frequently asked questions
AirTran & Southwest Network Connectivity
Q: What does it mean that Southwest and AirTran have connected their networks?
A: Once fully implemented, you will have the ability to purchase flights across both Southwest and AirTran networks in a single itinerary. Combined, Southwest and AirTran serve 97 destinations in the United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Since AirTran planes will eventually integrate into the Southwest brand forming a single network, reservation system, and loyalty program, our approach to connecting the two networks is different than a typical airline codeshare agreement. Our solution is temporary in nature, and will only be in place until AirTran is fully integrated into the Southwest brand.
Q: Why did Southwest and AirTran connect their networks?
A: Though AirTran Airways is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Southwest Airlines, the two are still operating as separate carriers. As AirTran planes are transferred into the Southwest brand, the AirTran network will gradually decrease. Connecting the networks allows you the convenience to purchase both Southwest and AirTran flights in one itinerary, through any Southwest or AirTran booking channel.
Q: What do you mean by “shared itinerary”?
A: We refer to “shared itinerary” when discussing any single itinerary that is comprised of both a Southwest flight segment and an AirTran flight segment. We also use that term for an AirTran-only itinerary that has been booked through a Southwest Airlines booking channel.
Q: When will Southwest and AirTran become one airline?
A: Our plan is to have AirTran completely integrated into Southwest Airlines by the end of 2014.
Q: What is the difference between a Marketing Carrier and an Operating Carrier?
A: The airline that sells the ticket is the Marketing Carrier. The airline that operates the flight is the Operating Carrier. In general, the Marketing Carrier’s Contract of Carriage applies to the entire journey. The Operating Carrier’s procedures will apply to boarding, seating, and the experience onboard that aircraft.
Q: What are the available Southwest and AirTran booking channels?
A: You can purchase a Southwest-only itinerary, an AirTran-only itinerary, or an itinerary that has a combination of Southwest and AirTran flights through all Southwest Airlines channels (southwest.com, 1-800-IFLYSWA, Southwest’s mobile site and apps, Southwest Airlines ticket counters, Southwest Corporate Distribution Portals, and travel agencies).
You can purchase an AirTran-only itinerary or an itinerary that has a combination of Southwest and AirTran flights through all AirTran channels (airtran.com, 1-800-AIRTRAN, AirTran Airways ticket counters, and travel agencies).
Policies & Fees
Q: How do I know which airline’s policies apply if my itinerary includes flights on both airlines?
A: The Marketing Carrier’s Contract of Carriage and related policies apply to the entire travel itinerary. If you purchase your itinerary through Southwest Airlines booking channels, Southwest is the Marketing Carrier and Southwest’s policies will apply. If you purchase your itinerary through AirTran booking channels, AirTran is the Marketing Carrier and AirTran’s policies will apply.
Q: How will fees be applied if the itinerary includes flights on both airlines?
A: The Marketing Carrier’s fees will apply to all aspects of the travel with one exception. 1st and 2nd checked bag fees will be waived for any itinerary purchased through an AirTran channel that includes a Southwest segment (weight and size restrictions still apply).
Q: If I purchase EarlyBird Check-In® for a flight connecting with AirTran, do I receive priority boarding on the AirTran portion of my flight?
A: The EarlyBird Check-In product is only available on itineraries marketed through Southwest channels and will only apply to the segments operated by Southwest. EarlyBird Check-In will not apply to segments operated by AirTran.
Q: When will AirTran policies and fees align with those of Southwest Airlines?
A: Though AirTran Airways is a wholly owned subsidiary of Southwest Airlines, AirTran is operating as a separate carrier and has its own Contract of Carriage. By the end of 2014, we intend to have AirTran aircraft converted to the Southwest brand and incorporated into the Southwest network. At that point, there will no longer be an AirTran Contract of Carriage.
Q: Is it possible to purchase an advanced seat assignment for the AirTran segment of an itinerary that was purchased via Southwest channels?
