The US no-frills carrier airTran began life as ValuJet in Atlanta, Georgia in 1993. They were the first airline to introduce ticketless travel and the airline’s immediate success resulted in a NASDAQ listing a year later. An appalling safety record prompted the FAA to begin steps to ground the airline, but in the meantime the airline posted impressive profits. The spectacular crash of a flight into the Florida Everglades in 1996 forced the grounding of the carrier and the following investigation highlighted the cost cutting practices which everyone in the industry had known about before the media paid full attention, but had done nothing. To blur the airlines responsibility for this accident they merged with a small rival, changed their name to airTran and relocated to Orlando, Florida. The airline is the world’s largest operator of Boeing 717’s. The only other plane they operate is the 737. In 2003 airTran began a fleet renewal and in 2010 they were brought out by Southwest for $1.4 billion. The airTran brand will be absorbed into Southwest, and disappear, by 2015.
airTran is cheap, yet the terrible service you might expect is never as bad as you think. The airline’s crew know they are working for the worst guys in aviation and are being paid peanuts yet they are usually pleasant to passengers and can even be chatty and friendly. Others are often older experienced types who might be dreaming of the better times a generation ago. These staff can be bossy and condescending. Crew have sales targets to make from on-board purchases so if they are being extra nice it is possibly to attract customers.
The Orlando based carrier provides perhaps the best links from Florida and Georgia to the rest of the US. They also fly to popular holiday destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean. While passengers can travel all across the US on airTran most flights will require a transfer at a hub where problems can and do occur with missed connections and baggage loss. Don’t expect any sincere sympathy from the low paid staff who deal with hundreds of misconnected passengers daily.
Tickets are generally cheap. The airline makes its money by charging high prices at peak times and by selling snacks on-board while paying staff and contractors the lowest amounts. When booking on airTran passengers should recall they are flying on aircraft which are maintained at the very lowest of standards. In countries where standards are higher than the US, it is doubtful the airline would be permitted to fly at all.
airTran provides no complimentary service so passengers are expected to purchase from the crew. The airline offers pure junk food snacks with no nutritional value at all. If you want something appetising, bring your own sandwiches.
airTran publish an inflight magazine called Go which is a series of advertisements often disguised as articles or news. Watching the tired staff can be entertaining.
Everything about this airline is about how to get extra money out of passengers and operating cheaply. Ground service is reasonably quick but all bags are charged. The airline must get excited by passengers who have three bags as the third one costs $110 no matter the size. Even unaccompanied children cost money to check in. Missing or pilfered bags are a nuisance for the airline so they make it difficult to do anything about and will try and somehow transfer the blame onto the passenger.
airTran is one of the few discount carriers to have what they call a Business Class. Essentially it is Economy with a larger seat. airTran’s so-called Business Class is an insult to the term and cannot even be compared to Economy on an airline like Emirates, for example. airTran’s Business Class is a larger seat, priority boarding and two free bags plus a single drink. All of these so-called extra’s are standard on any legacy airline. The airline has no airport lounges.
If you don’t mind travelling on a dangerous bus with wings that you know isn’t being maintained to the highest of standards then airTran is OK. If you are travelling without check-in baggage and just going a single route they can even be fine, but for everyone else better airlines offer safer services.
Americans do love their frequent flyer loyalty schemes even if they aren’t able to benefit from them. airTran has its own plan called a+ which is quite a comprehensive scheme where points can be earned in many ways other than flights and points can also be redeemed at their SkyMall, which has a wide variety of products to buy. However like all schemes considerable travel needs to be made to benefit, so do members really want to be locked into one of the worst airlines flying US skies?
airTran is and always has been one of the least ethical airlines in aviation. Their formula is to operate a limited range of aircraft and to operate them to the maximum of their flying capacity. Aircraft are maintained to the very lowest of standards and routine safety checks are constantly neglected. They get away with it because of the US’s highly deregulated and poorly supervised FAA. Crew are employed on the lowest pay together with pilots. Every corner is cut and every ‘service’ is axed to make money. Safety, staff relations and even the future of the airline are secondary to the immediate need to maximise profits which is the airlines primary focus. The very worst sort of people are attracted to a job in airTran’s corporate office.
Safety is an expense which needs to be cut like everything else. This is airTran’s philosophy. They have statistically looked at the chances of disaster and decided they will accept the risk of something going spectacularly wrong in return for immediate profits. Every corner is cut and the airline will use the very cheapest contractors no matter how questionable their practices. Its amazing the airline has not suffered more dramas than they have.
airTran offer passengers a cheap flight on aircraft run by third world standards. airTran is a candidate for America’s worst airline.
Home | Activities | Aeroflot | Aerolineas | AeroMexico | AirAsia | Air Austral | Air Berlin | Air Canada | Aircalin | Air China | Air Europa | Air France | Air India | Air Koryo | Air Malta | Air Mauritius | Air NZ | Air Tahiti Nui | Alaska Airlines | Air Vanuatu | Air Zimbabwe | Alliance Airlines | Alitalia | American Airlines | ANA | Ariana | Asiana | Austrian | Avianca | Bangkok Airways | British Airways | Cathay Pacific | Car Rentals | Cebu Pacific | China Airlines | China Eastern | China Southern | Cubana | Delta | Dragonair | easyJet | EgyptAir | El Al | Emirates | Etihad | EVA Air | Fiji Airways | Finnair | Flights | flydubai | Frontier | Garuda | Gulf Air | Hainan Airlines | Hawaiian | HK Express | Hotels | Iberia | Icelandair | Insurance | Iran Air | Iraqi Airways | JAL | Jet Airways | jetBlue | Jetstar | Kenya Airways | KLM | Korean Air | Myanmar Airways | Myanmar National | Norwegian | LATAM | Lufthansa | Malaysia | Maps | Nok Air | Olympic Air | OneWorld | Our Airline | PIA Pakistan | Philippine Airlines | Qantas | Qatar | Rex | Royal Jordanian | Ryanair | S7 | SAS | Saudi Arabian | Scoot | Sichuan Airlines | Silk Air | Singapore Airlines | Shanghai Airlines | Shenzhen Airlines | SkyTeam | Skywards | South African Airways | Southwest | Spirit | Star Alliance | | Swiss | TACA | Thai Airways | Tigerair | Transport | Travel Tips | Turkish | United | VietJetAir | Vietnam | Virgin America | Virgin Atlantic | Virgin Australia | WestJet | Xiamen Air |