View Full Version : SouthWest vs AirTran @ PHL?

11-05-2009, 06:25 AM
We've flown AT out of PHL the last 3 times, I jumped on what I thought were 'good' fares as soon as they came out. RT direct flight tix for both of us was $302 before the baggage fee and the $302 included paying to lock in our seat selection. We're looking to go for F&W again next Oct and I'm wondering if it might be best to wait for SouthWest to announce rates, especially in light of their 'no baggage fee' policy. I'd welcome any advice comparing these two from PHL to MCO, thanks in advance.

Bill From PA

11-05-2009, 08:15 AM
I am a big fan of SWA; have never flown AT although I have noted they seem to have fees for just about everything! :confused:

I don't know how much longer SWA will be offering the free luggage "deal". I think it is great, but you have to wonder how long they will be able to keep it up. Otherwise, the service on SWA is great and I really enjoy flying with them. The open seating policy does not bother me at all, although I can see where it may pose problems when traveling with children or with a large group. On-line check-in is very simple; you can even do so on a PDA, something not all airlines offer. I'm a fan! :goodvibes

11-05-2009, 03:16 PM
Hey Bill.........we're also huge fans of SWA out of PHL to MCO, having flown them exclusively for the past six years or so (pretty much since they arrived at PHL). However, that said, we are trying AirTran out of ABE in January......for a few reasons......#1 in January an hour drive to and from ABE (translated....possible weather conditions) is much better than two hours to PHL and #2 it seems our last several trips in January the trip to MCO has been great.....no delays, etc., however, the trip back to PHL is another story. Whenever there is the slightest weather condition on the Eastern seaboard PHL seems to be at the bottom of the list for FAA clearance of all the larger East Coast airports. We've had delays from 1 hour to 5 hours blamed on the weather and when we get to PHL there doesn't appear to have been any weather condition there.......... As far as pricing goes.........even though we're booked on AirTran I've been watching the SWA prices and they seem to be neck and neck at this point. I do think they are pretty comparably priced flying out of PHL. I'll let you know how our trip in January with AirTran out of Allentown goes.......fares were pretty good........since we are traveling during a holiday timeframe.......leaving ABE on New Years Day ........fare to MCO is $122 + baggage fee and return on the 8th I got for $69.60 + baggage......so rt under $200 pp+ $30 rt bag fee.......not bad for a nonstop flight at that time of year.

11-05-2009, 07:55 PM
We have flown both out of PHL to MCO numerous times. One thing I do not like about AT is they have no curbside checkin at PHL. The line at the counter in the early morning before 7:30 a.m. is usually backed up to United. Most of the time there are only two (2) or three (3) agents working early. Then when more agents come, they have to pull people out of line who are in danger of missing their flight. We have gotten there the two (2) hours ahead with AT, and still ended up just making our flight. The flights are pretty good. I just do not care for the checkin process in PHL. We seem to never really have a problem at any other airport except PHL.

SW on the other hand is our new favorite. If the counter is backed up, we just use the curb check. Plus, love the two (2) bags for free for each person. So far, I have not had a problem with them in PHL or any other airport.

Even though AT sometimes has better fares, once we add in the cost of the bags, it usually evens out. Unless you can get those $25 coupons AT runs sometimes. The ding fares can really be good if you can get it on the date and destination you need. You just have to keep checking the fares for both, and sign up for all their reward programs. Other than Chicago, I think PHL is one of the worst airports. On a regular basis, you can pretty much count on a delay flying into or out of PHL.:headache: Not saying all the time, but quite a bit of delays.

11-06-2009, 05:59 PM
We have flown both and SW blows AT away for service and price. Airtran charges for bags and if you want to choose your seats ahead. It is $6 for each seat and if you change planes, it is $6 to choose on the second leg.

Another thing about AT is that they frequently change your schedule, so you booked a flight at one time and the time may change several times before your trip. It can be a big deal if you have a connecting flight.

We love SW. The service is excellent thru the entire experience. Even the drink service on the flight is smart....they take your order and bring back your drink....no cart blocking the aisle!

The best is, if you have to cancel on SW, you just have a credit of whatever amount you paid for the flight. You have 1 year from the booking date to use the credit. If you can't use it, someone else can.......no fees, no hassles. We found this out on a flight for my mom last summer. I don't know AT's policy, but I suspect it would not be so easy......

That said, AT was safe and we did not have any real problems....but we are SW flyers from now on!

11-07-2009, 09:07 AM
i like them both and have flown both frequently to MCO. i usually choose one over the other solely on price...whichever one i can get the cheapest. i usually fly late at night home from MCO so i have in the past chosen airtran to be able to check my bags at the resort and not worry about them again. the $25 coupons they offered allowed for extra trips so have been on airtran mostly though. as other posters said, there can be delays leaving MCO and this is 85% true for me whenever i am on airtran leaving MCO but i go into it expecting to be delayed rather than hoping not to be.

as for southwest, love them but not always a better deal. i have always been lucky to get the really great flight attendants and usually laugh all the way to MCO which makes for a great flight. since i am usually traveling alone and without kids, i always can get an exit row seat which is cool. i agree i could see the issues some may have with larger groups or children with the boarding process but people are usually pretty accomodating and let families sit together.

11-07-2009, 10:44 AM
Thanks for all the replies. Based on this year's experience, AT should have their fares for our dates out in early July at least, I'll probably give them a look, check out SW at the same time and just go where the numbers take me. In 2007 we booked AT for an Oct. trip then my son and his GF decided to join us. By that time the cheap AT fares were gone so they took SW, same depart/arrival time, different terminal at PHL and they were pleased with their experience as were we.

Bill From PA