Atlanta is one of the most challenging airports in the country to navigate. Along with Denver, it has some of the consistently worst TSA experiences. And traffic into the airport can approach LAX levels of backup at peak times. There’s one way, though, that the Atlanta airport has just gotten better for American Airlines passengers.
US Airways and American agreed to merge in February 2013, and the merger closed in December 2013 with US Airways management taking over the airline. That set off a long string of work to integrate the two carriers.
In reality they were merging three airlines, because the work to combine America West and US Airways never finished. Those two carriers were still operating separately, as US Airways East and US Airways West.
They got onto a single operating certificate. They merged US Airways Dividend Miles into American AAdvantage (while following US Airways plans for a revenue-based program). They combined pilot and flight attendant seniority lists, and transitioned to a single maintenance platform.
But that’s not all of the work that had to happen. Going into 2023, a decade later, it still wasn’t done. American Airlines and US Airways had separate airport operations, and different gates, in 140 locations. Atlanta was the final station to consolidate gates and that’s just happened.
American Airlines has 7 gates on the T Concourse in Atlanta, and they’re all contiguous now, and aligned with the airline’s lounge as well. Their flights, though, are limited as a result of the Northeast Alliance with JetBlue, which has been ruled by a federal judge to be anti-competitive. American Airlines no longer flies to New York from Atlanta, having turned over that flying to their smaller New York partner.
However, if you can make American Airlines flights work for you from Atlanta, it’s a great little station with relatively few elite customers and a strong chance of upgrades.
Meanwhile, the consolidation of gates does not mean that all American Airlines gates are contiguous everywhere. There are airports where American Airlines has exclusive use, and where they also share gates, and those shared gates may not be near their exclusive ones. That’s the case at a place like my home airport in Austin.
Similarly, in Los Angeles legacy American Airlines meant terminal 4 while US Airways gates are in terminal 5. Terminal 4 is full, there’s no way to consolidate without significant capital investment. They now use not just terminals 4 and 5 but also gates in the Tom Bradley terminal. Fortunately these terminals are all connected airside now.
This article originally appeared on View From The Wing.