Southwest case

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9-602-156 JUNE 21, 2002 ROGELIO OLIVA JODY HOFFER GITTELL Southwest Airlines in Baltimore Matt Hafner, the Southwest Airlines station manager1 at Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI), slowly shook his head. It was June 7, 2001, and he had just received the final operating performance numbers for May. Station performance had certainly improved since his arrival at Baltimore 11 months before, thanks to an intense focus on hiring and controls. Still, he knew there was a long way to go. Matt2 had been with Southwest for 10 years and had worked in many different stations, from the smallest to now one of the largest. Baltimore was already bigger than Chicago and might even overtake Phoenix and Las Vegas, for Matt knew that…show more content…
Crews, furnishings, and spare parts were interchangeable and maintenance tended to be more predictable. Although there were differences between the early 737 Series 200 and the later Series 700, Southwest standardized the cockpit configuration as much as possible to minimize additional training requirements for pilots. The single operating platform also routinized cleanup, provisioning, and ramp operations (unloading and loading baggage and cargo), which helped speed turnarounds at the gate. Third, where available, Southwest used less-congested airports with easy access to large metropolitan areas, both to avoid disrupting flight operations and to maximize aircraft time in the air. In large cities, Southwest often used older facilities, like Dallas’s Love Field or Chicago’s Midway Airport, that had been abandoned when new, larger airports were constructed. Fourth, Southwest offered limited services, specifically no in-flight meals—only beverages and snacks—and did not transfer baggage to other airlines. Finally, Southwest offered open, single class seating, which created efficiencies in several ways. There was no need for computer hardware and software to sort and hold seating assignments, nor for the time and expense of printing boarding passes and verifying them as passengers boarded the aircraft.3 Perhaps more importantly, the open seating system encouraged customers to board eagerly to lay claim to their desired seats. Quick

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