Southwest Airlines.

Essay by zhnmUniversity, Master'sA+, July 2003

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Southwest Airlines

What are some of the ways in which Southwest is different than other commercial airlines?

Question (1)

There were many elements that contributed to Southwest Airlines' success in an industry where Southwest Airlines was successful for more than twenty consecutive years. These elements included, service, operations, cost control, marketing, and the corporate culture. All of these elements combined contributed to the success of Southwest Airlines.

Southwest made flying fun for employees and customers by making everyone feel like they were part of one big family. Management encouraged good relations between employees and passengers that resulted in high employee job satisfaction and low turnover. Southwest was one of the best employers in the United States in 1992.

From an operational perspective, Southwest Airlines distinguished themselves from other airlines by incorporating cost saving programs such as the airline doing its own ticketing and not going through a travel agent. Southwest flew passengers nonstop to their destinations and did not promote connecting services.

Southwest focused on flying passengers into uncongested airports and did not transfer baggage to other airlines. Only drinks and snacks were served on board. Southwest Airlines only flew newer Boeing 737 jets, which required less maintenance, and hence reduced the time needed to "turn" an aircraft around from an industry average of 55 minutes to 15 minutes or less.

Southwest Airlines emphasized cost control and all employees worked together to minimize costs. Pilots developed new procedures regarding takeoffs and landings and fuel was purchased from vendors with the lowest prices. Marketing was an important element to the success of Southwest Airlines. Price, convenience and service were always emphasized along with the "Texan home-grown" image that Southwest Airlines wanted to portray.

The "Strategic Service Vision" framework in the "Lessons in the Service Sector" article by Heskett helps provide...