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Southwest Airlines Community

One Company, One Airline, One Family, One LUV!

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It brings me great joy and tremendous pride to announce today that Southwest Airlines has closed on the transaction to acquire AirTran Airways. Today is an exciting day for both airlines. Today, we let the ink dry and celebrate.
Of course, all good things take time – and change will not be immediate.  For now, Southwest and AirTran will continue to operate as two separate carriers as work begins “behind the scenes” to integrate the operations and to eventually provide a uniform Customer Experience. In the meantime, our Employees will do what they do best by delivering world-class Customer Service.  

All Customer travel plans and investments in each airline’s respective loyalty program are safe–Customers can continue to earn and redeem in both programs independently. Customers will continue to book Southwest flights through and AirTran flights through We will maintain our respective and separate operating and service policies as we work towards a Single Operating Certificate.

Combined, we have the unique opportunity to extend our network into key markets that would be impossible independently – with the prospect to serve more than 100 million Customers annually from more than 100 different airports in the U.S. and near-international destinations.  Over time, as we continue to combine the two networks, we will grow and expand our network to provide Customers more low fare options into exciting new places.  I’m excited just thinking about the opportunities.

Once integration is complete, we will have one Brand, one Customer Experience, one livery, one operation under a Single Operating Certificate, and one Mission – to give the world the Freedom to Fly while spreading low fares farther.  

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I just have one comment to make about your acquisition of AirTran: congratulations, but you will not see me on another Southwest flight unless absolutely forced. I flew AirTran and bought stock in the company in appreciation of their Business Class options, especially the ability to buy-up at check-in. Without those options, there is nothing you could offer which would change my mind about Southwest. I'm now too old and wise to enjoy being seated like a very expensive sardine. Good-bye AirTran, we WILL MISS YOU.
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This will be interesting. In a perfect world, Airtrans and Southwest will connect their standard, culture and expertise. Southwest may feel sardine like sometimes, but they always get me there safely. I hope I can find a way to trust AirTrans flights the same way. At the same time, I really would like to see Southwest consider the bonus of moving to a more comfortable environment and experience that seems to be the Airtrans draw. I already pay a little more for Business Upgrade when it makes sense - could we add more comfortable chairs or some space? We will watch and see what Mr. Kelly means by 'one customer experience." An A-list customer....
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When will we see new destinations? Will the "new" Southwest take on all the AirTran's destinations? That would mean I could finally fly home to see family instead of driving the long distance.
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Please Please Please.....give Spirit a run, esp in the ACY airport ....we have AirTran now, but limited flights.....we need you!!
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This is a sad day for those of use who frequently use and enjoy Airtran. I have only used Southwest as a last resort when it comes to booking flights. Not all passengers wish to be treated like a herd of cattle when it comes to seating arrangements. It's awful to watch otherwise fine individuals elbow and jostle fellow travellers to get the seat they want (or need). What an uncomfortable and degrading experience flying with Southwest is. I hope Southwest takes its time working towards a full merge. I hope against hope that the company will try to be more like Airtran, rather than the other way around.
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For those of you with comments about Southwest being "cattle call" and "herding" and "elbowing for a seat" I think you're buying into an extreme, almost cartoonish take on Southwest which is FAR from the reality, and I am also guessing you're far too old to be speaking about the Southwest experience as if you were a college student recounting their Spring Break vacation. Southwest has probably the industry's most orderly boarding process. No crowding of the gate area, no "elites" elbowing their way through the crowd of "zone 5" passengers who's clumped together at the front of the boarding carpet. Everyone is neatly lined up and ready go to when their boarding group is called. How do I know? I fly various airlines every month... Also, regarding seating and space... did you know that ALL 737/757 operators (CO, AA, UA, DL, AS) have the same width coach seats, BUT, did you also know that Southwest has the most standard legroom in coach over many other carriers? While JetBlue and United may offer special seats with up to 34" pitch, it's ONLY Southwest which offers everyone 32-33" pitch in ALL coach seats.... not something anyone else offers. I understand that we all have choices, which is a wonderful thing. You're always free to choose to fly someone else. Just make sure you're not spouting off incorrect information regarding Southwest Airlines.
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Back in the day when I traveled constantly for business I avoided Air Tran at all costs, and can understand everyone's dissapointment about the end of those inexpensive walk up Business Class upgrades. I used them myself to avoid the back of the bus cramped seating on Air Tran. But in fairness to Southwest, perhaps everyone should hold off complaining until the seating configuration is announced for the Air Tran aircraft they will acquire. The confirguration on a Southwest 737 allows for 32-33 inches between seats, which is generous by today's standards. I'm 6'2 and 220 so I pay alot of attention to those things. Non believers should just have a look at the seat guru website to see how rough it can be out there these days.