Southwest Airlines Overview
Established in 1967 as Air Southwest, that name was short-lived, as the Texas-based airline changed to its current moniker - Southwest Airlines when it began scheduled flights in 1971. At its beginnings, Southwest only catered to cities in Texas, but by the late 1970's it expanded to destinations in neighboring states. Read More
It wasn't until the mid-1990's, that Southwest Airline's low-cost model and the "Southwest effect" took off amongst consumers in the United States. Southwest was one of the first airlines to embrace direct ticketing on its website Southwest.com, generating a considerable bump in direct revenue and providing "low-fare transparency" to its customers. In 2011, Southwest received approval for its planned acquisition of AirTran Airways. In addition to acquiring the holdings of the airline, the most significant gains for Southwest was the ability to begin international service and the access to valuable landing slots at Atlanta (ATL), Washington DC (DCA), and New York (LGA) airports.
Headquartered in Dallas, TX, Southwest became the nation's largest domestic carrier in 2003, a record it retains today. During peak travel times, Southwest transports its 120 million annual passengers to its network of 100 destinations across the USA and ten additional countries. Southwest has an extensive system of operating bases at numerous American airports including Atlanta (ATL), Baltimore (BWI), Chicago (MDW), Dallas (DAL), Denver (DEN), Houston (HOU), Las Vegas (LAS), Oakland (OAK), Orlando (MCO) and Phoenix (PHX).
Southwest's first loyalty program called The Company Club was introduced in 1987, subsequently in 1996 Southwest renamed the program to its current iteration: Rapid Rewards. Rapid Rewards are only available to redeem on Southwest-operated flights, as Southwest is not a member of any major airline alliance. Currently, Southwest is a stand-alone operation and does not code-share or partner with any other airline.
Southwest is the largest operator of Boeing 737's worldwide with a fleet of 720 aircraft split amongst the different styles of the 737. Southwest is also scheduled to be the launch customer for the Boeing 737 Max 7, slated for delivery in 2019.
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Mexico, Caribbean, and Central America
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