Southwest Airlines- Central issue, problems, evaluation, and recommendations

Essay by ladeeia April 2005

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Central Issue

Southwest Airlines started its service June 18, 1971 with three operating flights to Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio. It has grown to become the fourth largest United States domestic customer carrier with 1998 being Southwest Airlines twenty-sixth year of profits. It became a major airline in 1989 when it exceeded revenues of one billion dollars. Southwest Airlines is the only major short duration, low cost, high occurrence, point-to-point carrier in the United States. Southwest airlines mission is to provide dedication to the highest quality of customer service that is delivered with warmth, pride, friendliness, and company spirit.

Rollin King and Herb Kelleher brainstormed an idea of starting a different kind of airline. Rolling King was a client of Kelleher who at the time was a lawyer with the idea of starting a low-fare, no frills airline to fly between major cities in Texas. He drew a triangle on a napkin and labeled the points of Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio.

Rollin King's idea of offering flights that were low enough that people would choose to fly instead of driving to that destination. It was this concept that started Southwest Airlines.

Southwest faced legal issues in the beginning with Dallas Love Field, where Southwest started. The issue was that downtown Dallas could not geographically expand at a time when air traffic was on a constant rise. Dallas/Ft. Worth International opened up in 1974 to replace Dallas Love field, however Southwest remain at Love field with some drawbacks. Their competitors put pressure on congress in 1978 to ban flights from Love field to anywhere outside of Texas. Nevertheless, Southwest Airlines was able to compromise on the Wright Amendment that allowed flights from Love Field to Texas' four contiguous states. The Wright Amendment forced onto Southwest was a...