A US Airways Airbus A321 takes off from the carrier’s old Philadelphia hub this morning (Friday) on a cross-country, sentimental journey that will mark the disappearance of the US Airways brand and its full absorption into American Airlines.
Designated Flight 1939 — the year that the carrier started flying under the name All American Aviation — the memorial journey will arrive in Charlotte just after noon, then proceed to US Airways’ and America West’s former headquarters city of Phoenix; just after 5 p.m. it will take off for San Francisco. And tonight at 9:55, the aircraft will set off on its final leg, a red-eye from San Francisco back to Philadelphia.
The company will hold special events at the gate during each stop, and passengers on board will receive US Airways-branded cookies.
Travelers on the San Francisco-Philadelphia overnight segment will get special commemorative amenity kits and collectible coins with information about the final flight.
The original All American Airways was renamed Allegheny Airlines in 1953, reflecting the regional nature of its route network. In 1968, it acquired Lake Central Airlines and in 1972 it added Mohawk Airlines, making it one of the largest in the eastern U.S. The carrier adopted the name USAir in 1979, just after deregulation took effect, and it acquired other smaller airlines in the 1980s, including the much loved Pacific Southwest and Piedmont Airlines. (My first flight alone was on Piedmont; I flew from Atlanta to New Bern, NC to attend summer camp. I remember the red velvet cake 🙂
USAir started flying transatlantic in the 1990s; in 1997 it modified its name to US Airways, and it bought the assets of the Trump Shuttle after Donald Trump ended his short-lived foray into the airline business. In 2000, United announced plans to acquire the carrier, but faced with a variety of complexities and objections, it withdrew the offer in 2001. US Airways agreed to merge with America West in 2005, and in 2012 the merger deal with American Airlines was announced, with American as the surviving brand.
The US Airways name will disappear on Saturday, October 17, as its website comes down, all flights will get American Airlines flight numbers, and the two reservations systems will be merged.
On a flight through Atlanta today, I saw paper US Airways logos taped over new American logos that will be revealed tonight at midnight. In San Francisco, American flights will now depart from both Terminal 2 (current AA gates) and Terminal 1 (near Delta gates)– now connected by a post-security corridor.
Are you sad to see US Airways go? Or not? Please leave your comments below.
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