Southwest Airlines made its first voyage back in 1971 with service based in the cities of Dallas, Houston and San Antonio (Brief History, 2009). 38 years later, Southwest Airlines has more than 3300 flights a day and serves 66 cities in 33 states (Factsheet, 2009). Southwest Airlines has demonstrated a variety of strengths in its 38 year presence. Recent economic events have also caused a renewed focus on the company's weaknesses. Aside from its weaknesses, Southwest Airlines has also been keeping track of opportunities that currently exist in the market. Like all other companies, however, they still have some ground to make up when analyzing possible threats to its business.
A major strength of Southwest Airlines is the brand recognition that its name carries. Most Americans have heard of Southwest Airlines and have possibly even seen the TV commercials associated with the airline. A look at Southwest Airlines' website (www.southwest.com)
reveals an expansive look at a company dedicated to customer service. From the booking opportunities to the ability of being able to access the customer service commitment Southwest has made itself into a customer friendly company. Even the company's stock ticker is listed as LUV as in customers "luv" Southwest Airlines. This is not just clever marketing but it also holds true in its business practices. For example, how many airlines make it easy to travel with your pet companion (About SWA, 2009)? Southwest is also the only airline that does not charge you for changing your tickets when other airlines are charging up to $150 a ticket (McCartney, 2009). Southwest is not only flexible when it comes to ticket changes it also offers some of the lowest fares in the industry with some as low as $30 (Benn, July 29, 2009).