Tomorrow, US Airways disappears as a brand. It joins AirTran, Aloha, Continental, Midwest Express, Northwest, TWA as airline brands that have all disappeared since 2001. The largest airlines in the US have contracted to just three large carriers: American, Delta and United.
US first flew in 1939 as mail carrier All American Aviation, adding passenger traffic in 1949. In 1953 it became Allegheny Airlines, a name it carried until the deregulation era of 1979 when USAir was adopted.
I criss crossed continental United States with US Airways on a range of aircraft, between 2003 and 2012, mostly in coach. I often transited through their Charlotte hub -so much so that I think I memorised the retail and food outlet layout! I hopskotched through lots of their Eastern ports, flying as far North as Portland, Maine, into Houston in the South and San Francisco in the West.
Overall, my experiences of US Airways were adequate. While I encountered many friendly staff across their system, I never had a wow experience with them. By the same token, I never had a disastrous experience. To be frank, their Business Class product was one of the worst I have ever encountered and they, at one point, eliminated all complimentary drinks in Coach. Overall, I rated them 3.3 out of 5, a slightly higher rating than the one I gave their merger partner American!
- Virgin America: 4.8/5 (based on overall experience from booking to luggage collection)
- JetBlue: 4.8
- Southwest: 4.5
- Alaska: 4.4
- Delta: 4.1
- United: 3.4
- US Airways: 3.3
- American: 2.9
Their product is not one, I will really miss. In fact, US Airways for many years, ranked the highest for customer service complaints. In 2011, they were listed as one of “The 19 Most Hated Companies In America“, along with American Airlines. In February, 2013, those two airlines announced their merger. Several groups took legal action to prevent the merger -none of which succeeded in its halting.
The merger has taken place in stages – not with some big bang. Last year, US Airways planes began to adopt the American Airlines livery. Their frequent flyer program Dividend Miles was absorbed into American’s AAdvantage program in March of this year.
The Federal Aviation Administration granted a single operating certificate for the two carriers in April, 2015. At this time, all US Airways planes were transferred over to American Airlines.
The last US Airways branded flight flight will be US 1939 (note the signifcance with their first year of operation) departing tonight Friday October 16. It will travel Philadelphia to Charlotte to Phoenix to San Francisco. It will return as a redeye from San Francisco to Philadelphia arriving as American Airlines at 6:18 a.m. on Saturday.
Staff will be moving through airports, over the weekend, replacing the remaining US Airways signage. The US Airways website also go “dark” and will automatically direct all visitors to American’s aa.com. More challenging, this weekend, will be the integration of the USAirways ticketing and reservations unit.
The US Airways mobile app will be disabled by 18 October.
The merged airline is now the world’s largest airline with about $40 billion in operating revenue. Over 100,000 employees support a fleet of almost 1000 planes which make over 6,700 flights daily to 336 airports in 56 countries worldwide.
Frankly, the only reason I would fly them is because of my OneWorld status. Making the entity a pleasant experience for customers will be the next challenge of the merger. To create an airline, that is really missed would be an excellent outcome of this merger.