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Why Today is Such a Big Deal for the American Airlines and US Airways Merger

January 7, 2014 at 3:57 PM | by | ()

The merger of American Airlines and US Airways to create the largest airline the world may have officially taken place on December 9, 2013, but today is almost more of a big deal for frequent flyers of either airline.

January 7, 2014 will go down in the new merged airline's history for two reasons:

1. Miles and benefits work with both frequent flyer programs

For now, both AA's AAdvantage and US Airways' Dividend Miles will function as separate programs, but ones that easily work with each other for reciprocal earning and benefits. Let's break it down:

· Earn and redeem AAdvantage or Dividend miles when flying either airline.
· Enjoy your frequent flyer benefits on both airlines.
· Access either AA Admirals Lounges or US Airways Clubs with your frequent flyer status on either airline, or by flying in a premium class on either airline.

For more details, American has created an informational website to answer any customer questions about their merger with US AIrways and upcoming operations.

2. American's A321 began flights

Furthermore, today marked the inaugural flight of American Airlines' brand new Airbus A321 aircraft. By June 2014, these shiny AA A321s will be flying between JFK and LAX up to 13 times a day, and 5 times between JFK and SFO. This is the domestic flagship of the "#newAmerican."

For a ton of photos and the specifics on why the A321 is such a big deal right now for transcontinental travelers, check out our feature story.

Seats are on sale now at AmericanAir.com from $359 roundtrip, but be sure to look for the "32B" in "aircraft type" before you click to book!

[Photos: Jaunted]

Archived Comments:

"Day One" V1 - Rotate - V2 - Climb

In 2005 on the first day of the merger U.S. Air shares were at $19.00 a share but in just 33 days shot up to $61.00. C.E.O. Doug Parker has always had a dream and he has been a quick study and effective leader. After creating America West his capable leadership placed that airline in the position to take over U.S. Air. The match proved lucrative. Next came attempts to merge with United but they were not compatible so he moved on next to take a shot at combining with Delta. The Delta employee backlash put an end to that very quickly. It was no surprise that when American announced it was posting its huge loss ($436 million) that Mr. Parker's promise that he had one more merger to make before his total vision would be complete. His original (1980's) employer would soon be his. After what the former C.E.O. (and oddly Mr. Parkers' cubicle mate in A.A.'s Finance Dept. at HQ in DFW) Tom Horton called, "A game of poker." A fully congenial agreement was made. This alone is rare and exceptional. Parker started with winning over Americans' employees. His bid for Delta, after his failed bid for United, caused Delta employees to become vociferously angry in their opposition. Parker had learned a lesson to win over the employees first. And a good thing for us that he succeeded because happy flight crews make for more pleasant flights. He did such a good job that the American Airlines employees made news as they protested against The Dept. of Justice when they tried to block the merger. Happy employees does equal a more pleasant flying experience for consumers. American, seeing the cliff ahead ordered 300+ A320 "fleet compatible" jets and new Regional Jets. With a bit more than a full year to put the new airline in order the New American has come to "Day One" with a smooth landing. The new airline colossus is now ready to take off. Consumers are already seeing that this merger is remaking the airline experience for all passengers. The competition to boast about new planes, new cabins, new services are most obvious as Delta strains to match Americans newest, youngest, most fuel efficient fleet. Delta has made one miscalculation. It will load 168 passengers into 757's while Americans' new A320s will carry 120 passengers. American will have less crowded gates and faster turn around times. Already Americans' stock (AAL)is nipping at Deltas' heels (DAL). The clock is ticking, it is inevitable that the new, improved, colossus that is the new American will overtake all of its direct Legacy competitors. American is ready for take off. The last call for investors has been announced. Now watch American really start to fly. Show message history