I am one of this nations legion of road warriors. I travel every week. I fly commercially almost every week. I spend most nights of the year sleeping in a hotel bed.
So this weeks announcement of the "merger" of Southwest and AirTran was a bit of a shock.
I fully comprehend mergers between legacy carriers. The United / Continental merger doesn't seem odd. Delta absorbing Northwest - probably makes sense.
But somehow the Southwest and AirTran merger, well it just doesn't seem to add up.
Southwest has always concentrated on a mostly point-to-point travel model. Nearly every flight on AirTran goes through Atlanta or Orlando.
Southwest ONLY flies 737's. AirTran's fleet is filled with MD85's (now called Boeing 717).
Southwest has a sterling safety record. AirTran was born by changing its name from ValuJet to avoid the bad press associated from a horrible crash in Florida.
Southwest has amazing Customer Service. AirTran, well lets just say it falls short of Southwest.
Southwest flies 100% domestic routes. AirTran flies various international routes.
While I hope the merger goes well for both parties, as an outsider looking in I have to say it seems like this is the event we will all point to someday and say "that is where Southwest lost its vision".
Herb, where are you?
Roadboy's Travels © 2010