For over 10 years the people at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR) in Grand Rapids MI have been trying to get powerhouse discount airline Southwest to come here. Grand Rapidians would be well suited to both the low fares and Southwest's successful quirky operations. Alas, Southwest wouldn't budge, and one has to travel to either Detroit or Midway in Chicago to fly Southwest. For a number of years, GRR had no discount airlines and the fares charged by Northwest, United, American, Continental, Delta, etc. showed. Since Air Tran and Allegiant (and Frontier) have come to GRR in the last year or so, fares have gotten more competitive. The jury is out as to whether the Delta-Northwest merger helped or hurt.
But... yesterday it was announced that Southwest was going to acquire Air Tran in a $1.4 billion deal. A look at the two airlines' maps shows that though there is some overlap, Air Tran would add a lot of eastern cities to Southwest -- including Grand Rapids and Flint MI, Charlotte NC and Atlanta GA. Yay! Southwest is coming to Grand Rapids!
Don't know the dates, but this should be interesting. Stay tuned.