But don’t expect any major changes overnight.
For the time being, the two airlines will be run separately– separate reservation systems, separate websites, separate loyalty programs.
In January, frequent fliers will be able to earn and redeem miles in either of the two airline’s FF program. Lounge access will also be reciprocal.
On March 31, USAir will leave the Star Alliance and join OneWorld.
It will take anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 years to fully merge the two carriers. At that time the name USAir will disappear and the new airline will simply be known as American Airlines.
The merger also means that AA has exited bankruptcy. Shares of the new airline will be traded on NASDAQ under the symbol AAL.
Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW)will remain the largest hub of the new airline, as well as the location of corporate headquarters, and Charlotte (CLT) becomes the carriers second largest hub.
One consequence of the merger is that the combined airline lost over a dozen gate slots at LaGuardia (LGA) airport in NY. They went to Southwest Airlines and Virgin America.
On a personal level, AA is my main carrier in terms of FF miles. I’m glad to see the extra cities that will be available via OneWorld. However, I also get the feeling that the new combined FF program will have higher mileage redemption levels and less capacity.