Southwest chases business travelers
DALLAS (AP) - Southwest Airlines' acquisition of AirTran shows that the favorite airline of leisure travelers will be depending on business travelers to propel its growth in the future.
The $1.42 billion deal announced Monday will let Southwest enter Atlanta and expand quickly in New York and Boston, all markets that are important to business travelers. Airlines covet business travelers because they travel frequently and often pay more for their seats, which they often buy at the last minute.
Southwest has long been considered a vacationer's airline. But it's lured corporate road warriors with offers like Business Select fares that cost more but promise priority boarding, extra frequent-flier credit and a free drink.