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Mark Mercer

Expat aging sometime-ski-bum former corporate tool. Currently living in the beachside aging resort town of Atlántida in Uruguay. Sometimes skiing and teaching in Breckenridge, Colorado, USA. Location and velocity cannot be simultaneously observed.
Mark Mercer has written 41 posts for The Fuzzy Wanderer

Day One of the new American Airlines

Congratulations to the people of US Airways, American Airlines, and all who worked to build this new company, which came into existence a few hours ago: American Airlines Group.

Whether you supported this merger, were neutral, were ambivalent, or hated the idea, it’s now a done deal. One company. Let’s hope it succeeds, because there are real men and women working at it, and at its vendors, suppliers, agents, affiliates, whose income and households depend on their employment. There are shareholders of the new American Airlines stock, including retirement funds, and of both airlines’ debt instruments, again including retirement funds. So whether it’s bigger than you wanted, whether you love’em or hate’em, there are real people’s lives at play here. Both AA and US (the airlines of the new company) have made a lot of improvements recently, so I’m hopeful for them. I also have some friends who work for them, and that’s my “skin in the game” right there – I want my friends to continue to have jobs!

Now some important questions, and what’s known of the answers, and advice. I’m going to skip most of the common stuff, because you’re better off clicking the picture above, which will take you to the American Airlines website aa.com’s special merger info page, www.aa.com/arriving. Or to the USAirways.com version of the merger info page.

That’s your first lesson, right there. US Airways and American Airlines are still two entirely separate airlines. They have two entirely separate websites. Right now, they have absolutely nothing in common, except that as of early this morning, Dec. 9, 2013, they are now both owned by the same company. You buy US Airways tickets at usairways.com. You buy American Airlines tickets at aa.com. You check in, whether online or at the airport, at the appropriate American or US Airways location. Nobody from American Airlines (the airline itself) can yet help you with anything to do with a US Airways flight, ticket, reservation, frequent flyer account, payment issue, nor anything else. Nobody from US Airways can yet help you with anything to do with American. It will be that way for months. On some issues, possibly for a few years.

In other words, as a traveler about to head out on a business trip, or for holiday season vacations and family visits, absolutely nothing has changed. Continue reading »

First thoughts on the just-approved AA-US Merger

Not sure I like this. In fact, as a relatively experienced air traveler, pretty sure I don’t.

Need some background on the approval today? Try this NBC News story on the Justice Department coming to terms with American and US Airways.

US and AA planes showing their tailfin livery

US Airways and American Airlines planes. Click the image for the official “New American is Arriving” website.

I’m torn in a few directions on it. Continue reading »

Why you need to subscribe to airline fare deals

Most of the time, pretty much worthless. No cheaper than what you get directly at your airline website, or at one of the online travel agencies.

Once in a while, holy cow! My brother-in-law found a $352 USD all-in from New York City to Buenos Aires (EZE, their International Airport). I love living in Uruguay but it’s one of the most expensive ex-US airfares for the actual flight distance. Likewise, Buenos Aires, Argentina, where many Uruguay visitors arrive and then take the Buquebus ferry across the Rio de la Plata. Continue reading »

Finally good travel news! Death matches ended at Colosseum

The Guardian, along with other outlets, are reporting on a huge life-saver for travelers – no more dodging crazy Roman drivers on the road in the heart of the Eternal City between the “Wedding Cake” at Piazza Venezia, and the Colosseo.

The death matches, of course, are those of human vs. machine.

Woman bicycles past the Colosseum on a totally empty road, with one cab and one bus far behind her, no other traffic.

Photo from the Guardian article. Photograph: Riccardo De Luca/AP, all rights reserved.

Rome bans cars on road to Colosseum as part of pedestrianisation plan | World news | theguardian.com.

Now, it will be only human vs. a few machines – Roman buses and Roman taxicabs. Given what I’ve experienced of Roman bus and cab drivers, I still don’t give the humans much of a chance. Continue reading »

United giving up in South America?

Wow, this is a shock. According to various reports, including Flyertalk.com member “JOSECONLSCREW28”, a United (sCO, the “Continental” internal subsidiary that is still a separate operating division) flight attendant, UA is killing off the East Coast US-to-Argentina flight, leaving only a Texas-Argentina flight. They are just bailing out and giving up.

United Fleet Site banner

If you’re a serious flight geek, you can find more details of United cutbacks, including this one, on the United Fleet Site, an unofficial website that I believe he (and others) maintain. Continue reading »

Visiting Uruguay? Get the only dedicated English guidebook.

Great resource for visitors & expats! New revised 2nd version! All other Uruguay English-language guidebooks are just re-prints of Uruguay chapters of general South America or Argentina guides. This Bradt guide is a full-length all-Uruguay guidebook.

Visiting Colorado? Get the best guide to Breckenridge!

Written by former Breckenridge Historical Society guide Lisa Marie Mercer.

Books by Travel & Fitness Writer Lisa Marie Mercer

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