Travel roundup: American unveils new look, Chicago RTA sues United

American Airlines, working to emerge from bankruptcy and possibly merge with a competitor airline, this week rolled out a new look for its fleet.

The new scheme features painted aircraft rather than the airline’s polished metal exteriors. It is the first new look for American since 1968, according to USA Today.

“Since placing our landmark aircraft order in July of 2011, we’ve been building anticipation toward a moment in time when the outside of our aircraft reflects the progress we’ve made to modernize our airline on the inside,” Tom Horton, American’s Chairman and CEO, said in a release.

“While we complete the evaluation of whether a merger can build on American’s strengths, we remain steadfast in each step we take to renew our airline, a step we take with great respect for our name American,” Horton said. “Today marks important progress in that journey as we unveil a new and updated look for the first time in more than 40 years.”

Meanwhile, American could still merge with U.S. Airways.

Earlier this month, the two airlines said they “completed discussions” with two major employee unions: the Allied Pilots Association and US Airline Pilots Association. These discussions are “intended to develop a framework for the terms of employment for pilots, as well as a process for pilot integration, in the event of a merger between AA and US during restructuring.”

Chicago RTA sues United, American over taxes

United Airlines and American Airlines “operate sham offices” in Sycamore, Illinois, which allows them to avoid paying millions of dollars in taxes, the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) alleges.

The agency — which oversees three transit agencies: CTA, Metra and Pace — filed suit Monday in Circuit Court of Cook County against Chicago-based United. But, the agency held off on a lawsuit against American because the airline is currently in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings.

According to the RTA, the airlines accept fuel in Sycamore, rather than Chicago. By “accepting” fuel in Sycamore, the airlines pay 8 percent in sales tax, rather than the 9.5 percent they would pay in Chicago, a move that has cost taxpayers in Chicago and Cook County $300 million over the last seven years, the RTA contends.

USA Today Travel Media Group buys

USA Today Travel Media Group this week said it completed its acquisition of Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. provides so-called “experiential travel content” about top attractions, including information about attractions and restaurants. In 2012, the site averaged more than 700,000 monthly unique visitors.

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