LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Two airlines are joining forces to become the biggest airline in the world. American Airlines and U.S. Airways announced the merge Thursday morning, and the deal is yet to be finalized but is expected to go through.
This merger has been in the works since August, and the price tag looks to be about $11 billion. The deal could take months, even years to get the full impact, but travel agents already have a word of advice for travelers--book early.
"I conduct choirs, lots of different places, both in the country and abroad, and I'm coming here to do a guest conducting spot in Henderson," said Kent Hatterburg as he described his profession.
The merger between American Airlines and US Airways has him hoping his routes and prices stay the same. "I've flown with both carriers before, and I'm hoping it will be a stronger company. Like most consumers, I'm worried about the prices going up with less competition between the carriers."
Libby Castellanos is an agent with West Rock Travel. She said if history repeats itself, the outcome for the consumer could be negative.
"We see hubs disappear. We see routes disappear. We see the seats out of a smaller market, like Little Rock, disappear. We see rates go up," she said.
Castellanos' advice to beat a potential rise in prices is to book now.
"My experience is rates go up. They don't go down. There's not the fare wars they used to have 25, 30 years ago," she added.
Only time will tell the true outcome for consumers, but if you look at one of the more recent big mergers, like United and Continental back in 2010, prices went up about 30 percent in some parts of the U.S.
American's parent company is under bankruptcy protection, and that means a court will have to approve the deal. US Airways shareholders also need to sign off on it as well as the Department of Transportation and the Justice Department.