The Department of Justice and American/US Airways Have Brought in a Mediator

From Terry Maxon

US Airways, American Airlines and the U.S. Department of Justice disclosed Monday that they’ve picked a mediator to see if they can resolve any or all issues in the DOJ lawsuit seeking to block the air carriers’ merger.

…It is common in lawsuits for judges to urge the warring parties to present their cases to a mediator in hopes of resolving the issues before trial.

It always seemed as though anti-trust issues could be settled by the parties outside of Court – that this proposed merger proposed far fewer competitive issues than most in aviation; that divesting some slots at Washington National plus some unspecified vague promises would get government buy-in.

The lawsuit was a surprise, not just to me (as someone who hoped the merger wouldn’t happen) but virtually everyone in the airline industry I’ve spoken to. And there never seemed to be much int he way of conversations or a path towards an amicable resolution.

This process, standard and suggested by the Court, could amount to nothing but is at a minimum now a path towards an outcome other than each party rolling the dice on all or nothing.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Interesting development, thanks. Do you have any updated info. regarding when USAir might pull the plug on Star Alliance award bookings?

  2. Well, this should afford DOJ the opportunity to save face. My guess is that the mediator will lean on AA/US to give up rights at slot controlled airports, especially DCA. I am left to wonder whether they will be expected to give up a certain number of slots or whether they will be expected to give up lucrative, in demand, city pairs.

  3. @Steve… I think they are working on that now!!!
    We just booked a LH BOS-MUC-FRA-DUB and US DUB-PVD Economy flight for May 2014. There was NOTHING for First or Business Class from May to Sept. NO UA, Swiss at all, unless you want to use 2X the points. We only were able to get to DUB via the Germany Airport jumps because of a great US award rep after a number of calls and some great thinking on my part. Now we just need to get into the LH bus lounge for a 9 hr layover in MUC

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