A: Southwest launched its first flights from Atlanta Sunday with routes to Austin, Baltimore/Washington, Chicago, Denver and Houston Hobby. In March it will begin flying to Las Vegas and Phoenix, in June to Los Angeles and in August to Norfolk, Louisville and Seattle/Tacoma.
Q: How is Southwest different?
A: Southwest does not assign specific seats and has an unusual boarding system, in which you get a place in line to board based mainly on how early you check in. It does not charge fees for the first and second checked bags, and does not charge change fees. Southwest also doesn't sell flights through websites like Travelocity and Orbitz, choosing to sell its fares only through its own website.
Q: What will happen to AirTran flights?
A: AirTran will continue flying in some form for a couple of years, as Southwest gradually converts AirTran planes into the Southwest fleet. You can still buy tickets on AirTran through AirTran's website.
Q: Is Southwest discontinuing any AirTran flights from Atlanta?
A: Yes, Southwest is discontinuing AirTran flights to White Plains, N.Y.; Sarasota, Fla.; Atlantic City, N.J.; Newport News, Va.; Dulles International in Washington, D.C.; and Bloomington/Normal in Illinois.
Q: How big is Southwest in Atlanta versus AirTran and Delta?
A: Initially Southwest will operate 15 daily flights from Hartsfield-Jackson. AirTran operates roughly 170, while Delta operates nearly 1,000. The number of AirTran flights will gradually decline over the next couple of years as Southwest gradually takes over its service.
Q: What happens to AirTran’s business class seating?
A: It will stay in place on AirTran flights, but as Southwest converts planes to its own fleet it will eliminate the front cabin.
Q: What about AirTran’s assigned seating?
A: AirTran will continue to have it but the feature will be eliminated as flights are converted to Southwest service.
Q: What happens to AirTran frequent flier credits?
A: Southwest plans to merge AirTran’s A+ rewards members into its Rapid Rewards frequent flier program, but it has not disclosed how it will convert AirTran members’ credits into the Southwest program.
Q: Will I still have to pay AirTran’s checked baggage fees?
A: AirTran will continue to charge checked baggage fees, but since Southwest does not charge fees for the first and second checked bags, the fees are not charged on flights operated as Southwest service.
The members of the state ethics commission, eager to bring order to one of the most disordered corners of state government, hired a “receiver” last week to heal their agency and then did they only thing they could.
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