Southwest Airlines
Overview
 
Southwest Airlines Co. is an American low-cost airline based in Dallas, Texas. Southwest is the largest airline in the United States, based upon domestic passengers carried, . Southwest operates more than 3,400 flights a day, , utilizing a fleet of 552 aircraft.
Southwest Airlines traces its roots to the March 15, 1967 incorporation of Air Southwest Co. by Rollin King
Rollin King
Rollin W. King is a co-founder and former Director of Southwest Airlines.- Background :Rollin W. King was the Founder and first President of Southwest Airlines Co.and the only Director to serve from 1968 for the next 40 years until his retirement at age 75. He served on the Executive Committee and...

 and Herb Kelleher
Herb Kelleher
Herbert D. Kelleher is the co-founder, Chairman Emeritus, and former CEO of Southwest Airlines .-Life and career:...

 to provide service within the state of Texas.
Kelleher believed that by providing intrastate service within Texas, the airline could avoid federal regulation.
Encyclopedia
Southwest Airlines Co. is an American low-cost airline based in Dallas, Texas. Southwest is the largest airline in the United States, based upon domestic passengers carried, . Southwest operates more than 3,400 flights a day, , utilizing a fleet of 552 aircraft.

Foundation

Southwest Airlines traces its roots to the March 15, 1967 incorporation of Air Southwest Co. by Rollin King
Rollin King
Rollin W. King is a co-founder and former Director of Southwest Airlines.- Background :Rollin W. King was the Founder and first President of Southwest Airlines Co.and the only Director to serve from 1968 for the next 40 years until his retirement at age 75. He served on the Executive Committee and...

 and Herb Kelleher
Herb Kelleher
Herbert D. Kelleher is the co-founder, Chairman Emeritus, and former CEO of Southwest Airlines .-Life and career:...

 to provide service within the state of Texas.

Legal action by competitors

Kelleher believed that by providing intrastate service within Texas, the airline could avoid federal regulation. Three incumbent airlines, Braniff, Trans-Texas, and Continental Airlines
Continental Airlines
Continental Airlines was a major American airline now merged with United Airlines. On May 3, 2010, Continental Airlines, Inc. and UAL, Inc. announced a merger via a stock swap, and on October 1, 2010, the merger closed and UAL changed its name to United Continental Holdings, Inc...

, initiated legal action which was not resolved for three years. Air Southwest prevailed in 1970 when the Texas Supreme Court
Texas Supreme Court
The Supreme Court of Texas is the court of last resort for non-criminal matters in the state of Texas. A different court, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, is the court of last resort for criminal matters.The Court is composed of a Chief Justice and eight Associate Justices...

 upheld Air Southwest’s right to fly within Texas. The Texas Supreme Court's decision became final on December 7, 1970, when the U.S. Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 declined to review the case without comment.

The story of Southwest’s legal fight was turned into a children’s book, Gumwrappers and Goggles by Winifred Barnum
Winifred Barnum
Winifred Barnum is a children's author and illustrator.-Early life:Barnum was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1941. Her mother had been a writer and her father was a member of the Chicago Lyric Opera as a young man. Barnum attended a private girls' school, Notre Dame De Sion, for the latter part...

 in 1983. In the story, TJ Love, a small jet, is taken to court by two larger jets to keep him from their hangar and to stop him from flying. In court, TJ Love’s right to fly is upheld after an impassioned plea from a character referred to as "The Lawyer". While no company names are mentioned in the book, TJ Love’s colors are those of Southwest Airlines, and the two other jets are colored in Braniff and Continental’s colors. The Lawyer is designed to resemble Herb Kelleher. The book was adapted into a stage musical, Show Your Spirit, sponsored by Southwest Airlines, and played only in city towns serviced by the airline.

Name change and first revenue flight

On March 29, 1971, Air Southwest Co. changed its name to Southwest Airlines Co. Operating from its Dallas, Texas, headquarters, Southwest Airlines began customer service on June 18, 1971, offering service to the Texas cities of Houston, Dallas and San Antonio using three Boeing 737 aircraft.

Early corporate culture

Southwest Airlines founder Herb Kelleher studied California-based Pacific Southwest Airlines
Pacific Southwest Airlines
Pacific Southwest Airlines was a United States airline headquartered in San Diego, California, that operated from 1949 to 1988. It was one of the first large discount airlines in the United States and is considered a precursor to Southwest Airlines...

 extensively, and used many of the airline’s ideas to form the corporate culture at Southwest. Early flights used the same "Long Legs And Short Nights" theme for stewardesses on board typical Southwest Airlines flights. A committee of individuals, including the same person who had selected hostesses for Hugh Hefner
Hugh Hefner
Hugh Marston "Hef" Hefner is an American magazine publisher, founder and Chief Creative Officer of Playboy Enterprises.-Early life:...

's Playboy jet, selected the original flight attendants for Southwest Airlines. The selection resulted in a group of female flight attendants who were described as long-legged dancers, majorettes, and cheerleaders with "unique personalities". Southwest Airlines and Herb Kelleher proceeded to dress these individuals in hot pants and go-go boots.

Early losses and financial troubles

The rest of 1971 and 1972 saw operating losses. One of the four aircraft was sold to Frontier Airlines
Frontier Airlines (1950-1986)
Frontier Airlines was formed from a merger of Arizona Airways, Challenger Airlines, and Monarch Airlines on June 1, 1950. They established their headquarters at Stapleton Airport in Denver. However, the airline dated itself to November 27, 1946, when Monarch Airlines began service in Colorado,...

 and the proceeds used to make payroll and cover other expenses. Southwest continued to operate a schedule predicated on four aircraft but using only three, and in so doing the "ten minute turn" was born, and was the standard ground time for many years.

Wright Amendment

The Wright Amendment of 1979 is a federal law governing traffic at Dallas Love Field, an airport in Dallas, Texas. It originally limited most nonstop flights to destinations within Texas and neighboring states. The limits began phasing out in 1997 and 2005. In 2006, the amendment was repealed leaving some restrictions intact until 2014 but with an added restriction on the number of gates allowed.

When airline deregulation
Airline deregulation
Airline deregulation is the process of removing entry and price restrictions on airlines affecting, in particular, the carriers permitted to serve specific routes. In the United States, the term usually applies to the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978...

 came in 1978, Southwest began planning to offer interstate service from Love Field. This caused a number of interest groups affiliated with Dallas-Ft. Worth Airport, including the city of Fort Worth, to push the Wright Amendment
Wright Amendment
The Wright Amendment of 1979 is a federal law governing traffic at Dallas Love Field, an airport in Dallas, Texas. It originally limited most nonstop flights to destinations within Texas and neighboring states. The limits began phasing out in 1997 and 2005...

 through Congress to restrict such flights. Under the restrictions of the amendment, Southwest, and all other airlines, were barred from operating, or even ticketing passengers on flights from Love Field to destinations beyond the states immediately surrounding Texas. In effect, to travel through Love Field, a passenger and luggage would have to deplane and fly on a separate ticket, on a separate aircraft.

The Wright Amendment’s restrictions did not apply to aircraft configured with 56 or fewer seats. In 2000, Legend Airlines
Legend Airlines
Legend Airlines was an airline that had its headquarters on the grounds of Dallas Love Field. Legend flew primarily from Love Field, Dallas, Texas, USA for a matter of months, during the year 2000...

 attempted to operate long distance business-class flights using older DC-9s with 56 seats, but did not have the resources to survive American Airlines
American Airlines
American Airlines, Inc. is the world's fourth-largest airline in passenger miles transported and operating revenues. American Airlines is a subsidiary of the AMR Corporation and is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas adjacent to its largest hub at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport...

's legal and marketing attacks, and quickly ceased operations. Southwest did not use the 56 seat loophole, even with its market strength at Love Field and the availability of more modern regional jets such as the CRJ-700/900
Bombardier CRJ700
The Bombardier CRJ700, CRJ900, and CRJ1000 are regional airliners based on the Bombardier CRJ200. Final assembly of the aircraft is at Montréal-Mirabel International Airport in Mirabel, Quebec, outside Montreal, Canada.-Development:...

 and the Embraer ERJ 145 family
Embraer ERJ 145 family
The Embraer ERJ 145 family is a series of regional jets produced by Embraer, a Brazilian aerospace company. Family members include the ERJ 135 , ERJ 140 , and ERJ 145 , as well as the Legacy business jet and the R-99 family of military aircraft. The ERJ 145 is the largest of the group...

.
Southwest’s efforts to repeal or even alter the Wright Amendment
Wright Amendment
The Wright Amendment of 1979 is a federal law governing traffic at Dallas Love Field, an airport in Dallas, Texas. It originally limited most nonstop flights to destinations within Texas and neighboring states. The limits began phasing out in 1997 and 2005...

 were met with opposition from American Airlines and Dallas Ft. Worth International Airport. Both American Airlines and DFW contended that repeal of the Wright Amendment restrictions would cripple DFW, while Southwest contended that repeal of the Wright Amendment would be beneficial to both Love Field and DFW. Continental Airlines
Continental Airlines
Continental Airlines was a major American airline now merged with United Airlines. On May 3, 2010, Continental Airlines, Inc. and UAL, Inc. announced a merger via a stock swap, and on October 1, 2010, the merger closed and UAL changed its name to United Continental Holdings, Inc...

 has a successful hub and spoke operation at Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport
George Bush Intercontinental Airport
George Bush Intercontinental Airport, is a Class B international airport in Houston, Texas, serving the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area, the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the United States. Located north of Downtown Houston between Interstate 45 and U.S. Highway 59...

 despite unrestricted competition from Southwest at Houston Hobby Airport
William P. Hobby Airport
William P. Hobby Airport is a public airport in Houston, Texas, located from Downtown Houston. The airport covers and has four runways. Hobby Airport is Houston's oldest commercial airport and was the city's primary air terminal until the opening of Houston Intercontinental Airport in 1969...

.

In 1990 the airline registered its aircraft in Houston so it could pay aircraft taxes in Houston, even though the actual corporate headquarters were in Dallas. Southwest was not physically relocating any assets, but Texas state law allowed the airline to choose either Dallas or Houston as the city of registry of its aircraft.

In 1997, Southwest’s efforts began to pay off with the Shelby Amendment
Richard Shelby
Richard Craig Shelby is the senior U.S. Senator from Alabama. First elected to the Senate in 1986, he is the ranking member of the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs and was its chairman from 2003 to 2007....

, which added the states of Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

, Mississippi
Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

 and Kansas
Kansas
Kansas is a US state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south...

 to the list of permissible destination states. Southwest began offering non-stop service between Dallas Love Field and Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama. The city is the county seat of Jefferson County. According to the 2010 United States Census, Birmingham had a population of 212,237. The Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Area, in estimate by the U.S...

, which it could not do prior to the enactment of the Shelby Amendment.

In late 2004, Southwest began actively seeking the full repeal of the Wright Amendment restrictions. In late 2005, Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

 was added to the list of permissible destination states via a transportation appropriations bill. New service from Love Field to St. Louis and Kansas City quickly started in December 2005.
At a June 15, 2006 joint press conference held by the city of Dallas, the city of Ft. Worth, Dallas-Ft. Worth Airport, American Airlines, and Southwest Airlines, the said parties announced a tentative agreement on how the Wright Amendment was to be phased out. Both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives passed Wright-related legislation on September 29, 2006, and it was signed into law by President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 on October 13, 2006. The new law became effective on October 16, 2006, when the FAA Administrator notified Congress that any new aviation operations occurring as a result of the new law could be accommodated without adverse effect to the airspace.

Southwest started selling tickets under the new law on October 19, 2006. Highlights of the agreement are the immediate elimination of through-ticketing prohibitions, and unrestricted flights to domestic destinations eight years after the legislation takes effect. Because of the agreement, nationwide service became possible for Southwest; the law also defined the maximum number of gates at Love Field. Southwest controls all of the Love Field gates except for four gates controlled by American Airlines, Continental Airlines, and Delta Air Lines. The future of the Legend Airlines terminal for use by commercial airlines is in doubt because of the limit on number of gates.

Southwest remains the dominant passenger airline at Love Field, maintains its headquarters, hangars, training centers, and flight simulators adjacent thereto, and reflects its ties to Love Field in its ticker symbol
Ticker symbol
A stock symbol or ticker symbol is a short abbreviation used to uniquely identify publicly traded shares of a particular stock on a particular stock market. A stock symbol may consist of letters, numbers or a combination of both. "Ticker symbol" refers to the symbols that were printed on the ticker...

 (LUV).

Employment

The President and CEO of Southwest is Gary C. Kelly
Gary C. Kelly
Gary C. Kelly is the chief executive officer and chairman of Southwest Airlines. He first joined the company in 1986 as Controller. In 1989, Gary was promoted to Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Finance. In 2001, he was promoted to Executive Vice President...

