The Southwest Airlines cofounder was a pioneering entrepreneur who changed the way we travel. He was also a world-class wit, a bon vivant, and a not-so-closet intellectual.
The senior editor on understanding Southwest Airline’s culture, hearing jokes about plane crashes from a flight attendant, and making a business story interesting to the average reader.
Somehow, as every other major airline went bankrupt, slashed its workforce, or grounded planes, Southwest Airlines kept flying high. Today, Southwest is the country’s largest domestic carrier. So how does a feisty underdog vanquish its competitors and dominate a thoroughly beleaguered industry? One Kick Tail-a-Gram at a time.
No kid ever had more fun with his favorite toy than Herb Kelleher has in running Southwest Airlines.
“If a shoe factory closes in Seattle, you can’t move it to San Antonio and have it competing there within a couple of hours, but with airplanes you can. I’ve always said that I want us to strike with the speed and alacrity of a puma.”
For 28 years Herb Kelleher has run Southwest Airlines as a low-cost, short-haul carrier that’s fun to fly on and even more fun to work for. But there could be changes on the horizon.