It was a rare sight on Capitol Hill Wednesday as employees from both American Airlines and US Airways and Democratic and Republican politicians all came together for one goal: to build a coalition of support for the airlines' proposed merger.
The merger has received approval from a federal bankruptcy judge, but a Department of Justice lawsuit filed in August threatens to block it.
The Antitrust Division believes the merger would hurt consumers with higher prices, but both companies contend it would create a fourth major U.S. carrier that is capable of competing going forward.
"The DOJ approved Delta and Northwest. The DOJ approved Continental and United. The DOJ approved Southwest and AirTran. Where are we?" said Capt. Keith Wilson, Allied Pilots Association president.
U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey is among congressional leaders trying to convince his colleagues that the merger would not mean fewer jobs.
"I'm especially proud they'll maintain their headquarters in North Texas, but finalizing this deal means job security for 24,000 Texans," he said.
The companies' home states, Texas and Arizona, are among seven states that have joined the DOJ suit.
Union leaders from both companies said attorneys in the Antitrust Division were attentive and asked a lot of questions when they met on Wednesday.
They also plan to meet with 300 congressional members in an effort to garner nationwide support.