US Airways No Longer Exists, the Government Now Considers All Flights to Be on American

American and US Airways have merged and now are officially one airline to the government, with a single operating certificate.

As of Wednesday, both airlines will use the “American” call sign when pilots communicate with air traffic controllers. US Airways’ last “Cactus” flight was scheduled to leave London Heathrow Airport at 3 a.m. Wednesday and land in Philadelphia around 11:40 a.m. the same day. US Airways inherited “Cactus” from America West Airlines in its 2005 merger.

Before midnight last night, all US Airways departures used its own legacy codes. After midnight in the US they started using American codes.

This is something that doesn’t directly change the customer experience at all. Flights are still being marketed as US Airways, and the US Airways reservation system and website still exist. But it’s a necessary step to be able to complete the rest of the customer-facing elements of the merger.

Interestingly, Southwest didn’t paint Airtran planes in its own livery until they had a single operating certificate. American has been repainting US Airways aircraft for three quarters of a year already.

There’s already just a single frequent flyer program, but the two airlines operate differently with benefits like upgrades continuing to work differently even for the same people with the same status but across two carriers.

Nonetheless, if American offered ‘channel 9’ customers onboard would hear their US Airways flights referred to by air traffic control as American. Because even though we’ll keep calling them US Airways for several more months — the government will not.

Next up for customers is the single reservation system in the fall. At that point the two airlines really will be one for all intents and purposes, since everything will ‘work like American’ regardless of the planes and crews that you’re flying on.

And then the US Airways website will be decommissioned, which can’t come soon enough.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. How does that impact the companion ticket conditions? Can I book an American flight with the companion ticket or no?

  2. I will never understand why the US Air website is so hated. Yes, it didn’t show partner airlines for award tickets, but every other facet of the site is superior to American’s.

  3. I’m a huge fan of US Airways website. Love that it shows Economy/Full Fare Economy/First/Full Fare First

  4. There isn’t any flight leaving LHR at 3:00AM
    And if there would be it’s would of arrive early morning hours in to PHL

  5. I would assume it’s refers to US774 which is scheduled to depart London at 8:20AM local time (3:20AM EST) and arrive 11:40AM EST

  6. What does this mean for crediting AA/US flights to Alaska? The Mileage Plan website has a list of eligible flight numbers (presumably corresponding to legacy AA), with a note that says “Flights operated by US Airways are not eligible for mileage accrual.” But if all flights are now technically operated by American, shouldn’t they all be eligible for Alaska credit?

  7. To follow up on the above:

    Gary, you mentioned that the companion fare/companion pass doesn’t work on AA. But it seems like this article says that there is no more US, just AA.

    So does that mean our US companion pass is invalid now? I thought the airline would mentioned something to the credit card holders if all the companion passes were dead.

    If the passes are worthless now, should we ask for some compensation? Or keep trying to redeem the passes?


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