Southwest uses AirTran for access to business travelers

The key to success in the airline industry is the business traveler. This category flies often, has less flexibility in pricing and spends more on flights than a leisure traveler could possibly imagine. So, it’s hardly surprising that Southwest‘s acquisition of AirTran – a $1.42 billion transaction – could help deliver greater share of the white collar travel crowd to the low-cost carrier.

According to MSNBC:

Southwest – which currently serves key cities such as Dallas, Chicago, Denver, Phoenix and Baltimore – has long been considered a vacationer’s airline. But it has lured corporate road warriors with offers like Business Select fares that cost more but promise priority boarding, extra frequent-flier credit and a free drink.

So, we’re looking at an expansion of Southwest’s strategy into a more lucrative market. Southwest has already proved that it can thrive in the volatile leisure market, ostensibly more challenging than catering to the business crowd. It seems as though this strategic shift is as close to a “sure thing” as one can imagine in the airline industry.

The acquisition also provides Southwest with international routes, as it picks up AirTran’s access to Mexico and the Caribbean.
[photo by AGeekMom via Flickr]