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Southwest flyer trying AirTran ... or vice versa

Southwest flyer trying AirTran ... or vice versa

Old Jun 5, 11, 4:41 pm
  #1  
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Southwest flyer trying AirTran ... or vice versa

It seem a bit odd to just sit in our seperate camps and wait for this large service integration to happen off in the far future. There are 130+ jets flying around the AirTran system and over 500 in Southwest's.

As an AirTran flyer, I have used SWA a couple of dozen times in recent years, mainly to move up and down the west coast. I belong to RR and actually earned one award, but I was never able to cash it before it expired.

To be honest, I am now a bit amazed that SWA has announced nothing yet about some concrete ways that this blending can happen. All we know is that it will happen later rather than sooner and that they will rip out the Business Class cabin. Got it. Get it. The US government did a better job with the GM announcement.

Delta and NWA had complete (sometimes creaky) rules for coordinating their FF programs, buying tickets on each other's airline web sites and code sharing all in place by this point in their process. I realize they had a head start due to the SkyTeam alliance, but to have nothing at all in place by now at SWA is pathetic.

At the least, give RR credit for AirTran flights flown? If the IT at SWA cannot handle it, allow a paper coupon to be used, like in the old days?

How about some positive marketing, like a coupon for some money off on your first AirTran flight, some drink coupons, or just say that an SWA coupon is good on AirTran?

How about eliminating the bag fee on AirTran, and maybe do it next week instead of at some future date? Can the CEO of Southwest just call Orlando on the phone and say "no more bag fee on your system in a week; play it up in your radio ads and be happy."

What can we do as frequent flyers? My own strategy is to wait to get the Southwest credit card to see what kind of special offer might be made to me to change from my AirTran card. But I wonder if Southwest FFers might want to get the AirTran card now? You get 10 one way credits and accelerated earnings when you use the card to buy AirTran tickets. I assume all of these credits will roll into RR at some favored rate. At the least, sign up for A+Rewards?

Just my two cents...
Justin026 is offline  
Old Jun 5, 11, 4:50 pm
  #2  
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sw rr need to fly as many a+ flts as possible to get some awards. a+ is cheaper in my area than sw and they have better awards.
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Old Jun 5, 11, 5:02 pm
  #3  
 
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I'm also a bit annoyed that WN hasn't announced a little more. Granted, WN has some unique contractual issues to sort out versus the legacy mergers (basically, existing WN contracts strictly prohibit a lot of stuff that FL could bring to the table now) but even something as simple as a plan for converting credits would be nice. As a WN flyer I would like to start tapping into FL's strongpoints (DCA! ) but I'm holding back until a plan is out in the open.

Also, I've heard that WN plans to absorb FL basically one route and plane at a time until it's all WN. I don't see how they can do this as picking routes off of FL would make what's left of FL that much weaker - the only way that could work is with a codeshare.
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Old Jun 5, 11, 5:25 pm
  #4  
 
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Originally Posted by jfsva View Post
sw rr need to fly as many a+ flts as possible to get some awards. a+ is cheaper in my area than sw and they have better awards.
Once again, I have no clue what you are trying to say. Perhaps you should expand your posting a little more.
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Old Jun 5, 11, 6:42 pm
  #5  
 
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got a DCA/IAD-MCO RT planned for Sept, and want to book FL for RR points, but if they don't tell us what's up soon, I'm flying B6
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Old Jun 5, 11, 9:51 pm
  #6  
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Originally Posted by Justin026 View Post
It seem a bit odd to just sit in our seperate camps and wait for this large service integration to happen off in the far future.
Clearly you are not well versed in "The Southwest Way."

Originally Posted by Justin026 View Post
I belong to RR and actually earned one award, but I was never able to cash it before it expired.
How long ago was that? You are aware of the capability to reissue (RR 1.x)/extend (RR 2.0) awards, for a $50 fee?

Originally Posted by Justin026 View Post
I am now a bit amazed that SWA has announced nothing yet about some concrete ways that this blending can happen.
Clearly you are not well versed in "The Southwest Way."

Originally Posted by Justin026 View Post
to have nothing at all in place by now at SWA is pathetic.
Clearly you are not well versed in "The Southwest Way."

Originally Posted by Justin026 View Post
At the least, give RR credit for AirTran flights flown?
I'm thinking that on March 1, 2012, all A+ flights will start earning RR 2.0 points. We might have an announcement to that effect on, say, 6-Jan-2012.

Originally Posted by Justin026 View Post
How about some positive marketing, like a coupon for some money off on your first AirTran flight, some drink coupons, or just say that an SWA coupon is good on AirTran?
This acquisition is all about eliminating a major obstacle SWA had in its efforts to push airfares higher nationwide. The last thing SWA wants to do is educate its customers as to how much they've been overpaying for airfare in recent years.

Originally Posted by Justin026 View Post
But I wonder if Southwest FFers might want to get the AirTran card now? You get 10 one way credits and accelerated earnings when you use the card to buy AirTran tickets.
You can get up to (16 + 10) credits using the on-board offer codes.

