How Does Southwest Airlines Affect Customer Satisfaction?

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Southwest Airlines, the nation’s largest carrier, employs more than 53,000 people and service over 100 million customers a year (Southwest Airlines Honored, 2016). They differentiate themselves from other airlines with the level of customer service that they offer those who chose to do business with them. Southwest entices customers with its policy of not charging for the first two checked bags. They also do not charge change fees for flights that a customer may need to change, however, the fare may be a different price based on timing of the flight. The company has shown a profit every year since its inception (Ross, 2015). After 9/11, when no other carrier was profitable, Southwest was able to make a profit (Southwest Airlines Honored, 2016). According to their website, “the airline’s performance and productivity is directly affected by its triple bottom line approach and its focus on the people and communities they serve, as well as their overall commitment to efficiency and the planet” (American Airlines, n.d.).
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Ross (2015) reports that Southwest was only one of two airlines to make the 2015 top 20 in Forbes list of “America’s Best Employers”. The United States Department of Transportation has ranked Southwest as one of the top companies in terms of customer satisfaction but the company has openly stated that they care more about employee happiness than customer service (Ross, 2015). Flight attendants are happy and accommodating, often appearing comical. Employees were given the opportunity to design their own uniforms (Southwest Airlines Honored, 2016). The organization is known to pay its employees well. However, in the last month, Southwest Airlines pilots have finalized a new four-year contract that includes a 15% higher pay rate and bonuses and flight attendants are still working on finalizing their deal (Southwest Airlines pilots,
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