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Southwest Airlines

Essay by   •  June 9, 2011  •  Essay  •  966 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,983 Views

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I have never had an opportunity to fly Southwest Airlines but I do know people who have and found their experience has been positive with one minor complaint of the limited destinations they fly. A friend of mine is in the travel industry and her opinion is that Southwest Airlines does not have the largest market share but they pride themselves on their customer service and the way they treat their employees from the top down.

In 2009 Southwest's mission statement was dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride and company spirit. What is the secret behind Southwest's success and if they are so successful, why aren't the other airlines following their model?

Southwest is a U.S. based airline, they do not travel internationally. The other larger airlines fly internationally and to the large hubs that cost more in fees and real estate. Southwest stays out of the larger hubs but when they do fly into the larger hubs they request the gate closes to the runway to meet their 20 minute boarding to runway guarantee. They also fly one aircraft type which keeps their maintenance costs down. According to some of the industry experts, one of the major components to their financial success is a few years ago the airline locked in more than 70% of the fuel it expected to consume this year at about $51 a barrel, far below the current crude price of $126.62 a barrel. This enabled them to keep their fares low and not charge passenger fees while the other airlines were battling to stay afloat in the recession.

Southwest is a no frill airline but their customers seemed to be devoted and faithful to their airline. Maybe it is their offerings like the P.A.W.S program that allows a passenger's small cat or dog to accompany them in the cabin for a $75 fee each way or their early bird check in program allowing their customers to check in up to six hours early before general boarding positions become available for a $10 fee each way. Southwest is the only airline that has no seat assignments but frequent flyers and passengers who check-in early can benefit from priority boarding.

One major point stuck out more than any as I read some of the passenger blogs and that was the bags fly free. While other airlines are charging $25, $35 or sometimes $45 for the first and second checked bag, Southwest manages to hold to their first 2 bags checked are free.

Southwest is competitive with the other carriers when it comes to technology. Southwest Airlines was one of the first airlines to establish a home page on the internet and in 2010 approximately 84 percent of their bookings and 79 percent of their check ins were completed on line which makes the gate check in quicker and easier for their customer and Southwest. At the consumer level, Southwest also keeps itself distanced by not participating in



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