MERGER: US and AA Dec 9 2013 implications for AA flyers (new)

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THREAD LINKS FOR DOCUMENTED OR ANNOUNCED CHANGES:

USA AMEX Platinum Members Lose Access to Admirals Club/US Airways Lounges March 22, 2014 (4 Dec 2013; not genuinely merger related, but a significant change).
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Old Dec 2, 13, 8:00 am
  #46  
 
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One positive implication will be (at least some) additional airports in the route network For example, AA will (re-)gain service to many Northeast airports that they previously served. (PVD, ALB, SWF, etc). It's nothing like DL gaining a strong Asia network with the NW merger, but there will be added destinations.

Has anyone come across a list of airports that US serves but AA doesn't (and vice versa)? That would interesting to peruse.
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Old Dec 2, 13, 8:01 am
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Originally Posted by Stripe View Post
...In general, the ratio of F to Y seats is less favorable in the US fleet, but I would not expect them to change the ratios on the current AA planes...
Make sure you're sitting down before you look at the 319 seat map.
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Old Dec 2, 13, 9:01 am
  #48  
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Originally Posted by Ambraciot View Post
If there are any premium pax currently flying with LCC and appreciating their DMs, they may be disheartened if the merged program is named after LCC's onerous discounting program. But I guess that's off topic for this thread because it acknowledges the possible existence of PM US pax.
LMFAO!!!!!!!!!LMFAO!!!!!! Oh.....been a while since I laughed like that from something said on here.

Nice one^

Cheers,
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Old Dec 2, 13, 9:02 am
  #49  
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Originally Posted by sonofzeus View Post
I've been calling Parker's company UScare for years.

Updated to reflect the new reality.
Everyone here in Philly has been calling it UScare for years

Cheers,
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Old Dec 2, 13, 9:03 am
  #50  
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Originally Posted by Always Flyin View Post
Perhaps when the merger actually happens we can start yet [another] thread with posts detailing what changes are in reality occurring with the merger rather than the wild and unsupported speculation we see here?
^ Well said....

Cheers,
AA777
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Old Dec 2, 13, 9:09 am
  #51  
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Originally Posted by uxb View Post
They've already dropped the A in Business ExtrAA. The only thing that's really standing in the way of dropping the A from AAdvantage all together is that bottom-feeder car rental company Advantage. However, they're owned by Hertz, so I'm sure the branding rights can be bought outright.
I don't think there being a car rental agency named "Advantage" stops AA from having a frequent flyer program of the same name.
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Old Dec 2, 13, 9:18 am
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UScAAred? (you scared?)
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Old Dec 2, 13, 9:22 am
  #53  
 
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Originally Posted by ty97 View Post
The one facet that comes to mind (some will consider this a pro, some will consider it a con) is that the US system offers unlimited upgrades (space available, of course) for all elite levels. There are no 500-mile upgrades required.
Having experienced both approaches at multiple airlines, I much prefer the 500-mile upgrade version as a lower-level elite and think that AA's hybrid version (unlimited upgrades for EXP, but must pay for companions) works quite well. "Unlimited upgrades" for all just means that you don't get to choose the upgrades you really care about, but instead are competing with a lot of other "casual elites" who wouldn't even be in the upgrade pool for those flights if it were not automatic and free.
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Old Dec 2, 13, 9:48 am
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Originally Posted by Stripe View Post
Clubs - Probably no closures, except at airports where both have clubs. Reciprocal access should come fairly quickly. AA's complimentary F&B amenities are already quite meager so it's hard to see cutbacks in that area. It will be interesting to note whether the paid food model continues. I wonder how profitable it really is for AA. Membership fees for the US clubs are less than for the AC, and there is no $50 first year fee. It is hard to believe that this will be rationalized in any way other than to quickly raise the US fees to the AC level.
US also has paid food in the clubs, though it's a relatively modest program that's easy to forget about. I haven't spent much time in AA clubs but it sounds like the free food in the US club is slightly more substantial, with things like instant oatmeal and muffins in the morning.

