I offer this wish for the US Airways-American Airlines merger in today’s USA Today: respect your customers and don’t make short-sighted decisions at their expense.
- We can expect them to retain American’s IT infrastructure. That’s important. Integration of computer systems means pain for passengers. It can mean less pain (Ameriacn’s system), or a whole lot more (the US Airways system).
- Don’t dismantle American’s premium product. US Airways tried to charge for water in coach back in 2008. US Airways doesn’t serve meals in first class on 3 hour flights. US Airways has less legroom upfront and no extra legroom seating. Turning American into US Airways will chase away customers and cost higher-revenue business travelers and corporate contracts.
- Be honest with your customers. Don’t promise them “changes you’re going to like” the way United did before taking away upgrades from million mile flyers, reducing bonus miles for elite frequent flyers, and increasing ticket change fees.