This article compares Southwest Airlines with another competitor.

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Supplementary Notes: Ryanair - The Low Fares Airline

Eleanor O'Higgins

Comparing Ryanair to its Role Model, Southwest Airlines

The Southwest Model is described, followed by an analysis of the comparison between Ryanair and Southwest.

The Southwest Airlines Model - 'Five Symbols of Freedom'

'Southwest Airlines is a symbol of freedom. Since 1971, our low fares have given millions of Americans the freedom to fly. From our flag to our open seating, from our all-jet fleet to our declaration of freedom, our Southwest spirit illuminates our past, guides our present, and forges our future.'

Ryanair was the first European airline to model itself on the successful formula of Southwest Airlines in Texas by offering itself as a low fares, no frills carrier, serving short-haul city pairs and providing single class air transportation. Southwest claims to have the lowest operating cost structure in the US domestic airline industry. It is distinguished not only by being the only major airline that has ever won the Triple Crown - Number One in ontime arrivals, baggage handling and customer satisfaction - but it has won it for six consecutive years between 1990 and 1996.

In 2000, Southwest slipped to fifth out of ten for punctuality, fourth for baggage handling, but retained its number one customer satisfaction position.

In keeping with the 'spirit' of Southwest, Herb Kelleher, founder, Chairman, President and CEO, challenged the company to win the Triple Crown for a fifth time running in 1995 by promising to paint the name of every person in the company on a Boeing 737. The company met the challenge and Herb painted the plane. Southwest also ranked #1 in Money magazine's first rating of major US carriers in 1997, based on safety, price, ontime performance, baggage handling and customer service. A company icon is its...