. Kelly replaced former CEO Jim Parker on July 15, 2004 and assumed the title of "President" on July 15, 2008, replacing former President Colleen Barrett
Colleen Barrett
Colleen Barrett is the President Emerita and Corporate Secretary of Southwest Airlines. She joined Southwest in 1978, having previously worked for several years as founder Herb Kelleher's executive assistant at his law firm. She has served as Secretary of the Corporation, as Vice President...

.

Former CEO Jim Parker led Southwest from mid-2001, keeping alive Southwest's unprecedented streak of profitability and guiding its growth as it became the largest commercial carrier in the domestic United States. Jim Parker abruptly quit as CEO and vice chairman for "personal reasons" though it's suspected that he stepped down after failing to reach an agreement with the flight attendant union, TWU Local 556, which made their labor strife (and displeasure with the Southwest CEO) public.

Southwest's CFO is Laura Wright. In July 2007, Herb Kelleher
Herb Kelleher
Herbert D. Kelleher is the co-founder, Chairman Emeritus, and former CEO of Southwest Airlines .-Life and career:...

 resigned his position as Chairman. Colleen Barrett
Colleen Barrett
Colleen Barrett is the President Emerita and Corporate Secretary of Southwest Airlines. She joined Southwest in 1978, having previously worked for several years as founder Herb Kelleher's executive assistant at his law firm. She has served as Secretary of the Corporation, as Vice President...

 left her post on the Board of Directors and Corporate Secretary in May 2008 and President in July 2008. Both are still active employees of Southwest Airlines.

Southwest hired its first black
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

 pilot, Louis Freeman
Louis Freeman (pilot)
Louis Freeman is a commercial airline pilot. In 1980 Freeman became Southwest Airlines' first black pilot, and, in 1992 he became the first black chief pilot of a major United States airline.- Education :...

, in 1980. In 1992, he was named the first black chief pilot
Pilot in command
The pilot in command of an aircraft is the person aboard the aircraft who is ultimately responsible for its operation and safety during flight. This would be the "captain" in a typical two- or three-pilot flight crew, or "pilot" if there is only one certified and qualified pilot at the controls of...

 of any major U.S. airline.

Organized labor

In contrast to non-union competitor JetBlue Airways
JetBlue Airways
JetBlue Airways Corporation is an American low-cost airline. The company is headquartered in the Forest Hills neighborhood of the New York City borough of Queens. Its main base is John F. Kennedy International Airport, also in Queens....

, Southwest maintains its profitability and low-fare, low-cost business model while being heavily unionized. The Southwest Airline Pilots' Association, a union not affiliated with the Air Line Pilots Association, represents the airline's pilots. The Aircraft Maintenance Technicians' are represented by the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA). Customer Service Agents and Reservation Agents are represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Union (IAM). Flight Dispatchers, Flight Attendants, Ramp agents and Operations agents are represented by the Transport Workers Union (TWU).

Acquisitions

Southwest Airlines has completed four acquisitions which have helped the airline to grow its revenue base and destinations served.

Muse Air / TranStar Airlines – acquired 1985, divested 1987

Southwest paid US$60.5 million in stock and cash for Muse Air when Muse was on the verge of collapse in 1985. After completing the acquisition, Southwest renamed MuseAir TranStar Airlines
TranStar Airlines
TranStar Airlines was a domestic U.S. carrier based in Houston, Texas from 1981 to 1987.-History:The company was first established as a Texas-based commuter called Muse Air, but much like Southwest Airlines, only flying larger mainline equipment. Muse Air's name originates from its founder and the...

. TranStar became a wholly owned subsidiary of Southwest and operated as an independent airline. Unwilling to compete in a fare war against Frank Lorenzo
Frank Lorenzo
Francisco Anthony "Frank" Lorenzo is an American businessman and philanthropist. He is most famous for his leadership of Texas International Airlines and its successor holding company Texas Air Corporation between 1972 and 1990, through which he formed or acquired a number of major U.S...

's Texas Air
Texas Air
Texas Air was an airline holding company incorporated in 1980 in the United States created to hold and invest in airlines, starting with Texas International Airlines as its core...

, Southwest eventually sold TransStar's assets to Lorenzo in August 1987.

Morris Air – acquired 1993

Southwest acquired Morris Air
Morris Air
Morris Air was a low-fare airline based in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. It began operations in 1992. It was sold to Southwest Airlines in December 1993 for over $130 million. The airline officially became part of Southwest in Summer 1994.-History:...

, a competing airline based in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1992, paying US$134 million in stock. After completing the purchase, Southwest absorbed the capital and routes of Morris Air into Southwest's inventory and service, including Morris' Pacific Northwest destinations not previously served by Southwest. One founder of Morris Air, David Neeleman
David Neeleman
David G. Neeleman is a Brazilian-born American entrepreneur who has founded three commercial airlines, Morris Air, JetBlue Airways and Azul Brazilian Airlines.-Biography:...

, worked with Southwest for a short period before leaving to found JetBlue Airways
JetBlue Airways
JetBlue Airways Corporation is an American low-cost airline. The company is headquartered in the Forest Hills neighborhood of the New York City borough of Queens. Its main base is John F. Kennedy International Airport, also in Queens....

, a competing airline.

ATA Airlines – acquired 2008

Southwest paid US$7.5 million to acquire certain assets from bankrupt ATA Airlines
ATA Airlines
ATA Airlines, Inc., formerly known as American Trans Air, was an American low-cost scheduled service and charter airline based in Indianapolis, Indiana. ATA operated scheduled passenger flights throughout the US mainland and Hawaii, as well as military and commercial charter flights around the world...

 in 2008. Southwest's primary reason for making the purchase was to acquire the operating certificate and New York
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is a bi-state port district, established in 1921 through an interstate compact, that runs most of the regional transportation infrastructure, including the bridges, tunnels, airports, and seaports, within the Port of New York and New Jersey...

 LaGuardia Airport
LaGuardia Airport
LaGuardia Airport is an airport located in the northern part of Queens County on Long Island in the City of New York. The airport is located on the waterfront of Flushing Bay and Bowery Bay, and borders the neighborhoods of Astoria, Jackson Heights and East Elmhurst. The airport was originally...

 landing slots formerly controlled by ATA. While some preferential hiring was indicated at the time of the purchase, the transaction ultimately did not include the purchase of any aircraft, facilities or transfers of employees directly from ATA.

AirTran Airways – acquired 2011

On May 2, 2011 Southwest Airlines completed the acquisition of AirTran Airways
AirTran Airways
AirTran Airways, a subsidiary of the Dallas, Texas-based Southwest Airlines, is an American low-cost airline headquartered in Orlando, Florida. AirTran operates over 650 daily flights , primarily in the eastern and midwestern United States...

 by purchasing all of the outstanding common stock, corporate identity and operating assets of AirTran Holdings, Inc. (former stock ticker NYSE:AAI), the former parent company of AirTran Airways. Southwest Airlines first announced the acquisition on September 27, 2010 and received final approval from the United States Department of Justice
United States Department of Justice
The United States Department of Justice , is the United States federal executive department responsible for the enforcement of the law and administration of justice, equivalent to the justice or interior ministries of other countries.The Department is led by the Attorney General, who is nominated...

 on April 27, 2011. Southwest Airlines estimates the transaction's value at $3.2 billion and expects one time costs to integrate the two airlines of $500 million, with cost synergies of approximately $400 million annually. The greatest impact on Southwest will likely be the elimination of a direct low-cost competitor, access to Atlanta, and the addition of landing slots in the New York and Washington DC areas. Southwest expects to obtain a single operating certificate from the United States Federal Aviation Administration in the first quarter of 2012, but expects that full integration of AirTran into Southwest's operations may take several years. An entity called Guadeloupe Holdings was formed by Southwest and currently acts as a wholly owned subsidiary of Southwest Airlines and holding company for Airtran's current operations and assets. Southwest's organized labor groups have ceded contractual "scope" provisions pending acceptable negotiated seniority integration agreements. Operations of the two airlines will remain isolated until terms of this integration are fully negotiated (or arbitrated). Bound by federal law, such as McCaskill-Bond legislation, as well as a four-party process agreement, Southwest has confirmed that it will integrate all of the pilots in a fair and equitable manner. Other labor groups will be integrated in accordance with their respective collective bargaining agreements and federal law. Southwest's ground operations have begun handling Airtran's aircraft in Florida stations, and other cross-operational asset handling from the Guadeloupe operations will begin over the coming months by Southwest.

Southwest currently plans to absorb AirTran Airways's smaller low-capacity 88 Boeing 717
Boeing 717
The Boeing 717 is a twin-engine, single-aisle jet airliner, developed for the 100-seat market. The airliner was designed and marketed by McDonnell Douglas as the MD-95, a third-generation derivative of the DC-9. Capable of seating of up to 117 passengers, the 717 has maximum range of...

 aircraft into the Southwest fleet, as well as their comparable Boeing 737
Boeing 737
The Boeing 737 is a short- to medium-range, twin-engine narrow-body jet airliner. Originally developed as a shorter, lower-cost twin-engine airliner derived from Boeing's 707 and 727, the 737 has developed into a family of nine passenger models with a capacity of 85 to 215 passengers...

 aircraft, and plans to begin changing AirTran liveried aircraft to the Southwest livery beginning in 2012. Airtran's Boeing 737 orders and options will remain in place and those deliveries to the Southwest operation will occur over the coming years. With the proposed integration of the two airlines, the combined fleet could potentially number 690 aircraft.

The purchase potentially expands Southwest's service to 38 additional destinations including Mexico, the Caribbean, and Atlanta
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport , known locally as Atlanta Airport, Hartsfield Airport, and Hartsfield–Jackson, is located seven miles south of the central business district of Atlanta, Georgia, United States...

, an AirTran hub and the largest U.S. city not served by Southwest. Higher labor rates may prohibit operations in some outlying markets, and thus uncertainty exists as to individual market viability, revenue enhancement, and negotiated labor accords. Model reviews of these markets are ongoing by Southwest. Traditionally averse to hub operations, Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly stated at the time the acquisition closed that Southwest needed to fully understand the airline's operations in Atlanta before making any changes or reductions at that airport. With recent Department of Justice approval, data sharing has begun, and Airtran's operational review by Southwest will be completed in the coming months. On October 10, 2011, USA Today
USA Today
USA Today is a national American daily newspaper published by the Gannett Company. It was founded by Al Neuharth. The newspaper vies with The Wall Street Journal for the position of having the widest circulation of any newspaper in the United States, something it previously held since 2003...

 reported that Southwest has announced that it will "unwind" and dismantle the Atlanta airport Airtran hub. The changes will ultimately affect Atlanta's overall daily flight operations up to a 13% loss. Southwest has been quiet about the hub changes until date. Many Airtran smaller market airports/routes may see more limited or eliminated service.

Failed Acquisitions

In its attempts to grow revenues through acquisitions, Southwest has not always been successful and has historically demonstrated caution when deals threaten employee morale and culture. Learning from history, Southwest elected to merge with AirTran Airways and combine the two carriers, "Without any labor contingency."

Frontier Airlines – 2009

On July 30, 2009, Southwest Airlines announced a $113.6 million bid for bankrupt Frontier Airlines Holdings
Frontier Airlines Holdings
Frontier Airlines Holdings, Inc. was a United States based airline holding company. The company has headquarters in Denver, Colorado.- Airline divisions and operations:*Frontier Airlines*Lynx Aviation-Airline related divisions and operations:...

, the parent company of Frontier Airlines
Frontier Airlines
Frontier Airlines, Inc., is an American airline headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States. The carrier, which is a subsidiary and operating brand of Republic Airways Holdings, operates flights to 83 destinations throughout the United States, Mexico, and Costa Rica and maintains hubs at...

. Southwest planned to initially operate Frontier as a stand-alone carrier, eventually absorbing the airline and replacing Frontier's aircraft with Boeing 737s. Less than one month after submitting its bid, Southwest learned on August 14 that it had lost the initial bidding to Republic Airways Holdings
Republic Airways Holdings
Republic Airways Holdings, Inc. is an aviation holding corporation based in Indianapolis, Indiana, which owns six airlines operating in the United States: Chautauqua Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Republic Airlines, Shuttle America, and the former Lynx Aviation....

, and elected not to counter or pursue the deal further. Industry experts had expected Southwest to win the initial round of bidding, allowing Southwest to grow its presence in Denver and serve international destinations. Southwest stated that its requirement for pilots' unions at both companies to reach a negotiated (not arbitrated) agreement as a condition of acquisition was a key factor in its abandonment of its bid. Frontiers Airlines quickly recovered from its recent bankruptcy.

Jet engine pressure-washing

In 2008, Southwest contracted with Pratt and Whitney to supply the proprietary Ecopower water pressure-washing system, which allows Southwest to clean grime and contaminants off engine turbine blades while the aircraft is parked at the gate. Frequent use of the Ecopower system is estimated to improve fuel efficiency by about 1.9%.

