The vision for Southwest Airlines was sketched out on a cocktail napkin. After many legal hurdles were cleared, Southwest began service in 1971. Passengers responded positively to the airline and its $20 fares. Routes expanded from Texas, reaching the coast in the 1980s. Growth continued in the decades following, with destinations spanning the United States from coast to coast.
Southwest is known for its 737 fleet, low fares, quick turns and corporate culture. Today, the airline serves approximately 100 communities in North America.
Southwest Airlines – History
2017 Southwest Airlines Performance
Data for all criteria is drawn from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s monthly Air Travel Consumer Report.