American-U.S. Air merger: How will it affect your travel plans?

Posted at: 02/18/2013 4:31 PM
Updated at: 02/18/2013 5:54 PM
By: Christine VanTimmeren

American Airlines and  U.S Airways have announced they plan to merge. So will that affect your future travel plans with  either airline and will it cost you more to fly?

Right now, Delta Airlines is the largest carrier in Rochester, but after these two airlines merge, the company will be a close second.

If you already have travel plans with either airline., officials say you will not see any changes to your existing reservations. You can continue to book, track and manage flights using their websites.  They have great pages set up answering some of the most common questions travelers have about the merger.
Another big airline merger is in the works. The last two being the Delta-Northwest merger and the United-Continental merger. Now it's American Airlines and U.S.  Airways turn.. And just like with the other two, travelers have questions.

The biggest question of course, will ticket prices go up? The answer depends on where you fly out of. Rochester Airport Director Mike Giardino says because Rochester isn't a large hub for either airline and because other low cost airlines are here, the competition should keep prices where they are.

Question 2: What happens to frequent flier miles? The answer is existing miles will be honored. Each airline has a separate mileage program right now and until the merger closes those programs will still exist.
And finally, will we see more or fewer routes after the merger? Here in Rochester, you probably won't see much of a change if any. There's the possibility that we may see more routes but at this time it's hard for officials to know.
Mike Giardino, Monroe County Airport Director, said, “About the same service here in Rochester and I believe this opens up for each other's customers, more routes and more destinations because of the synergies that are built.”

There is one change that could happen if the merger goes through. Right now, when you come in on the west side of the airport, U.S. Airways is the first ticket counter you come to and this whole concourse area was created for them and they have four ticket counters. American Airlines is on the other end and they have one ticket counter. So there's a possibility American airlines could come over to this side and occupy a lot more space than they do now.

If the two airlines merge, does it mean our airport will be looking for another carrier to replace U.S. Airways? Giardino says it's his jobs to always be looking for new carriers.  Right now he can't tell us any names specifically, but he says if the demand is there for a carrier, he will do what he can to bring it here.