How to Use Your Southwest Companion Pass for Air Tran Flights

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Southwest Companion Pass

I wrote about the Southwest Companion Pass in November and explained what a terrific deal it is because you can book flights on Southwest using points or cash and then add your companion for close to free (up to $5 security fee per 1-way)!

You need to earn 110,000 Companion Pass qualifying points within 1 calendar year (January 1 to December 31st).  However, the 50,000 point bonus from the Chase Southwest credit cards are currently counting towards the companion pass (though this could change at any time).

Using your companion pass

I wrote earlier on how to make a Southwest Companion Pass Booking. But now Southwest has completed linking their reservation networks with the Air Tran reservation networks.  So you CAN book Air Tran flights from the Southwest website using either cash or Southwest points for travel after April 14, 2013.

Air Tran Route Map

Air Tran Route Map

The even better news is that you can use your Southwest Companion pass for flights on Air Tran, including those to San Juan, Puerto Rico.  You also get 2 free checked bags on the Air Tran flights provided you booked them those Air Tran flights on the Southwest website.

Air Tran International Destinations

The bad news is that you can’t book Air Tran flights, on the Southwest website, to 8 international cities as yet.

  • Mexico: Cancun, Mexico City, Cabo
  • Dominican Republic: Punta Cana
  • Jamaica: Montego Bay
  • Others: Aruba, Bermuda, Nassau

And since you can’t book them on the Southwest website (but have to book them on the Air Tran website), you can’t use your Southwest Companion Pass for those flights.

This FlyerTalk thread speculates that you may be able to book international flights on the Southwest website in 2014.

How to Book Air Tran Flights on Southwest & Add a Companion

Step 1 – Search

Go to Southwest.com and search for a flight.  Air Tran flights will automatically show up in the search results.

 Step 2- Select Flight

Select the flights which you want.

Select Flight

Select Flight

Complete the booking online using either cash or points.

Complete Booking

Complete Booking

Step 3 – Add Companion

While you can book a flight with an Air Tran segment in it, the flight information will NOT appear under the “Upcoming Trip” section on the Southwest website.

Won't Appear

Doesn’t Appear Under Upcoming Trips

Instead, log into your Southwest account using this link to view your existing reservations.

Or you can scroll down (on the Southwest website) and click the “Book Now” button next to the Companion Pass section towards the bottom on the right hand side of the page (once you are logged into your Southwest account).

Click on Book Now To Add Companion

Click on Book Now To Add Companion

Select the trip for which you’d like to add a companion, confirm your companion’s details and complete the purchase!

Add a Companion

Click “Add a Companion”

Step 4 – Seat Assignments

Air Tran has assigned seating (unlike Southwest), and you will get your seat assignment only after checking in for your Air Tran flight.

Bottom Line

It is nice to be able to book Air Tran flights using Southwest points directly on the Southwest website and to use your Southwest Companion Pass for these Air Tran flights.

And in 2014, we hopefully should be able to fly to Mexico and the Caribbean using our Companion Passes!

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43 responses to “How to Use Your Southwest Companion Pass for Air Tran Flights

  1. Just wanted to share with you that a couple of weeks ago I played around with travel on Air Tran using my SW Companion pass and it did work. Since I was just on a fact finding mission I had to check many dates and departure cities in order to find a combination in 2013. On the itinerary I finally found only a couple of the flights were operated by Air Tran. I booked one using my points then checked to verify that it was in my account. It did have the ADD COMPANION link so I did that as well. Once it was all complete I cancelled it and the points were returned to my account.
    Below is a copy of that activity listed in my Rewards Activity Details tab.

    Rewards Activity Details
    View:
    Type:
    Show: Air Car Hotel Credit Card Dining Retail Other Reward Transfer

    Date Type Description Credits Points
    03/06/2013 Air REFUND – AVHXLK – Orlando, FL – MCO to San Juan, PR – SJU 09/03/2013 +5,772
    03/06/2013 Air REDEEM – AVHXLK – Orlando, FL – MCO to San Juan, PR – SJU 09/03/2013 -5,772

  2. I was wondering if airtran has nicer planes than southwest?

  3. You read my mind! Thanks for this great post!

  4. Big D, do you think any of this new integration will screw up my plans to avoid a ton of AT points from expiring by converting them to SW credits, like we discussed maybe 4 months ago?

  5. Darius, Thank you for the continued help on utilizing our SWCP to the fullest extent! Keep it coming.
    🙂

  6. Unfortunately, not all AirTran domestic flights can be booked through Southwest.

  7. You said above that you get your assigned seat by checking into your flight on the Airtran website. However, the Airtran website states that you cannot check in to flights booked on SW website.

    • @tracey – I haven’t tried cancelling any flights with Air Tran segments, but glad to know that the points go back to my account quickly!