Internet presence

On March 16, 1995, Southwest became one of the first airlines to have a website. Originally called the "Southwest Airlines Home Gate", passengers could view schedules, a route map, and company information at Iflyswa.com. Southwest.com is the number one airline website for online revenue, according to PhoCusWright. Nielsen
Nielsen Ratings
Nielsen ratings are the audience measurement systems developed by Nielsen Media Research, in an effort to determine the audience size and composition of television programming in the United States...

/Netratings also reports that Southwest.com is the largest airline site in terms of unique visitors. In 2006, 70 percent of flight bookings and 73 percent of revenue was generated from bookings on southwest.com. , 69 percent of Southwest passengers checked in for their flights online or at a kiosk.

Safety violations

On March 6, 2008, Federal Aviation Administration
Federal Aviation Administration
The Federal Aviation Administration is the national aviation authority of the United States. An agency of the United States Department of Transportation, it has authority to regulate and oversee all aspects of civil aviation in the U.S...

 (FAA) inspectors submitted documents to the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

, alleging that Southwest allowed 117 of its aircraft to fly carrying passengers despite the fact that the planes were "not airworthy" according to air safety investigators. In some cases the planes were allowed to fly for up to 30 months after the inspection deadlines had passed, rendering them unfit to fly. Records indicate that thousands of passengers were flown on aircraft deemed unsafe by federal standards. Southwest declined comment at the time, and US Representative James Oberstar advised a hearing would be held.

On March 12, 2008, Southwest Airlines voluntarily grounded 44 planes to check if they needed further inspection. The FAA claimed that Southwest Airlines flew almost 60,000 flights without fuselage inspection. Southwest Airlines faced a $10.2 million fine if they violated FAA regulations. There have also been rumors that the FAA knew about Southwest Airlines violations but decided not to fine the airline because it would disrupt the service of Southwest.

On March 2, 2009, Southwest settled these claims, agreeing to pay the FAA fines of $7.5 million for these safety and maintenance issues. The original fine of $10.2 million – a sum which would have been the largest fine in the agency’s history – was lowered after a year of negotiations. The FAA gave Southwest two years in which to pay the fine.

On August 26, 2009 the FAA investigated Southwest for installing improper parts on about 10% of its jets. The work was performed by an outside maintenance company. The FAA stated that the parts do not present a safety danger, but the airline was given until December 24, 2009 to replace the parts with those approved by the FAA. The FAA is still determining whether it will fine Southwest or its vendor.

Headquarters

The Southwest Airlines headquarters are located on the grounds of Dallas Love Field in the Love Field
Love Field, Dallas, Texas (neighborhood)
Love Field is a neighborhood located in northwest Dallas, Texas . It lies southwest of and is adjacent to Dallas Love Field Airport and is bounded by Denton Road, Inwood Road, Harry Hines Boulevard, and Webb Chapel Extension. The neighborhood takes its name from Love Field Airport.- Economy :The...

 neighborhood of Dallas, Texas.

Previously the airline was headquartered in the 1820 Regal Row building in Dallas, by Love Field. Southwest moved into its current headquarters in 1990. At that time the headquarters had 256000 square foot of space and approximately 650 employees. The current headquarters facility was built at a cost of $15 million in 1990 dollars. In early 1995 the building received an additional 60000 square foot of space. about 1,400 employees worked in the three story building.

In March 1996, the airline announced that it would begin to build a 300000 square foot addition to the existing corporate headquarters at a cost of $30 million in 1996 dollars. This occurred after, on Wednesday March 13, 1996, the Dallas City Council unanimously voted to allow for the construction. The airline leased two additional tracts of land, a total of 10 acres (4 ha) of space, from the City of Dallas to build a new pilot training facility, a headquarters expansion, and additional parking spaces. A $9.8 million new pilot training facility was built on a 5 acres (2 ha) plot of land owned by the city of Dallas; it was scheduled to be completed Spring 1997. With the new pilot training facility built, the old one would be removed and the company would expand its headquarters building to the north. 120000 square foot of building space, which had a price of $16 million including fixtures, was built, making the headquarters have a total of 436000 square foot. The airline also leased 4.8 acres (1.9 ha) from the city of Dallas to build additional parking; 700 spaces were added to the existing 1,200. After the facilities announced in 1996 were added, Southwest had a total leasehold of about 24 acres (9.7 ha) of land, including its headquarters, training facilities, and parking. By the end of 1997 the expansion of the facilities at Love Field and several terminal improvements were expected to cost Southwest $47 million.

Risk management

Southwest Airlines has gained a reputation for "outside the box thinking" and proactive risk management, including the use of fuel hedging
Fuel hedging
Fuel Hedging is a contractual tool some large fuel consuming companies, such as airlines, use to reduce their exposure to volatile and potentially rising fuel costs. A fuel hedge contract allows a large fuel consuming company to establish a fixed or capped cost, via a commodity swap or option...

 to insulate against fuel price fluctuation. Some analysts have argued against the style of profit-motivated energy trading Southwest did between 1999 and the early 2000s. They suggested that rather than hedging business risk (such as a hedge on weather to a farmer), Southwest was simply speculating on energy prices, without a formal rationale for doing so.

At present, Southwest has enjoyed much positive press (and a strong financial boost) from its energy trading skills. However, while most analysts agree that volatility hedges can be beneficial, speculative hedges are not widely supported as a continuing strategy for profits.

In the third quarter of 2008, Southwest recorded its first loss in 17 years due to its fuel-hedging contracts being of lesser value because of the drop in oil prices.

Advertising

The company has employed humor in its advertising. Slogans include "Just Plane Smart", "The Somebody Else Up There Who Loves You" and "THE Low Fare Airline". The airline's current slogan is "Grab your bag, It's On!". A select history of print and video ads are available on the company website.

"Just Plane Smart"

Shortly after Southwest started using the "Just Plane Smart" motto, Stevens Aviation, who had been using "Plane Smart" for their motto, threatened a trademark lawsuit.

Instead of a lawsuit, the CEOs for both companies staged an arm wrestling match. Held at the now demolished Dallas Sportatorium
Dallas Sportatorium
The Sportatorium, located in downtown Dallas, Texas , was a barn-like arena used primarily for professional wrestling events...

 (the famed wrestling facility) and set for two out of three rounds, the loser of each round was to pay $5,000 to the charity of their choice, with the winner gaining the use of the trademarked phrase. A promotional video was created showing the CEOs "training" for the bout (with CEO Herb Kelleher being helped up during a sit up where a cigarette and glass of whiskey (Wild Turkey 101) was waiting) and distributed among the employees and as a video press release along with the video of the match itself. Herb Kelleher lost the match for Southwest, with Stevens Aviation winning the rights to the phrase. Kurt Herwald, CEO of Stevens Aviation, immediately granted the use of "Just Plane Smart" to Southwest Airlines. The net result was both companies having use of the trademark, $15,000 going to charity and good publicity for both companies.

Corporate reporting

Southwest Cares
Southwest's 2008 report that expounds on the company's commitment to the environment and reports on the airline's corporate responsibility and citizenship efforts pertaining to People, Planet, Communities, and Suppliers. Southwest Cares

Southwest Effect

Southwest has been a major inspiration to other low-cost carriers, and its business model has been repeated many times around the world. The competitive strategy combines high level of employee and aircraft productivity with low unit costs by reducing aircraft turn around time particularly at the gate. Europe's EasyJet
EasyJet
EasyJet Airline Company Limited is a British airline headquartered at London Luton Airport. It carries more passengers than any other United Kingdom-based airline, operating domestic and international scheduled services on 500 routes between 118 European, North African, and West Asian airports...

 and Ryanair
Ryanair
Ryanair is an Irish low-cost airline. Its head office is at Dublin Airport and its primary operational bases at Dublin Airport and London Stansted Airport....

 are two of the best known airlines to follow Southwest's business strategy in that continent. Other airlines with a business model based on Southwest's system include Canada's WestJet
WestJet
WestJet Airlines Ltd. is a Canadian low-cost carrier that provides scheduled and charter air service to 71 destinations in Canada, the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean. Founded in 1996, WestJet is currently the second largest Canadian air carrier, behind Air Canada, operating an average of...

, Malaysia's AirAsia
AirAsia
AirAsia Berhad is a Malaysian-based low-cost airline. AirAsia is Asia's largest low-fare, no-frills airline and a pioneer of low-cost travel in Asia. AirAsia group operates scheduled domestic and international flights to over 400 destinations spanning 25 countries. Its main hub is the Low-Cost...

 (the first and biggest LCC in Asia), Qantas
Qantas
Qantas Airways Limited is the flag carrier of Australia. The name was originally "QANTAS", an initialism for "Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services". Nicknamed "The Flying Kangaroo", the airline is based in Sydney, with its main hub at Sydney Airport...

's Jetstar
Jetstar Airways
Jetstar Airways is an Australian low-cost airline headquartered in Melbourne, Australia. It is a subsidiary of Qantas, created in response to the threat posed by low-cost airline Virgin Blue...

 (although Jetstar now operates two aircraft types), Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

's Cebu Pacific
Cebu Pacific
Cebu Air, Inc., operating as Cebu Pacific Air, is based on the grounds of Ninoy Aquino International Airport , Pasay City, Metro Manila, the Philippines. It offers scheduled flights to both domestic and international destinations...

, Thailand's Nok Air
Nok Air
Nok Air , the Thai word for bird) is a low-cost airline headquartered in Sathorn, Bangkok, Thailand, operating domestic and international services out of Bangkok Don Mueang Airport. Nok Air is the budget airline of Thai Airways International...

, Mexico's Volaris
Volaris
Concesionaria Vuela Compañía de Aviación, S.A. de C.V., operating as Volaris, is a low-cost airline from Mexico, and the country's second largest airline after Aeroméxico, thus being a leading competitor in the Mexican domestic market, with a market share of around 13-14% of domestic...

 and Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

's Pegasus Airlines
Pegasus Airlines
Pegasus Airlines is a low-cost airline headquartered in the Halkalı area of Küçükçekmece, Istanbul, Turkey. Formerly a charter airline in partnership with Aer Lingus, Pegasus is now completely controlled by Esas Holding.- History :...

. Although Southwest has been a major inspiration to many other airlines, including Ryanair, AirAsia and Jetstar, the management strategies, for example, of Ryanair, AirAsia and Jetstar differ significantly from those of Southwest.
All these different management strategies can be seen as means of differentiation from other competitors in order to gain competitive advantages.

Lobbying

Southwest has fought against the development of a high-speed rail system in Texas. Southwest Airlines also tried advertising for non-stop services with Texas for $18 each way, but it was not approved by any of the United States Amendments.

Awards and recognitions

  • The American Brand Excellence Awards recognize leading national brands that best serve the needs of small- and medium-sized businesses. For 2007, Southwest Airlines came out tops in the Travel segment, based on a City Business Journals Network nationwide survey of 1,000 business decision-makers who evaluated 251 brands.

  • For the tenth year in a row, FORTUNE
    Fortune (magazine)
    Fortune is a global business magazine published by Time Inc. Founded by Henry Luce in 1930, the publishing business, consisting of Time, Life, Fortune, and Sports Illustrated, grew to become Time Warner. In turn, AOL grew as it acquired Time Warner in 2000 when Time Warner was the world's largest...

     magazine recognized Southwest Airlines in its annual survey of corporate reputations. Among all industries in 2005, FORTUNE has listed Southwest Airlines as number three among America’s Top Ten most admired corporations.
  • FORTUNE has ranked Southwest Airlines in the top five of the “Best Companies to Work For” in America. Southwest ranked first in 1997 and 1998, second in 1999, and fourth in 2000. Southwest has chosen not to participate since 2000.
  • Southwest Airlines’ Rapid Rewards program was honored in InsideFlyer magazine's 2006 annual Freddie Awards for Best Program of the Year, Best Award Redemption, Best Award, Best Web Site, and Best Bonus Promotion Honors.
  • For 2007, the eighth year in a row, Business Ethics magazine lists Southwest Airlines in its "100 Best Corporate Citizens", a list that ranks public companies based on their corporate service to various stakeholder groups. Southwest is one of only 11 repeat winners that have made the list all eight years.
  • In 2005 and again in 2008 The American Customer Satisfaction Index
    American Customer Satisfaction Index
    The American Customer Satisfaction Index is an economic indicator that measures the satisfaction of consumers across the U.S. economy. It is produced by the American Customer Satisfaction Index, a private company based in Ann Arbor, Michigan....

