Case Study: The Future Of Southwest Airlines

2021 Words 8 Pages
The future of Southwest Airlines will continue on its voyage of innovation, growth and adaptability. Growing the company into the future means, “Leadership must determine clear goals while balancing the need for a formal structure against growth and adaptation” (Steagall, 2016). The original problem the leaders of Southwest saw was, airline travel was slow, expensive and full of features that most people did not really want or care about. Guess what, that problem still rings true today and now new costs have been added or re-added back into the mix, such as baggage fees and change fees. CEO Gary Kelly continues to believe that every person who wants to travel should be able to, without worrying about the cost, even internationally, which …show more content…
The forward thinkers at Southwest re-engineered this entire process, because when planning for the future and increasing their resiliency, they know that “for every extra minute that a plane stands idle at the gate adds $30 in costs” (Koenig, 2015). This modernization of boarding travelers on the plane is part of the reason Southwest remains resilient, continues to save money and increases their on time record. “The innovative efficiency of Southwest’s boarding process is key to Southwest’s successful business model over the last 30 plus years” and will keep projecting them into the next decade (Dalal, 2008). This open seating method (no seat assignments) gives them a “significant cost advantage over its competitors” (Dalal, 2008). Since this system is well known amongst the Southwest patron, it has brought a sense of continuity and predictability to the hectic state of travel that has become common …show more content…
In 2007 they decided to assign passengers to boarding groups of A, B, or C and give a boarding number within that group. This better streamlined the procedure, helped the gate agents improve control of the boarding passengers and enhanced the customer experience so they did not have to camp out for the best seats. Southwest is not resting on their laurels though when it comes to advancing the ways in which to board the passengers onto their planes. They prefer to pre-adapt rather than react to the evolving traveler “Southwest conducted a limited test of several boarding methods to see how much time is required to “turn” the aircraft if customers are holding an assigned seat for 200 separate departures at San Diego airport” (Dalal, 2008). “We want to make sure that we have studied all the possibilities and aspects of assigned seating before we make any change to what has been a very successful formula for the past 35 plus years," said Gary Kelly, Southwest 's CEO” (Dalal, 2008). Another area of the boarding process, which is changing, is the boarding of families with children. In order to “cut back on the time passengers spend moving back and forth between seats to accommodate traveling families on crowded flights”, Southwest is allowing families to board together after the A group of passengers have boarded (Kieler, 2015). When

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