      @Big boy – I don’t think it really matters in coach.

      @Jen @Kira – Thanks!

      @DLuke – You can still transfer points to credits and move them to Southwest, so it should work. Though they should take that option away once the merger is complete.

      @OC_Matt
      – Which ones can you not book?

      @CJ – That’s strange because when I was booking the ticket, the Southwest website said that I could check in for my Air Tran flight up to 24 hours prior and that seat assignments couldn’t be changed until I got to the airport. So I assumed that you could check-in online. I’ll update the post, but this link seems to suggest that you can check in for Air Tran flights on the Southwest website if you bought the flights on the Southwest website.

  8. I’m a bit confused, so are you able to book NON-companion pass international Airtran flights via Southwest at this moment?

  9. Darius, You can not book any of the West Coast red-eyes. SFO-ATL (6/2-), LAX-ATL (6/2-), LAS-BWI (4/24-), LAS-ATL (8/11-) maybe more. I am most disappointed about the LAX-ATL flight. I had been looking forward to it.

  10. Thanks for sharing. I LOVE Southwest… and being able to use my Companion Pass on more flights, is just plain awesome.

  11. how come I cant find any direct flights on SW from NY to LAX? It seems strange that they don’t even have this route from there hub in Philly
    I was also wondering what it means when it says 1 stop without changing planes does that mean that I can keep my seat?

  12. Darius – I think the disconnect is that your post says: “you will get your seat assignment only after checking in for your Air Tran flight on the Air Tran website”. However, per the link you provided above, you have to check in at the website that you purchased the ticket from, so in this case, the SW website.

  13. One more question – I have never flown Airtran before so I’m not sure how their seating works. It looks like by purchasing through SW my seat gets assigned when I check in, up to 24 hours before the flight. Do people that book through Airtran’s website get their seats assigned in the same manner, or do they get to pick their seats early?
    I just booked an Airtran flight through SW website for me, wife, and grandparents. We will also have 2 lap babies, so I would like to ensure that we are sitting by each other. I didn’t think about seating before I booked but now I’m a little concerned. Per the link you provided in response to my first comment, it does not appear that I can purchase advance seating either since I purchased the flight through SW.

  14. We have Airtran and will have Southwest this summer. This was a very useful article. Thanks.

  15. Not long after my chemo Dr. (oncologist) gave me the “green” light to take short domestic flights, I fractured my hip on 3/2. I signed up for SWA Personal/Biz cards, and already met min spends & then some!! By the time the CP pass comes, my hip should be healed up and I can book some short haul SWA Wanna Get Away fares with my wife traveling w/me for free!!!
    Although I am a BIG AA flyer, I will burn AA for Biz/F intl for my wife & I when I am cleared to fly long hauls. (transcons/intl.

    Bottom line: Glad you blogged about the SW CP by signing for 2 CC’s (and transferring points into SWA). CP will work well for us!!

  16. @Darius – I tried to find flights on the SWA website from CRP to SJU August 17 or 18 and even tried broader date ranges but kept getting error messages about discontinuing routes in August and some other nonsense. At the same time however, I was able to find flights from HOU to SJU and here’s the strange part, HOU is the only hub all CRP flights go directly to for connections. Please check it out and provide any thoughts.

  17. If you currently have the standard SW Business card open, can you open the Premium/Signature business card and qualify for the points? Or will that be too obvious of my being a “current customer” to qualify?

    • @Wedding Spend – You are transferred over to the Air Tran website to book those flights.

      @Big boy – 1-stop without changing planes means that you stay on the plane while they load it up. You can even move to the front or the exit rows!

      @CJ
      – You’re right and I fixed it! I believe you have to pay for an Air Tran advance assignment. Perhaps you can call Southwest/Air Tran and they may be able to let you pay for an assignment in advance.

      @chemist661 – That’s how we use our Companion Pass – to save miles and points on other airlines to use for international trips. Safe travels!

      @matthewD – They don’t seem to be available on all days, but I found a flight from CRP to SJU on July 6.

      @MJ – If you have a business card, you can get the bonus on the personal card. If you have the Plus business card, you may be able to get it on the Premier business card.

  18. Thanks for the reply, D!

    A new business card would actually be my fourth (and final) SW card. I’ve had the standard personal card previously ($69 fee), I currently have the standard business card ($69 fee), and I just opened up the Premier personal card a week ago ($99 fee). I wanted to make sure that the having one business card active would not preclude me from the bonus on a new Premier business card.

  19. In case people were wondering, I can confirm that I just received the 50,000 bonus for the person plus And the personal premier. I applied and was approved for both cards on the same day. The bonus showed up in each CC statement and additional charges of $6000 got me to 110k and the companion pass. Sweet. Here’s a tip if u want to get the companion pass sooner. I called chase to request the statement to close sooner than originally stated. They moved the closing date up by almost a month and that helped to generate the bonuses and CP faster than waiting for the original closing date.

