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New American Airlines Debuts Changes For Customers

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) -  While American Airlines and U-S Airways are still operating as two separate airlines, they're now aligning a variety of services and programs for their loyal customers.

The initiative is called Customer Day One.

Brian Chunglo says, "I think it's great because I fly on both airlines quite a bit."

Starting Tuesday, those with frequent flier miles on each airline can earn and redeem miles when traveling on the other carrier.

Members of the airlines' airport club lounges can use lounges belonging to either American or U-S Airways.  The same is true for wi-fi passes.

The airport and web-check-in time frames are being aligned for both airlines.  And coming in several weeks, the two airlines will code-share flights giving travelers access to the other carrier's global network.

Chunglo says, "I think it's great because it has the resources of a larger company.  The more access to hubs and terminals give me more options."

Mark Drusch is a former executive at Delta and Continental Airlines.  He says the move by the newly combined airline makes perfect sense.

"The first step is to assure everybody that the mileage you earn in any program that can be used in the combined program. No one worries whether they should switch from one program to the other. So everybody does this as a first step that puts at ease the traveler."

American Airlines says it's also starting to bring the two airlines' airport ticket counters and gates together at some airports.

But that won't be the case at DFW Airport just yet.

Todd McDonald, a US Airways frequent flier is hoping it'll be a smooth transition.  "I guess the saying is bigger is better - we'll see."

This is just the beginning of the process as US Airways merges into American Airlines.

The challenging part will come in the next 18 to 24 months when both airlines will combine their operations and reservations systems.

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