Not your average airline. It's inexpensive. They deliver exactly what they say they will deliver and there are no frills. They serve peanuts and drinks on most routes. That's it for food. Most passengers bring their own meals.

The staff is known for their casual, friendly style and wonderful sense of humor. They make plenty of jokes in the announcements and play little tricks on each other. In fact, Southwest is the only airline that I'll listen to the announcements on - simply because it's worth it for the entertainment value!

Southwest Airlines is the best thing that has happened to the US air industry in ages! Because their prices are so low, other airlines have been forced to lower their prices on the same routes that Southwest covers. Prices in my home town dropped by almost 50% when Southwest came to town on the routes they fly. Such a relief!

Seating on Southwest is "carnival". When you arrive at the gate, you must stand in line to receive a plastic rectangle with a number on it. Seating is done in groups of 1 - 30, 31 - 60, etc. If you want a number lower than 30, it's necessary to arrive at the gate 90 minutes before the flight. Then, everyone crowds around the boarding area, jockeying for position before boarding. It's hell for claustrophobics. But if you don't mind standing in line and competing for place, it's a great airline!

SWA has also been known for their humor on their flights. Here are a few examples. (I assume they are in the public domain, and not covered by copyright)

"We've got some of the best flight attendants in the business, unfortunately none of them are on this flight. "

"There may be fifty ways to leave your lover, but there are only four ways to leave this aircraft... "

"Smoking in the lavatories is prohibited. Any person caught smoking in the lavatories will be asked to leave the plane immediately."

After a hard landing the flight attendant said over the intercom: "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Amarillo. Please remain in your seats with your seatbelts fastened while the captain taxis what's left of our airplane to the gate!"

The Start :

Rollin King and Herb Kelleher decided to form a new type of airline over 30 years ago. Their idea was that people would forego some of the luxuries afforded by other airlines in order to pay a cheaper price. All that was important was that the passenger arrived at the destination in a timely manner and had a comfortable flight. Their increasing success since their inception proves just how right they were.

The Company :

The airline began service June 18, 1971 with flights to Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio. Hence the name Southwest. Southwest has grown to become the fourth largest U.S. airline, becaming a major airline in 1989 when it exceeded the billion-dollar revenue mark. The fly more than 64 million passengers a year to 58 cities (59 airports) all over the "Southwest" and beyond.

The airline has consistently become known for offering some of the cheapest domestic flights on the market. They usually serve only peanuts and minimal refreshments in order to cut costs, but their service otherwise is marked by friendliness and a refreshing sense of humor. Unlike many airlines where seats are purchased at the same time as the ticket, your reserve a seat on a flight, but then seats are filled at a roll-call; first come, first serve. Sometimes Southwest is referred to as The Greyhound of the Skies, as it fulfills the need of air-travel for middle and lower-middle class clientele. Southwest flights are not for the claustrophobic, and overbooking ensures the necessity of an early arrival to the airport, but considering the general state of air-travel today, Southwest remains one of the best options for air-travel.

  • Headquarters:
    P.O. Box 36611
    2702 Love Field Drive
    Dallas, TX 75235
  • Daily Departures : Nearly 2,800 flights a day
  • Employees : More than 35,000 total Employees throughout the Southwest system.
  • Stock : Common stock is traded under the symbol "LUV" on the NYSE.
  • Fleet: Southwest currently operates 377 Boeing 737 jets (as of March 31, 2003).
737-200   27        122 
737-300   194       137 
737-500   25        122 
737-700   131       137

Top Ten Airports Served :

                      DAILY       NUMBER       NONSTOP

Phoenix     - PHX      182           21            39           1982 
Las Vegas   - LAS      173           19            41           1982 
Baltimore   - BWI      154           21            34           1993 
Houston     - HOU      141           17            23           1971 
Chicago     - MDW      132           15            30           1985 
Dallas      - DAL      130           14            13           1971 
Oakland     - OAK      122           13            18           1989 
Los Angeles - LAX      114           12            19           1982 
Nashville   - BNA       86           10            28           1986 
San Diego   - SAN       79            9            15           1982

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