Southwest Airlines

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Gate Turnaround at Southwest Airlines
Video Case Study

Southwest Airlines was started in 1971 by Rollin King and Herb Kelleher. Their idea was simple. If they could take airline passengers where they want to go, on time, at the lowest possible price; all while having fun doing it, then people would love to fly on their airline. As a result of this, no other airline in the industry’s history has enjoyed the customer loyalty and extended profitability which Southwest is now famous for. The company now flies more than
3,400 times each day to over 64 destinations across the United States. (Krajewski, Ritzman &
Malhotra 2010) Turnaround times at the airports are another reason that
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Weather delays and unexpected maintenance issues are two key issues that that will inevitably happen with no advanced notice in most cases. While these are the “worst case scenarios” for problems the airline will face, there are also other issues that can be experienced on a daily basis.
The issues encountered can occur on both the company and customer side, among them are the customer experience; are they familiar with Southwest’s “boarding method”, the carryon policy for the company, the learning curve of the employees, and the type of clientele encountered; business or leisure travelers. All of the above issues could adversely affect the turnaround time for the company by slowing the crew, Southwest has built enough cushion into their schedules to accommodate issues that arise and help to keep the flights on schedule and turnaround times low. The next question that needs to be answered is “how does Southwest know they are achieving their goals?” The company knows when they have achieved their goals when internal and external metrics are reached. Using DOT metrics for all airlines, Southwest can set achievements based on these dimensions. The DOT metric tracks on-time departures, customer complaints, and mishandled baggage. One customer complaint or mishandled bag can be the difference between being number one or number two in the industry. The company sets targets
for

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