It has long been assumed that American Eagle Airlines would be renamed following American’s merger with US Airways.
American Eagle is a wholly owned subsidiary of American, but confusingly the name does double duty. It refers both to the regional airline that operates smaller aircraft on thinner routes on behalf of American, and that increasingly performs ground services as well. And it refers to the group of airlines that provide regional service under the “American Eagle” banner.
Today it was announced that the American Eagle name and brand will continue to be used for the collection of airlines that fly American’s, and US Airways’, regional routes. But the wholly-owned subsidiary will be renamed Envoy from this spring.
The name is a tip of the hat to US Airways, whose identity will be mostly subsumed by the post-merger consolidation with American.
US Airways customers will recognize “Envoy” as the name of that airline’s premium international business class. It was, in theory, the best of what US Airways was capable of delivering.
And therein lies the disconnect. Regional airline service occupies the opposite end of the spectrum from premium international service. Quick, cramped flights versus long, luxe flights.
American’s press release rationalizes the name choice as follows: “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.”
Maybe. But the name is also reflective of something that American’s regional service is not, and will never be.
Reader Reality Check
If the decision was yours, what would you name American’s regional subsidiary?
This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.