Q. AirTran assigns passengers seats onboard the aircraft, where Southwest does the "cattle call" approach of open seating. Will Southwest now assign seats?
A. No. Although many people would love to see this change happen, it just won't. Southwest is folding AirTran into their policies, so you can expect open, unassigned seating on all planes.
Q. AirTran charges a $75 change free, while Southwest currently does not. Will they?
A. No. Again with the no fees. AirTran used to charge this flat rate if you made any changes after booking. Southwest is cool with letting you change your mind for free, within certain limits.
Q. AirTran has both coach and business classes onboard, while Southwest operates only coach class. Will Southwest add a business class option?
A. No. Southwest says: "Upon full integration, it is our intent to have a consistent product offering." That includes one class of service. We wonder if this will turn businessmen away from flying them, but probably not if they've got enough frequent flyer miles and if Southwest is the most convenient airline for them.
Q. AirTran has their A+ Rewards program while Southwest has Rapid Rewards. Will they stay separate?
A. No. Although no details have yet been released on how exactly the A+ miles will translate to Rapid Rewards, rest assured that it will happen. We'll keep our ears open for more on this as they make the decisions. In the end, it will only be Rapid Rewards.
Q. AirTran has flights out of Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, while Southwest is not able to. Will they keep these flights?
A. No. Southwest must pull all of its flights once the takeover of AirTran closes, because Southwest is not allowed to operate from DFW. But helloSouthwest has their HQ in Dallas and as many flights as one could need nearby, at Dallas' Love Field.
Q. Is there a definite date set for the full melding of AirTran into Southwest?
A. No. Southwest's buyout of AirTran is first subject to government approval. We can't be creating any monopolies around here anymore. That said, they do hope to close the deal within two years. Until that time, Southwest and AirTran will operate like normal.
Are you happy or sad to bid AirTran goodbye for a bigger Southwest? Let us know in the comments!