Southwest Airlines Co. is an American airline created in 1966 by Herbert Kelleher and Rollin King and renamed Air Southwest Company in 1967. In 1971, the current name was chosen. The company offers low-cost, no-frills aviation transportation with frequent, primarily short-distance flights. The use of only Boeing 737 aircraft keeps prices down, allowing for lower maintenance expenses and faster flight turnaround times, as well as a focus on ticketless travel. Dallas, Texas is where the company’s headquarters are located.
It was intended to be a commuter airline connecting Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. However, due to multiple lengthy legal disputes, commercial flights did not begin until 1971. It began flying out of Love Field near downtown Dallas, and “love” became the basis of all of its advertising. Flight attendants in the 1970s wore hot pants and go-go boots and called refreshments “love potions.” While hot pants were phased out in 1981, flight attendants’ clothing remained informal, and the airline remained committed to having fun, providing lollipops to customers when smokes were forbidden and singing Christmas carols on flights. Expansion began in 1975 with the addition of new routes to cities across Texas. Following federal deregulation of the airline industry in 1978, the airline cautiously moved into new markets, first limiting its operations to neighbouring southwestern states.
Southwest expanded its service to California, the Midwest, and the East and Southeast in the 1990s.
Southwest endured a period of severe restructuring in the early twenty-first century as a result of mounting financial difficulties in a faltering airline industry. This includes the hiring of Colleen Barrett as president (2001), the first female head of a major airline; new initiatives such as self-service check-in kiosks (2002) and online boarding passes (2004); and cost-cutting measures such as flight cancellations and employee buyouts. Airline, a television reality show that ran on the A&E Network from 2004 to 2005, featured the airline as a participant. Gary Kelly succeeded Barrett as president in 2008.