Southwest-Airtran merger deal to close today

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The two shall become one. With no more obstacles, southwest is clear for take-off in it's take over of Airtran.

"Together we are stronger. Both Airtran and Southwest can accomplish more than either of us can accomplish alone," Airtran CEO Bob Fornaro said.

It's a long-awaited low-fare, low-fee marriage.

"I like Southwest and I would prefer them," airline traveler Roy Hoffman said.

"I've flown Southwest before and got a good look at them so I don't see a problem with that," fellow traveler Curt Baker said.

At Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, the marquee counter will likely to get a makeover featuring Southwest's famous orange and blue theme. But there's more than just the image, there's the impact.

"Right now the biggest obstacle with any of the airlines is the price keeps going up and the quality keeps going down," Hoffman said.

While some airlines are hiking prices because of fuel costs, smart money dot com reports travelers in the new Southwest will eventually see lower deals because of the history both Southwest and Airtran carry.

"I think it will improve the service and I'll be able to get a cheaper flight out west."

When you do fly, those fees could disappear. Southwest's legacy of free bag check should continue -- experts predict -- eliminating the 20 and 25 dollar charges by Airtran.

It's tough news for Southwest competitors, especially now.

While Delta, USAir and Continental all posted first quarter losses, Southwest was the only airline to make money.

"Bottom line is that it costs 'x' to run an airline and there's a cost for everything, nobody can work for free.

But when it comes to competition now, Southwest is soaring.

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