Enhancing Service at Southwest Airlines

Topics: Customer Operations Organizational Structure

southwest airlines

M. Eric Johnson, Joseph M. Hall
Length: 14 pages
Publication date: 2009
Case#: 6-0031

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"Reframing Your Business Equation," Strategy + Business, 2009

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Scarcely five years at the helm of Southwest Airlines, CEO Gary Kelly was navigating the high-flying airline through the downturn of 2009. By focusing on simplicity and keeping costs low, Southwest had posted profits in every year for over three decades and had grown to be the fifth largest U.S. carrier. Kelly was faced with maintaining those low costs while readying the airline for growth when passengers returned.

Looking to enhance its value proposition, he was considering a number of service refinements including satellite- based WiFi Internet, more extensive wine and coffee service, and even new international alliances with foreign carriers. In each case, the offering would be scrutinized to see if it fit within the Southwest strategy and its legendary operating model.

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