Thoughts on the new American after US Airways flights

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On Monday, I flew MEM-CLT-LGA on US Airways. I’m Platinum with American for a couple more months unless I can boost my paid flying really quickly (prolly not gonna happen). As an aside before I begin, I think American is the only airline/status worth mileage running with/for at this point.

Checking in

I got a regular ol’ economy fare to fly home after Christmas (don’t remember what fare bucket). MEM-CLT is an hour and twenty minutes, while CLT-LGA is a tad over an hour. Suffice it to say I knew I’d survive.

When I went to check in on the US Airways mobile site, I saw something very curious as I verified my seat selection: First Class seats available for an extra $0. Of course I excitedly clicked it before I could get a screen shot. Then I saw this:

Is this even a question?

Is this even a question?

Now, I don’t really trust US Airways. Not totally. Their website always struck me as a little too bare bones to be completely reliable. So when I got my seats picked, I wasn’t going to believe it until I had the boarding passes in hand.

messing-with-me-futurama

2014-12-28 12.32.44

But sure enough, when I got to the airport the next day, the machine spit out First Class boarding passes. I don’t know why I was surprised, really. The new upgrade policy is in black and white on the US Airways website. I guess American has conditioned this Platinum to use upgrade stickers. I chided myself for not being more familiar with the policy, but also felt a little tepid about accepting these auto-upgrades as a new reality. Reminded me of when I’d get surprise upgraded on Delta back in the day.

BOOM

BOOM

(Oh and by the way, PreCheck in Memphis was awesome! Took 60 seconds to get through security.)

The flights

Now these were short flights on regional jets. I wasn’t expecting First Class to be any sort of production, just a better seat, mostly. And it was.

US Airways regional First Class seat

US Airways regional First Class seat

I liked how they provided blankets that had “American Airlines” sewn onto them. Starting to see aligning across the service details, like blankets and napkins. Good moves.

Branded blanket

Branded blanket

The food selection was just a snack basket, but I did help myself to one (or four) screwdrivers as I pondered this new merger and how it felt in practice.

First Class drinks

First Class drinks (on American napkins)

The crew was wonderful on both flights. Between the two, I had a chance to dip into the US Airways Club at CLT for literally five minutes while walking from the B to C terminal.

Then on CLT-LGA, I had another screwdriver and was gettin’ kinda turnt.

This is what "retaining composure" looks like

This is what “remaining composed” looks like (hopefully)

I got back to NYC just before dark AKA four-freaking-thirty to a beautiful sunset.

Sunset at N/Q Astoria Blvd station  in Queens

Sunset at N/Q Astoria Blvd station in Queens

Bottom line

These flights were my first paid flights as an American Platinum on US Airways.

I really liked the merger not only of the branding, but of the company culture. That was my fear when I first heard about all this merger business.

Seeing it all play out was fascinating, even on those two short flights. The service and experience were really great. More than anything, it gave me hope for the new American. I’m looking forward to one day comparing this experience to a busier route into/out of a hub (hopefully at DFW so I can go back to the American Express Centurion lounge there).

Many thanks to American for the upgrades. This is my first time thinking that maybe the kids will turn out alright.

Anyone else feeling one way or the other about American and US Airways starting to become one airline?

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Dallas.

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