North America

Southwest Soars with Support

written by | Posted on December 1st, 2009

When Rollin King and Herb Kelleher joined forces to launch a different kind of airline some 38 years ago, their concept was simple. Transport your passengers to their destinations when they want to arrive, on time, at the lowest possible fares, and make sure they have a good time in the process. And if you succeed, people will fly your airline.

Not only has Southwest Airlines’ founding philosophy proven on target, but the carrier continues to garner industry recognition as it delivers on this premise.

Indeed, Southwest rules the skies with a Readers’ Choice Award for Best Airline for Travel Agent Support. Today, the airline flies over 100 million passengers annually to 68 cities in 34 states. And it does so with more than 3,200 flights daily on one of the youngest fleets in the nation.

“We’re proud to be selected because it reveals the outstanding work our employees do across the nation and how our customer service stands out from the rest,” says Southwest spokesperson Olga Romero Quiles.

She adds, “We believe that customer service is the number one priority, but we can also say our no bag fee is one of our strongest programs.” The carrier also doesn’t penalize customers if their travel arrangements change. “And we don’t charge for calling 1-800-I-FLY-SWA and talking to a real person. Again, this is because our customers are our priority,” says Quiles.

This year, agent outreach found Southwest elevating its Apollo connectivity to the Interactive Sell level that provides a real-time query of its inventory for a more productive booking process.

The company has beefed up its Denver service and added service to Milwaukee, Boston Logan, La Guardia NY and Minneapolis/St. Paul without increasing its fleet.

As a flying testament to environmental stewardship, Southwest announced in October its eco-conscious Green Plane initiative. The Boeing 737-700 marries efficiency, responsible products, customer comfort, and reduced waste and weight through such measures as more durable seat covers, lighter life vest pouches and recyclable aisle carpet.

All of these Green Plane initiatives will equate to a weight savings of nearly five pounds per seat—thus saving fuel, reducing emissions and cutting waste.

Good business decisions that support the environment and its travel partners should continue to earn Southwest high marks in the future.