US Airways has been that chummy neighbor who borrows the WeedWacker and never returns it.
US Airways has been that long-absent friend who suggests meeting for lunch just days before her birthday so that it winds up being our treat.
US Airways has been that boyfriend who keeps cheating on us but keeps coming back with new, sweet stories to charm us.
And Allegheny County has been the sucker.
Fresh off its planned merger with American Airlines, US Airways is acting out a familiar script. It has told pilots that it's not making any promises about keeping its operations control center in Moon open after the merger. Local officials are responding just as they have in the past -- by promising they'll persuade the airline to keep the facility open instead of eliminating 700 jobs and taking the work to American's larger center at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, where American has its headquarters.
Before they commit any public dollars, officials need to take a breath, be realistic and look at the history.
Twenty years ago, US Airways was booming, and it promised that Pittsburgh would be one of its hubs. County and state dollars were used to construct a custom-built, $500 million terminal to cater to its growing needs. In 2004, the airline eliminated the hub, practically abandoned the modern airport and slashed thousands of jobs.
Four years later, the region came through for US Airways again with help toward its $25 million, 72,000-square-foot operations center.
Now County Executive Rich Fitzgerald says he's working with congressional and state officials, business leaders and others in an effort to keep the center open. He said the county may consider offering more incentives.
It's understandable that the county needs to make a pitch. Losing the center, and its jobs, would be bad for the families whose members work there and bad for the region. But county officials must proceed with caution.
Before advancing any grants, loans, tax rebates or other enticements, US Airways must be locked in to a long-term agreement that requires it to pay everything back if it reneges.
US Airways has not been a trustworthy suitor. If the airline wants more taxpayer dollars, it's going to have to sign an air-tight pre-nup.