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Old 01-31-2011, 09:08 PM
 
Location: Washington DC
3,750 posts, read 3,267,604 times
Reputation: 2650

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The Effects of Southwest Merging with Airtran for Charlotte based Travelers


Airfares will go Up
  • Anytime airlines consolidate, competition is lessened and thus, airfares rise
  • Southwest has a different system than Airtran. Airtran relies on connecting traffic where as Southwest does not. Southwest will pull out of Airtran cities where the only competitor left will be either US Airways and/or Delta Airlines.
  • Southwest in general is more expensive than Airtran
  • Southwest in general has slightly higher fares than most airlines on competitive routes anyway. Airtran is generally always the cheapest.



Airtran Amenities Will Be Lost


  • Southwest will Not continue First class
  • Southwest - I believe - will not continue XM Radio
Less Fees

  • Bags "Fly Free" at Southwest Airlines
  • I don't think Southwest Airlines has a fee for changing itineraries. Or maybe it's just much cheaper? something like that.



There is really no benefit of Southwest taking over Airtran other than the false perception (although excellent marketing machine) that they are the cheapest airline. Airtran can get you anywhere Southwest could take you but cheaper and probably via 1 stop in Atlanta or Baltimore. Southwest will take you the same places at a higher cost with maybe more stops.


Unless you just like Southwest, there is no reason that this is good for Charlotte passengers. They're merging to gain pricing powers and to get rid of competition... Do you know how much airfares are supposed to rise because of Industry consolidation already?


Airlines are merging left and right (Continental And United) (Southwest and Continental) (Northwest and Delta) (Midwest Airlines and Frontier Airlines) all in the name of airline consolidation. US Airways CEO among many others still claim that industry consolidation still needs to continue for airlines to remain profitable because "too many seats are chasing too few dollars"... This is NOT a good thing for consumers....

Last edited by Charlotte485; 01-31-2011 at 09:20 PM..
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Old 02-01-2011, 07:00 AM
 
575 posts, read 1,350,022 times
Reputation: 420
Quote:
Originally Posted by GayCharlotteGuy View Post
The Effects of Southwest Merging with Airtran for Charlotte based Travelers


Airfares will go Up
  • Anytime airlines consolidate, competition is lessened and thus, airfares rise
  • Southwest has a different system than Airtran. Airtran relies on connecting traffic where as Southwest does not. Southwest will pull out of Airtran cities where the only competitor left will be either US Airways and/or Delta Airlines.
  • Southwest in general is more expensive than Airtran
  • Southwest in general has slightly higher fares than most airlines on competitive routes anyway. Airtran is generally always the cheapest.



Airtran Amenities Will Be Lost


  • Southwest will Not continue First class
  • Southwest - I believe - will not continue XM Radio
Less Fees

  • Bags "Fly Free" at Southwest Airlines
  • I don't think Southwest Airlines has a fee for changing itineraries. Or maybe it's just much cheaper? something like that.



There is really no benefit of Southwest taking over Airtran other than the false perception (although excellent marketing machine) that they are the cheapest airline. Airtran can get you anywhere Southwest could take you but cheaper and probably via 1 stop in Atlanta or Baltimore. Southwest will take you the same places at a higher cost with maybe more stops.


Unless you just like Southwest, there is no reason that this is good for Charlotte passengers. They're merging to gain pricing powers and to get rid of competition... Do you know how much airfares are supposed to rise because of Industry consolidation already?


Airlines are merging left and right (Continental And United) (Southwest and Continental) (Northwest and Delta) (Midwest Airlines and Frontier Airlines) all in the name of airline consolidation. US Airways CEO among many others still claim that industry consolidation still needs to continue for airlines to remain profitable because "too many seats are chasing too few dollars"... This is NOT a good thing for consumers....
There's more than one way to be No. 1. In the airline business, the most popular -- though not necessarily the most consumer-friendly -- strategy in recent years is to grow by gobbling up the competition. United Airlines pushed back into the top spot Friday by completing its merger with Continental.
The new company -- imaginatively christened United Continental Holdings, Inc. -- will be known on the New York Stock Exchange as "UAL." Those watching carefully will note that, like so many supposed "mergers," the deal amounts to waving a wand and making Continental slowly disappear.

