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Southwest Airlines Community

Who's Down With SOC? Yeah, You Know Me!

Employee
Employee

Today’s an enormously significant day in Southwest history, though not for reasons seen by the naked eye.  Southwest and AirTran have received approval by the Federal Aviation Administration for a Single Operating Certificate—a key milestone in the integration of the two airlines. 

So what is a Single Operating Certificate (SOC)?  Put in the simplest terms, it’s a highly-coveted piece of paper that will get neatly framed and hung on the wall (like the picture above). 

Of course, it’s so much more than that. 

This certificate will amend our current “Southwest Airlines Air Carrier Operating Certificate” to read “Southwest Airlines and/or AirTran Airways.”  The two airlines will conduct operations under a single set of FAA Operations Specifications

Most Employees and Customers will see little or no immediate difference, but in the long-term, the SOC enables us to continue on our path to become one carrier.

Eventually, as we’ve noted before on Nuts, we plan to fully integrate the AirTran Airways fleet into the Southwest Airlines fleet (paint scheme, Evolve interior, a single ticketing system—the works!).  With SOC, that plan continues full steam ahead, remaining on schedule.

Meanwhile, it’s business as usual for both Southwest and AirTran, and you’ll still get the same great service from each airline.  But you’ll see a gradual shift, as opposed to flipping a switch, as we combine America’s two leading low-cost carriers into one, and spread low fares farther than ever before!

One LUV, baby!

To view full details of the SOC announcement, click here!

And for cryin' out loud, check out Stephen M. Keller's great video here!

