Southwest’s AirTran Deal–Good News, Right?

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REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

Southwest Airlines is set to buy AirTran for $1.42 billion. Now two of the U.S.’s leading discount carriers will be combined — will it be a beautiful union?

It likely will be for some. If you hate baggage fees (who doesn’t?) you can start rejoicing now. When the acquisition is complete (likely in 2012), AirTran’s baggage fees ($20 for the first bag, $25 for the second) will have fallen by the wayside. Southwest claims that they’ve gained customers from larger airlines by refusing to charge for baggage and they don’t intend to change their stance.

As NewFeed has reported, airline fees have skyrocketed even within the past year. Travelers will definitely welcome the news that something as simple as no-baggage-fees on flights will be more widely available.

And if you are after low-fare tickets into and out of Atlanta–which was formerly missed by Southwest’s flights–you are also in luck. By buying AirTran, Southwest will now be expanding into 37 cities, including the Georgia capital which is home to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International airport, the busiest airport.

So who isn’t happy about the deal? Likely the larger airlines, such as Delta, who will now be faced with more competition. And would-be travelers in Baltimore and Orlando–where Southwest and AirTran once rivaled one another–could be facing higher fares once the acquisition  goes through, as less competition often results in higher costs. (via the Associated Press)

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