• Airline mergers don’t always mean higher prices

    The merger of American Airlines and US Airways creates the largest airline in the world. (Photo illustration with photo by Sergey Kustov, US Airways file photo)

    The merger of American Airlines and US Airways creates the largest airline in the world. (Photo illustration with photo by Sergey Kustov, US Airways file photo)

    The merger between US Airways and American Airlines was officially announced today as moving forward.

    A lot of the impact on the passenger is yet to be determined, however. We can certainly suppose overlapping flights will be eliminated as the airlines harmonize their schedules, potentially reducing seats available in some markets.

    We can’t get into specifics until the airlines do. But your instinct is likely to presume that your ticket costs will increase, and that may not be the case. In fact, a recent study by Topaz International suggests it’s not nearly as simple as the conventional wisdom would suggest.

    After analyzing the last three U.S. airline mergers, the Topaz study suggests that while rates generally rise when traveling from hub to hub, it’s impossible to draw any reliable overarching conclusion from studying fare changes.

    Official news releases
    More info from American Airlines
    More info from US Airways

    Also yet to be determined are how the airlines will combine their frequent flyer programs.

    Regardless of whether you are a traveler or a travel manager, if you or your company don’t fly along a lot of the routes that US Airways and American Airlines currently share, then you shouldn’t see as much of an increase.

    There are just 12 non-stop routes where the two overlap. Between the two airlines, they carry a lot of traffic between Charlotte-Dallas, Charlotte-Miami, Phoenix-Dallas, Philadelphia-Dallas, Philadelphia-Miami, Washington (Reagan National)-Nashville and Washington (Reagan National) to Raleigh-Durham. They also both fly from Charlotte to LaGuardia, Charlotte to Chicago (O’Hare), Phoenix to Los Angeles and Philadelphia to Chicago.

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