We have discussed about cultural concerns and rivalries after merging of the two airlines. Actually, they have many others beside the culture changes.
The merging between Southwest and AirTran is now in its third year, and it’s still not finished.
By merging together, the two airlines can gain more market share, carry more domestic passengers than any other, and become dominant in domestic low-cost airline.
As a part of the plan, Southwest Airlines Co. has cut about 300 employees from its AirTran Airways’ staff in Atlanta as it changes how flights flow to and from the airport there to combat increased competition from larger rival Delta Air Lines Inc. The job cuts come as Southwest plans to shift from AirTran’s hub-and-spoke system at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to a point-to-point model, to make the combined carrier more efficient. Typically, when AirTran employees shift to Southwest, they get a 30 percent pay raise on average.
However, the two airlines are still facing many problems.
Ticket reservation system
The two discount airlines face huge merger hurdles largely because Southwest lacks a reservation system capable of handling many aspects of AirTran's business, such as international flights.
The ticket reservation system faced many problems. Travelers say Southwest Airlines agents struggle with AirTran Airways tickets and vice versa, sometimes leaving passengers who have been delayed and need rebooking in the lurch. Different prices and seat availability sometimes show up for the same flight on Southwest's and AirTran's online sites.
Instead of merging into one computer system, Southwest, for now, has agents of both airlines trying to work two reservation systems on different windows of their computer screens so one airline can check in customers from the other
Problems have been most noticeable when bad weather disrupts operations, Mr. Hawkins said, and employees have to deal with rescheduling passengers. Agents can't see all possible alternative flights in one place and have to check route by route to find open seats for stranded customers.
Southwest and AirTran are mishandling bags (not delivering them on the same flight as their owners) more frequently as the airlines connect bags between each other. Overbooking and complaints are up, too, though still lower than those for many competitors.
2 years after acquiring AirTran in May 2011, only 14 of the more than 50 AirTran destinations have been moved under Southwest's umbrella. The two basically still operate as separate airlines and will until the end of 2014.
Travelers say even though the airlines are trying to sell seamless travel together, lots of disconnects remain.
Book an AirTran flight through Southwest—the two airlines now code-share so AirTran flights carry a Southwest flight number and Southwest flights can be ticketed as an AirTran flight number—and customers won't have to pay fees to check bags. (AirTran does charge fees to check bags to AirTran-booked customers.) But if customers buy their ticket this way, they can't reserve seats on those AirTran flights.
Southwest hasn't developed a mobile phone app for AirTran, since the airline will be phased out (though it does have a robust app of its own where customer can see AirTran flights).
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