     (ACSI) recognized Southwest Airlines as leading the industry in customer satisfaction. The ACSI, conducted by the University of Michigan, independently tracks customer satisfaction levels by measuring the household consumption experience.
  • Since 2000, HISPANIC magazine has listed Southwest Airlines as Corporate 100 for leadership in providing opportunities for Hispanics and for supporting recruitment, scholarships, and minority vendor programs.
  • The Express Delivery & Logistics Association honored Southwest Airlines as the "2006 Airline of the Year."
  • In 2005, American Small Business Travelers Alliance ranked Southwest Airlines as the "Best Airline Among Small Business Travelers."
  • Southwest president Colleen Barrett was chosen as 2007's Tony Jannus Award winner, becoming the first woman to be honored in the 44-year history of the respected aviation award.
  • Professional Women's magazine included Southwest Airlines in their 2006 ranking of the "Most Admired Companies Among Women."
  • According to Institutional Investor magazine, Southwest Airlines ranked number one in the Consumer category among all airlines as the "Most Shareholder Friendly Company" based on the effectiveness of Southwest's governance and investor relations as part of their overall efforts to maximize share holder value.
  • Southwest Airlines took top honors in the ninth Business Travel News Annual Airlines Survey.
  • In 2006, Southwest ranked in GIjobs.nets list of 50 military friendly employers. At number 37, Southwest was the only major commercial airline to make the list.
  • In its January 2006 issue, Institutional Investor ranked Southwest CEO Gary Kelly as one of America's top CEO's. He was ranked best CEO in the airline sector.
  • In April 2007, The Port of Portland presented Southwest Airlines with the Environmental Excellence Award in recognition of an exemplary effort in the category of Environmental Innovation.

Destinations

By 1979, Southwest flew to all of the following cities in Texas: El Paso, Amarillo, Corpus Christi, Harlingen, Lubbock, and Midland/Odessa. Interstate service began to New Orleans in 1979, and Albuquerque in 1980. Oklahoma City and Tulsa were added shortly thereafter. In 1981 Southwest co-launched the 737–300
Boeing 737 Classic
The Boeing 737 Classic is the name given to the -300/-400/-500 series of the Boeing 737 following the introduction of the -600/-700/-800/-900 series. They are short- to medium- range, narrow-body jet airliners produced by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. The Classic series was introduced as the 'new...

 with USAir
US Airways
US Airways, Inc. is a major airline based in the U.S. city of Tempe, Arizona. The airline is an operating unit of US Airways Group and is the sixth largest airline by traffic and eighth largest by market value in the country....

. In 1982, the first expansion beyond the Southcentral U.S. took Southwest to the West Coast, adding Phoenix, Las Vegas and San Diego. In late 1984, the 737–300 was placed into service. Chicago Midway and St. Louis service began in March 1985, spreading to Midwest markets.

Current service

, Southwest Airlines operates scheduled service to 72 destinations in 37 states, the newest being Newark Liberty International Airport on March 27, 2011.

Southwest does not use the more traditional "hub and spoke
Spoke-hub distribution paradigm
The hub-and-spoke distribution paradigm is a system of connections arranged like a chariot wheel, in which all traffic moves along spokes connected to the hub at the center...

" flight routing system of most other major airlines, preferring instead the "Point to Point
Point-to-point transit
Point-to-point transit refers to a transportation system where a plane, bus or train travels directly to a destination, rather than going through a central hub...

" system. Currently, Southwest serves 71 cities in 36 states, with more than 3,300 flights a day. It has notably large operations in certain airports. Airports with large Southwest operations include Albany (ALB
Albany International Airport
Albany International Airport is a public use airport located six nautical miles northwest of the central business district of Albany, in Albany County, New York, United States. It is owned by the Albany County Airport Authority....

), Albuquerque (ABQ
Albuquerque International Sunport
Albuquerque International Sunport is a public airport located 3 miles southeast of the central business district of Albuquerque, a city in Bernalillo County, New Mexico, United States. It is the largest commercial airport in the state, handling 5,888,811 passengers in 2009...

), Austin (AUS
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is a mixed-use commercial airport located southeast of the central business district of Austin, Texas, United States. It covers and has two runways and three helipads.The airport began passenger service on May 23, 1999...

), Baltimore (BWI
Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport
Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport is an international airport serving the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area in the United States. It is commonly called BWI, BWI Airport or BWI Marshall, BWI being an initialism for "Baltimore/Washington International" and the...

), Nashville (BNA
Nashville International Airport
Nashville International Airport is a joint civil-military airport in southeastern Nashville, Tennessee. The IATA Airport Code BNA is derived from the early name of the facility—Berry Field, NAshville. Berry Field was the name of the airport until 1988, when the name was changed to reflect...

), Chicago (MDW), Dallas (DAL), Denver (DEN
Denver International Airport
Denver International Airport , often referred to as DIA, is an airport in Denver, Colorado. By land size, at , it is the largest international airport in the United States, and the third largest international airport in the world after King Fahd International Airport and Montréal-Mirabel...

), Houston (HOU
William P. Hobby Airport
William P. Hobby Airport is a public airport in Houston, Texas, located from Downtown Houston. The airport covers and has four runways. Hobby Airport is Houston's oldest commercial airport and was the city's primary air terminal until the opening of Houston Intercontinental Airport in 1969...

), Las Vegas (LAS
McCarran International Airport
McCarran International Airport is the principal commercial airport serving Las Vegas and Clark County, Nevada, United States. The airport is located five miles south of the central business district of Las Vegas, in the unincorporated area of Paradise in Clark County. It covers an area of and...

), Los Angeles (LAX
Los Angeles International Airport
Los Angeles International Airport is the primary airport serving the Greater Los Angeles Area, the second-most populated metropolitan area in the United States. It is most often referred to by its IATA airport code LAX, with the letters pronounced individually...

), Oakland (OAK
Oakland International Airport
Oakland International Airport , also known as Metropolitan Oakland International Airport, is a public airport located south of the central business district of Oakland, a city in Alameda County, California, United States...

), Orlando (MCO
Orlando International Airport
Orlando International Airport is a major international airport located southeast of the central business district of Orlando. It is the second busiest airport in Florida, after Miami International Airport...

), Phoenix (PHX
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is a joint civil-military public airport located southeast of the central business district of the city of Phoenix, in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States...

), San Diego (SAN
San Diego International Airport
San Diego International Airport , sometimes referred to as Lindbergh Field, is a public airport located northwest of the central business district of San Diego, California and from the Mexico – United States border at Tijuana, Mexico...

), San Jose (SJC
San Jose International Airport
Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport is a city-owned public-use airport serving the city of San Jose in Santa Clara County, California, United States. It is named for San Jose native Norman Yoshio Mineta, who was Transportation Secretary in the Cabinet of George W...

), Sacramento (SMF
Sacramento International Airport
Sacramento International Airport is a public airport located 10 miles northwest of the central business district of Sacramento, in Sacramento County, California, USA. It is run by Sacramento County...

), Salt Lake City (SLC
Salt Lake City International Airport
Salt Lake City International Airport is a major public airport in Utah. A joint civil-military facility, it is located in western Salt Lake City, approximately four miles from the central business district...

), and Tampa (TPA
Tampa International Airport
Tampa International Airport is a major public airport located six nautical miles west of the central business district of Tampa, in Hillsborough County, Florida, United States. This airport is publicly owned by Hillsborough County Aviation Authority...

). An average of 80 percent of Southwest passengers are local passengers, meaning only 20 percent of all passengers are connecting passengers. This is significantly higher than most airlines, where passengers often connect in hub cities.

As part of its effort to control costs, Southwest tries to use secondary airports which generally have lower costs and may be more convenient to travelers than the major airports to the same destinations. For example, Southwest flies to Chicago Midway Airport (MDW) in Chicago instead of O'Hare International Airport (ORD
O'Hare International Airport
Chicago O'Hare International Airport , also known as O'Hare Airport, O'Hare Field, Chicago Airport, Chicago International Airport, or simply O'Hare, is a major airport located in the northwestern-most corner of Chicago, Illinois, United States, northwest of the Chicago Loop...

), Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL
Fort Lauderdale – Hollywood International Airport
Fort Lauderdale – Hollywood International Airport is an international commercial airport located in unincorporated Broward County, Florida, three miles southwest of the central business district of Fort Lauderdale...

) and Palm Beach International Airport (PBI
Palm Beach International Airport
Palm Beach International Airport is a public airport located 3 nautical miles west of Palm Beach, Florida, in West Palm Beach, Florida, and serves Palm Beach County. The airport is operated and maintained by Palm Beach County Department of Airports. Road access to the airport is available...

) in South Florida
South Florida metropolitan area
The South Florida metropolitan area, also known as the Miami metropolitan area, and designated the Miami–Fort Lauderdale–Pompano Beach, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area by the U.S...

 instead of Miami International Airport (MIA
Miami International Airport
Miami International Airport , also known as MIA and historically Wilcox Field, is the primary airport serving the South Florida area...

), Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL) in Dallas instead of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Long Island MacArthur Islip Airport (ISP
Long Island MacArthur Airport
Long Island MacArthur Airport, formerly known as Islip Airport is a public airport located on Long Island, in Ronkonkoma, Town of Islip, Suffolk County, New York, United States. It is seven miles northeast of the central business district of Islip hamlet...

) & New York-LaGuardia (LGA) instead of New York-John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) and Houston Hobby Airport (HOU
William P. Hobby Airport
William P. Hobby Airport is a public airport in Houston, Texas, located from Downtown Houston. The airport covers and has four runways. Hobby Airport is Houston's oldest commercial airport and was the city's primary air terminal until the opening of Houston Intercontinental Airport in 1969...

) in Houston instead of George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH
George Bush Intercontinental Airport
George Bush Intercontinental Airport, is a Class B international airport in Houston, Texas, serving the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area, the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the United States. Located north of Downtown Houston between Interstate 45 and U.S. Highway 59...

).

Southwest makes exceptions to its practice of serving secondary airports by flying into some larger airports in major cities, such as McCarran International Airport
McCarran International Airport
McCarran International Airport is the principal commercial airport serving Las Vegas and Clark County, Nevada, United States. The airport is located five miles south of the central business district of Las Vegas, in the unincorporated area of Paradise in Clark County. It covers an area of and...

 in Las Vegas, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Lambert St. Louis International Airport, Orlando International Airport, Minneapolis−Saint Paul International Airport, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, Philadelphia International
Philadelphia International Airport
Philadelphia International Airport is a major airport in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, and is the largest airport in the Delaware Valley region and in Pennsylvania...

, Denver International Airport, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, Kansas City International Airport, Seattle-Tacoma International
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
The Seattle–Tacoma International Airport , also known as Sea–Tac Airport or Sea–Tac , is an American airport located in SeaTac, Washington, at the intersections of State Routes 99 and 509 and 518, about west of Interstate 5...

, Raleigh-Durham International Airport
Raleigh-Durham International Airport
Raleigh-Durham International Airport is a public international airport located 4.5 miles northeast of the town of Morrisville in suburban Wake County, North Carolina, United States. The airport covers and operates three runways, providing direct service to 40 domestic and international...

, Bradley International Airport (Hartford, CT)
Bradley International Airport
Bradley International Airport is a joint civil-military public airport located in Windsor Locks on the border with East Granby and Suffield, in Hartford County, Connecticut, United States. It is owned by the State of Connecticut....

, Tampa International Airport
Tampa International Airport
Tampa International Airport is a major public airport located six nautical miles west of the central business district of Tampa, in Hillsborough County, Florida, United States. This airport is publicly owned by Hillsborough County Aviation Authority...

 and Pittsburgh International
Pittsburgh International Airport
Pittsburgh International Airport , formerly Greater Pittsburgh Airport, Greater Pittsburgh International Airport and commonly referred to as Pittsburgh International, is a joint civil–military international airport located in the Pittsburgh suburb of Findlay Township, approximately west of...

. In the Baltimore-Washington market, Southwest has limited flights into one major airport (Washington Dulles International Airport) while maintaining their east-coast focus city at the region's other major airport, Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI)
Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport
Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport is an international airport serving the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area in the United States. It is commonly called BWI, BWI Airport or BWI Marshall, BWI being an initialism for "Baltimore/Washington International" and the...

. In the Los Angeles market Southwest flies to both the major city airport, Los Angeles International
Los Angeles International Airport
Los Angeles International Airport is the primary airport serving the Greater Los Angeles Area, the second-most populated metropolitan area in the United States. It is most often referred to by its IATA airport code LAX, with the letters pronounced individually...

 (LAX), and to three of the four secondary airports, Burbank-Bob Hope Airport, Santa Ana-John Wayne Airport
John Wayne Airport
John Wayne Airport is an airport in an unincorporated area in Orange County, California, with its mailing address in the city of Santa Ana, which is also the county seat, hence the International Air Transport Association airport code. The main entrance to the airport is off of MacArthur Blvd in...

, and LA/Ontario International Airport. With the restoration of service out of San Francisco International Airport on August 26, 2007, Southwest now serves all three airports in the San Francisco Bay Area; the other two being Oakland International Airport and San Jose International Airport.

