American Airlines will transfer US Airways passenger bookings to the American reservations system the weekend of July 18, for travel beginning 90 days later, on Oct. 17.
Airport check-in kiosks, gates, and ticket counters will get new American signage. The US Airways website will disappear at that time, American announced Friday, a key step in blending the two airlines under their 2013 merger agreement.
Philadelphia International Airport is a hub for US Airways and American, which operate 460 daily flights and have 77 percent of the air travel market here.
"On Oct. 17, we are going to be one airline for our customers," Maya Leibman, American's chief information officer, said on a conference call. "There's nothing for customers to do; they don't need to call reservations."
US Airways flights will become American flights effective Oct. 17. Only the letter code on the reservation will change: AA instead of US.
Departure times and flight schedules will remain the same.
While the flights will be American, the planes might still say US Airways. It won't be until late 2016 that all US Airways and US Airways Express aircraft will be repainted with the American logo.
Once flights are transferred in mid-July, passengers with reservations after Oct. 17 will receive an e-mail alert that their US Airways flight has been rebranded AA. After Oct. 17, passengers trying to book flights on the US Airways website will be redirected to the American website aa.com.
Getting to a single reservation system is among the most complex steps in the December 2013 merger deal that created the world's largest airline with 100,000 employees and 6,700 daily flights.
American has taken a phased-in approach, rather than an overnight switch in hopes of avoiding the computer problems that have plagued United Airlines since its merger in 2010 with Continental Airlines.
The combined Americanus Airways, from mid-July to mid-October, will migrate reservations from US Airways' SHARES electronic data system to American's Sabre system. The "drain down" period over 90 days, Leibman said, will mean only about 4 percent of the combined airlines' passenger records will have to be switched. That's because most passengers book flights within 90 days of travel.
American wants to avoid the operational and customer service problems that occurred when US Airways and America West merged in 2005. When the reservations system switch occurred on March 4, 2007, Philadelphia's dominant airline was nearly brought to a halt. Passengers could not check in for flights, and many flights were canceled. Travelers had check-in and reservation problems for days.
Asked if theInternet router failure that briefly grounded United flights for nearly two hours on Wednesday could bring American's computer systems down, Leibman said: "We have redundancy, and high availability, and disaster recovery for all our vital and critical systems and our infrastructure."
"One thing we've learned," she said, "in all things, you need to go back and triple-check and quadruple-check to make sure you are as ready to go as you possibly can be."
Referring to computer problems that also temporarily disrupted the New York Stock Exchange, and the Wall Street Journal this week, Leibman said: "No technology leader can stand up and say with 100 percent certainty that nothing is ever going to happen to them."