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American, US Airways begin combination of reservation systems

An American Airlines Boeing 757 taxis past a U.S. Airways Airbus A-321 jet at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. (Star-Telegram/Rodger Mallison)
An American Airlines Boeing 757 taxis past a U.S. Airways Airbus A-321 jet at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. (Star-Telegram/Rodger Mallison) Star-Telegram

The countdown to the end of US Airways has begun.

American Airlines, which merged with US Airways in 2013, told frequent flier customers on Friday morning that the last US Airways flight will depart on Oct. 16. All flights on the airline the next day will be American flights.

The Fort Worth-based carrier will also start migrating any reservations on US Airways flights scheduled on or after Oct. 17 to American’s reservation systems this weekend.

Chief information officer Maya Liebman, who is overseeing the passenger reservation system integration, said it will take American employees all weekend to migrate the existing reservations as part of a “complex process.”

Customers who had already booked flights on US Airways in late October will receive an email from American with their new reservation number and new flight number. They will not notice any differences on US Airways’ website over the July 17 weekend when the migration occurs, she said.

“When we do the reservations migration, there is nothing for customers to do,” Liebman said. “There is no need to call reservations.”

Instead of combining American and US Airways’ reservations and transferring all the data overnight, American will slowly move the data or “drain down” the US Airways systems over the next 90 days. Customers and travel agents will still be able to book flights on US Airways’ website and through its reservation system as long as the flight is scheduled before October 17. If the flight the customer is trying to book is after that date, they will be redirected to American’s website.

By migrating data slowly, American hopes to avoid some of the computer problems airlines have had during technology transfers after a merger.

Leibman expects about 10 percent of current US Airways passenger reservations are for flights after October 17 and will need to be migrated this weekend.

On October 17, the US Airways website will no longer take reservations and all of the self-service kiosks in the airports will have American’s computer application on it. The mobile application that customers can use will also only be American’s starting on that date.

“The travel experience will be seamless, so they will be able to check in at any American counter rather than having to know to go to a US Airways counter,” said Kerry Philipovitch, American’s senior vice president for customer experience. She added that the company has hired 600 new airport agents and 1,300 reservation agents to help with the transition.

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