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Old 02-03-2005, 01:01 PM   #1
pjp
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Just a few comments and questions...

Just a few comments and questions from a person considering an AirTran flight. I had never heard of the company before, so was very leery of the very cheap fare I came across. I have read quite a few other threads on the board, but I haven't run across one that addresses or answers these questions/issues/concerns.

I agree that AirTran is probably not the same company as ValuJet, however, I see some similarities. I'm expecting some to be overly defensive, but please don't. Read through, think, and carefully consider a response... don't overreact.

ValuJet hires a company to do work or provide services. In so doing, ValuJet places a level of trust with that company; ValuJet also takes the responsibility of any results from that partnership. It is ValuJet's responsibility to ensure their partnerships maintain the same standards they do, or want to be known for. Here, we see an employee shifting blame away from themselves. Even though ValuJet put its reputation on the line, and the safety of its passengers, it is somehow not a reflection on ValuJet? I'm confused by that claim.

And for the similarities...

Another employee makes the claim that AirTran is untouchable, because it was the fault of some other company. Again, I ask, how is AirTran not responsible for the partnerships and agreements it enters into? I'm not saying this incident was the fault of AirTran mechanics/employees, but AirTran as a company, and the decisions of its executives are an issue. If AirTran wants to maintain the highest safety ratings, why do they associate with companies that do not aspire to the same level of quality? Is this form of expansion standard for AirTran? If it is, I find it questionable. If AirTran has decided to cease relying on “operated/owned by” agreements for current and future expansion, then I guess thats an improvement, if it took two significant events to learn from it.


I realize these two employees are mainly trying to fight the claims that AirTran is really ValuJet, and they are not official spokesmen for AirTran. If AirTran thinks its OK to rely on lesser quality companies to expand, they must take on positive and negative results of such associations. I'm not naive enough to believe that AirTran will be affected by a few incidents, so I'm interested in their publicly stated comments and objectives. If a problem exists, I don't think it is with the employees, but rather the executives.

What I'd like to see independent reports of (I'll be resuming my internet search after this post):
  • How has AirTran addressed this incident publicly?
  • Are they maintaining a reliance on other companies to provide services?
  • If AirTran's goals are safety oriented, how do they address the conflict of that goal with subpar services provided by their corporate agreements?
  • Any similar statements to address related issues.

I haven't decided if I'll buy or not. I suppose I could simply ignore any “owned/operated” flights, and ignore the lack of ethics AirTran seemingly has toward those arrangements. (I do perceive at least a potential issue with ethics. "Official" AirTran flights may be safe.)

To end on a positive note, I am glad to have read several accounts of employees being able to keep or put a plane on the ground due to safety concerns.

Thanks for reading (and not overreacting! ),
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Old 02-03-2005, 03:43 PM   #2
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Mr. PJP:
Please go ahead and purchase the ticket on AirTran. I think you'll be surprised at how much we are just like the other BIGGGER airlines. As far as the "owned & operated by".....We currently fly all of our own routes and aircraft. We do not at this time have any flights subbed out to other companies. The reason we did before is because we had a chance to scoop up some very good routes, gates, landing and take-off spots, and at the time we did not have the capacity to fly all of them with our own fleet and also keep the current flight schedule going. I'm sure that the uppers thought about waiting until we could but then the slots might be gone. We only had (1) bad incident with the subbed company and it was addressed already. Go ahead and give it a try. Trust me the only thing I see possible for you as a passenger is the occasional delays for (#1 weather) or (#2 maintenance), other than that you'll be fine. Thanks for the questions and see ya soon. By the way were are you trying to fly form and to?
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Old 02-05-2005, 02:14 PM   #3
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PJP,

Every Airline uses contract maintenance, yes every airline. If you want stats, American airlines is averaging 1 accident a year. As far as cutting costs Airtran is profitable in the worst period in avaition history. I would be concerned about the ones losing 1 billion dollars, what corners are being cut to save money? I admit I am a captain at Airtran, I love my job.
I make safety my number one concern and I don't know of a pilot with any airline that that believes any different. Dbaker hates airtran because someone he was close to was on valujet 592. I am sorry for his loss, but it was an accident. The only reason I bring this up is because dbaker has made it his life mission to run Airtran out of business. I joined Airtran in late 2000, about 90% of all the employees were hired after 1996. I can't speak for past management, My company is dedicated to providing the best product in the safest possible enviroment. I am biased, I love my job and I belive in my company If I had the slightest doubt about any flight I won't move the Aircraft until I am satisfied we are SAFE. Dbaker is biased, so somewhere in between you need to decide who you believe.
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Old 02-05-2005, 02:55 PM   #4
pjp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jetmech717
I think you'll be surprised at how much we are just like the other BIGGGER airlines.
I was hoping you (discount fare airlines) would be better

Quote:
As far as the "owned & operated by".....We currently fly all of our own routes and aircraft. We do not at this time have any flights subbed out to other companies.
Thats good to hear.

Quote:
The reason we did before is because we had a chance to scoop up some very good routes, gates, landing and take-off spots, and at the time we did not have the capacity to fly all of them with our own fleet and also keep the current flight schedule going. I'm sure that the uppers thought about waiting until we could but then the slots might be gone.
Yes, I'm sure as a business decision, there wasn't an alternative. I guess I just wish there was something done to ensure the same quality on those flights.