The airline also once served Stapleton International Airport in Denver but withdrew in 1986 because of excessive ATC delays during poor weather exacerbated by minimal separation between the runways. Southwest returned to Denver in 2006 with service to the new Denver International Airport. Southwest is expanding Denver service faster than any previous Southwest destination at the cost of service to Orlando, Kansas City and Baltimore.

During November 2008, Southwest applied to purchase 14 slots (for 7 roundtrips daily) previously used by ATA Airlines at LaGuardia Airport
LaGuardia Airport
LaGuardia Airport is an airport located in the northern part of Queens County on Long Island in the City of New York. The airport is located on the waterfront of Flushing Bay and Bowery Bay, and borders the neighborhoods of Astoria, Jackson Heights and East Elmhurst. The airport was originally...

. The bid was approved about a month later, and further progress was made during late March 2009. In early April, it was announced that the airline will (strategically) have a combined total of 16 daily arrivals and departures (5 and 3 each way with MDW and BWI respectively), despite the receipt of only 14 slots. On June 28, 2009, Southwest successfully started serving LaGuardia Airport
LaGuardia Airport
LaGuardia Airport is an airport located in the northern part of Queens County on Long Island in the City of New York. The airport is located on the waterfront of Flushing Bay and Bowery Bay, and borders the neighborhoods of Astoria, Jackson Heights and East Elmhurst. The airport was originally...

 and the airline is confident about future growth at LGA, including expanded service to other locations.;

On February 19, 2009, Southwest announced service to Boston's Logan airport would begin the fall of 2009 . Service began August 16, 2009, with five daily roundtrips to both Baltimore-Washington and Chicago Midway. Southwest says that it is complementing their service to Manchester, New Hampshire, and Providence, Rhode Island. As reported by the Boston Herald earlier this year, there is a two-gate operation with an additional 2 gates as options at Logan. Southwest is hoping to curve toward business travelers that stay in downtown Boston and bring lower ticket cost and fees to these travelers.

In October 2009, the airline announced service to Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport
Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport
-External links:*...

 near Panama City, Florida
Panama City, Florida
-Personal income:The median income for a household in the city was $31,572, and the median income for a family was $40,890. Males had a median income of $30,401 versus $21,431 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,830...

, with service to Baltimore-Washington, Orlando International
Orlando International Airport
Orlando International Airport is a major international airport located southeast of the central business district of Orlando. It is the second busiest airport in Florida, after Miami International Airport...

, Houston-Hobby
William P. Hobby Airport
William P. Hobby Airport is a public airport in Houston, Texas, located from Downtown Houston. The airport covers and has four runways. Hobby Airport is Houston's oldest commercial airport and was the city's primary air terminal until the opening of Houston Intercontinental Airport in 1969...

, and Nashville International
Nashville International Airport
Nashville International Airport is a joint civil-military airport in southeastern Nashville, Tennessee. The IATA Airport Code BNA is derived from the early name of the facility—Berry Field, NAshville. Berry Field was the name of the airport until 1988, when the name was changed to reflect...

. Service began on May 24, 2010.

In August 2011 Southwest announced service to Atlanta, to begin in February 2012

Top served cities

City Daily departures Number of gates Cities served nonstop Service began
Chicago-Midway 236 29 55 1985
Las Vegas
McCarran International Airport
McCarran International Airport is the principal commercial airport serving Las Vegas and Clark County, Nevada, United States. The airport is located five miles south of the central business district of Las Vegas, in the unincorporated area of Paradise in Clark County. It covers an area of and...

228 19 55 1982
Baltimore-Washington 189 26 46 1993
Phoenix
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is a joint civil-military public airport located southeast of the central business district of the city of Phoenix, in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States...

185 24 49 1982
Denver
Denver International Airport
Denver International Airport , often referred to as DIA, is an airport in Denver, Colorado. By land size, at , it is the largest international airport in the United States, and the third largest international airport in the world after King Fahd International Airport and Montréal-Mirabel...

148 17 42 2006
Houston-Hobby
William P. Hobby Airport
William P. Hobby Airport is a public airport in Houston, Texas, located from Downtown Houston. The airport covers and has four runways. Hobby Airport is Houston's oldest commercial airport and was the city's primary air terminal until the opening of Houston Intercontinental Airport in 1969...

133 17 33 1971
Dallas-Love 130 15 15 1971
Los Angeles
Los Angeles International Airport
Los Angeles International Airport is the primary airport serving the Greater Los Angeles Area, the second-most populated metropolitan area in the United States. It is most often referred to by its IATA airport code LAX, with the letters pronounced individually...

114 11 21 1982
Oakland
Oakland International Airport
Oakland International Airport , also known as Metropolitan Oakland International Airport, is a public airport located south of the central business district of Oakland, a city in Alameda County, California, United States...

107 13 19 1989
Orlando
Orlando International Airport
Orlando International Airport is a major international airport located southeast of the central business district of Orlando. It is the second busiest airport in Florida, after Miami International Airport...

101 12 33 1996



Newest Service

On May 11, 2010, Southwest announced plans to begin serving both Greenville-Spartanburg International
Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport
Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport , also known as GSP International Airport or Roger Milliken Field, is a public airport located in unincorporated Greenville and Spartanburg counties in South Carolina, United States, 3 miles south of central Greer; the airport serves Greenville and...

 (GSP) and Charleston International
Charleston International Airport
Charleston International Airport is a joint civil-military airport located in the city of North Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina, USA. The airport serves the needs of the entire South Carolina Lowcountry. The airport has two runways and is operated under a joint-use agreement with...

 (CHS) airports in South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

. The airline started flights to and from South Carolina on March 13, 2011. Both airports have nonstop service to and from Baltimore-Washington
Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport
Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport is an international airport serving the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area in the United States. It is commonly called BWI, BWI Airport or BWI Marshall, BWI being an initialism for "Baltimore/Washington International" and the...

, Chicago-Midway, Houston-Hobby
William P. Hobby Airport
William P. Hobby Airport is a public airport in Houston, Texas, located from Downtown Houston. The airport covers and has four runways. Hobby Airport is Houston's oldest commercial airport and was the city's primary air terminal until the opening of Houston Intercontinental Airport in 1969...

, and Nashville International
Nashville International Airport
Nashville International Airport is a joint civil-military airport in southeastern Nashville, Tennessee. The IATA Airport Code BNA is derived from the early name of the facility—Berry Field, NAshville. Berry Field was the name of the airport until 1988, when the name was changed to reflect...

, with GSP also having nonstop service to and from Orlando International
Orlando International Airport
Orlando International Airport is a major international airport located southeast of the central business district of Orlando. It is the second busiest airport in Florida, after Miami International Airport...

.

On August 27, 2010, Southwest announced that it was to receive 36 slots at Newark Liberty
Newark Liberty International Airport
Newark Liberty International Airport , first named Newark Metropolitan Airport and later Newark International Airport, is an international airport within the city limits of both Newark and Elizabeth, New Jersey, United States...

 in a divestiture from Continental Airlines
Continental Airlines
Continental Airlines was a major American airline now merged with United Airlines. On May 3, 2010, Continental Airlines, Inc. and UAL, Inc. announced a merger via a stock swap, and on October 1, 2010, the merger closed and UAL changed its name to United Continental Holdings, Inc...

, due to a United States Department of Justice
United States Department of Justice
The United States Department of Justice , is the United States federal executive department responsible for the enforcement of the law and administration of justice, equivalent to the justice or interior ministries of other countries.The Department is led by the Attorney General, who is nominated...

 ruling as a result of the merger of Continental and UAL Corporation
United Continental Holdings
United Continental Holdings, Inc. , is a publicly traded airline holding company, incorporated in Delaware with headquarters in the United Building in Chicago, Illinois. UCH owns and operates United Airlines, Inc. and Continental Airlines, Inc. both of which use the trade name United Airlines...

. On October 28, 2010, Southwest announced it would begin serving Newark on March 27, 2011. The flights first began with six daily nonstops to Chicago-Midway and two daily nonstops to Lambert-St. Louis International Airport
Lambert-St. Louis International Airport
Lambert-St. Louis International Airport is a Class B international airport serving Greater St. Louis. It is located approximately northwest of downtown St. Louis in unincorporated St. Louis County between Berkeley and Bridgeton. It is the largest and busiest airport in the state with 250 daily...

. Additionally, on June 5, 2011, Southwest added ten more nonstops from Newark, with three each to Baltimore-Washington
Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport
Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport is an international airport serving the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area in the United States. It is commonly called BWI, BWI Airport or BWI Marshall, BWI being an initialism for "Baltimore/Washington International" and the...

 and Denver
Denver International Airport
Denver International Airport , often referred to as DIA, is an airport in Denver, Colorado. By land size, at , it is the largest international airport in the United States, and the third largest international airport in the world after King Fahd International Airport and Montréal-Mirabel...

, and two each to Houston-Hobby
William P. Hobby Airport
William P. Hobby Airport is a public airport in Houston, Texas, located from Downtown Houston. The airport covers and has four runways. Hobby Airport is Houston's oldest commercial airport and was the city's primary air terminal until the opening of Houston Intercontinental Airport in 1969...

 and Phoenix
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is a joint civil-military public airport located southeast of the central business district of the city of Phoenix, in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States...

.

On August 22, 2011, Southwest announced it would begin service to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport , known locally as Atlanta Airport, Hartsfield Airport, and Hartsfield–Jackson, is located seven miles south of the central business district of Atlanta, Georgia, United States...

 in Atlanta, Georgia on February 12, 2012. Initially Southwest plans to serve a total 15 daily departures from Atlanta to Chicago-Midway, Baltimore, Houston-Hobby
William P. Hobby Airport
William P. Hobby Airport is a public airport in Houston, Texas, located from Downtown Houston. The airport covers and has four runways. Hobby Airport is Houston's oldest commercial airport and was the city's primary air terminal until the opening of Houston Intercontinental Airport in 1969...

, Denver
Denver International Airport
Denver International Airport , often referred to as DIA, is an airport in Denver, Colorado. By land size, at , it is the largest international airport in the United States, and the third largest international airport in the world after King Fahd International Airport and Montréal-Mirabel...

 and Austin
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is a mixed-use commercial airport located southeast of the central business district of Austin, Texas, United States. It covers and has two runways and three helipads.The airport began passenger service on May 23, 1999...

. Then to Phoenix
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is a joint civil-military public airport located southeast of the central business district of the city of Phoenix, in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States...

 and Las Vegas
McCarran International Airport
McCarran International Airport is the principal commercial airport serving Las Vegas and Clark County, Nevada, United States. The airport is located five miles south of the central business district of Las Vegas, in the unincorporated area of Paradise in Clark County. It covers an area of and...

 on March 10, 2012.

Possible Expansion

On June 20, 2011, Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) announced a plan to re-open Concourse A and close its small 8-gate Terminal 2. Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines, Inc. is a major airline based in the United States and headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. The airline operates an extensive domestic and international network serving all continents except Antarctica. Delta and its subsidiaries operate over 4,000 flights every day...

, a major carrier for the airport, will stay in Concourse B after the terminal swap. CVG described the opening of Concourse A to be "an opportunity to grow and compete." With the new, bigger concourse, (at least 20 gates), CVG will be able to take in new carriers such as Southwest Airlines.

International service

, Southwest does not offer direct service to destinations outside the United States. Southwest has entered into code sharing agreements with other airlines to allow Southwest customers to connect to international destinations. After Southwest completes the integration of AirTran Airways in mid-2012, Southwest will offer direct service to a number of international destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean currently served by AirTran.

Due to contractual agreements with its pilots' and flight attendants' unions, Southwest is required to negotiate with those unions before entering into any code sharing agreements with other airlines.

ATA Airlines codeshare

Prior to ATA Airline's shutdown, Southwest had set a goal to codeshare with ATA and begin international codeshare services or ticket for international flights in 2009. Destinations served by ATA would have included Canada, Mexico, Europe and the Caribbean.

WestJet codeshare

On July 8, 2008, Southwest announced that it agreed to a comprehensive codeshare agreement with Canada's second largest carrier, WestJet Airlines
WestJet
WestJet Airlines Ltd. is a Canadian low-cost carrier that provides scheduled and charter air service to 71 destinations in Canada, the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean. Founded in 1996, WestJet is currently the second largest Canadian air carrier, behind Air Canada, operating an average of...

. Southwest terminated the WestJet codeshare agreement in early 2010.

Volaris codeshare

Southwest announced a plan to codeshare with Mexico's Volaris
Volaris
Concesionaria Vuela Compañía de Aviación, S.A. de C.V., operating as Volaris, is a low-cost airline from Mexico, and the country's second largest airline after Aeroméxico, thus being a leading competitor in the Mexican domestic market, with a market share of around 13-14% of domestic...

 and services began in early 2010.

