My dad was a pilot with American Airlines who retired as a Capitan in 2000 with 35 years with that company. Needless to say, our family spent many hours discussing flying and the airline business over the course of my growing up. We are all grateful for my Father's career there and the living he made. In college, I worked a full summer with Delta Airlines on the ramp at DFW international airport. Given my airline background and the now over 100 days a year I spend traveling I have developed a keen appreciation for what Southwest Airlines accomplishes.
The flight attendant starts in on the pre-flight safety announcement, " We do not anticipate a loss in cabin pressure... if we did, we would not have come to work today." Now I'm smiling and listening to a run through I'm sure I've heard over a thousand times.
On a recent flight from Houston, "We have a special guest today to hand out peanuts." Company Chairman Herb Kelleher stands waves to the passengers and, yes, hands out peanuts, shakes hands and makes conversation with his customers like he has for decades.
This in sharp contrast to stories of American Airlines executives bumping paying first class passengers so they may make some "corporate meeting".
Southwest Airlines has defined "turn and burn." Watching their employees and flight crews turn an aircraft anywhere I have traveled has never failed to impress me. And remember it was Southwest Airlines operating the last flights out of New Orleans in the face of Hurricane Katrina, hours I might add after everyone else had left.
As far as a rewards program, Rapid Rewards is a program a frequent flyer can actually use when he wants to use it. The Companion Pass is unsurpassed. Whether, I'm flying free or paid, my companion designee can come too for the cost of the security fee. No hassle, no brain damage.
www.southwest.com is the most user-friendly, easy to use airline website out there and their traffic to the site proves its superiority. Once again, Southwest Airlines is leading in efficiency and keeping fares low.
Herb, Let's have lunch. W. LeMasters