Nothing stirs up emotions like questioning something about one’s favorite airline in the AA-US merger. I had the nerve to post my thoughts on one of the new AA meals last week. My favorite comment was “how much is Doug Parker paying you?” Ha! The new airline split the difference between legacy AA and legacy US Airways in the first class meal department. If you’re an old AA flyer, then you may be missing a meal you once had. On the other hand, if you’re ex-US, then you’re probably better off when it comes to first class meals.
There’s more to an airline than bad roast beef, and to be sure, the real work in merging these two airlines lies ahead. In my book, management has already passed one test by electing to move the combined airline into the SABRE system rather than trying to shoehorn a much larger airline into Shares. There’s even more. Your average customer doesn’t need to worry about Sabre DECS (that’s the ops dispatch system for AA), the crew scheduling software, payroll, etc. For most of us, all that matters is our reservations, and of course our miles. I’ll be watching and posting as the merger progresses.
But the purpose of my post and its cryptic headline? In the last couple of weeks I’ve had two separate conversations with two people I trust, one from legacy AA, the other legacy US. The AA conversation went something like this – “This place is turning into America West!” On the other hand, the US conversation surprised me a tiny bit – “With the exception of a few Airbus things, we’re going AA all the way on the operations side.” Perception is an interesting thing, and the contrast here entertained me. Could it be that managers really are (mostly) taking the time to pick the best ideas, policies, and procedures from either airline? Only time will tell, but it is kind of fun for this airline nerd to watch.
-MJ, October 1, 2014