Monday, November 1

Southwest Airlines

Last week I flew on Southwest Airlines for a business trip, and I have to say that I was a bit surprised. We all know what the industry is going through -- costs being added for every single service, disgruntled employees, horrible profit margins, delays, and the list goes on and on.

I was a bit surprised by the attitude on Southwest Airlines. It was pretty darn good. The flight attendants were happy, making jokes, helping people with their luggage, serving drinks and snacks -- it was like the good 'ole days. I actually enjoyed the flight.

I shouldn't have been surprised because I actually wrote about the brand in my book. The airline is known for giving a great experience, but I guess I assumed that in this economy that it may have all faded. I was wrong -- the experience was surprisingly good.

Especially the boarding process. No seat assignments, just a pecking order. When the flight was ready to board, we simply stood next to the post that matched the number on our boarding pass and we got on the plane in order. No hassle, no crowding, no standing in line. We simply got on the plane and chose the seat we wanted. In a nice orderly fashion. For a minute I thought we were all human again.

So just when I thought branding and marketing didn't apply to this industry anymore, I guess I rediscovered Southwest Airlines. So I'm going to do what any good consumer would do, keep on choosing them again and again. They had me at hello.

What's your experience? Jim.


  1. Great post Jim. A reminder that sometimes its not what you do . . . but what you don't do that can make all the difference in the experience. Southwest is all about freedom:
    -free from frowns
    -free from seat assignments
    -free from paying for checked baggage

  2. SouthWest is a great airline to fly for and on.
    The employees ARE happy. I remember overhearing a conversation between some of thier Flight Attendants after a long eventful day flying. As my crew and I are complaining about how unhappy we are, they weren't! Not saying they completely enjoyed a day of stormy weather and delays, but they were postive. Whatever system SouthWest has works. I believe ... Happy Employees = Happy Customers

  3. Hi Jim!

    Thanks so much for your kind words! We really do love this company, and I'm happy to hear that you had a little of taste of it too! Hopefully we'll see you onboard again very soon!

    -Christi McNeill

  4. Southwest understands air travel is like taking the bus, but their employees are in on the joke. Gone are the days when flying was glamorous, though I find other airlines attempting to hold onto this mystique; those airlines shall remain nameless.
    Makes one wonder what the electric car companies will portray in their branding? Will the road experience continue as "master the road, master your destiny" for the behind the wheel attribute, or will the brands go utopian?

    Should be interesting and entertaining.

    -Jeff Hutkoff

  5. Nice to hear from the folks at Southwest -- good to see that they are listening and hopefully continuing to build their brand experience. Love all the commentary! Jim.