USAir, AA planes at Washington on the morning of their 2013 merger. That was the easy part...
Now that American/USAir is past the legal hurdles, tidied up labor contracts, and merged the loyalty programs, they're ready for the big one: merging the reservations systems. That's the one that deviled Delta/Northwest and caused huge headaches for United/Continental—but AA is pretty sure it has the plan that will work.
Reservation systems are a real key to operations, from the ticket sales end to airport check-in, with inventory control and pricing along the way. When they go bad, everything stops. AA Chief Doug Parker could tell his own miserable tale about that; he was at the helm during an attempted abrupt midnight switch when USAir and America West merged.
Here's how American's plan, which has been in the planning stage for nearly two years now, will work, once the change-over starts in July.
- All new tickets sold once the change-over starts will be sold through the AA system, even if booked through the USAirways site (which will remain up until the process finishes) or flown on USAirways planes (repainting takes time!)
- Existing USAir reservations for flights within the 90-day transition period won't see any changes at all.
- Existing USAir reservations for dates past the 90-day transition will be changed to AA reservations, and the passengers notified—but there won't be any change in confirmation codes or anything else.
At the 90-day mark, USAir check-in counters, websites and the rest will go away, and (American hopes!) the busy Thanksgiving and Christmas travel seasons will come off after a hitch. Based on a July start, the transition should be done by October.
USA Today has MORE details.