AirTran has announced a few changes to its upgrade policies. Through Feb. 18, 2011, Elite members and up to one traveling companion on the same reservation will be upgraded automatically from any coach fare 24 hours prior to departure, subject to availability. The regular policy is to offer space available business class upgrades to Elite members just 40 minutes prior to departure.
Elite members can also purchase an upgrade to business class beginning 48 hours before departure, which is a day earlier than the 24-hour window offered to non-elite passengers who want to buy upgrades. Members can call (800) 247-8726 to request a paid upgrade.
Bottom line: The merger between Southwest and AirTran is expected to occur during the second quarter of 2011 and the AirTran Airways brand will continue throughout 2011. While Southwest Airlines has Business Select seating, this is different than the extra legroom and two-by-two seating offered by AirTran’s spacious business class. At least for a short while, A+ Rewards Elite members have additional opportunities to be upgraded to a more comfortable experience with the recent changes.