Codeshare agreements

Current
  • Volaris

Southwest announced its second international codeshare agreement on November 10, 2008, with Mexica
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

n low-cost carrier Volaris
Volaris
Concesionaria Vuela Compañía de Aviación, S.A. de C.V., operating as Volaris, is a low-cost airline from Mexico, and the country's second largest airline after Aeroméxico, thus being a leading competitor in the Mexican domestic market, with a market share of around 13-14% of domestic...

. The agreement will allow Southwest to sell tickets on Volaris flights beginning in 2010, including international flights from the United States that the carrier started in early summer, 2009. Volaris serves Chicago Midway (MDW), Oakland (OAK), Los Angeles (LAX) and San José (SJC) with service to Guadalajara. Volaris also operates between Los Angeles (LAX) and Morelia (MLM), Toluca (TLC) and Zacatecas (ZCL). Service between Oakland and Mexico City's Benito Juárez International Airport (MEX) began in May 2011.

Past
  • Icelandair

In 1997, Southwest and Icelandair
Icelandair
Icelandair ehf is the flag carrier airline of Iceland, based on the grounds of Reykjavík Airport in Reykjavík. It is part of the Icelandair Group and currently operates scheduled services to 31 cities in 13 countries on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean out of its hub at Keflavík International Airport...

 entered into interline and marketing agreements allowing for joint fares, coordinated schedules, and transfer of passenger luggage between the two airlines at Baltimore. Icelandair operated flights between Baltimore and Keflavik Airport in Iceland. Connecting service between several U.S. cities and several European cities appeared in the Southwest timetable The frequent flyer programs were not included in the agreement. This arrangement lasted for several years but is no longer in existence, and Icelandair service to BWI ended January 2007.
  • ATA Airlines

ATA Airlines, one of Southwest Airlines' main competitors in the Chicago market, historically operated out of Midway Airport alongside Southwest. ATA declared bankruptcy, and in 2004, Southwest injected capital into ATA that (among other things) would have resulted in Southwest's 27.5% ownership stake in ATA upon their exit from Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

In a departure from its traditional "go it alone" strategy, Southwest entered into its first domestic codesharing arrangement with ATA, which enabled Southwest Airlines to serve ATA markets in Hawaii, Washington, D.C.
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport is a public airport located south of downtown Washington, D.C., in Arlington County, Virginia. It is the commercial airport nearest to Washington, D.C. For many decades, it was called Washington National Airport, but this airport was renamed in 1998 to...

, and New York City
LaGuardia Airport
LaGuardia Airport is an airport located in the northern part of Queens County on Long Island in the City of New York. The airport is located on the waterfront of Flushing Bay and Bowery Bay, and borders the neighborhoods of Astoria, Jackson Heights and East Elmhurst. The airport was originally...

.

In late 2005, ATA secured $100 million in additional financing from the firm of MatlinPatterson, and Southwest's original deal with ATA was modified such that Southwest no longer retained the 27.5% stake (or any other financial interest) in ATA. The codeshare arrangement expanded to include all of ATA's 17 destinations and all of Southwest's 63 destinations. In 2006, Southwest's pilot union approved a codeshare sideletter to their contract with limitations on the growth of this and other codeshare agreements. While these restrictions today are minor, outsourcing remains a growing concern in the union's current contract negotiations.

During 2006, Southwest Airlines began marketing ATA only flights. ATA's dependence on the Southwest network continued to grow in 2006, and at the time of ATA's demise in April 2008, the airline offered over 70 flights a week to Hawaii from Southwest's focus cities in PHX, LAS, LAX, and OAK. Additional connecting service was available to many other cities across the United States. Plans had been announced for ATA to offer exclusive international service for Southwest by 2010, but were scratched when ATA abruptly ended operations on April 3, 2008. There was no plan to open the ATA/Southwest codeshare to ATA's sister carriers, North American Airlines
North American Airlines
North American Airlines, Inc. is an American airline with its headquarters in Building 141 on the grounds of John F. Kennedy International Airport in Jamaica, Queens, New York City, USA. Prior to May 2008, it operated scheduled international services from the USA to Africa and Guyana. Today, it...

 or World Airways
World Airways
World Airways, Inc. is an American airline headquartered at the HLH Building in Peachtree City, Georgia. For the most part, the company operates non-scheduled services. Its main aircraft and maintenance base is Tampa International Airport.-History:...

, even though they are co-owned by the same corporate entity created from ATA Holdings
Global Aero Logistics
Global Aviation Holdings Inc. is the parent company of World Airways, Inc. , and North American Airlines, Inc. , headquartered in Peachtree City, Georgia...

.

The ATA/Southwest codeshare was terminated when ATA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on April 3, 2008. Towards the end of November 2008, Southwest announced it was buying the operating certificate
Operating certificate
Operating certificate is a category of license issued by a government agency allowing an individual or company to provide a controlled type of service. These certificates are generally issued for a limited time period...

 and the remaining assets of ATA Airlines thus enabling Southwest Airlines access to New York LaGuardia slots formerly controlled by ATA. According to Southwest Airlines "...it doesn't include any aircraft, facilities or employees of ATA."
  • WestJet Airlines

On July 8, 2008, Southwest Airlines officially announced the intent to begin a codeshare agreement with WestJet
WestJet
WestJet Airlines Ltd. is a Canadian low-cost carrier that provides scheduled and charter air service to 71 destinations in Canada, the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean. Founded in 1996, WestJet is currently the second largest Canadian air carrier, behind Air Canada, operating an average of...

 Airlines of Canada, giving the two airlines the ability to sell seats on each other's flights. Originally, the partnership was to be finalized by late 2009, but has been postponed due to economic conditions.

On April 16, 2010, Southwest and WestJet airlines amicably agreed to terminate the implementation of a codeshare agreement between the two airlines.

Current fleet

the Southwest Airlines fleet consists of 565 aircraft, all of which are variants of the Boeing 737
Boeing 737
The Boeing 737 is a short- to medium-range, twin-engine narrow-body jet airliner. Originally developed as a shorter, lower-cost twin-engine airliner derived from Boeing's 707 and 727, the 737 has developed into a family of nine passenger models with a capacity of 85 to 215 passengers...

. Southwest operates more Boeing 737 aircraft than any other airline in the world and is often cited as an example of an airline containing costs and streamlining operations by flying only one type of aircraft. Southwest has been a launch customer for all three of the Boeing 737 variants it currently operates and was the first airline to put both the 737–500
Boeing 737 Classic
The Boeing 737 Classic is the name given to the -300/-400/-500 series of the Boeing 737 following the introduction of the -600/-700/-800/-900 series. They are short- to medium- range, narrow-body jet airliners produced by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. The Classic series was introduced as the 'new...

 and 737–700
Boeing 737 Next Generation
The Boeing 737 Next Generation, commonly abbreviated as Boeing 737NG, is the name given to the -600/-700/-800/-900 series of the Boeing 737 after the introduction of the -300/-400/-500 Classic series. They are short- to medium-range, narrow-body jet airliners...

 into service.

Although known for its flying only Boeing 737 aircraft, Southwest has operated other aircraft at times. Southwest operated leased Boeing 727–200
Boeing 737
The Boeing 737 is a short- to medium-range, twin-engine narrow-body jet airliner. Originally developed as a shorter, lower-cost twin-engine airliner derived from Boeing's 707 and 727, the 737 has developed into a family of nine passenger models with a capacity of 85 to 215 passengers...

 aircraft during the late-1970s and the mid-1980s and Southwest subsidiary TranStar Airlines
TranStar Airlines
TranStar Airlines was a domestic U.S. carrier based in Houston, Texas from 1981 to 1987.-History:The company was first established as a Texas-based commuter called Muse Air, but much like Southwest Airlines, only flying larger mainline equipment. Muse Air's name originates from its founder and the...

 operated McDonnell Douglas DC-9
McDonnell Douglas DC-9
The McDonnell Douglas DC-9 is a twin-engine, single-aisle jet airliner. It was first manufactured in 1965 with its maiden flight later that year. The DC-9 was designed for frequent, short flights. The final DC-9 was delivered in October 1982.The DC-9 was followed in subsequent modified forms by...

s and McDonnell Douglas MD-80s during the mid-1980s. After completing the purchase of AirTran Airlines, Southwest will add AirTran's existing fleet of both 737–700 and smaller Boeing 717–200
Boeing 717
The Boeing 717 is a twin-engine, single-aisle jet airliner, developed for the 100-seat market. The airliner was designed and marketed by McDonnell Douglas as the MD-95, a third-generation derivative of the DC-9. Capable of seating of up to 117 passengers, the 717 has maximum range of...

 aircraft to the Southwest fleet, giving Southwest a fleet based on two different families of airliners.

Southwest Airlines fleet (As of August 2, 2011)
Aircraft In Service Orders Options
Option (aircraft purchasing)
An option, when purchasing aircraft, allows an airline to purchase additional aircraft in the future at an agreed price and date.When placing orders for new aircraft, airlines commonly obtain options from the aircraft manufacturer, for example Airbus or Boeing...

Purchase Rights Passengers Notes
Boeing 737–300
Boeing 737 Classic
The Boeing 737 Classic is the name given to the -300/-400/-500 series of the Boeing 737 following the introduction of the -600/-700/-800/-900 series. They are short- to medium- range, narrow-body jet airliners produced by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. The Classic series was introduced as the 'new...

170 0 0 0 137 Launch customer and largest operator of this variant
Newer aircraft being retrofitted with electronic flight decks
Glass cockpit
A glass cockpit is an aircraft cockpit that features electronic instrument displays, typically large LCD screens, as opposed to the traditional style of analog dials and gauges...

Boeing 737–500
Boeing 737 Classic
The Boeing 737 Classic is the name given to the -300/-400/-500 series of the Boeing 737 following the introduction of the -600/-700/-800/-900 series. They are short- to medium- range, narrow-body jet airliners produced by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. The Classic series was introduced as the 'new...

25 0 0 0 122 Launch customer and 4th largest operator of this variant. The 735 (737–500) has 20 rows of 6 seats (plus a row of 2 seats for over wing window exits) compared to 733 (737–300) or 73G (737–700) models which have 23 rows of 6 seats (minus 1 seat for over wing window exits)
Boeing 737–700
Boeing 737 Next Generation
The Boeing 737 Next Generation, commonly abbreviated as Boeing 737NG, is the name given to the -600/-700/-800/-900 series of the Boeing 737 after the introduction of the -300/-400/-500 Classic series. They are short- to medium-range, narrow-body jet airliners...

370 113 37 98 137 Launch customer and currently the largest operator of the type
Fleet includes first Boeing 737 Next Generation built (N707SA)
Unions approved conversion to −800 or −900 series for gate constrainted airports
Boeing 737–800
Boeing 737 Next Generation
The Boeing 737 Next Generation, commonly abbreviated as Boeing 737NG, is the name given to the -600/-700/-800/-900 series of the Boeing 737 after the introduction of the -300/-400/-500 Classic series. They are short- to medium-range, narrow-body jet airliners...

0 20 0 0 175 Scheduled to enter service in March 2012
Will feature Boeing Sky Interior
ETOPS configured upon delivery
Total 565 133 37 98



After Boeing ceased production of the 737–300 and 737–500 variants, Southwest began ordering the 737–700 exclusively. Beginning in December 2007, Southwest began retiring some older 737-300s, reducing Southwest's 737–300 fleet count from its peak of 194. In comparison to the glass cockpit
Glass cockpit
A glass cockpit is an aircraft cockpit that features electronic instrument displays, typically large LCD screens, as opposed to the traditional style of analog dials and gauges...

s installed in competitor's 737–300 and 737–500 aircraft, Southwest's aircraft of those types are equipped with analog gauges. Newer Boeing 737–300 variants are being upgraded with retrofitted electronic flight decks and blended winglets to reduce operational costs. The retrofits will make the 737-300s operationally compatible with the 737–700 and support the airline's move to embrace the Global Positioning System
Global Positioning System
The Global Positioning System is a space-based global navigation satellite system that provides location and time information in all weather, anywhere on or near the Earth, where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites...

 enabled Required Navigation Performance
Required Navigation Performance
Required Navigation Performance is a type of performance-based navigation that allows an aircraft to fly a specific path between two 3-dimensionally defined points in space. RNAV and RNP systems are fundamentally similar. The key difference between them is the requirement for on-board...

 system.

On December 15, 2010, Southwest announced a plan to add the 737–800
Boeing 737 Next Generation
The Boeing 737 Next Generation, commonly abbreviated as Boeing 737NG, is the name given to the -600/-700/-800/-900 series of the Boeing 737 after the introduction of the -300/-400/-500 Classic series. They are short- to medium-range, narrow-body jet airliners...

 to the Southwest fleet. Southwest changed an existing order with Boeing and plans to begin taking delivery of 20 new 737–800 aircraft beginning in March 2012. Southwest states that the 737–800 could enable more scheduling flexibility, allowing additional capacity in high-demand, slot-restricted or gate-restricted airports. Southwest may use the Boeing 737–800
Boeing 737 Next Generation
The Boeing 737 Next Generation, commonly abbreviated as Boeing 737NG, is the name given to the -600/-700/-800/-900 series of the Boeing 737 after the introduction of the -300/-400/-500 Classic series. They are short- to medium-range, narrow-body jet airliners...

 first at busy airports in the Northeast and also stated that the aircraft could be used to fly to Hawaii, Alaska, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, destinations that Southwest does not serve. The 737–800 has 175 seats, 38 more than the largest planes in Southwest's current fleet. Due to the larger seat count, Southwest will add one additional flight attendant to each 737–800 flight.

