South East, welcome Southwest!

I’m not a fan of Southwest, but they do serve a purpose in the aviation world.

On Sunday, April 14, Airtran will be replaced by Southwest in Charlotte.  It sounds like there will be some kind of a party in A6 because I heard a lady telling others where to put the food and other things.  A few years ago I was in Sacramento when Delta added a new flight (Detroit if I recall correctly) and they gave us all cake.  Considering this is the first new airline to enter Charlotte since Midwest entered (and quickly departed) back in 2007.  Well…They are really just taking over AirTran in my mind, but instead of Baltimore, Orlando, and Atlanta they are cutting Atlanta and adding Houston (Hobby) and Chicago (Midway).  This is good because Delta runs almost hourly service to Atlanta and US Airways is pretty close as well, plus there is Megabus or just driving the 250 miles :).  Houston is already served by United and US Airways, but that is to Intercontinental, not Hobby.  Chicago is already served by United, US Airways, and American, but that is to O’Hare and not Midway.  Many of those flights are in Regional Jets which don’t have First Class anyway so as an infrequent flyer Southwest on a 737 is much better than a CRJ-200 or an EMB-145 for a couple hours…and anything is better than the lowest in industry seat pitch on AirTran.

Do I think this will do anything to airfares?  No.  Research tells me US Airways is 90% of Charlotte and I’ll repeat…they are just taking over Airtran service so if Airtran didn’t lower prices in Charlotte, Southwest won’t either.  CLT-BWI was always the cheapest flight I could find though and I think that was due to US Airways’ former presence there and AirTran’s takeover.

I got to see them working hard to fix the benches in the A6 gate area.  I was flying Delta out of A8 and the lady had to manually check us off because the computer wasn’t working.  I blamed it on Southwest.