Southwest Airlines is one step closer to completing the integration with AirTran and making travel easier for their customers. Earlier in 2013 the company started selling a limited number of destinations with connections between AirTran and Southwest flights available on a single ticket. This week that ability was expanded to the entirety of the combined carriers' route networks. This means easier connections and more seamless travel for their passengers.
"We began rolling out shared itineraries in January in a handful of markets, and we've gradually ramped up the initiative where we now connect our entire network across both Southwest and AirTran. With a connected network, we can offer customers more itineraries, more destinations, more low fares, and a taste of what's to come once the integration is complete," said Bob Jordan, Southwest's chief commercial officer and AirTran president.
For wholly domestic itineraries tickets can be purchased from either Southwest or AirTran. Policies such as baggage fees and frequent flyer points earning are dictated by the marketing carrier meaning buying from AirTran or Southwest may result in different charges or earnings for passengers.
And, for international flights, there are additional limitations. Passengers looking to book international destinations can search for them on the Southwest site but cannot book there. Those trips will redirect to the AirTran site for booking and the AirTran rules will apply, including fees for checked bags:
There are currently 18 destinations served by AirTran without Southwest service, including eight international options. Southwest plans to fully integrate those destinations into the Southwest network eventually, but it will be at least a year until that is complete. Their current reservations system cannot handle the international flights and there is no target date yet for implementation of an updated system which will support it.
The ultimate goal for Southwest is a single network operating under the Southwest brand. It will be some time yet before they reach that target, but these latest updates allow passengers to realize most of the benefits they'll ultimately see, even if the integration isn't quite complete yet.
Photo credit: Southwest Airlines via Shutterstock