You never know what to expect when you are on a Southwest Airlines flight. Flight attendants are known to hide in overhead luggage compartments and surprise unsuspecting passengers when they open the overhead bin. Ground and in-flight crew are known to engage passengers in games and trivia contests and the winners usually get pizza or complimentary drink coupons. However, VP of Customers, Colleen Barrett notes that while fun does have its place, “Business people just want to read their newspaper first thing in the morning.” With themes like FUN, LUV and NUTS! Southwest has become famous for their Positively Outrageous Service (POS).
Southwest is the US low fare airline, serving short-haul city pairs, and providing single class air transportation, that targets the business commuter as well as leisure travelers. Southwest has one of the best overall Customer Service records, one of the lowest operating cost structures and consistently offers the lowest and simplest fares in the domestic airline industry.
Southwest has won the “Triple Crown” five years in a row, 1992 - 1996. The Triple Crown consists of best baggage handling, fewest customer complaints and best on-time performance among all major airlines, according to the statistics published by the United States DOT (Dept. of Transportation). In a 1997 ranking of ten major US airlines, Southwest finished first, according to the criteria deemed most important by 1017 respondents to Money magazine’s survey. The criteria included safety, price, baggage handling, timeliness, customer service, comfort, ticketing and others. In this poll, safety was the No. 1 concern of passengers, followed by price. Baggage handling and on-time performance finished just behind price. Please see Exhibit 1 for some numbers related to these criteria. The popular travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler has recognized Southwest as one of the world’s safest airlines.
Lately, airlines around the globe are...