Last updated: 03:27 PM ET, Sat October 17 2015

Will AA and US Airways Reservation Systems Merger Cause Travel Headaches?

Impacting Travel | Michael Isenbek | October 17, 2015

Will AA and US Airways Reservation Systems Merger Cause Travel Headaches?

Photo via Twitter/AmericanAir

If precedent is any indicator, air travel hiccups aplenty could be the result when meshing the reservation systems of two merging airlines. But regarding this weekend’s American Airlines (AA)/US Airways reservation system synthesis, AA asserts that it’s ready.

As reported by ABC News, AA has emailed weekend fliers some advice to make the day go smoothly— check in before traveling to the airport, and utilize or the American app as far in advance as 24 hours to get your boarding pass. The carrier also said to use those online tools to check the terminal and gate, and for any sudden changes or notifications.

The total number of weekend flights wasn’t revealed, but a spokesperson told ABC News that 200 were eliminated across Saturday and Sunday “to simplify the schedule a little.”

American Airlines Group Inc., the name of the combined airlines, said in a statement via ABC News that it has spent 22 months since the 2013 merger "planning, preparing, testing and training for this Saturday." The group revealed that it has increased airport staff levels at airports by 20 percent, including an additional 350 IT technicians and 80 American Airlines airport agents helping out at US Airways hubs.

In addition to the extra personnel, there will be 24/7 command centers, all “focused on making this a seamless transition for customers.

"More than 50,000 employees have completed over one million hours of training. More than 9,000 computers and kiosks have been tested," the company said in the statement. "We’re committed to getting this right."

According to one expert, divine intervention may be needed for things to go perfectly. “If past is prologue, it will be a miracle if there aren't a few air pockets, if not immediately then later on,” George Hobica, founder, said to ABC News. “Airline reservation systems are notoriously antiquated and have been a poor stepchild when in past years scarce funds were allocated to other priorities.”

ABC News cited issues with IT system synthesis between US Airways and America West when they merged in 2005. Also passengers and employees experienced disruptions for weeks when United Continental Holdings Inc. combined systems in 2012 after a 2010 merger.

The news network did mention one “successful” reservations systems merger, per the Wall Street Journal, pulled off by Delta and Northwest Airlines in 2010.

In addition to the reservation system synthesis, American Airlines Group Inc. told ABC News that the US Airways app will be disabled Sunday and both airline frequent flier policies will be fully combined Saturday.


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