AirTran (FL) in it’s day was the low cost producer and operated a rolling hub in ATL that often had prolonged layovers (some exceeding 4 hours) effectively catering to people who placed a low value on their time. They also had some quirky things like AirTran U student standby. It is interesting to see WN re-enter some of the former FL markets like SRQ. WN today is just chasing revenue and retreating from their push to consolidate operations and opening up more co-terminals (see ORD/MDW and FLL/MIA).We loved Air Tran, Atlanta was it’s biggest hub, from there it seemed they flew everywhere, and at the best prices. Southwest bought em out and basically dismantled it, selling it’s aircraft to Delta for big discounts, and dropping many of it’s routes, along with it’s business class which was so affordable. Having said that, the Air Tran cabin crew were thrilled, their pay skyrocketed when they moved to SW. A personal friend who was an Air Tran flight attendant said he felt like he won the lottery.
There are definitely some WN employees who feel FL hit the lotto getting large pay increases (exceeding 50% in some classifications) and improved job security. Not all that different from the sentiments of nAAtives at AA vis a vis TWA or PMDL employees vis a vis NW.