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I posted a little while back that a small number of routes on AirTran were bookable via the Southwest website, but some searching today revealed that there are now an increased number of AirTran flights bookable via Southwest. This is not surprising given that the two airlines are merging, but it is still really great news for a number of reasons. Three big reasons this is a noteworthy development are:
- You can use the Companion Pass for AirTran flights booked via Southwest (read this post for tips on getting tons of free Southwest travel and the Companion Pass)
- Bags fly free on AirTran flights booked via Southwest, but not on AirTran flights booked via AirTran
- You can earn and use Southwest Rapid Reward points on AirTran flights booked via Southwest
- No change fees, just pay the difference in fare (AirTran charges $75 change fee plus difference in fare)
If you book an itinerary with has both Southwest and AirTran flights, here are the pointers that the Southwest website will provide you:
- You’ll change carriers when you change planes, but don’t worry – we’ll transfer your checked bags for you.
- Don’t forget to check in for your flight(s) 24 hours before your trip on southwest.com or your mobile device. This will secure your boarding position on the Southwest portion of your trip.
- AirTran has assigned seating. Advanced seat assignments are not available. Customers who purchase an AirTran segment on Southwest channels will be assigned a seat at the time of check in.
- Once you check in, you will not be able to change your seat until arrival at the airport.
- Southwest Airlines does not have assigned seats, so you can choose your seat when you board the plane. You will be assigned a boarding position based on your checkin time. The earlier you check in, within 24 hours of your flight, the earlier you get to board.
- If you need to check a bag or print out a boarding pass, be sure to go to the ticket counter or kiosk of the airline operating the first portion of your trip.
It is clear from reading those pointers that the process is not yet seamless, so it makes sense they are phasing in the ability to book each others flights rather than open the floodgate all at once. I could not find an up to date list of all code-sharing routes, but here are a few of the AirTran flights I found bookable on Southwest:
- Chicago Midway – Orlando
- Chicago Midway – Ft. Lauderdale
- Milwaukee – Atlanta
- Atlanta – Denver
- Atlanta – Los Angeles
- Atlanta – Houston
- San Francisco – Atlanta
- San Francisco – Orange County
- Orange County – Las Vegas
Of course the routes many of us are eying on the AirTran network are to places like Aruba, Bahamas, Bermuda, Punta Cana, and Mexico. I haven’t seen any update on those yet, but continue to check on your preferred AirTran routes as they are being phased in pretty quietly over on the Southwest side of things.