Boston Fliers and the Southwest Airlines Acquisition of AirTran

Southwest Airlines Expands in Boston

Southwest’s acquisition of AirTran will be great for the carrier since it will allow Southwest the opportunity to expand its presence at Logan International Airport.

The airport could see growth opportunities as well; there is very little overlap on the two carriers route systems. It could also put some pressure on JetBlue, another low cost carrier that already has a strong Boston presence. And who knows, Southwest could someday inaugurate an Boston-New York shuttle.

Once Southwest takes over (and make no mistake, the new carrier will be a bigger Southwest while AirTran disappears),  the carrier will be well positioned for new and lucrative business travel.

What this Means for Boston Fliers

For Boston fliers, the good news is they will have access to a much bigger low cost route network, plus the strong possibility of fewer pesky airline fees.

No Bag Fees

Right now, AirTran charges $20 each-way for a first checked-bag fee, and $25 each-way for the second. Southwest gives its passengers two free bags. The difference for passengers who wish to check two bags is that by flying Southwest, they’ll see a savings of $90 roundtrip.

And Southwest does not charge the annoying (not to mention expensive) change fee that AirTran and most other airlines do.

Let’s compare fee prices and see:

Compare Airline Fees – Southwest vs. Airtran





Checked Bag Fee free First bag $20 each-way
Second bag $25 each-way
Ticket Change Fees free $75 change fee
Phone Reservations free $15 when you book by phone
Overweight Bags 75 lb bag costs $50 75 lb bag costs $79

Southwest has said it has “no plans” to change its policies – executives specifically mentioned the extremely popular “bags fly free” catchphrase. Nor are changes anticipated in Southwest’s open seating policy (although fliers can zoom ahead in line if they purchase Southwest’s $10 EarlyBird boarding fee).

Find a Good Deal on a Flight from Boston Now

Meanwhile, the integration and regulatory approval process for the acquisition could take anywhere from a few months to as long as two years.

Assuming all goes well, Bostonians will soon be saying farewell to AirTran, and looking for more Southwest jets heading to Logan in the near future.

Will Bags Fly Free when Southwest Airlines Moves Into 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


Published: September 27, 2010