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The very first low-cost airline
Jan 31, 2005 07:28 PM 4184 Views
(Updated Jan 31, 2005 07:28 PM)

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18 June 1971. The Love Field airport (near Dallas, Texas, USA) sees the take-off of a Boeing 737-200 with the logo of Southwest Airlines.


The first low-cost airline in the world is born.


Southwest Airlines is characterized by some peculiarities that differ this airlines from the others in North America.


1- Southwest Airlines flights are only point-to-points. In other words the aircraft flies from A to B without intermediate stop. Southwest has not at all what is called ?hub?, a main airport where the airline feeds the passengers from other airports.


2- Southwest fleet has a single model of aircraft: the Boeing 737 that means saving in spare parts, maintenance and pilot training.


3- The aircraft has an all economy seats configuration. Seat pitch is 30? only.


4- During the flight, whichever is its length, you get only a small packet of peanuts with a plastic cup of water or soda (you never get a full can)


5- The members of the cabin crew wear simple trousers and a red sweater that they buy themselves as Southwest doesn?t provide them free of charges as most of the worldwide major airlines do.


6- The pilots and the cabin crew don?t have a room in 4 o 5 stars hotel e don?t dine in top restaurant. They don?t get even a voucher to dine at Mc?s and sleep at Motel6.


7- The cabin crew is in charge also to follow the boarding procedures, to clean the cabin between two flights, to load and unload luggage.


The above are the reason of the low cost of the ticket with Southwest that sometimes is one/tenth of the one of competitors.


After 33 years Southwest Airlines is the leader in flights point-to-point offering, every day, more than 2.900 flights.


It's fleet includes 415 aircraft Boeing 737 with an average age of 9 years (unfortunately there are still thirteen 737, 200 series, which age is 40 years).


Southwest employees 32.000 people and for 31 years in row has closed the fiscal year with profits (meantime Alitalia, for instance, has lost a lot of money every year during the same period).


Starting with such basis travelling within the 49 contiguous states of United States of America is not expensive (the price for one-way ticket starts at 39 USDollars with a top cap of 120).


Southwest Airlines links 60 cities in the States, from north to south, from east to west.


The cabin of the aircraft is always clean. The aircrafts are safe (Southwest applies a very updated system to control and monitor the maintenance process).


The cabin crew is kind, attentive, competent and before, during and after the flight entertains you singing and telling jokes.


Southwest Airlines is always at the first place of monthly standing for on-time performance of north American airlines (93% of its flights leave or arrive within 15 minutes of scheduled time).


As said before, on board you get only peanuts and a plastic cup of soft drink (beer sold at 4 US$ and alcohols at 5).


If the flight is delayed or cancelled you are fully protected. You are rebooked on the first available flight and if the delay is over 3 hours you get a voucher for some foods and drink, and if your new flight is for the next day you get a night accommodation in a nearby hotel/motel.


You can change the flight and the day paying a fee of 5 US$.


Finally, if you plan to fly within the United States of America, Southwest Airlines is a great choice.


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