The Travel Detective

Travel Detective Blog: US Airways American Airlines Merger Update & More

The Travel Detective looks at the latest headlines to examine the mergers, ancillary fees and aircraft changes that are happening and how they will impact you.

I’ve been following the dance between US Airways and American Airlines as US Airways tries to take over and America Airlines is trying to fight back as a stand-alone.

You may remember that 2 months ago US Airways went to the American unions and tried to make a deal in which they would lay off 6,000 employees instead of the projected 14,000 that American Airlines was going to lay off due to their bankruptcy. The American Union ended up siding with US Airways.

Then it moved on to the Creditors Committee, which will determine where they go. US Airways was getting more votes, so now America is trying to appeal to other members of the Creditors Committee to let them stand-alone and come out of bankruptcy on their own as a stronger individual carrier.

Under the bankruptcy deal, American Airlines has until October to get out of bankruptcy independently. But October isn’t that long away and we may see a vote from the Creditors Committee before then.  If it is against their favor then US Airways will win and it will still be called American Airlines but under US Airways management.

The news changes hourly on this one and this makes flyers nervous of what kind of airline it will be. And they’re right to worry. Name one merger where they added routes, improved service, and the fares went down.

Instead, mergers mean consolidation, cutting capacity, routes being eliminated, and fares going up, up, and away!

That’s not the only disturbing trend right now. Ancillary fees are continuing to creep in. Last year, travelers on U.S. carriers paid $3.36 billion in fees for carry-on and checked bags. Now United Airlines just increased the price of a checking in a second baggage to an aircraft for $100. It’s about to get better, or worse depending on your sense of humor: The Airbus is planning to offer wider seats for larger passengers and with that comes a new price tag.

Airbus has the 320 and it owes much of its success that it has wider seats and now its only going to make more money. By charging $10 for a premium seat for the larger people that will generate $3 million per plane. And mark my words, it only takes one airline to start it and then all the others will follow suit soon enough.

For more American Airlines history and ancillary fee reports, check out:

By Peter Greenberg for Peter Greenberg Worldwide