CNBC covers the story of Herb Kelleher. Herb Kelleher started SouthWest Airlines to provide regional service in Texas. The name alone is reminiscent of his ambitions, which originally were limited only to that part of the United States. The airline business is notorious for being incredibly difficult to make a profit. Kelleher’s goal was to make an airline for the people and against all odds, he succeeded. SouthWest Airlines has been profitable every year. At the time of the production of this enhanced DVD, that was a period of thirty-eight years.
It was not easy. Southwest faced lawsuits from other major airlines to block it from operating. In the early days, Braniff started a price war with SouthWest. Southwest won the battle and Braniff went out of business.
SouthWest Airlines was known for it fresh approach to the way airlines operated. The female flight attendants wore hotpants and go go boots. They told jokes to the passengers over the PA system. There were no assigned seats. Everyone got on the plane as if boarding a bus and took the first seat available to their liking. This simple change allowed SouthWest to increase efficiency in gate operations by helping planes load and depart faster. Faster turnarounds gave SouthWest airlines an efficiency advantage. Low-cost airfare made sure the planes had high occupancy rates.
Kelleher was a man on a mission who constantly thought of new ways to improve his airline, so that everyone could afford to fly. In 1971, only half of Americans had flown in a jet airplane. Today 85% of Americans have taken a flight thanks to the “SouthWest effect” of low-cost fares, which increased air passenger traffic.
CNBC Titans: Herb Kelleher
- Enhanced DVD
- ISBN: 978-1-62102-290-9
- Run Time: 44 Minutes
- Copyright Date: 2011