Southwest Airlines Swot Analysis

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A significant strength of Southwest is its outstanding customer service. In August 2009, Southwest Airlines won the top spot for the fourth year in a row in Logistic Management Magazine’s “Quest for Quality” awards, for which it earned the highest scores in the Ontime Performance, Value, and Customer Service categories (“Southwest Airlines Cargo Earns 2009 Quest for Quality Award,” 2009). Southwest has scored higher than the overall weighted industry for 13 consecutive years, as well (“Southwest Airlines Cargo Earns 2009 Quest for Quality Award,” 2009). In addition, Southwest has always maintained a small-company approach that has served it well, and during difficult times it has mitigated adversity intelligently (Williams & Williams, 2009). …show more content…
One of these is its policy of not assigning seats, leaving passengers to scramble—and argue—for them on their own (Williams & Williams, 2009). This is a policy that should be changed without hesitation, although some modified form that allows people some choice of seats might be worthwhile. Another weakness is Southwest’s odd practice of selling its tickets solely through its own web site and ticket counters; this means that people cannot buy tickets through such online ticket merchants as Travelocity and Orbitz, another inconvenience (Williams & Williams, 2009). There have also been hints that Southwest cuts too many corners, compromising passenger safety, as with its use of nonstandard parts.
Opportunities for Southwest as the leader of the pack are significant, especially as other airlines may drastically cut customer service or go out of business entirely due to the recessionary economy. Growth and expansion are new initiatives under CEO Gary Kelly, and Southwest is pushing its way into new cities where other airlines have formerly dominated (Zellner, 2005). Southwest has also bid on bankrupt carrier Frontier Airlines, which it would operate as a wholly owned subsidiary for two years, keeping its Airbus aircraft and personnel intact (Bachman,
…show more content…
Unless you have a Business Select ticket or qualify for the top tier of Southwest’s frequent flier program, you get your boarding number when you check in up to 24 hours in advance, first-come, first served. Now you can pay $10 for a spot in line ahead of the proletariat but behind Business Select and “A-List” fliers.
Based on this analysis, recommendations for Southwest include finding ways to improve revenues without compromising customer safety or convenience. The first-come/first-served seating should be replaced by a better approach, and the use of nonstandard parts should be stopped. The fee approach now in use is a better way of boosting revenues, as it does not endanger passengers, but even that approach should be monitored carefully to ensure that it does not allow another airline to step into Southwest’s old shoes as the most economical airline to

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