41 Comments
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When will you allow code-sharing between the two airlines? As of now, the integration system seems to be flawed. You're taking out Air Tran flights in Atlanta and substituting them with Southwest flights. However, there's no connectivity in Atlanta between the airlines. For example, a person flying Southwest Airlines out of Louisville to Atlanta cannot connect to another Air Tran flight. You're also putting Air Tran on a flight from Austin to Houston with one flight a day, but there's no connectivity from the Air Tran flight to a Southwest flight or vice versa. You'll just end up with empty planes = more slashed routes. This isn't good for your consumers or for employees at Air Tran or Southwest. Other airlines, such as Continental and United have effectively integrated with a code-sharing agreement upon announcement of the merger. I think Southwest Airlines is a MUCH better carrier than Continental or United, but when it comes to connectivity, your airline needs to up the ante in order to allow this acquisition to be beneficial to the consumer.
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We use to be huge fans ( awards members and CC holders) and flew Southwest at least once a month. You may have Airtran but you took away flights from Philly to Boston ,Manchester and Providence. the whole Northeast from what I can tell.......!!!! Won't be flying with you much anymore!
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Does *anyone* in your company realize how ridiculous it is to make a blog entry - ie, to communicate with your customers - saying how excited you are about a piece of paper that you admit means absolutely NOTHING to us? No further development in getting the two airlines actually integrated in any way that helps us, no work on combining the websites, no news on if/how the two rewards programs will interact, no word on if/when we'll be able to even code-share the two airlines. And we're supposed to be happy that you framed a piece of paper? Not everything is for public consumption, Southwest. Just because your bean counters are happy, doesn't mean you should be telling us to be happy.
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My wife and I are going to Puerto Rico this summer, any chance we could riding in a SWA plane? Keep up the good work guys!
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Our family flys Southwest almost exclusively. We love the non-stop routes, customer service, airline attendants, and baggage policy. So it was with much excitement to see Airtran and Southwest merge. The problem is that Southwest is taking away so many of Airtran's routes, specifically, we were looking forward to the Sarasota service. We hear that Southwest has already announced they are pulling from the airport without giving the airport a chance to bid to keep them. It is really going to hurt the people serving that area and travelers like us who must still fly into Tampa and combat traffic for 2 hours until we reach our destination. While it is great to see the certificate, make it mean something by providing the services.
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Any chance that SW will start flying from Austin or Dallas to Huntsville, Alabama?
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I am on the other side of the merger - from Dayton, OH where we have had OUTSTANDING AirTran service for many years. We have not heard ANY good news out of this merger yet.(Case in point, our other 2 main carriers Delta and US Air are scaling back their flight out of Dayton drastically.) Since LUV has flights out of Lexington, KY and Columbus, OH already, what I want to know is not what flights you are going to take away from Dayton but what you are going to do to IMPROVE connectivity? For years, we have had great non-stops to Tampa & Orlando FL. Promise me they will remain!!!
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I let my Air Tran Miles expire and will NOT fly on it or other Carriers because of the baggage Fee. I have been spoiled by Southwest and want it to be my only carrier. I cannot understand why I had to lose those Air Tran Miles. When Air Tran is incorporated into Southwest with NO Baggage Fees I will be extremely happy. Southwest is the leader in making my air travel a happy experience.!
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I hope your integration plans include keeping the Sirius/XM, that's one of the best perks of flying Air Tran.
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I feel some trepidation about the next steps. I don't like the bonus rewards changes last year. I am never clear about how they work and is takes much longer for me to get the free ticket. I fly Southwest once a month and I just want to keep loving it. You are the only airlines I want to fly. When I'm in Maine in the summer I have to fly someone else out of Portland. I look forward to the time when Air Tran becomes Southwest and I can use Southwest year round. Majida
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Does this mean that bags will fly free on Trans Air this summer?
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We are booked on Air Tran to San Juan from Atlanta in June. Could this change to a SW flight? I sure hope so... will Air Tran be waiving bag fees like SW?
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It would be greatly appreciated if you (either SWA or Air Tran) would reinstate your non-stop flights from Harrisburg, PA (MDT) to Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL). It's hard for the elderly (like my Mom) to go throught PHL and ATL on USair and Delta. We loved that flight!!!! Give it back. Please!!!!!!!!! She said the flights were always full.
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Hi,Ihave a house in Sarasota FL and in Westhampton beach NY and was wondering if you are planning a flight from Sarasota to Islip in the near future.I have to fly Jet Blue out of Kennedy and the flight is always full and it takes me an extra hour to get to the airport.I fly from Islip to Tampa and it takes about an hour to get to my house.There are a lot of people on the East End of Long Island that would use this service.Look forward to your reply. Charles Koonmen
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Totally disappointed in Southwest/Airtran Merger. We have flown to Orlando both on Southwest out of Philadelphia and out of Allentown on Airtran and totally preferred flying out of Allentown--figured it would just be a matter of time until Airtran would be Southwest out of Allentown but no--you announced the end of service from there.
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I sure hope this doesn't mean the rates for Air Tran flights will skyrocket to meet the Southwest rates. Right now, I can fly Air Tran for half what Southwest charges which is pitiful. Then again, I can fly a lot of carriers for significantly less than Southwest is charging today.
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we fly airtran 5 to 6 x 's a yr..Dayton and Buffalo...why this yr for august is there only 1 flt to Dayton?? will more be added?? when will sothwest fly there??
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Any chance Airtran or Southwest will be flying out of Bloomington or Peoria again/soon to southwest Florida during the summer months? There are no airlines that are currently flying to southwest Florida. Why did you pull out of Bloomington? If it was for lack of filling the planes, did you ever consider cutting down the amount of days instead of totally eliminating the route altogether?
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I agree with the person who stated that Southwest is pulling AirTran service out of Sarasota. We fly out of Midway into Sarasota at least 3 round trips a year, since it is near our winter home. Tampa will be the airport we have to fly in and it would be nice to keep flying into Sarasota. The flights were always full, both ways. Don't understand why they are pulling out of Sarasota.
