Back in May I explained American’s ingenious path to combine to a single reservation system with US Airways.
That process begins next Saturday, July 18.
American begins the process of moving US Airways flights and reservations over to become American Airlines flights and reservations. It’s a 90 day process, so October 17 there will no longer be US Airways flights.
Starting next weekend, US Airways flights October 17 onward will be moved over to American’s reservation system. (They ran a test last month.)
And reservations that are already booked for travel on those flights will be moved over as well. They will have only American flight numbers and they will receive new American (Sabre) reservation numbers.
Only 10% of bookings are made over 90 days in advance. That means there will be a very small number of reservations that have to be migrated over to the American system.
Over the next 90 days beginning next weekend nearly all existing US Airways reservations will be flown and don’t have to get migrated.
What you need to know:
- Once a reservation has been migrated American will send out an email with a new confirmation number. Travel agency, including online agency, bookings will take a little bit longer to migrate (since the issuing agency needs to make updates to the booking). Those should show up online by July 20.
- American’s seat assignment, same day change, and pre-order meals for premium cabins will apply to these former US Airways flights. If you weren’t able to get a free premium seat from US Airways as an elite, once the flight moves over to American that should change!
- These former US Airways flights will not offer complimentary upgrades to Gold and Platinum elite frequent flyers unless they’re under 500 miles.
- If everyone on a former US Airways itinerary is eligible for a complimentary upgrade on domestic flight segments then upgrades will be auto-requested. That means Executive Platinums and all elites for flights up to 500 miles. Any upgrades you want for companions, or where upgrades aren’t complimentary (eg requite 500 mile upgrade certificates) will need to be requested.
- For US Airways flights October 17 onward you’ll be able to waitlist for international upgrades (currently upgrade space is available or it isn’t and there’s no waitlisting).
The day the American-US Airways merger was announced, Doug Parker said clearly that they would learn from the reservation systems migrations of other mergers — this meant the disasters of US Airways/America West and United/Continental (where the smaller carrier’s system was adopted) and the relatively more successful integration of Delta/Northwest.
They made the choice of American’s reservation system official in January of last year but at the time said the transition could take ‘up to 2 years’.
For at least a year they’ve talked about avoiding a “knife’s edge” approach. They haven’t done a cutover of everything at once. This has lengthened the cutover process, but helps minimize risks. For instance they’ve already sunsetted the US Airways Dividend Miles program and transitioned everyone into American AAdvantage, and replaced US Airways account numbers with AAdvantage numbers in reservations.
So far they’ve done a good job — relatively little customer inconvenience. This looks like a good plan, and I wish them luck that it continues smoothly!