Quote:
We only had (1) bad incident with the subbed company and it was addressed already.
Right, and other than probably scaring the hell out of passengers, it didn't turn out to be a major problem.

Quote:
Go ahead and give it a try. Trust me the only thing I see possible for you as a passenger is the occasional delays for (#1 weather) or (#2 maintenance), other than that you'll be fine.
Of course. Weather and maintenance are the two reasons I don't really get annoid about. I think most people get annoid with maintenance when they are forced to sit on a plane for hours. Thats more an issue with decision making than maintenance though.

Quote:
Thanks for the questions and see ya soon. By the way were are you trying to fly form and to?
Either DIA (AirTran) or COS (MidWest Express) to ATL. COS is much more convenient, but costs ~$200 more.

Without AirTran's sale, I don't think cost would be a significant issue. I was leaning toward costly convenience, but $200 is difficult to ignore.

Thanks,
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Old 02-05-2005, 03:16 PM   #5
pjp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 717driver
Every Airline uses contract maintenance, yes every airline. If you want stats, American airlines is averaging 1 accident a year.
Sure. I understand things happen with all airlines. I'm not looking for a guarantee that I won't die.

To be honest, the only reason I found anything, is because I misinterpreted AirTran's sale. I thought the cost was $89 round trip. Since that seemed amazingly low, I wanted to know more about an airline I never heard of. And thus, I found the ValuJet connection.

At this point, my only real concern is if management has changed. Since the employees of AirTran that have posted here all seem to think they can influence flights based on safety, I'm inclined to think management isn't making decisions that are blatantly going to risk passenger safety.

Quote:
As far as cutting costs Airtran is profitable in the worst period in avaition history. I would be concerned about the ones losing 1 billion dollars, what corners are being cut to save money?
I definately am, which is why I'm looking into airlines I'm unfamiliar with. I've also looked at JetBlue, Southwest, and a couple of others.

Quote:
I admit I am a captain at Airtran, I love my job.
I make safety my number one concern and I don't know of a pilot with any airline that that believes any different.
And thats an excellent indicator. If someone loved their job, but hated who they had to work for to do it, I'd probably not have bothered to post here. Most employees want to take pride in their work, and who they work for. If the employees think management is drilling holes in a sinking ship, while claiming to be attempting repairs, it'll usually show.

Quote:
Dbaker hates airtran because [...] dbaker has made it his life mission to run Airtran out of business.
Just to be clear, I'm not questioning AirTran because of anything I've read by dbaker. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but one person's experience isn't a good sampling. I've worked retail, and understand some people will never be satisfied with service.

Quote:
I can't speak for past management, My company is dedicated to providing the best product in the safest possible enviroment. I am biased, I love my job and I belive in my company If I had the slightest doubt about any flight I won't move the Aircraft until I am satisfied we are SAFE.
Thats good to hear. I'm also impressed with the age of AirTran's fleet. I'm sure at some point it will have to be "as old as everyone else's" though.

My only decision left is really the $200 I previously mentioned, and its unlikely I'm going to spend that right now just for convenience. In the future, I'll most likely be looking to fly out of COS though, provided DIA/COS prices aren't significant. Before I found AirTran's sale, I was going with MidWest Express (mainly based on word-of-mouth experiences). To fly out of COS instead of DIA was ~$50 difference. Definately worth it.

I'm not flying until March, but I'll definately return with feedback. Other than airports though, I've never really had a bad flight experience. (and other than flying, I've never really had a good airport experience ).

Thanks again,
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Old 02-06-2005, 12:56 AM   #6
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Airtran is a great airline. I flown with them several time from SRQ and can't wait for their new Atlanta and Chicago flights. Any chance there will be more expansion to SRQ?
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Old 02-08-2005, 06:00 PM   #7
pjp
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Tickets purchased. We'll see how well this seats-assigned-upon-check-in works.

717driver: Do you ever fly the DIA to ATL route?

jetmech717: I'll be holding you responsible for the maintenance of my plane! Just kidding
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Old 02-08-2005, 06:35 PM   #8
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pjp:
Quote:
jetmech717: I'll be holding you responsible for the maintenance of my plane! Just kidding
Go ahead because so does the company and the FAA. lol

You'll be fine, like I said the only things I notice is maintenance and weather delays (maybe that because thats usually when we are called to the planes so it seems like alot).

Come back and let us know how your trip went.
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Old 02-09-2005, 09:40 PM   #9
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PJP,

I will be flying denver to atl on 2-19 05. I will be interested to hear your thoughts on our service.

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Old 02-09-2005, 10:04 PM   #10
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I have heard recently that airtran has been thinking about expanding to sw florida especially sarasota to indianapolis and philadelphia because of high load factors and the recent drop of service by ata. is there any chance this may happen?
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Old 02-10-2005, 03:13 PM   #11
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The CEO's mouth is probably the best source:
Quote:
Originally Posted by [url=http://news.tbo.com/news/MGB9X5FVE4E.html
AirTran's Profit Tumbles, But Stock Rises[/url]]AirTran plans to keep growing by adding Sarasota and Indianapolis to its route system this year, and likely will add two or three more cities in 2005, said Chief Executive Joe Leonard.
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