BE IN THE KNOW

February 14 2013

US Airways and American Merge

By David McMillin, Staff Writer

Add another airline merger to the list.

Today, American Airlines and US Airways announced that the two companies have struck a deal that will unite the two well-known airlines under the umbrella of the American brand. Over the past few years, travelers have seen plenty of similar mergers in the aviation industry, including the United-Continental merger, the Delta-Northwest deal and the Southwest acquisition of Airtran.

Meeting professionals are constantly on the go, so here are a few key pieces of information you should know about the merger.

1) This Isn’t Quite Official Yet.

While the Boards of Directors of each company agreed to the terms of the deal, this merger has quite a few other tests to pass before it’s official. Since American has already declared bankruptcy, the deal will need to be approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, along with the blessings of the Department of Transportation and the US Justice Department. US Airways shareholders will also need to approve the deal.

All signs point to the merger’s approval, but that may not actually happen until the third quarter of 2013. Even after that, the transition will take time.

2) Your Frequent Flier Miles Are Safe.

If you’ve flown your way to elite status on either airline, do not fear: that status isn’t going away.

“At this time, there are no changes to the frequent flyer programs of either airline as a result of the merger agreement,” a release from American states. “All miles in both programs will continue to be honored.”

3) Less Competition Will Impact Your Costs.

With fewer competitors, prices of flights are naturally expected to increase in the future. However, with the approval requirements and transition time, those costs shouldn’t rise dramatically anytime soon. In 2013, statistics already show that airfare costs will rise.

4) Less Competition Will Mean More Convenient Connections.

The routes of the two existing companies will represent an easier way for travelers to get from point A to point B without dealing with a layover in point C. The merger will offer more than 6,700 flights to 336 destinations in 56 countries, which will mean that travelers will benefit from the most service across the East Coast and Central US and the expanded hubs of Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Charlotte and Washington, D.C. 

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