By now, you undoubtedly know that the United and Continental merger has officially closed and United Continental Holdings is now the parent company of both airlines. But that was actually the third most interesting story on Friday, and of those three, the merger actually has the least impact on you as a traveler. The other two, one involving American and the other Frontier, have the biggest immediate impact.
See, the merger closing means absolutely nothing for you as a passenger. Ok, maybe that’s not true. It did mark the start of free beer and wifi in United’s Red Carpet Clubs. Nothing else has happened to impact you yet. That’s all coming later, and I’m eagerly awaiting details on what will happen and when. But for now, it’s all a financial deal and that’s boring. Let’s talk about the other two.
Use BA miles on American Transatlantic Flights and Vice Versa
To paraphrase Vince Vaughn from his earlier, funnier days, British Airways and American are now all growns up. Friday marked the day that American AAdvantage members could earn and use miles on British Airways flights over the Atlantic.
To those who don’t fly American, this may sound insane. You United Mileage Plus members and Delta SkyMiles members have been able to do this with your European partners for years, but BA and American have always been a pain in the butt. They didn’t allow “earning and burning” on each other’s flights because they weren’t able to get antitrust immunity. Nothing like punishing your customers, but hey, that’s all behind us now, right?
And yes, I have proof this works. My parents had been waiting for the day to book a planned trip to Europe in March, and I called American first thing on Friday to put it on hold. The agents said they had been receiving a lot of calls, and they seemed pretty happy about that. I got the seats for my parents without any trouble. Happy day.
The reaction has been mixed in the mileage community, but as usual, I look to Gary Leff at View from the Wing for his opinions as an expert. There are some goodies in here for BA Executive Club members, but in general, this is a very welcome move (except for those pesky fuel surcharges).
Midwest is Finally Dead
It seems like such old news, but Friday also marked the official (in my mind) death of Midwest Airlines. Oh sure, it had been left for dead years ago, but up until Friday, you could still book a flight at midwestairlines.com on flights with the old YX code. On Friday, the switch was flipped and that was gone. This is all good news for travelers, and to celebrate, I’m bringing back an old favorite image.
I’m very happy about this one, because it means all reservations are on a single (Frontier) system now and there are no confusing crossover issues. I had all kinds of problems before with a Midwest record locator on a Frontier flight operated for Midwest or something like that.. It was just a mess. No more. Thank you.
This does not, however, mark the official end of the Midwest Airlines website. It’s still hanging around for Midwest Miles redemptions for now, but that’s about it. If you try to book a regular flight, it redirects you to frontierairlines.com.
I suppose it’s an appropriate end for Midwest. The airline had long ago been forgotten about by most people in the US, so the fact that its disappearance was overshadowed by other news is quite fitting. It is important to remember that the one thing most people remember about Midwest, the cookie, will continue to live on. So this is all good news, except for those people who used to work for the airline, I imagine.