Retired fleet

Southwest Airlines retired fleet
Aircraft Year retired Replacement Notes
Boeing 727–200
Boeing 727
The Boeing 727 is a mid-size, narrow-body, three-engine, T-tailed commercial jet airliner, manufactured by Boeing. The Boeing 727 first flew in 1963, and for over a decade more were built per year than any other jet airliner. When production ended in 1984 a total of 1,832 aircraft had been produced...

Boeing 737–200
Boeing 737
The Boeing 737 is a short- to medium-range, twin-engine narrow-body jet airliner. Originally developed as a shorter, lower-cost twin-engine airliner derived from Boeing's 707 and 727, the 737 has developed into a family of nine passenger models with a capacity of 85 to 215 passengers...

727's leased from Braniff International
Boeing 737–200
Boeing 737
The Boeing 737 is a short- to medium-range, twin-engine narrow-body jet airliner. Originally developed as a shorter, lower-cost twin-engine airliner derived from Boeing's 707 and 727, the 737 has developed into a family of nine passenger models with a capacity of 85 to 215 passengers...

2005 Boeing 737–700
Boeing 737 Next Generation
The Boeing 737 Next Generation, commonly abbreviated as Boeing 737NG, is the name given to the -600/-700/-800/-900 series of the Boeing 737 after the introduction of the -300/-400/-500 Classic series. They are short- to medium-range, narrow-body jet airliners...

Southwest's first aircraft type


Livery

Southwest introduced the current canyon blue livery
Livery
A livery is a uniform, insignia or symbol adorning, in a non-military context, a person, an object or a vehicle that denotes a relationship between the wearer of the livery and an individual or corporate body. Often, elements of the heraldry relating to the individual or corporate body feature in...

 on January 16, 2001, the first primary livery change in Southwest's [then] 30-year history. Spirit One was the first plane painted in the canyon blue fleet color scheme. The new livery replaces the former primary color, desert gold, with canyon blue and changes the Southwest text and pinstripes to gold. The orange and red stripes continue to be used. The pinstripe along the plane is drawn in a more curved pattern instead of the straight horizontal line separating the colors in the original. For aircraft equipped with blended winglets, the blended winglets are painted to include the text SOUTHWEST.COM.

Southwest completed repainting its entire fleet with the new canyon blue livery in early 2010. The last aircraft to be repainted was a Boeing 737–300, registration N347SW.

Original livery

Southwest's original primary livery was desert gold, red and orange, with pinstripes of white separating each section of color. The word Southwest appeared in white on the desert gold portion of the tail. On the original three 737-200s, from June 1971, on the left side of the plane, the word Southwest was placed along the upper rear portion of the fuselage, with the word Airlines painted on the tail where Southwest is today N21SW. On the right side, the word Southwest was in the same place as today, but also had the word Airlines painted on the upper rear portion of the fuselage.N20SW.

Special liveries


Some Southwest aircraft feature special liveries. Southwest gives these aircraft special names, usually ending in "One". All special liveries prior to Spirit One wore the standard desert gold, red and orange colors on the vertical stabilizer and rudder. Subsequent special liveries including Maryland One, Slam Dunk One and others feature tails with the canyon Canyon Blue livery. All earlier specials, with the exception of Triple Crown One, have been repainted to match. Aircraft painted in special liveries, such as Shamu, have plain white painted blended winglets.

Some of the well-known examples of special liveries include:
  • 35th Anniversary combined the original primary livery with the current canyon blue livery.
  • Arizona One: (1994) The flag of the state of Arizona
    Arizona
    Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

     applied across the aircraft. (N383SW)
  • California One: (1995) The flag of the state of California applied across the aircraft. (N609SW)
  • Colleen Barrett Classic/ Heroine of The Heart: (2008) Named in tribute to Colleen Barrett, the company's former Executive Vice President. (N714CB), (N266WN)
  • Florida One: (2010) The flag of the state of Florida applied across the aircraft. (N945WN)
  • The Fred J. Jones: (1984) In honor of Fred J. Jones, one of Southwest's original employees. Signature on the nose. It later became Southwest's only 737–200 to be painted in the Canyon Blue livery when it was applied in 2001. The aircraft was retired in 2005 and replaced in the same year with a 737–700 with the same signature on the cone. The replaced aircraft is also the first 737 Next Generation that was manufactured without eyebrow windows above the cockpit. (737–200 N96SW: Original,Canyon Blue) (737–700 N201LV).
  • The Herbert D. Kelleher One: (2008) Named in honor of Herbert D. Kelleher, the company's former CEO and Chairman. (N711HK)
  • Illinois One: (2008) The flag of the state of Illinois
    Illinois
    Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

     applied across the aircraft. (N918WN)
  • The June M. Morris: (1994) In honor of June Morris (founder of Morris Air
    Morris Air
    Morris Air was a low-fare airline based in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. It began operations in 1992. It was sold to Southwest Airlines in December 1993 for over $130 million. The airline officially became part of Southwest in Summer 1994.-History:...

    ), Signature and Morris Air logo on the nose. Signature and logo removed for Canyon Blue repaint. (N607SW, Original, Canyon Blue)
  • Lone Star One: (1990) The flag of the state of Texas applied across the aircraft. (N352SW)
  • Maryland One: (2005) The flag of the state of Maryland
    Maryland
    Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

     applied across the aircraft. (N214WN)
  • Metallic Gold One(2007) The last aircraft delivered to Southwest in the original scheme livery. (N792SW)
  • Nevada One: (1999) The flag of the state of Nevada
    Nevada
    Nevada is a state in the western, mountain west, and southwestern regions of the United States. With an area of and a population of about 2.7 million, it is the 7th-largest and 35th-most populous state. Over two-thirds of Nevada's people live in the Las Vegas metropolitan area, which contains its...

     applied across the aircraft. (N727SW)
  • New Mexico One: (2000) The flag of the state of New Mexico
    New Mexico
    New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

     applied across the aircraft. (N781WN)
  • Nolan Ryan Express: (1998) Commemorative sticker dedicated to famous Texas pitcher Nolan Ryan
    Nolan Ryan
    Lynn Nolan Ryan, Jr. , nicknamed "The Ryan Express", is a former Major League Baseball pitcher. He is currently principal owner, president and CEO of the Texas Rangers....

     who is MLB's all-time strikeout leader with 5,714 strikeouts. (N742SW)
  • Shamu
    Shamu (SeaWorld show)
    Shamu is the stage name given to the SeaWorld orca shows and to the "star" of those shows, beginning with the original Shamu in the late 1960s and early 1970s...

    : The three aircraft are painted to look like an Orca
    Orca
    The killer whale , commonly referred to as the orca, and less commonly as the blackfish, is a toothed whale belonging to the oceanic dolphin family. Killer whales are found in all oceans, from the frigid Arctic and Antarctic regions to tropical seas...

    , with advertisements for SeaWorld
    SeaWorld
    SeaWorld is a United States chain of marine mammal parks, oceanariums, and animal theme parks owned by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. The parks feature captive orca, sea lion, and dolphin shows and zoological displays featuring various other marine animals. There are operations in Orlando,...

    . (N334SW), (N713SW), (N715SW)
    • The first aircraft to be painted in the "Shamu" scheme was N334SW (1988), a 737–300, and it was later followed by N507SW (Shamu II) and N501SW (Shamu III), both 737-500s. Subsequent to the retirement of Southwest's 737-200s, the 737-500s began to stay within a smaller geographic area formerly operated by the 737-200s, and as such, Sea World was no longer getting the optimal national exposure from these two aircraft. Two 737–700 aircraft, N713SW and N715SW, were repainted as the new Shamu aircraft, and both N501SW and N507SW were eventually repainted in Canyon Blue colors. All three current Shamu aircraft are no longer referred to as Shamu I, II, or III. The artwork on the nose of each aircraft simply states "Shamu". The overhead bins on the −700 series aircraft display ads for Sea World, except towards the front and back of the airplane, where the bins get smaller and are no longer uniform.
  • Silver One: (1996) 25th Anniversary aircraft. Originally polished bare metal, it was later painted silver for easier maintenance. It was then re-painted with a silver metallic paint. This aircraft also featured silver seats, which were replaced to conform with the rest of the fleet for simplicity. Silver One also featured silver heart shaped drink stirrers. Most recently Silver One was repainted in the fleet standard Canyon Blue theme due to the silver paint looking dingy and the company felt it did not fit the company's cheerful, bright personality. The Silver One nose logo remained but the interior was replaced with the fleet standard blue and tan. (N629SW, Original, Silver Paint, Canyon Blue)
  • Slam Dunk One: (2005) Basketball superimposed on side of aircraft and a different NBA team logo on each overhead bin in the cabin, recognizing Southwest's partnership with the National Basketball Association
    National Basketball Association
    The National Basketball Association is the pre-eminent men's professional basketball league in North America. It consists of thirty franchised member clubs, of which twenty-nine are located in the United States and one in Canada...

    . On October 11, 2010 Southwest Airlines and the National Basketball Association announced that their partnership has ended and the aircraft will be repainted to standard canyon blue livery. Source: Dallas Morning News Aviation Blog (N224WN).
  • The Spirit of Hope: (2004) Dedicated to the Ronald McDonald House. Overhead bins are covered in artwork from kids at a Ronald McDonald House in Washington State. (N443WN), (The overhead bins)
  • The Spirit of Kitty Hawk: (1984) Livery and title introduced the first three Boeing 737–300 aircraft to the Southwest Airlines fleet. (N300SW) is the oldest 737–300 in Southwest's fleet, followed by sister ships (N301SW) and (N302SW).
  • Spirit One: (2001) 30th Anniversary aircraft. (First Aircraft in New Canyon Blue paint scheme) (N793SA)
  • Sports Illustrated: (2009) A large decal of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition Cover Model Bar Refaeli
    Bar Refaeli
    Bar Refaeli is an Israeli model and occasional actress, most known for her modeling work and for her relationship with American actor Leonardo DiCaprio. She was the cover model of the 2009 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.-Early life:...

     adorns the fuselage of N922WN . However on June 16, 2009 this aircraft was photographed in full canyon blue on a photo posted on airliners.net (N922WN, Sports Illustrated/Original, Canyon Blue)
  • Tinker Bell One: (2008) Includes the logo of the Tinker Bell movie and a sticker featuring the phrase "Powered by Pixie Dust". However on April 2, 2010 this aircraft was photographed in full canyon blue on a photo posted on airliners.net, and on August 8, 2010 a photo of this aircraft was posted on airliners.net with the "Free Bags Fly Here" sticker just above the cargo door to promote Southwest's Bags Fly Free campaign. (N912WN, Tinker Bell/Original, Canyon Blue, Free Bags Fly Here)
  • Triple Crown One: (1997) Livery dedicated to the employees of Southwest, in recognition of Southwest receiving five Triple Crown airline industry awards (best on-time record, best baggage handling, and fewest customer complaints). The overhead bins in Triple Crown One one are inscribed with the names of all employees that worked for Southwest at the time, in honor of their part in winning the award.(N647SW)
  • Southwest received both the 5,000th 737 produced (February 13, 2006) (N230WN) and the 2,000th "Next Generation" 737 produced (July 27, 2006) (N248WN). The 2,000th "Next Generation" 737 is marked as such in its livery, though the 5,000th 737 is not similarly marked on the outside. It does have a placard stating that it is the 5000th 737 on the upper part of the inside entry door frame.
  • Southwest received their 500th 737 on June 28, 2007. This aircraft is marked to honor this milestone. (N281WN)

Southwest experience

Prior to the 2000s, Southwest served smaller meals than the meals served by full service airlines, with shorter flights receiving single small snacks and soft drinks, and longer flights (with a duration of about 3 hours or more) meriting "Snack Packs" of prepackaged goods. In the 2000s these meals in a bag typically exceed the food served on full-service airlines like United Airlines
United Airlines
United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees (which includes the entire holding company United Continental...

 or American Airlines. Southwest also offers free in-flight beverages (excluding alcohol). Southwest has complimentary peanuts or pretzels on all flights, and many flights have free Nabisco
Nabisco
Nabisco is an American brand of cookies and snacks. Headquartered in East Hanover, New Jersey, the company is a subsidiary of Illinois-based Kraft Foods. Nabisco's plant in Chicago, a production facility at 7300 S...

 snacks. There is no in-flight entertainment. Southwest is known for colorful boarding announcements and crews that burst out in song. The singing is unusual, and is quite popular among passengers, but has been noted by some travel critics as being offensive and intrusive.

