US Airways has made its final flight before becoming American Airlines

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Airways News

Over the weekend, US Airways ceased independent operations after more than 75 years in business. Flight 1939 – the final flight operated using the US Airways name – started at the airline’s Philadelphia hub before flying to Charlotte, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Philadelphia.

After its final flight, the Tempe, Arizona-based airline combined its flight and ticketing operations with its merger partner, American Airlines.

This is the culmination of an $11 billion merger that was first announced in 2013. Prior to the merger, US Airways boasted a fleet of more than 300 jets. The post-merger American Airlines now has the largest fleet in the world, with more than 900 mainline aircraft.

“US Airways Flight 1939 was the final US Airways flight to take off – ever,” An American Airlines representative told Business Insider in an emailed statement. “It was named in honor of the year that US Airways started flying 76 years ago as a mail carrier.”

Chris Sloan and Ben Wang of Airways News crisscrossed the country onboard US Airways’ final flight. Here’s what it was like on the historic flight.


In 1997, US Air rebranded to become …

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Flickr/Aero Icarus

… US Airways.

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Flickr/ Aero Icarus

In 2005, US Airways merged with American West Airlines. The new airline operated under the US Airways name, but with America West CEO Doug Parker at the helm.

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Flickr/Aero Icarus

In 2006, US Airways decided it was time for another merger. The company launched an ambitious $10 billion hostile takeover bid for the then-bankrupt Delta Air Lines. The takeover attempt failed.

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Getty Images/Andrew Burton

CNN


In 2013, US Airways tried again. This time the merger attempt succeeded.

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Flicrk/Aero Icarus

The new airline would carry the American name, with former-America West CEO Doug Parker once again at the helm.

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Flickr/Curimedia

Although the merger was finalized in late 2013, the two airlines decided to take their time in combining their flight and ticketing operations. To mitigate transitional difficulties, the airlines decided to work together as partners for a period of time before they merged operations.


But upon completion, Flight 1939 — a reference to the first year US Airways’ predecessor entered service — the two airlines would finally become a single mega-carrier.


Flight 1939 was a cross-country tour of US Airway’s major hubs of operation. The flight started in Philadelphia. It then flew to Charlotte, Phoenix, and San Francisco before concluding back in Philadelphia.

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Airways News

The plane chosen to make the final trip is a 2-year-old Airbus A321.

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Airways News

Onboard, passengers were treated to special cookies and Champagne.

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Airways News

Here’s where they kept the cookies.

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Airways News

In Phoenix, home to US Airways and its predecessor, America West Airlines, employees set up decorations to greet the arriving flight.

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Airways News

Upon landing from Charlotte, the ground staff in Phoenix greeted Flight 1939 with a water-cannon salute.

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Airways News

Inside the terminal in Phoenix, passengers, staff, and members of the local media waited to greet the flight.

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Airways News

Passengers were treated to these special cupcakes in boxes that showed all of the companies that merged to create the new American Airlines.

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Airways News

Soon, it was time for Flight 1939 to continue to San Francisco. Here’s the crew responsible for that leg of the trip.

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Airways News

Finally, it was time for the last flight in the history of US Airways.

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Flight Aware via Airways News

The Airbus A321 waits for its passengers at the American Airlines gate in San Francisco.

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Airways News

For passengers, the check-in area in San Francisco looks relatively calm.

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Here’s the cabin and flight crew that manned the final leg of the trip. In the middle of the photo is US Air’s 90-year-old former CEO, Ed Colodny.

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Airways News

Many of the airlines’ current and former employees joined the former chief executive to celebrate the event.

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Airways News

The local media turned out as well.

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Airways News

Smile for the camera!

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Airways News

US Airways prepared a cake for the passengers.

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Airways News

Time to board the flight!

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Airways News

The pilots.

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The flight’s quartet of flight attendants was ready for the late-night trip.

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Airways News

Hello, business class!

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Out comes the cake!

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Airways News

Business class passengers also got some wine, meat, and cheese.

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Airways News

Back in Philadelphia. Flights at the former US Airways hub now all carry the American Airlines name.

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Airways News