As an AirTran employee (working on my 6th year there), I must adamantly defend the safety of this carrier. The airline and it's employees are dedicated to operating a safe operation, every flight, every day.
That said, I must agree with Golfhaus's following statement:
'AirTran is the next door neighbor that doesn't cut their grass and lets their kids play in your front yard without asking.'
When our airline runs well, we offer a great product at a great rate. But unfortunately, management has simply not set the carrier up to run in the face of operational adversity. If any variable is changed (i.e. weather, maintenance, over bookings, gate congestion)...we do unfortunately fall on our face, and a huge disservice is done to the passenger. Luckily, we have an excellent "Customer Recovery" team in our customer relations department.
AirTran's management, however, must understand, you can only aggravate a bad situation so long, before people quit forgetting. I have time and time again watched as our ground crews have raced around in out stations to borrow ground equipment and other "basic" tools needed to meet the expectations of the company and it's passengers when faced with irregular ops. Blame our management.
But understand, the bulk of this carrier is comprised of 4,000 professionals committed to providing a quality product at the highest levels of safety. It is for that reason (despite our management) that this carrier, in a year that has seen almost every other airline's revenues slow, weaken, or fall, consistenly posted load factors and revenues that were all-time highs in our history. Obviously, people are not afraid to fly AirTran.