A: Advanced seat assignments are not available on shared itineraries purchased via Southwest channels. Customers who purchase an AirTran segment on Southwest channels will be assigned a seat at the time of check in.
Q: Can I upgrade to AirTran Business Class on the AirTran portion of my itinerary?
A: If you purchase a shared itinerary that includes both Southwest and AirTran segments via Southwest booking channels, you must upgrade your entire one-way trip to a Business Select fare to be seated in Business Class on the AirTran segment of your trip.
Q: Can I book AirTran Business Class on Southwest channels?
A: Yes, by purchasing a Business Select fare, you will receive Business Class on your AirTran-operated flight. Your seat will be automatically assigned in Business Class at the time of check in.
Loyalty Program Information
Q: Which frequent flyer program rewards do I earn if my itinerary includes flights on both airlines?
A: You will receive points/credits for all flights in the frequent flyer program of the Marketing Carrier once travel has been completed. Therefore, if you book through a Southwest channel, you will earn Rapid Rewards® Points. If you book through an AirTran channel you will earn A+ Rewards® Credits. You should be enrolled in Rapid Rewards to earn Rapid Rewards Points for all southwest.com purchases and enrolled in A+ Rewards to earn A+ Rewards Credits for all airtran.com and online travel agency purchases.
Q: How do I redeem my rewards for shared itineraries?
A: Loyalty program currencies (Rapid Rewards Points or A+ Rewards Credits) will continue to be redeemed with the Carrier from which they were earned. In the event that you would like to use A+ Rewards credits for travel on Southwest (or vice-versa), you will need to transfer your currency between programs using Rewards Conversion.
Q: How do I convert currency between A+ Rewards and Rapid Rewards?
A: A+ Rewards Members can convert their active A+ Rewards Credits into Rapid Rewards Points. Rapid Rewards Members can convert their Rapid Rewards Points, active Credits, and active Awards/Certificates into A+ Rewards Credits. You must be enrolled in both Rapid Rewards and A+ Rewards and have an active currency balance in your account to participate in Rewards Conversion. Learn more about Rewards Conversion.
Q: Do my loyalty program benefits apply on all segments of a shared itinerary?
A: Most A+ Elite benefits will apply to any Southwest or AirTran segment of a shared itinerary, with the exception of complimentary/auto upgrades to higher fare classes and waived change/cancellation fees. All A-List Preferred or A-List benefits will apply to any Southwest or AirTran segment of a shared itinerary, with the exception of free WiFi for A-List Preferred Members when flying on AirTran-operated flights.
Q: Will I be able to use my Rapid Rewards Companion Pass or A+ Rewards Companion Pass for Companion travel on shared itineraries?
A: Yes. Companion Pass travel is permitted on shared itineraries.
Booking Your Flight
Q: Can anyone purchase a shared itinerary?
A: Shared itineraries or AirTran-only itineraries booked through Southwest channels cannot be purchased for Unaccompanied Minors or Groups.
Pets are now allowed on flights that include a Southwest Airlines segment. However, advanced pet reservations are not available for shared itineraries at this time. On the day of travel, customers must bring the pet to the airport in an approved pet carrier. Proceed to the airport ticket counter to book the pet’s reservation and pay the Pet Fare before going to the departure gate.
Q: Can all forms of payment be used?
A: All forms of payment currently accepted will continue to be accepted, with the exception of paper tickets.
Q: Can I purchase a Southwest flight on an online travel agency web site?
A: Southwest-only flights are not available for sale on online travel agency web sites. However, AirTran itineraries that include a Southwest segment will be sold on online travel agency web sites.
Q: Can I purchase international flights through Southwest channels?
A: All international itineraries must be booked through AirTran channels. Southwest will transfer all international flight searches to AirTran channels for booking and ticketing.
Before Your Travel
Q: Do both flights within a shared itinerary have the same confirmation number?
A: Yes, you will receive one confirmation number for your shared itinerary.
Q: How will I know which part of my trip is on Southwest and which part is on AirTran?
A: The Operating Carrier will be noted on the confirmation page at the time of booking and will also appear on your confirmation e-mail.
