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December 08, 2013

Consumers can expect gradual changes after American-US Airways merger closes

New American 1With American Airlines and US Airways merging today to form the world’s largest airline, the best advice for travelers may be to simply carry on.

Many changes are coming in months ahead. But for travelers at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport and other airports nationwide, the differencesw will likely be subtle for a few months.

That should be good news during this holiday season, when the usual hustle and bustle experienced by frequent fliers is amplified by the presence of less experienced — and often stressed-out — leisure travelers.

“The first thing that we’re going to focus on is to make sure that, as we start to introduce changes, we do it in such a way that it is not at all disruptive to the customer. We’ll start doing some of that in early January,” said Ameriican’s Treasurer Beverly Goulet, who will be chief integration officer at the combined carrier. “We are focused and will continue to focus heavily on making sure that comes off without a hitch.”

For now, American, its partner American Eagle and US Airways will operate separately — although behind the scenes they’ll be under the same corporate umbrella, based in Fort Worth.

But at DFW and terminals worldwide, travelers can expect gradual changes beginning with the installation of a code-sharing system to coordinate bookings on either airline and integration of frequent-flier programs.

Overall, the merger will take an estimated 18 to 24 months to complete.

Click here to read a Q&A about what consumers can expect from the merger.

-Gordon Dickson

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