    • @MJ – I know that folks have been able to get the bonus on both the personal cards at the same time and having one business card and cancelling doesn’t preclude you from the bonus on the 2nd (different type) business card. But I don’t know about getting the bonus again on the business card when you already have a business card open.

      @David – Very interesting and thanks for sharing the tips!

  20. So since you are able to book on AirTran and add a companion, can you do that for Aruba, Bahamas, etc? If not, how do we know that and when will it change?

    • @Devon – You have to book on the Southwest website to be able to use the Companion Pass. International flights have to be booked on the Air Tran website, and you can’t (yet) use the Southwest Companion Pass for those flights. But you may be able to in 2014.

  21. Hello ,

    does this still work ?
    I am trying to use the link mentioned above but I can’t see my trip neither ….
    Help !

  22. Has anyone tried flying with the CP with someone who *isn’t* their designated companion? My wife is my designated companion but she is pregnant and unfortunately cannot fly with me right now. I’m going on a business trip and it kills me that I can’t take my brother along for ~10 bucks. I don’t want to waste one of my 3 companion swaps on switching to his name and back to my wife’s. How strict is SW in enforcing the designated companion actually flying with you? Any insight would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.

  23. Has anyone yet tried to book an international flight via Southwest page using points on Air Tran for the companion pass to work? IE: looking to travel to Aruba in Aug, and sees Air Tran flights on the southwest webpage under International flights using southwest points, able to use companion pass that way?

  24. Darius- Now that Air Tran has their CC offer for 2 free roundtrips, do you know how it would convert to SW, as miles or as old rewards? If old rewards, I assume companion pass can still be applied and could be a great way to get otherwise costly itineraries… thoughts?

    • @Jonathan – But you have to get through security with a boarding pass issued in the name of your companion, so you likely won’t be able to use a companion besides your designated companion)

      @Ailak – You won’t be able to do that until 2014.

      @cath – It would convert to Southwest credits which you can use with your Southwest Companion Pass. But note the credits are often restricted and have black-out dates.

  25. I keep trying to book flights to Bermuda, but am not staying on Southwest’s page — it keeps directing me to Airtrain’s own webpage (so I can’t book directly with SW). Your post says it’s integrated w/ SW but it appears that it’s not at least for this trip.

    Any ideas? I have the companion pass as well and am looking to take advantage of that, too, for a summer trip. Leaving from any of the major East Coast networks… JFK/LGA/BDL is fine.

    Thanks for any help/advice!

  26. Darius – thanks for a great site and it’s great as I am a frequent traveller out of MCI. Just recently booked some travel on SWA and Air Tran with companion pass for late summer. No problems adding the companion but has anyone on here actually used the companion pass on Air Tran yet? The reason I ask is the T&C found on the Southwest site saying companion pass is only valid on Southwest operated flights:

    “At this time, there are no changes to your Customer Experience on either Southwest or AirTran. Companion Pass travel remains applicable only on Southwest Airlines operated flights.”

    http://www.southwest.com/html/generated/help/faqs/airtran_acq_rr_members_faq.html

    • @AJW – That isn’t true since you can add a companion to a flight booked on Southwest.com, but which is operated by Air Tran. Once you add a companion, you will get a confirmation and e-ticket number which is all you need!

  27. I booked a one way ticket on an airtran flight through the southwest site. It never gave me the option to add a companion. I went to add one the same way I always do and that trip never showed up. I thought maybe it took a couple hours to update, but after 2 hours I canceled the trip since I dont want the flight if I cant book a companion.

  28. Hey D. Have you run into this issue with the companion pass on Air Tran. Currently for a flight I am taking there are no anytime seats available on one of the Air Tran flights and I cannot book a companion. I tried online and then called Southwest and they stated that I can’t book since there is only business select remaining on the Air Tran flight. They claim this is due to the fact that there is an actual business seating area on Air Tran.

    Thanks,
    Jon

  29. Thanks. I wish I would’ve thought of that earlier before the flight sold out :-). I called today and the Southwest rep said it’s b/c of the real business class on Air Tran. I’m now hoping someone cancels a seat or else I’m driving through the night on Friday. Not sure if my wife will drive with me or fly on her own.

  30. I thought I would add something to this from experience. You mentioned the 8 international cities that can’t be booked on the SW site. I also found out that AirTran red eye flights don’t show up on SW website either. I called SW to address this because I wanted to change a flight to a red eye that I found on the AirTran site and they informed me that it was not possible. They said since SW does not offer “overnight” flights that those have not been integrated yet.

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