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American Airlines announced today that it would be changing the name of its subsidiary, American Eagle, to Envoy. American Eagle is a wholly owned subsidiary of American, but it also contracts with independent regional carriers, as does its merger partner, US Airways. Starting in the Spring of 2014, all those partners will fly under the American Eagle brand and pending approvals, will start being listed as “Operated by Envoy.”

I don’t think this will have any discernible impact on most flyers, especially since American says, “Ticket counters and gates will continue to be branded American and American Eagle and Envoy’s aircraft will continue to operate using the American Eagle brand and livery. Once the necessary regulatory processes and approvals are complete, “Operated by Envoy” will be added to the company’s aircraft paint scheme and noted on customers’ tickets much like it is for American’s other regional carrier partners currently flying using the American Eagle brand.”

American Eagle will start operating under the name Envoy in Spring 2014.
American Eagle will start operating under the name Envoy in Spring 2014.

So really, most folks will probably just continue to book through American and probably not notice any change at all – this seems more like an internal development meant to create a new umbrella organization to combine both airlines’ regional carriers. That’s not a small detail since American Eagle is actually a large entity in its own right, with over 14,000 employees, but in terms of the flight experience, I don’t think it will mean much at all.

What I find funny is that the name chosen is actually the same as US Airways’ flagship international business class product. Explaining the name selection, American said, “Envoy was chosen as the company’s new name after an extensive selection and vetting process that included looking at more than 1,000 names and considering feedback from American Eagle Airlines employees. The name was chosen because Envoy is reflective of what the company does for the airlines it works with – serving as their ambassador and a representative to their customers.

I don’t mean to sound too skeptical, but the fact that they have chosen to rename their barebones regional service after US’s premium business class is a little amusing to me – I mean, hey, maybe we’ll see lie-flat seats on regional jets! Well, I’ll just keep dreaming…

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