Southwest Airlines: Staying on course through turbulent times

Essay by degusmomCollege, UndergraduateA+, April 2007

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I. IntroductionThe case study of the Southwest Airlines as read in Etzel, Walker and Stanton's Marketing 14th Edition: pages 369 to 371, encompasses the years 1966 to 2004. This study read a number of successes as well a as number of hurdles Southwest has experienced in its approximate 35 years of business. The topics of this study included the company's pricing strategy in order to gain market shares, programs implemented to decrease overhead and special focuses on customer service with details of labor concepts.

This case study analysis will cover a brief history of the company from 1971 until present including an executive summary, an analysis of the company's marketing strategies; including competitive pricing, name branding and the company's unique selling proposition. This analysis will conclude with insights of the company's current position and recommendations for future practices.

II. Executive SummaryIn 1971, under a unique concept envisioned and implemented by Herb Kelleher and Rollin King, a small Texas airline opened its doors for business.

The company's unique selling proposition included no-frills pricing and higher standards of customer service through employee autonomy. Herb Kelleher explained this concept by saying, "We began with one simple notion. If you get your passengers to their destinations when they want to get there, on time, at the lowest possible fares, and make darn sure they have a good time doing it, people will fly your airline."Southwest began its operations with three planes serving three Texas cities and through market penetration pricing Southwest is now the fifth largest airline company in America. Southwest operates more than 2,100 flights per day and carries over 44 million passengers a year, to 50 different cities all over the United States. Southwest claims include servicing almost 10% of US air traffic, best on-time record, best baggage handling and fewest customer...