History of Southwest Airlines

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More than 32 years ago, Rollin King and Herb Kelleher got together and decided to start a different kind of airline. They began with one simple notion: If you get your passengers to their destinations when they want to get there, on time, at the lowest possible fares, and make darn sure they have a good time doing it, people will fly your airline. And you know what? They were right.
What began as a small Texas airline has grown to become one of the largest airlines in America. Today, Southwest Airlines flies more than 65 million passengers a year to 59 great cities (60 airports) all across the country, and they do it more than 2,800 times a day.
They have nearly 400 of the newest jets in the nation, with an average age of 9.6 years. Included in our fleet are three flying killer whales, Shamu One, Two and Three; Lone Star One, painted like the Texas flag, to celebrate Southwest Airlines' 20th Anniversary in a style and manner second to none; Arizona One, a symbol of the importance of the state of Arizona to Southwest Airlines; California One, a high-flying tribute to the state of California; Silver One, our 25th Anniversary plane; Triple Crown One, dedicated to the Employees of Southwest Airlines for their marvelous achievement of five consecutive annual Triple Crown awards; Nevada One, a high-flying tribute to the state of Nevada; and the newest member of the family - New Mexico One, also known as Zia, painted in the bright yellow of the New Mexico flag.
In May 1988, we were the first airline to win the coveted Triple Crown for a month - Best On-time Record, Best Baggage Handling, and Fewest Customer Complaints. Since then we've won it more than thirty times, as well as five annual Triple Crowns for 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, and 1996, and no other airline has contributed more to the advancement of the commercial airline industry than Southwest Airlines. We were the first airline with a frequent flyer program to give credit for the number of trips taken and not the number of miles flown. We also pioneered senior discounts, Fun Fares, Fun Packs, a same-day air freight delivery service, ticketless travel, and many other unique programs.
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The Voices of Southwest Airlines1
You never see their smiling faces, but they are on duty 24/7 to provide our Customers with what we call “Positively Outrageous Service.

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” Of course, I am speaking of our Reservations Sales Agents (RSAs) who have the uncanny ability to convey an unseen smile through a simple telephone line. Yet, there is nothing simple about our RSAs.
Our RSAs are an essential part of our entire Customer Service “package.” I receive many letters from Customers who are amazed that they were able to speak with a “real, live person” instead of having to navigate an electronic menu. Reservations is the first point of contact with Southwest for many of our Customers, and we want to put our best face forward, whether a Customer is just shopping, making a reservation, or checking on departure/arrival information.
To become an RSA, our Employees have to master technical skills and learn most aspects of our operation. Besides the obvious computer ability, they must know ticketing and fare rules; be familiar with our Rapid Rewards frequent flyer program; and have a working knowledge of how our web site, southwest.com, functions. On top of that, RSAs must know about the entire travel process, from reservations/ticketing to checkin procedures. They also must keep abreast of factors like weather and Air Traffic Control that may affect our operation.
However, there is much more to the position than mastering technical skills. Although our RSAs are not in public view, they touch our Customers’ hearts in so many ways, and when those Customers share their stories with me, I smile, I laugh, and I sometimes cry because our RSAs provide assistance, humor, compassion, and empathy. One Employee learned that a Customer’s wife was traveling with us monthly for treatments due to advanced ovarian cancer, and Vickie’s church sent the wife an entire month’s worth of gifts and cards for her to open each day. Another Customer’s mother became ill during a trip and was hospitalized. When the daughter called to book reservations to accompany her mother back home, Ranee flew from Oklahoma City to Austin to give one of her hard-earned positive space passes to the daughter so that she could make the trip with her mom.
These are but two of the thousands of acts of kindness provided by this wonderful group of Employees — they give voice to the heart of Southwest Airlines. I join with all of our Reservations folks in the hope that the warm winds of spring will enrich your life.
Colleen Barrett
President
At Southwest Airlines, our Mission Statement has always governed the way we conduct our business. It highlights our desire to serve our Customers and gives us direction when we have to make service-related decisions. It is another way of saying, "we always try to do the right thing!" Our Mission Statement has also led the way to the airline industry's best cumulative consumer satisfaction record, according to statistics accumulated and published by the U.S. Department of Transportation. That is why we are sharing it with you.
In keeping with the spirit and intent of our Mission Statement, and as evidence of our wish to continually meet the expectations of our valued Customers, Southwest wants you to have a basic understanding of how we operate. We want you to have confidence in our airline and Employees, and we want you to be aware that there are, or may be, circumstances that can have an impact on your travel plans, purchase decisions, or your overall expectations.
Foremost, we want you to know that it is never our wish to inconvenience our valued Customers. We tell our Employees we are in the Customer Service business-we just happen to provide airline transportation. It is a privilege to serve your air travel needs.
The Employees of Southwest Airlines understand our mission, and we are happy to share it, and the following information, with you, our valued Customer. Our Customer Service Commitment was designed and written in such a way as to clarify many of the most commonly questioned terms and conditions of our Contract of Carriage and provide you with insight into some of our policies and procedures. For that reason, it only made sense to make it a part of our Contract of Carriage. And, Southwest is proud to incorporate its voluntary Customer Service Commitment in its official Contract of Carriage reinforcing our pledge to provide safe, affordable, reliable, timely, courteous, and efficient air transportation and baggage handling service on every flight we operate, as well as produce a fair return on our Shareholders' investments. We offer you this information in recognition of the great importance that we place on your business and your confidence. For a complete copy of our Contract of Carriage and our Customer Service Commitment, please write to:



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