The following is a statement provided by AirTran regarding the closing of its purchase by Southwest Airlines today. In a nutshell, not much will change for AirTran customers until next year. We’ve emphasized the most important parts of this statement:
Southwest and AirTran will immediately begin the work to integrate AirTran into Southwest Airlines. However, AirTran will continue to operate under the AirTran brand with its same policies, procedures, and product features for a period of time. Southwest plans to integrate AirTran into Southwest Airlines over time by transitioning the AirTran fleet to the Southwest Airlines livery, developing a consistent Customer Experience, and transitioning the operations of the two carriers onto a Single Operating Certificate. Southwest currently expects it will obtain a SOC in the first quarter of 2012 and estimates it will take several years to fully transition AirTran into Southwest Airlines to become one airline.
In the near term, Customers can expect to interact with each carrier as they always have. Customers flying on AirTran will continue to make reservations or check in at airtran.com or by calling 800-247-8726, and visit AirTran kiosks and ticket counters. AirTran Crew Members (employees) will assist on scheduled AirTran flights. Customers flying on Southwest will continue to make reservations or check in at southwest.com or by calling 800-435-9792, or at Southwest kiosks and ticket counters. Southwest Employees will assist on scheduled Southwest flights. Customers will continue to earn and redeem through the respective frequent flier loyalty programs, as they do today, until those programs are combined over time.
Southwest plans to provide the ability for Customers to connect across the networks and integrate key Customer Service policies for a more consistent Customer Experience, in the fall or early next year, depending on both companies’ readiness. Any changes to the Customer Experience on either carrier will be communicated in advance via southwest.com, airtran.com, and in direct Customer communications.
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