Southwest and AirTran Merger a “Big Win” for Gay Lesbian Travel

The DC Gay Travel Examiner, Troy Petenbrink, reports that the pending merger of AirTran and Southwest airlines (announced this week)  appears to be a big win for gay travelers.

While AirTran has generally remained invisible when it comes to marketing to gay travelers and supporting the gay community, Southwest has been flying sky high. Southwest is a member of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association and has been a supporter of many gay events, including Washington, DC’s Capital Pride.

In addition, Southwest operates a corporate-wide gay-specific micro-site: SouthWest GayTravel .  On the site the company states, “Southwest Airlines is a Company that works hard every day to provide Positively Outrageous Customer Service, regardless of race, religion, and sexuality.  It’s in our DNA and goes to the heart of our Culture of Freedom, inclusiveness, and living and practicing the Golden Rule.”

Assuming that Southwest retains AirTran’s current gates, the merger will result in Southwest serving some new popular gay-friendly destinations and expanding its presence in others.

BUT  O M G – Check this news out!

Starting on October 10th, Continental Airlines will no longer provide complimentary meals and snacks to economy class passengers on domestic flights shorter than 6.5 hours and some international flights.  Instead, Continental will start charging for food, ending its holdout as one of the last major carriers to serve free meals in economy class.  The airline’s new menu will include an Asian-style noodle salad, gourmet fruit plates and other a la carte items.  Prices will range from $1.50 for Pringles potato chips to $8.25 for grilled chicken spinach salad. Just bring your own!

On the flip side of the coin, American Airlines announced that beginning Friday, it will offer free wine, beer and spirits to visitors at its domestic Admirals Clubs.  American also announced that it was equipping its Admirals Club locations with new Hewlett-Packard computers for visitors, and it now offers free Wi-Fi in the airport lounges. – They must be doing good. Although an insider told me it’s contract time and a strike is brewing….

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