As for pricing, US does indeed have a $50 initiation fee for new memberships (which is defined as "expired more than 6 months ago"). In addition to the $50 lower "full fare," the elite discounts are better ($125 CP/ $75 other elites, vs $100 EXP/$50 PLT/$25 GLD at AA).

US also frequently offers EQMs for club renewal through promos (currently 5k).

I am a little horrified to hear that AA charges $500 for memberships and then offers...Nescafe. Hopefully they will convert to something that uses something resembling an actual coffee bean. (US has Flavia machines.)

Originally Posted by Stripe View Post
Mileage upgrades - US requires fewer miles for domestic upgrades (up to 10K each way versus AA's 15K) and waives copays for all elites. On its face, US appears to be far more generous than AA but capacity controls may be tighter. Mileage upgrades are almost always available on AA domestic routes if you book far enough in advance.
As others have mentioned, the new US mileage upgrade is segment based, with the maximum per segment being 10k domestically. So a transcon is cheaper at 10k, but occasionally you can end up with an itinerary over 15k (e.g., BOS-PHX-PDX would price at 10k+7.5k = 17,500). On the whole, I like the system; I tend to use miles to guarantee upgrades on an occasional difficult transcon route, and can save the miles on the shorter connecting leg.

Availability isn't as good as AA but I haven't had all that much trouble redeeming miles for upgrades except close in. US first awards are less tightly controlled than coach.
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Old Dec 2, 13, 10:44 am
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Re: The clubs, IMHO the best perk US offers is the Alterra Coffee in the Flavia machines. I'm a bit biased because Alterra comes out of my hometown of MKE, but it is *seriously* good coffee. I say that as a coffee snob who pays attention to origin, brewing method, flavor profile, blah, blah.

Originally Posted by Stripe View Post
...

Onboard meals - AA is the most generous of all carriers, US is probably the least generous. Meals in F only if the flight is at least 3.5 hours, otherwise just a snack basket. Moving the combined carrier closer to the US scheme is an obvious way to cut costs and I fear that is exactly what will happen in short order. Perhaps not as draconian as US, but something like the DL model (snack basket if < 900 miles, cold meal if < 1500 miles, hot meal if over 1500 miles). And say goodbye to warm nuts.

...
Scott Kirby was already quoted as saying that US will be moving to AA's meal windows by 3/2014. I think that's really quite smart. Now, whether AA/US will continue that after the merger or rationalize it to DL and UA's standards is anyone's guess. I would think that if AA/US wants to continue AA's goal of seeking high spenders on premium seats (which, let's be honest, help subsidize perks for those of us who spend more modestly), we'll see the meal windows kept the same. However, if they want to follow UA down the path of hell - including cutting all benefits to the bone - then we'll see less generous meal windows (and possibly a downgrading of food in general).

Originally Posted by AZ Travels the World View Post

In response to your other points (and others here) though, I am somewhat optimistic about things based on this analyst conference call statement by Scott Kirby, who is currently President and COO of US and will have the same role in the merged company:

"We will be a global carrier and will need to reflect such. Our direct competitors will be Delta and United. To that point, our product will be equal, if not better than that of Delta or United."

Parker has consistently echoed the same theme. To be that competitor, I don't believe the new AA can adopt much of what US got away with as an also-ran competitor. "Equal, if not better than Delta and United" doesn't look like the US approach to SWUs; it doesn't look like no meals until the flight crosses 3.5 hours; it doesn't allow you to be last place in award redemption; it requires a CME product across the fleet. I think they'll do all those things more like AA (UA and DL) does them now.

...

What these guys do, very consistently, is make financial decisions. They always have. And we can expect them to do the same at the new AA. I don't believe they have any interest in making the new AA look like the old US. Except in cases where there is a compelling financial argument -- all things considered -- to do so.
^^^^ Best analysis I've read in months on FT!
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Old Dec 2, 13, 10:48 am
  #56  
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Interesting post by Freq. Biz. Traveler this morning.. They're saying that on Sep. 1, all new US planes will have the AA hard product.