United's move left Delta sitting on the tarmac in the No. 2 spot. Delta had wiggled its way into the top spot two years ago with its acquisition of Northwest Airlines, a merger that is still a long way from being complete. As is often the case, Delta and Northwest continue to operate virtually independently of each other, with different paint jobs, reservation systems and so forth.

The same is likely to be the case for United and Continental. Though now officially wed, they're not likely to display new wedding rings anytime soon. The two airlines will operate separately until they receive a single operating certificate from U.S. regulators and customers will continue using separate ticketing facilities until the spring of 2011, when the company expects to combine operations.

"We have a lot of hard work ahead as we begin to implement the integration plan, but our co-workers are enthusiastic about the opportunities this merger will bring them," said Jeffrey Smisek, who will head the new company. Smisek was formerly Continental's CEO. United Continental will be headquartered in Chicago but Houston will be its largest hub.

Smisek has about 90 days to reach definitive agreements with the many unions involved in the $3 billion deal. United veterans are eager to reclaim pay that they gave up during the three years that United was in bankruptcy and Continental's unionized workers of wary of how they'll fare by being submerged into the larger United.

But Smisek, a self-proclaimed "airline geek" says he's excited by the exercise.

"If you are an airline geek, it doesn't get any better than this: bringing these two carriers together," Smisek told The Los Angeles Times last week. "They are the perfect marriage, the perfect fit. I think we're creating a tremendous carrier here.""

How about lower fares?
Meanwhile in Atlanta, Delta is seeking to put the best face on its new secondary position by saying it will be putting its energies into improving customer service while United tries to successfully digest Continental.

"No one who flies is waiting for a bigger airline, they're waiting for one that's committed to making flying better," says an ad that's part of Delta's new campaign.

Cute, but we'd wager that what many consumers are really waiting for is a bigger Southwest Airlines. And they're about to get it. Southwest's AirTran gives low-fare Southwest entry into key markets -- like, oh, the East Coast -- that it has been locked out of for years. Its acquisition of AirTran will bring Southwest's low-fare structure to New York's LaGuardia, Washington's Reagan National and Boston's Logan.

When Southwest enters a new market or expands its presence in an existing market, the effect on other carriers is often both rapid and easily detected. Unlike Delta and United's vague promise of "making flying better," Southwest makes its cheaper, forcing legacy carriers to lower their fares.

Unlike the United-Continental-Delta-Northwest deals, which came as no surprise to anyone, the Southwest-AirTran deal was kept under wraps until the last minute. Employees of both carriers were as surprised as everyone else -- and some of them felt like it was Christmas in September. One AirTran pilot we talked with said his salary doubled in one day, as the new management informed him that, instead of his $37,000 AirTran salary, he would be making about $74,000 as a Southwest jet jockey.
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Old 02-01-2011, 08:21 AM
 
Location: Crown Town
2,742 posts, read 5,985,394 times
Reputation: 1666
Quote:
Originally Posted by mac5u View Post
The other question I have is just because SW bought Airtran, is it axiomatic that they will serve Charlotte?
"...On Sept. 27, the airline announced plans to merge with Southwest Airlines in a $1.4 billion deal. The move, expected to close by the first half of next year, would mark the debut of Dallas-based Southwest at Charlotte Douglas International Airport..." Latest Update: AirTran Airways? profit takes off | Charlotte Business Journal
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Old 02-01-2011, 04:54 PM
 
Location: Ft Mill, SC
19 posts, read 26,528 times
Reputation: 49
Default Lower prices? Maybe not. A better flying experience? Probably.

Caveat: If you fly first-class, then no, it won't be a better flying experience. I can only dream of flying first class.

Eliminating Airtran as a competitor does hurt the consumer to a degree. Arguably, Airtran does have lower fares - but if you check bags, that advantage begins to fade quickly. However, diamondplayer notes, correctly I think, that when SW enters a new market, the existing carriers are forced to compete on price more often than not.

USAir dominates Charlotte-Douglas, and SW coming in won't, ipso facto, cause them to lower prices. SW will need to gain additional gates and that will only happen if Charlotte becomes important to them. With ATL so close by, that may not happen anytime soon.

