As I noted in my “This Week” post, I had planned to write this before we learned some new information from AAdvantage Geek on Monday. And that new information is good news, and makes me even more confident that some of the frequent flyer worry about American Airlines and US Airways is overblown. We learned in an interview with incoming AAL President Scott Kirby by Frequent Business Traveler that:
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.
American and US will slowly begin to align their product offerings, including meals, in-flight entertainment, and seating. The merged airline will use the current American product as its template and, as a result, the current US Airways product will be greatly enhanced to ensure uniformity across both airlines until they are merged under one operating certificate.
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.
This is, of course good news. That said, enhancing revenues at the new combined airline will be a key to the success of all this. While I believe that there are likely some expenses that can be trimmed from the airline, it appears at least for now, that the airline’s new managers are approaching things from the perspective of bringing things up to a better level of service, and not down to a cheaper level of service. I will admit it here if I turn out to be wrong, but I have thought all along, and continue to believe that the new American’s incoming management team knows that they are going to be running a very different airline. That they managed to keep the cobbled together US Airways operating as a going concern is a minor miracle, and as a lifelong airline geek, I’m anxious to see what they can do with a bigger, and hopefully better airline.
MJ, December 4, 2013