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American prepares for reservation system cutover

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

In less than a week, US Airways will disappear.

American Airlines, which merged with US Airways in 2013, plans to complete its passenger reservations systems integration on Friday so when customers arrive at the airport on Saturday, self-service kiosks will say American and signs will be converted to American.

“We have really tested the heck out of everything,” said American chief information officer Maya Leibman. “We are completely committed to get this right.

Leibman said the carrier trimmed its flight schedule by 200 flights on Saturday, mostly in former US Airways hubs, to make the transition easier on the gate agents and customer service representatives.

The last US Airways flight will depart from San Francisco at 9:55 p.m. on October 16 and will land in Philadelphia the next morning at 6:18 a.m. However, travelers will still see US Airways livery on planes as American said it will take until 2016 to repaint all of the aircraft in the US Airways fleet with the American livery.

Customers will no longer be able to use the US Airways mobile app to check-in or the airline’s website to book tickets. The US Airways website will redirect to American’s website on Saturday.

Instead of combining American and US Airways' reservations and transferring all the data overnight, American slowly moved the data or "drain down" the US Airways systems starting in July. By migrating data slowly, American hopes to avoid some of the computer problems that other airlines have had during technology transfers after a merger.

The company added 600 new airport agents and 1,300 reservation agents to help customers during the transition and installed 1,300 new computer kiosks at airports across its network. It also spent 1 million hours training over 50,000 employees on new computer programs for the reservations system cut over.

American also plans to have a 24-hour command center staffed by about 1,000 employees that can help mitigate any problems that might arise during the cut over. The center will be staffed from October 14 through October 27.

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk

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