I will write this: I have not had a bad customer service experience with SW. When I have had to change plans, I don't get penalized. I even had to cancel a flight altogether and they only charged me the difference in fare when I re-booked that trip, and that trip happened almost a year later. Are there any other airlines that won't charge you a fee? If there are, I have not flown them.
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Old 02-01-2011, 07:10 PM
 
Location: Ayrsley
4,714 posts, read 8,459,492 times
Reputation: 3814
Quote:
Originally Posted by mac5u View Post
Caveat: If you fly first-class, then no, it won't be a better flying experience. I can only dream of flying first class.
To be honest - First Class is not really a big deal on domestic flights in the States anymore. You get a slightly larger seat and free alcohol and that's about it anymore. Maybe a full meal if its a cross-country flight.
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Old 04-27-2011, 12:25 PM
 
8 posts, read 9,697 times
Reputation: 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by mac5u View Post
Caveat: If you fly first-class, then no, it won't be a better flying experience. I can only dream of flying first class.

Eliminating Airtran as a competitor does hurt the consumer to a degree. Arguably, Airtran does have lower fares - but if you check bags, that advantage begins to fade quickly. However, diamondplayer notes, correctly I think, that when SW enters a new market, the existing carriers are forced to compete on price more often than not.

USAir dominates Charlotte-Douglas, and SW coming in won't, ipso facto, cause them to lower prices. SW will need to gain additional gates and that will only happen if Charlotte becomes important to them. With ATL so close by, that may not happen anytime soon.

I will write this: I have not had a bad customer service experience with SW. When I have had to change plans, I don't get penalized. I even had to cancel a flight altogether and they only charged me the difference in fare when I re-booked that trip, and that trip happened almost a year later. Are there any other airlines that won't charge you a fee? If there are, I have not flown them.
SWA will start 8 to 10 flights CLT initial. Not enough competition for US to drop fares. Only on select routes. Unless something is done with A concourse, SWA expansion remote chance.
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Old 04-28-2011, 12:56 PM
 
Location: Lost in Space
348 posts, read 752,046 times
Reputation: 766
Not to sound like a commercial, but, I love Southwest Airlines. I have flown SW more than any other airline. No checked bag fees, easy booking, and competitive fares. I have missed a few flights (my fault) and have never been charged a fee for rebooking. I have always found the customer service and flight crews to be very friendly. I have never flown Airtran so I cannot speak to the differences but I can say that I think air travelers will enjoy having SWA in Charlotte.
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Old 04-28-2011, 02:51 PM
 
487 posts, read 656,834 times
Reputation: 550
I totally and completely HEART Southwest. I think they will impact US Air - I am so tired of driving to Greensboro to hop a flight to Charlotte to fly where I need to go to save 100s of dollars.

Any addition will sure be welcome and Southwest does a GREAT job.
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Old 04-28-2011, 07:23 PM
 
Location: Ayrsley
4,714 posts, read 8,459,492 times
Reputation: 3814
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slakkie View Post
I think they will impact US Air - I am so tired of driving to Greensboro to hop a flight to Charlotte to fly where I need to go to save 100s of dollars.
8-12 flights per day will not have any noticable impact on USAir in their hub in the least.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Redsox1972 View Post
Not to sound like a commercial, but, I love Southwest Airlines. I have flown SW more than any other airline. No checked bag fees, easy booking, and competitive fares. I have missed a few flights (my fault) and have never been charged a fee for rebooking. I have always found the customer service and flight crews to be very friendly. I have never flown Airtran so I cannot speak to the differences but I can say that I think air travelers will enjoy having SWA in Charlotte.
Eh...I could care less. I have been forced to fly the Greyhound of the skies a few times...last choice airline for me.

Never mind the fact that their safety record is somewhat spotty...But I guess that's ok if the airfares are cheap enough. They're lucky that recent flight that became a convertable didn't end more tragically:

Records: Southwest Airlines flew 'unsafe' planes - CNN

Southwest Airlines has a history of maintenance problems: report
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Old 04-29-2011, 05:55 PM
 
Location: Fort Mill, SC
2,532 posts, read 2,939,327 times
Reputation: 1357
Being that Southwest moved into Greenville recently, it is safe to say Charlotte will never happen.
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