Q: If flying on an international itinerary, where will the passport be verified?
A: Passports will be verified at the first place you check in. You must check in and obtain your boarding pass at the airport for international itineraries, as international check in cannot be completed at the kiosk or online. Additional travel documentation may be required. For a list of additional travel documents, go here.
During Your Trip
Q: Can I check in online for a shared itinerary?
A: Yes, unless you are traveling on an international itinerary, you can check in at the web site of the Marketing Carrier from whom you purchased your ticket.
Q: If I don’t check in online, where do I get my boarding pass at the airport for a shared itinerary?
A: At the airport, you must check in with the Operating Carrier to obtain a boarding pass for your first flight. Check in requirements and time limits apply.
Q: When can I check in?
A: You can check in and print your boarding pass up to 24 hours before the departure of your first flight. If you are flying on a Southwest segment, you will be assigned a boarding group (A, B or C) and position (1-60+) upon check in. Available Southwest boarding passes will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis upon check in. Please remember, the earlier you check in, the lower your boarding group and position will be for the Southwest-operated segment of your trip.
Q: Where do I check bags?
A: For the best experience, you should check your bags with the Carrier that is operating the first flight of your itinerary.
Q: Will I be able to check in for both segments of a shared itinerary using a kiosk?
A: Yes. You can check in for both portions of a shared itinerary on the day of travel for your first flight using a kiosk. You will receive boarding passes at the kiosk from each Operating Carrier. If you are traveling on an international flight you must check in at the ticket counter.
Q: Can I use the Southwest FlyBy security lane if I am flying on an AirTran flight?
A: The following Customers can use the Fly By® security lanes: A-List, A-List Preferred, Business Select, A+ Elite, Business Class, and AirTran A2B Customers.
Q: How do I find my gate when at the airport?
A: Once you have your boarding pass, you can find the flight number printed on your boarding pass which will also be displayed on the airport flight status monitors with corresponding gate information.
Q: Will Southwest and AirTran boarding passes now look the same?
A: No. Boarding passes for each Operating Carrier will continue to look as they currently do for both Southwest and AirTran. For example, seat assignments with your seat number will be visible on the AirTran boarding pass and boarding position assignment (i.e. A20) will be visible on the Southwest boarding pass.
Q: How does boarding work on each carrier?
A: Customers will follow the existing boarding procedures for each Operating Carrier. Go here to learn more about Southwest’s boarding process and open seating procedures. Go here to learn more about AirTran’s assigned seating procedures.
Q: Can I fly standby on a shared itinerary?
A: Yes, with limitations. The Marketing Carrier’s standby policies apply. A Customer Service Agent can assist with flight availability at the gate.
Q: Do both Southwest and AirTran offer WiFi on their flights?
A: A large majority of Southwest-operated flights offer satellite-based WiFi service, which is available for purchase once onboard. All AirTran-operated flights offer air-to-ground WiFi service via Gogo, which can also be purchased onboard.
Please note that if you purchase WiFi on the Southwest-operated portion of your itinerary that it does not transfer to the AirTran-operated portion of your itinerary and vice-versa.
Q: Can I use Southwest drink coupons on AirTran flights?
A: No, Southwest drink coupons are only redeemable on Southwest-operated flights.
Q: If my checked bag does not arrive, with which airline do I file a mishandled bag report?
A: The Carrier operating the segment to your destination will be responsible for working with you to locate any mishandled checked bags. For example, if you are traveling on a connecting flight to your destination and begin your trip on an AirTran-operated flight and connect to a Southwest-operated flight, you would file a report at the Southwest Airlines Baggage Service office at upon arrival at the destination airport.
Q: If I left a personal item onboard the aircraft or in the gate area, with which airline do I file a lost item report?
A: The Carrier operating the segment to your destination will be responsible for working with you to locate any personal items misplaced during your journey. Go here to submit a lost item report if Southwest was final your Operating Carrier. Go here to submit a lost item report if AirTran was your final Operating Carrier.