American Airlines and US Airways Are Officially Merging. Here's What it Means.

American Airlines and US Airways Are Officially Merging. Here's What it Means.

Last month's unveiling of American Airlines' new logo and livery (er, paint job) was a prelude to this: the long-awaited, full-blown merger with US Airways.

The airlines are making it official this morning after their respective boards approved the $11 billion deal yesterday.

US Airways CEO Doug Parker will head the combined carrier, with AA chief Tom Horton relegated to the somewhat ceremonial position chairing the board of directors. For a year.

So, what does this all mean? A few quick points:

- The new American -- the US Airways name and logo will be phased out -- is back atop the list of world's largest airlines. It will stay headquartered in Fort Worth.

- Fares will likely go up, at least on some routes, as there are now fewer airlines competing for customers.

- All those frequent flier miles you've stockpiled should still be valid.

- American's famously bad relationship with labor, which was a big contributor to its performance woes, is smoothed over, at least for the time being.

- Some of American's 22,450 local employees will inevitably lose their jobs. How many is an open question at this point. Parker, according to WFAA, has said publicly that layoffs will be minimal, which is not to say zero.

- You will continue to be gouged by baggage and other ridiculous fees.

- The merger's going to take a year or two as American creditors and regulators approve the deal. And then, kumbayah.

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