I was monitoring fares to watch for the right time to make a paid booking to go with Margaret to Venice and return from Rome. After more United Mileage Plus miles came along, I had the miles to book another award trip to Europe, but I was going to pay unless I could get to Venice on the same flights as Margaret, which I thought I was unlikely to find on a Saver award. On a Saturday, two days after the miles showed up, lo and behold, there was availability on the same US Airways connection to Venice, but I would need to return separately. I quickly asked Margaret if she was o.k. with it, and she agreed, although she may not be too pleased with needing to return alone. My return from Rome is on Austrian Airlines, with an overnight in Vienna, which I've quickly researched, and a tight connection to a United flight in Chicago, where I hope to make good use of the new immigration kiosks.
After the booking, there was a settlement so the US Airways-American merger is happening. We'll be flying US on tickets issued by United, which will be honored although they will no longer be partners. The main worry would be if we have a change of plans, or US stops offering one of the flights,in which case it would be up to United to book on one of its partners. We hope the service won't change this soon.
We've booked an apartment in Venice for the start of the trip, and a friend of Margaret's is likely to join us for some of the time. So we've covered a good part of the logistics, looking forward to it going as well as possible.