Southwest maintained excellent customer satisfaction ratings; in 2006, according to the Department of Transportation
United States Department of Transportation
The United States Department of Transportation is a federal Cabinet department of the United States government concerned with transportation. It was established by an act of Congress on October 15, 1966, and began operation on April 1, 1967...

 December year end operating statistics, Southwest ranked number one (lowest number of complaints) of all U.S. airlines for customer complaints, with 0.18 per 100,000 passengers enplaned. Southwest Airlines has consistently received the fewest ratio of complaints per passengers boarded of all major U.S. carriers that have been reporting statistics to the Department of Transportation (DOT) since September 1987, which is when the DOT began tracking Customer Satisfaction statistics and publishing its Air Travel Consumer Report.

In July 2010, it became widely publicized that Southwest had classified mechanical difficulties as a force majeure
Force majeure
Force majeure or vis major "superior force", also known as cas fortuit or casus fortuitus "chance occurrence, unavoidable accident", is a common clause in contracts that essentially frees both parties from liability or obligation when an extraordinary event or circumstance beyond the control of...

 event in their contract of carriage
Contract of carriage
A contract of carriage is a contract between a carrier of goods or passengers and the consignor, consignee or passenger. Contracts of carriage typically define the rights, duties and liabilities of parties to the contract, addressing topics such as acts of God and including clauses such as force...

, a definition not shared with major competitors such as Delta, American, Continental and United. Within days of the controversial change, Southwest clarified the additional clause to read "mechanical difficulties by entities other than Carrier."

In-Flight Wi-Fi

After completing a testing phase that began in February 2009, Southwest announced on August 21, 2009 that it will begin rolling out in-flight wi-fi
Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi or Wifi, is a mechanism for wirelessly connecting electronic devices. A device enabled with Wi-Fi, such as a personal computer, video game console, smartphone, or digital audio player, can connect to the Internet via a wireless network access point. An access point has a range of about 20...

 Internet connectivity via Row 44
Row 44
Row 44 is a Westlake Village, California-based company providing in-flight broadband connectivity for the passengers, cockpit and crew of commercial aircraft...

's satellite-broadband based product. Southwest began adding Wi-Fi to its aircraft in the first quarter of 2010, they hope to have all airplanes equipped sometime in 2012.

Frequent-flyer program

Southwest first began to offer a frequent-flyer program on June 20, 1987, calling it The Company Club. Unlike competitor's programs which were based on miles flown, The Company Club credited for trips flown regardless of distance. Southwest Airlines gave its frequent flyer program the current name, Rapid Rewards, on April 25, 1996 replacing "The Company Club".

Rapid Rewards program description

The original Rapid Rewards program offered one credit per one-way flight from an origin to a destination including any stops or connections on Southwest Airlines. When 16 credits were accumulated in a 24 month period, Southwest awarded one free round-trip ticket that was valid for 12 months. Beginning March 1, 2011, Rapid Rewards changed to a points system based on ticket cost. Members earn and redeem points based on a three-tier fare scale multiplier and the cost of the ticket.

Points earned with partners

Customers were able to earn one-half credit by using a Southwest partner to book any car rental
Car rental
A car rental or car hire agency is a company that rents automobiles for short periods of time for a fee...

 or hotel stay, regardless of whether a Southwest flight is involved. Rapid Reward members can also earn one credit for every US$1,200 charged to a Rapid Rewards branded Visa credit card, with charges from Southwest or its partners counting double by dollars spent. Members could register their credit card with Rapid Rewards Dining to receive 0.25 credits for every US$100 spent at restaurant partners. In early 2009, Southwest announced their first retail partner, TeleFlora Flower Club, from which members can earn 0.5 or 1.0 credits with each flower order, depending on the total cost of the order.

Online booking bonus

Initially, double rapid rewards credits were awarded for trips booked online using the Southwest.com/ website, but this policy was modified at the end of 2003 to award one-half credit for each segment booked online. The bonus for online booking was discontinued completely in April 2005.

Blackouts and capacity controls

Prior to February 2006, reward travel was subject to blackout dates
Blackout dates
Blackout dates are dates when travel rewards and other special discounts/promotions are not available. These dates typically fall on or around major holidays or other peak travel seasons. This is done to maximize profits while reducing traffic to popular tourist destinations at the same time....

 but not capacity controls: one could use a reward to travel on any flight for which seats were available, provided it was not on one of the five blackout dates. In February 2006, these policies were reversed: the blackout dates were eliminated, but capacity controls were instituted, limiting the quantity of seats available to those traveling on reward credits.

Code share flight credits

In early 2006, Southwest expanded its codeshare agreement with ATA Airlines and allowed redemption of award tickets on flights to Hawaii at the rate of two awards per round trip flight. This program ceased on April 3, 2008 when ATA ceased operations due to bankruptcy.

Incidents and accidents

Southwest Airlines has not had any passenger deaths on any of its planes in its history, but has had eight incidents/accidents with one hull-loss and one death on the ground.
  • On March 5, 2000, Southwest Airlines Flight 1455
    Southwest Airlines Flight 1455
    Southwest Airlines Flight 1455 was a scheduled passenger flight fromMcCarran International Airport , Las Vegas, Nevada to Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport , Burbank, California that overran the runway during landing on March 5, 2000. The aircraft came to rest on a city street adjacent to a gas...

     overran the runway upon landing at Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport, now called Bob Hope Airport
    Bob Hope Airport
    Bob Hope Airport is a public airport located 3 miles northwest of the central business district of Burbank, a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States...

    , Burbank, California, injuring 43. The incident resulted in the dismissal of the pilots. The aircraft was damaged beyond repair. This incident is the only hull-loss accident
    Aviation accidents and incidents
    An aviation accident is defined in the Convention on International Civil Aviation Annex 13 as an occurrence associated with the operation of an aircraft which takes place between the time any person boards the aircraft with the intention of flight and all such persons have disembarked, in which a...

     in the 38+ year history of the airline.
  • On August 11, 2000, passenger Jonathan Burton
    Jonathan Burton
    Jonathan Burton was a Las Vegas, Nevada, resident who stormed the cockpit door of Southwest Airlines Flight 1763 from Las Vegas to Salt Lake City, Utah. The 19-year-old was subdued by eight other passengers with the help of others and with such force that he died of asphyxiation...

     broke through the cockpit door aboard Southwest Airlines Flight 1763 while en route from Las Vegas
    Las Vegas metropolitan area
    The Las Vegas Valley is the heart of the Las Vegas-Paradise, NV MSA also known as the Las Vegas–Paradise–Henderson MSA which includes all of Clark County, Nevada, and is a metropolitan area in the southern part of the U.S. state of Nevada. The Valley is defined by the Las Vegas Valley landform, a ...

     to Salt Lake City. In their own defense, the other passengers restrained Burton, who later died of the resulting injuries. A CSI
    CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
    CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is an American crime drama television series, which premiered on CBS on October 6, 2000. The show was created by Anthony E. Zuiker and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer...

     episode, "Unfriendly Skies", using similar incident elements in its plot, aired on December 8, 2000.
  • On August 19, 2004, Southwest Airlines Flight 411, taking off from Los Angeles International Airport
    Los Angeles International Airport
    Los Angeles International Airport is the primary airport serving the Greater Los Angeles Area, the second-most populated metropolitan area in the United States. It is most often referred to by its IATA airport code LAX, with the letters pronounced individually...

     bound for Albuquerque, New Mexico, was on the same runway that Asiana Airlines
    Asiana Airlines
    Asiana Airlines Inc. is one of South Korea's two major airlines, along with Korean Air. Asiana has its headquarters in Asiana Town in Osoe-dong, Gangseo-gu, Seoul...

     Flight 204, a Boeing 747
    Boeing 747
    The Boeing 747 is a wide-body commercial airliner and cargo transport, often referred to by its original nickname, Jumbo Jet, or Queen of the Skies. It is among the world's most recognizable aircraft, and was the first wide-body ever produced...

    , was using for landing due to an air traffic control error. The Asiana pilot aborted the landing, saving both planes.
  • On December 8, 2005, Southwest Airlines Flight 1248
    Southwest Airlines Flight 1248
    Southwest Airlines Flight 1248 was a scheduled passenger flight from Baltimore-Washington International Airport, in Baltimore, Maryland, to Chicago Midway International Airport, in Chicago, Illinois, to Salt Lake City International Airport in Salt Lake City, Utah, and then to McCarran...

     (pictured above in its end result) skidded off a runway upon landing at Chicago Midway International Airport in heavy snow conditions. A six-year-old boy died in a car struck by the plane after it skidded into a street. Passengers on board the aircraft and on the ground reported several minor injuries. The aircraft involved, N471WN, became N286WN after repairs.
  • On July 13, 2009, Southwest Flight 2294
    Southwest Airlines Flight 2294
    Southwest Airlines Flight 2294 was a scheduled US passenger aircraft flight which made an emergency landing at Yeager Airport in Charleston, West Virginia, on July 13, 2009, after what was described as a "football sized" opening in the airplane's fuselage caused rapid depressurization of the...

     from Nashville International Airport
    Nashville International Airport
    Nashville International Airport is a joint civil-military airport in southeastern Nashville, Tennessee. The IATA Airport Code BNA is derived from the early name of the facility—Berry Field, NAshville. Berry Field was the name of the airport until 1988, when the name was changed to reflect...

     to Baltimore-Washington International Airport was forced to divert to Yeager Airport
    Yeager Airport
    Yeager Airport is a public-use airport located three nautical miles east of the central business district of Charleston, a city in Kanawha County, West Virginia, United States. It is owned by the Central West Virginia Regional Airport Authority...

     in Charleston, West Virginia
    Charleston, West Virginia
    Charleston is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of West Virginia. It is located at the confluence of the Elk and Kanawha Rivers in Kanawha County. As of the 2010 census, it has a population of 51,400, and its metropolitan area 304,214. It is the county seat of Kanawha County.Early...

    , after a hole formed on the top of the plane's fuselage near the tail, resulting in depressurization of the cabin and deployment of the oxygen masks. The aircraft landed safely.
  • On April 1, 2011, Southwest Airlines Flight 812
    Southwest Airlines Flight 812
    Southwest Airlines Flight 812 was a scheduled US passenger aircraft flight between Phoenix, Arizona and Sacramento, California . On April 1, 2011, the Boeing 737–300 operating the route made an emergency landing in Yuma, Arizona after a hole appeared in the top of the airplane's fuselage above...

     from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport to Sacramento International Airport
    Sacramento International Airport
    Sacramento International Airport is a public airport located 10 miles northwest of the central business district of Sacramento, in Sacramento County, California, USA. It is run by Sacramento County...

     operated with a Boeing
    Boeing
    The Boeing Company is an American multinational aerospace and defense corporation, founded in 1916 by William E. Boeing in Seattle, Washington. Boeing has expanded over the years, merging with McDonnell Douglas in 1997. Boeing Corporate headquarters has been in Chicago, Illinois since 2001...

     737–300 aircraft registered N632SW, was forced to declare an emergency and divert to Yuma International Airport
    Yuma International Airport
    Yuma International Airport , a shared-use airport together with Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, is located three nautical miles south of the central business district of Yuma, a city in Yuma County, Arizona, United States...

     after a hole appeared in the top of the aircraft fuselage. The aircraft landed approximately 40 minutes after takeoff from Phoenix.

Controversies

On June 22, 2011, a March 25 recording of an in-flight transmission of Southwest pilot Captain James Taylor apparently unintentionally broadcasting a conversation with his co-pilot was released to the press. The conversation was peppered with foul language directed at gay, overweight and older flight attendants. According to Southwest, the pilot was reprimanded, temporarily suspended without pay and received diversity education before being reinstated. Captain Taylor also sent an e-mail apology to all of Southwest's employees, especially the crew bases they criticized.

See also

  • Southwest Airlines State Fair Classic
    State Fair Classic
    The State Fair Classic is an annual college football game between the Grambling State University Tigers and the Prairie View A&M University Panthers. The game's official title is the Southwest Airlines State Fair Classic after its sponsor, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines. This game has also been...

  • Dallas Love Field
  • Air transportation in the United States
  • Transportation in the United States
    Transportation in the United States
    Transportation in the United States is facilitated by road, air, rail, and water networks. The vast majority of passenger travel occurs by automobile for shorter distances, and airplane for longer distances...

  • AirTran Holdings
    AirTran Holdings
    AirTran Holdings was a Nevada corporation, based in Orlando, Florida, United States, that operated as an airline holding company. Its primary asset was AirTran Airways until Southwest Airlines acquired AirTran on May 2, 2011.- History :...



External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK