If you were flying USAir or American this week as the merger was announced you undoubtedly heard all sorts of chatter. From flyers to employees, everyone had an opinion, including me.
I was at the airport and struck up a conversation with a gate agent. As we were chatting (not about the merger) I noticed that he had pinned a set of AmericanAirlines wings above the USAir logo on his shirt. He was very excited about the merger, all the new routes that would open up to USAir flyers and the positive changes that were sure to come.
I heard from a pilot who was excited as well because he's based in an American Airlines hub city and the merger might mean less shuttle flights for him.
Onboard the airplane I noticed all the flight attendants were wearing a pin I hadn't seen before, or at least never paid attention to. I asked one flight attendant what the pin signified. She told me it was their union pin and they were wearing it in protest of the merger.
One particular flight attendant on my flight was none too happy about the merger and took every opportunity possible to mention it. Dear Flight Attendant, the wall between you and the customer in row 1 is not sound proof. We can hear hear you! This crew member must have said “I'm way too old for this” about 5 times. That didn't really instill a sense of security in me. If she's too old for a merger, is she too old for an emergency landing?
Once the flight took off she literally sat in her jump seat and read her Kindle the whole flight. Even when the passengers were told to turn off electronic devices. If I had been one of the other flight attendants I would have made an official complaint about her (and as a side note, I did email the Chairman Liaison with her name, flight # and other pertinent information)
There was a woman sitting next to me who was a Platinum Divedend Miles Member who was very unhappy about the merger because she hates flying through Dallas/Fort Worth. Seemed like an odd reason to dislike the merger, but ok, she's entitled to that opinion.
The gentleman sitting across the aisle from me was thrilled that the New American would be in the OneWorld Alliance.
Me, I'm mostly excited and there's only a few things I'm slightly sad about. I'm a little bummed that I'll lose out on Star Alliance awards with airlines like Singapore, Asiana, Lufthansa and Thai. But that's it. There are way more things that I'm excited about. As a US Airways Chairman, I'm happy to see the great communication from US Air and the resources online for additional information.
Later in the week I'll share a post called “If I were Doug Parker” outlining what I'd love to see happen for frequent flyers.
While there are lots of opinions and emotions running on high, I am excited to see what the future of The New American Airlines holds.