Originally Posted by Justin026 View Post
I assume all of these credits will roll into RR at some favored rate.
Very bad assumption, IMO, and I don't understand why I keep reading posts to that effect. It wasn't even possible to convert RR 1.x credits to RR 2.0 points! Why would anyone think AirTran credits would be treated more favorably than RR 1.x credits? Sure, it's possible that will happen, but I'll be stunned if it does. I also don't expect A+ credits to ever be usable for WN flights.
ftnoob is offline  
Old Jun 10, 11, 8:28 am
  #7  
 
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Compared to CO during their transition to UA, I don't remember seeing much info until they were close to operating as one airline so I think WN has some time to do this. My only hope is that the CP will continue to remain intact as it is today and does not get restricted to CONUS flights only. Once WN goes international and has a CP, it will be hard to beat IMO.
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Old Jun 10, 11, 9:53 am
  #8  
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I understand everyone's impatience. Heck, I want to know about a 1,000 things concerning what the combined carrier will look like. Keep in mind, that we couldn't look into FL's operation until we legally closed due to anti-trust laws. From what I hear, there are a lot of pleasant surprises. Our whole goal in this process is to "do it right." We are hard at work, and you will see announcements in the near future.
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Old Jun 10, 11, 10:43 am
  #9  
 
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You have to remember that airlines like NWA/DAL and CAL/UA were both code sharing with each other BEFORE there mergers were announced. So itineraries were seemless between the carriers. Airtran and Southwest obviously don't have a code share and they have only owned Airtran a little over a month. The data to make those kind of decisions are just being anaylzed now and will take a little time to sort through. As the previous post has said they want to do it right. Once they figure what dots to connect and more importantly who and what equipment will fly it, then you will begin to see the airlines become one as far as code sharing/frequent flyer stuff is concerned.

On the operational side it will take years to completely dissolve Airtran. They are talking 2013/14 time frame before the last Airtran flight dissapears. Although they are expected to get SOC(single operating certificate) by the spring of next year it will take time to transition airplanes and employees to SWA side of the house. As they take airplanes out of Airtrans fleet and are configured, that many employeees will be trained by SWA. Once those planes come out and employees are done they will be SWA employees and SWA airplanes and not to return to Airtran side of the operation. Over time the Airtran fleet will shrink with last airplanes being the International birds to moved over to SWA.
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Old Jun 10, 11, 10:55 am
  #10  
 
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Originally Posted by rumorboy View Post
You have to remember that airlines like NWA/DAL and CAL/UA were both code sharing with each other BEFORE there mergers were announced. So itineraries were seemless between the carriers. Airtran and Southwest obviously don't have a code share and they have only owned Airtran a little over a month. The data to make those kind of decisions are just being anaylzed now and will take a little time to sort through. As the previous post has said they want to do it right. Once they figure what dots to connect and more importantly who and what equipment will fly it, then you will begin to see the airlines become one as far as code sharing/frequent flyer stuff is concerned.

On the operational side it will take years to completely dissolve Airtran. They are talking 2013/14 time frame before the last Airtran flight dissapears. Although they are expected to get SOC(single operating certificate) by the spring of next year it will take time to transition airplanes and employees to SWA side of the house. As they take airplanes out of Airtrans fleet and are configured, that many employeees will be trained by SWA. Once those planes come out and employees are done they will be SWA employees and SWA airplanes and not to return to Airtran side of the operation. Over time the Airtran fleet will shrink with last airplanes being the International birds to moved over to SWA.
"As the previous post has said they want to do it right."

Clearly, you are not versed in the Southwest Way.
dlaue is offline  
Old Jun 10, 11, 12:28 pm
  #11  
 
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ftnoob,

The Southwest Way? Do you mean doing things on the fly? (no pun
intended) Please clarify.
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Old Jun 10, 11, 4:15 pm
  #12  
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WN took their time when they integrated Morris Air back in the 90s. They would take one route or maybe two routes at a time, add a city or remove a city. Slowly wind down Morris Air, re-interview everyone and wind up Southwest in the cities they kept (no more FAT).

I expect WN to do the same. Start with a few routes, slowly bring people over etc. IMHO, this is the best way to do it.
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Old Jun 10, 11, 6:10 pm
  #13  
 
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Originally Posted by SWABrian View Post
From what I hear, there are a lot of pleasant surprises.
You mean FL isn't as inept as all of WN's previous messages regarding the merger portrayed them to be? There may actually be some best practices to be learned from FL?
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Old Jun 10, 11, 6:35 pm
  #14  
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It seems like AT&T and TMobil are running joint advertisements already. And their merger is actually controversial.

Now that we are merged, why can't this airline come up with six or so "quick" actions to take? A weekend retreat and some marching orders for senior management to get it going? I have seen very large (even plodding) companies do this all the time.

I liked my suggestion above: bag fees waived on AirTran, from next weekend on. This is a merged company -- if it is so awful to charge them on 500+ of our planes, how can it be allowed on 100+ other planes?

If AirTran had proceeded at this pace, they could have left Michael Vick's sponsorship in place and he would have gotten out of prison before they needed to change it.

Last edited by Justin026; Jun 12, 11 at 9:30 am
Justin026 is offline  
Old Jun 11, 11, 7:13 am
  #15  
 
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I strongly hope that WN keeps its hands off FL as long as possible. I will gladly take FL's bag fees and advance seat assignment fees ( and I have done so quite a few times in the last 6 months ) in exchange for their pricing.
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