AirTran is not really competing with jetBlue. We'll leave that to Song. I don't think in the overall scheme of things that the company is too concerned about jetBlue's 3 departures from ATL to LGB. "Cool factor" or not.
Then the leadership of the company is foolish. All it takes is a few jetBlue dots to be connected from ATL
and the AirTran-west-coast-expansion that's been on the table for months now gets much more complicated. And, they can do it if they want to -- they get new planes every month that are transcon-capable.
Even if jetBlue expands at ATL
to get back at DL
and Song, which I think could be a distinct possibility, AirTran is caught in the crossfire and would suffer right along with everyone else. DL
's response would have to be muted and careful to avoid predatory action complaints that are sure to arise... by people on and off airliners.net
AirTran is not equipped for its own response, and the Ryan service wouldn't stack up on an apples-to-apples comparison with jetBlue.
Why do you think that Joe Leonard wants to wrap up this airplane order and get new metal on the way? Why would AirTran run out and wet-lease planes for its own, high-profile service (something that isn't done a whole lot)? It's because they want to protect their market, and rightly so. So, clearly AirTran is concerned... and they should be doubly concerned that their service isn't reliable yet.