Southwest Airlines

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Southwest Airlines, Inc. Template:Nyse Template:Airline codes is an airline in the United States, founded in Dallas, Texas on June 18, 1971. Beginning in 2004, it is the largest U.S. airline (in terms of domestic customers carried). It is known as a "discount airline" compared to its larger rivals and has been profitable every year since 1973.



Since its inception, Southwest has been headquartered at Love Field Airport in Dallas. Southwest built its successful business on flying multiple short, quick trips into the secondary airports of major cities. For example, Southwest flies into Love Field in Dallas, Midway Airport in Chicago, BWI Airport near Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, DC, and Oakland International Airport in the Bay Area, rather than the more expensive DFW International, O'Hare International, Dulles International, and San Francisco International airports. Southwest does, however, fly to some larger airports in major cities, such as LAX and Philadelphia. Most notably though, it does not serve any of the three main airports in the largest market in the country, New York City. The nearest airport it flies to is Macarthur Airport in Islip, New York on Long Island which is located approximately two hours' travel time from the city center. In its home airport of Love Field in Dallas, Southwest's growth has been curtailed by a federal law known as the Wright Amendment which effectively bars Southwest from offering service (including connecting service) from Love Field to destinations in states which are not in the vicinity of Texas. After years of trying unsuccessfully to repeal the Wright Amendment in the 1970's and 80's, Southwest for the most part gave up on those efforts until 2005 when the airline again launched a major campaign, dubbed "Wright is Wrong! Set Love Free!", including a website: , aimed at repealing the restrictions placed on Love Field. [1] (

Southwest is one of the few airlines to depart from the more traditional "Hub-And-Spoke" flight routing system. It still has notably large operations in certain airports. These include Baltimore/Washington International Airport, Chicago's Midway Airport, Houston's Hobby Airport, Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport, Nashville International Airport, Oakland International Airport, and Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix. Southwest also has large operations at Orlando International Airport and Tampa International Airport, where it handles a large amount of tourist traffic to various cities throughout the eastern United States.

The experience of flying on Southwest is quite different from that of most other U.S. airlines. Tickets must be bought from the airline itself, and can't be purchased through a travel agent or through common online venues like Orbitz or Travelocity. The airline's tickets can be bought over the phone, but the airline offers discounts and extra Rapid Rewards ( credits (the airline's version of a frequent flier program) to customers who use its website ( Customers are not assigned seats; rather, they are assigned to a "boarding group" depending on their check-in time (naturally, earlier check-ins get to board earlier), and are left to find their own seats on the plane. Meal service is less than on historically full service airlines, with shorter flights receiving just a single small snack and soft drink, and longer flights meriting a "Snack Pack" of prepackaged goods. In the post-9/11 era these meals in a bag typically exceed the food served on full-service airlines like United or American. Although there is no video entertainment, Southwest is known for colorful boarding announcements and crews that burst out in song.

For all the leanness in comforts, which helped it pass through the post-9/11 travel slump as one of the few profitable major American airlines, Southwest manages to maintain excellent customer satisfaction ratings. Its employees are generally well-known for their friendliness, which is often attributed to a unique "love-based" corporate atmosphere that made chairman and founder Herb Kelleher a celebrity in the business world. However, concerns attributed to labor unrest and complaints by the Transportation Workers Union (TWU) representing Southwest flight attendants were reportedly a factor in the recent resignation of Kelleher's hand-picked replacement as CEO. Jim Parker resigned in July 2004 and was replaced by Chief Financial Officer Gary Kelly. [2] ( The President of Southwest is former corporate secretary Colleen Barrett, who has been with the company since day one. Southwest's CFO is Laura Wright.

Southwest has also been a major inspiration to other low-cost airlines, and its business model has been repeated many times around the world. Europe's easyJet and Ryanair are two of the best known airlines to follow Southwest's business strategy in that continent, while Canada's WestJet is using Southwest's modus operandi in that country. New Zealand's Freedom Air is another example of an airline that is based on Southwest's system.

Southwest is the basis of American version of the reality show Airline.

Destinations Served

See full article: Southwest Airlines destinations

Southwest started service to/from Pittsburgh International Airport on May 4, 2005. [1 (]

Advertising campaigns

Since the 1990s, Southwest have been running a television ad campaign based on the phrase "Wanna get away?". The commercials present comical situations in which people find themselves wanting to "get away." Most ads are accompanied by the sound clip "[ding] You are now free to move about the country"

The PA "ding" has become synonymous with Southwest Airlines, and inspired the name of an online ticket offer program, Ding! (


Current fleet ( May,25th, 2005 ) by aircraft size
Aircraft Number Type
Boeing 737-300194Short haul / domestic
Boeing 737-50025Short haul / domestic
Boeing 737-700210Medium haul / domestic

Theme Planes

Some Southwest planes feature special themes, painted over the entire surface of the airplane. These theme planes have been given special names, usually ending in "One". Some of the most well-known examples are:

  • Shamu One/Two/Three: The three airplanes are painted to look like an Orca, with advertisements for SeaWorld.
  • Arizona One: The flag of the state of Arizona applied across the airplane.
  • New Mexico One: Similar to Arizona One, but with New Mexico's state flag instead.
  • California One: Similar to Arizona One, but with California's state flag instead.
  • Nevada One: Similar to Arizona One, but with Nevada's state flag instead.
  • Lone Star One: Similar to Arizona One, but with Texas' state flag instead.
  • Maryland One: Similar to Arizona One, but with Maryland's state flag instead.

External links

Lists of Aircraft | Aircraft manufacturers | Aircraft engines | Aircraft engine manufacturers

Airports | Airlines | Air forces | Aircraft weapons | Missiles | Timeline of aviation

Southwest Airlines is not to be confused with Southwest Air Lines, a former Japanese airline that is now known as Japan Transocean Airlines fr:Southwest Airlines ja:サウスウエスト航空


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