticut, he has had his eyes toward the sky for as long as he can remember. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter.


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