Southwest Airlines began as a small intrastate carrier, in Texas, embroiled in a legal battle from the beginning of operations. Southwest Airlines argued against the Wright Amendment, contending the airline was not part of the 1973 agreement made with major air carriers, who agreed to transfer operations from Dallas Love Field to DFW International Airport. Therefore, the Wright Amendment attached to the 1979 Air Transportation Act did not apply to Southwest Airlines (Ahles, 2014). The eventual courtroom triumph, with a few concessions, helped to foster esprit de corps within the company’s employees. This fight to survive attitude helped build employee loyalty from the beginning of operations. The long time CEO Herb Kelleher “Uncle Herb,” was the key litigator during this battle.
Kelleher believed Southwest Airlines should be a fun place to work. According to the textbook, he believed the company should, “hire for attitude and train for skills.” Kelleher recognized that the key to satisfied customers was satisfied employees and put many policies in place in attempt to improve employee satisfaction. Some policies include employee recognition programs and “Hokey Days,” and star of the month program featuring outstanding employees in Southwest Airlines magazine Spirit. The company has other programs that continues to try to make Southwest Airlines an enjoyable place to work.
Another key tenet of Southwest Airlines success involves positive labor relations. From the aforementioned esprit de corps and fostering an atmosphere of fun to the no lay off policy, even during times of recession, Southwest Airlines enjoyed above indus...
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... I flew on many others but always chose Southwest Airlines if they were an option. The flights were almost always a fun atmosphere, the flight attendants would sing, rap, told jokes, and get passengers involved during the safety briefing. One flight leaving Nashville headed to Las Vegas the pilot performed a max rate climb and the flight attendants dumped a box of peanuts and sent them tumbling down the aisle as we rapidly ascended. Another time Aaron Tippin, country music artist, was on the flight and they talked him into singing over the intercom. I never had a problem with customer service, the flight attendants always appeared to have great attitudes, and the rewards program seems very generous. If Southwest can continue the policies that made them successful while increasing market share through the acquisition of AirTran the company will increase profitability.
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