Six Best Things about the Southwest Takeover of AirTran

Southwest Airlines – AirTran Deal

You heard the big airline news: Southwest is acquiring AirTran in a billion dollar deal (okay, billion dollar-plus, but who’s counting? Oh, yeah – Wall Street is).

Reaction to the Deal

I have to admit, I was a little saddened at first; I mean, I like AirTran, and I’ve always enjoyed flying with them. But then I gave it a little more thought, and it won’t be all that different. I mean, goodness knows, Southwest employees are every bit as fun (or more) as the crews at AirTran.

So I kept thinking…and came up with more reasons why this acquisition or takeover is a good thing. In fact, I came up with six reasons – and I share them now with you.

Will Bags Fly Free when Southwest Moves to These Cities?

Atlanta: Southwest adds business travelers and more from Hartsfield

Boston: With few overlapping routes, Boston is a coup for Southwest

Dallas: Find out – Will Southwest fans fly from DFW?

Washington, DC: Southwest’s acquisition of AirTran is certainly a smart move

New York: A growing footprint, Southwests adds more LaGuardia slots

Six Best Things about the Southwest Airlines Takeover of AirTran

If you have anything to add, go ahead. I’m sure there are a few things I missed.

1. Free Bags

The ultimate no-brainer for many loyal Southwest customers is the airlines “bags fly free” policy. In fact, Southwest gives you two free checked-bags, which can be a big savings for travelers. Less well known: the carrier’s arch-rival, JetBlue, gives you one free checked-bag.

2. Entertaining Employees

Maybe you don’t like it when the Southwest cabin crew gets everyone to play a game of “who’s got the ugliest license photo” (I am not a fan, but then, I am often declared the winner). Still, it’s hard not to like David, the rapping flight attendant (so worth watching).

3. Great TV Ads

Choose your favorite: the ground crews who display their gloriously massive stomachs to spell out “bags fly free” or the exciting chase scene where Southwest employees try to arrest a large airliner.

4. EarlyBird Check-in

Some call this the greatest thing since sliced bread if you don’t like Southwest’s open seating policy. Pay a fee to cut in line. In my humble opinion, this is one airline fee that’s worth it, and it’s only ten bucks.

5. Choice of Free Snacks

Unlike certain airlines I could mention (Spirit), Southwest still gives you free non-alcoholic drinks plus little snacks for free (and sometimes they let you take multiple packs of snacks, which in this day and age, yeah, it is a big deal).

6. Cool History

In the early days, Southwest lured business travelers with free bottles of booze, or so says author Thomas Petzinger in his excellent airline history called, “Hard Landing” (and let us not forget those ridiculous hot pants on the flight attendants back in the 70’s).



Published: September 28, 2010