Southwest Airlines reports that it is taking the next step in its marriage with subsidiary, AirTran Airways. Customers are now able to purchase a growing number of itineraries between the Southwest and AirTran networks for travel on a single itinerary. By April, customers will be able to book flights to any of the airlines' combined 97 destinations, including international, in one transaction.
"Connecting the networks is a priority in 2013 and a major milestone as we work to combine our two companies," said Bob Jordan, chief commercial officer at Southwest Airlines and president of AirTran.
Southwest Airlines and AirTran took the first step in connecting their networks in January 2013, by offering a small number of shared itineraries in five markets. The initial phase was successful, and the airlines said they are prepared to launch in 39 cities on Feb. 25, 2013. The airline said it is on pace to fully connect the networks in April.
By connecting the Southwest and AirTran networks, customers may:
• Add one or more AirTran domestic flight segments to a Southwest itinerary, using Southwest booking channels (southwest.com, 1-800-IFLYSWA, travel agencies, Southwest's mobile site and apps, and Southwest Airlines ticket counters).
• Book one or more Southwest flight segments connecting to an AirTran itinerary, using AirTran channels (airtran.com, 1-800-AIRTRAN, AirTran Airways ticket counters, and travel agencies).
• Use all Southwest channels to book an AirTran-only domestic itinerary.
• Add an international AirTran segment to a Southwest itinerary within a single reservation, through a customer-friendly transfer of the transaction to AirTran channels for booking, purchase, and ticketing by AirTran.
• Earn currency in either loyalty program no matter which carrier they fly. (The currency a customer earns is determined by the carrier from which they buy their ticket, even if flying on a shared itinerary.)
Southwest notes that any itinerary with a Southwest segment or that is purchased through a Southwest point-of-sale channel will not have bag fees for the first or second checked bag (weight and size restrictions apply).