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I fully agree with the comment of "formersouthwestnut"' Why, in the world, did you cancel service from all of your Northeast airports (Boston, Manchester, and Providence) to Philadelphia????????? This is even more baffling to understand when one remembers the major effort made by SWA to get into PHL.
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I understand it takes time for things to happen, however I figured by now AirTran would stop charging Baggage Fees like Southwest. I fly out of Pensacola to Baltimore and my children fly from Baltimore to Pensacola (Both on AirTran) and they are STILL charging bag fees for checked baggage. I have heard that Southwest will be moving in to Pensacola International Airport but have no idea as to when to expect that to happen. No word on if the flights will remain the same as Air Tran flys now. These are all of my immediate concerns as they involve me being able to visit with my minor children...not some piece of paper that your are proud enough to display in your trophy case that is meaningless to me. It's great you got the paper from the FAA, but let us know more about the transition and less about the paperwork trail.
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would I be able to fly some day from spokane TO cancun mex now that SWA has aquired AIR TRAN.
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Air Tran has flights in/out of Grand Rapids, Michigan; when is Southwest going to actually take over there or at least give us our Southwest Reward points for AirTran flights?
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Never flew Southwest, but am a big Air Tran fan and have flown them for years between Atlanta and Miami. I was quite disappointed when this ATL/MIA route was discontinued after the Southwest buyout. Now I have to go to Fort Lauderdale airport to fly Air Tran, and its not worth the hassle to have to commute an extra hour just to fly my preferred air line. Just saying, so far this merger has been a huge disappointment for me even though when I first knew about it, I was excited, fool that I was. Now, I see this merger means only one thing to me, that I have to find another airline to get from Miami to Atlanta.
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I have a flight book with Air Train in April 2012 to Akron Ohio and two flights with SW this summer... What about the baggage fee for Air Train in April?????? is SW going to make it all the same NO Baggage fees,,, Thank you........Jim
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We are hoping SW/Air Tran will be flying from Sacramento to Los Cabos. I know you will be flying from Orange County to Cabo buy what about from Sacramento?
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Another complaint about the loss of the Philadelphia to New England Service. You were our connection to our grandkids and you BROKE IT!!!! To add insult to injury, you still list flights to New England from Newark, but they are indirect and cost so much that no one in their right mind would want to take them. Makes it hard for us to continue to LUV you, since you are no longer of any use to us, but it was nice while it lasted.
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I always fly Airtran into White plains N.Y from PBI, rumor hasit that Southwest will be cancelling this route, is it true? I also notice the radios were taken out of the aircraft, rumor also has ity that Southwest has no contract with xm radio so they just took them out of the aircraft?
New Arrival
Congrats on the SOC. Now hurry up with the rest! Can you confirm for me that EYW will still be in the mix come December? Will you be flying Southwest into Key West, FL by that time or do you think it will still be Air Tran? And speaking of that, do you have any idea when the schedule will be opened up into December for AirTran? Thanks Willy
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Ir appears you are moving away from smaller markets. You are discontinuling service by Air Tran out of Harrisburg to Orlando but I think you could have owned the Harrisburg market completely if you would use commuters from Harrisburg to Baltimore,, I currently drive from Mechanicsburg to Baltimore to fly to HOu and Aus. In the future you will probably lose some of my business as I'll fly Delta to Atlanta and Southwest. to HOU of Aus. When i apply overnight lodging and cdost of fuel it will be cheaper to fly out of Harrisburg. I believe you would find full aircraft to BWI from the hbg.and lancaster markets.
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There are a lot of questions from customers here but where are the answers from Southwest?............Just what the heck does Southwest plan to do and when about the major issues raised in this forum?
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I never thought I would live to say this, but Southwest has used its monopoly power to do what other monopolies do - greatly increase fares on routes it dominates and/or has little competition on. The FAA should have never allowed the Air Tran transaction to go through! As a regular traveler to Fort Myers (RSW), Florida, I have seen the fares from BWI and DCA to RSW nearly double since Southwest's purchase of Air Tran, as compared to fares in 2010 and 2011!! Shame on you Southwest for using your new monopoly to screw retirees and families who make up the bulk of the travelling public to Fort Myers, FL.
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We were thrilled when we heard Southwest had bought AirTran because we thought we'd finally have Southwest service out of Harrisburg. We've now heard that AirTran is leaving Harrisburg! Yikes! Will Southwest every service that airport??????
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Why is SWA pulling out of Sarasota/Bradenton service from Midway effective August 12th? We have taken this flight under the AirTran banner numerous times and the plane was always full.
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First: I am a complete die-hard about Southwest airline. I do not miss a chance to tell someone that SW is by far the best airline to fly. Second: I finally had reason to fly AirTran on a return flight from NYC, changing planes in Atlanta. Both of the flights were glaringly lacking anything remotely related to SW. Most noticeable was the lack of customer service! I am very concerned but have faith that the folks at SW will straighten things out in time. Third: I like the idea of my favorite airline having access to new cities and most importantly having more gates at my most used airport, LGA. Fourth: I remain patient, full of confidence that the team at SW that has brought so many innovative and wonderful customer service ideas to frutation will smooth all of this out in due time. Thank you SW!
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I have heard that WN will no longer be servicing Sarasota, FL which was an Air Tran route. Why aren't you staying in cities that Air Tran serviced/
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From reading all the posted comments, it appears SWA is loosing more respect than gaining. Surely you have some idea of a timetable - why not give us a ball-park answer on merging - one month, two months, one year, two years, etc??? My specific concern is when coming to Memphis. Tired of driving to Little Rock.
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Would love to hear that SW will fly out of PWM to Philly. Any chance of that happening. Hate driving that extra distance to and from Manchester but love flying SW...now they've dropped that flight to Philly!!
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I am flying from Kansas City to Pensacola in May via Air Tran. Will those flights be Southwest by then? My main question is will I have to pay a baggage fee if it is still AirTran?? Thanks!
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Can you please update us on when Southwest will begin operations in Memphis, TN? My bags are packed and we will be steady customers!
New Arrival
I had a brief passing conversation with an Airtran employee and asked when they will be SW? He said full implementation will not happen until 2014 That made me sad.