There are two additional key dates later in the year, according to people familiar with the matter. On April 1, US Airways will adopt American’s meal windows and catering, and on September 1, the US Airways soft product (i.e. in-flight service) will mirror American’s. Also by that date, new aircraft being delivered to US Airways will have the new AA interiors.
I assume this includes IFE?

http://www.frequentbusinesstraveler....light-service/
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Old Dec 2, 13, 11:07 am
  #57  
 
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I'm mostly looking forward to getting Admirals Clubs at TPA and BUF.

Also, AA forces everyone in AUS through DFW, which isn't bad, but lately I've been finding that flights out of AUS are ridiculously expensive and it appears to be the AUS-DFW legs that drive the price up, especially in the past few months. I'm hopeful that connection options in PHX and CLT provide some relief.

That said, I need to go to Utah in February and AA wants $700 for AUS-SLC when every other carrier is < $400. I'm debating buying a USAir ticket and being hopeful that by time I fly there will be some reciprocal AAdvantage program or at minimum my EQM on US Air would ultimately help for my 2014 qualification. Does anyone have a gut feel on that? I heard some rumor that in early 2014 they were going to start merging the FF programs, and I recall when UAL and CO first merged, my friends were able to collect mileage on both programs and then later they got consolidated together, etc.
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Old Dec 2, 13, 11:15 am
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January 7 has been bantered about (by Kirby himself) as the date of Frequent Flyer combination, in some way (no idea if it just means redemption on eachother, or reciprocal elite benefits, etc).

But it is 100% guaranteed that if you fly on US in 2014 when they finally merge the Frequent Flyer programs (assuming it happens in 2014), your AA & US numbers will merge.

I'm in the same boat having to visit a client that only has US/DL... and apparently its verboten to fly into the competing airport when your client is an airport...LOL. I'm guessing I get to experience US for the first time in 6 years, when I was an US Express employee.

Originally Posted by BrianV View Post

That said, I need to go to Utah in February and AA wants $700 for AUS-SLC when every other carrier is < $400. I'm debating buying a USAir ticket and being hopeful that by time I fly there will be some reciprocal AAdvantage program or at minimum my EQM on US Air would ultimately help for my 2014 qualification. Does anyone have a gut feel on that? I heard some rumor that in early 2014 they were going to start merging the FF programs, and I recall when UAL and CO first merged, my friends were able to collect mileage on both programs and then later they got consolidated together, etc.
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Old Dec 2, 13, 11:20 am
  #59  
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Originally Posted by imapilotaz View Post
January 7 has been bantered about (by Kirby himself) as the date of Frequent Flyer combination, in some way (no idea if it just means redemption on eachother, or reciprocal elite benefits, etc).
Kirby said this in an interview with Frequent Business Traveler:
January 7 will be “a big day for us,” Kirby told Frequent Business Traveler in an interview earlier this month. “We will become a single airline or at least take the first step of becoming a single airline [on that day, and] offer reciprocal frequent flyer benefits,” he added.

Kirby also told Frequent Business Traveler that there was a “silver lining” to the delay that followed the Department of Justice’s antitrust suit that will result in a “more seamless customer interface” on January 7. . .

Last edited by AZ Travels the World; Dec 2, 13 at 2:02 pm Reason: Provide specific quote
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Old Dec 2, 13, 11:22 am
  #60  
 
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Originally Posted by ty97 View Post
Has anyone come across a list of airports that US serves but AA doesn't (and vice versa)? That would interesting to peruse.
Answering (partly) my own question. I was hoping to find a list US served airports with no AA service (and vice versa). Having been unsuccessful thus far in my searches, I did find an interactive map on the merger site that indicates US / AA /shared airports.

http://newamericanarriving.com/customers/more-flights/

As expected, AA will add some small and medium sized airports in the Northeast and Southeast (blue dots - US only airports). I was surprised how weak US service is in a broad swath of the middle of the country though. (red dots - AA only airports)
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