Southwest Could Become World's Biggest Airline

According to the Associated Press, Southwest Airlines is poised to become the world’s biggest airline—beating American Airlines for the first time. Even though Southwest is a domestic-only carrier, they’ve already eclipsed American Airlines’ combined domestic and international travel in 2007.

Southwest carried 40.3 million passengers on domestic routes between January and May, an increase of 4.2 percent from last year.

“We’re thrilled to watch our customer base grow,” said Brandy King, a Southwest spokewoman, who attributed the growth to the company’s tradition of friendly customer service. “With so many airlines offering low fares, I think customer service makes all the difference in the world.”

Consumerist’s tipline receives more complimentary stories about Southwest than any other airline. Some recent quotes from Southwest’s customers:

Dan, who got stuck on the tarmac for 3 hours while the plane was de-iced says:

Today I had a nice surprise when I brought in the mail. Every one of us, my wife, daughter, son, our niece and myself recieved a letter from Frederick T. Taylor, Senior Manager of Proactive Customer Service Communications (can you believe such a department exists!) apologizing for the delay, and telling us they will examine their planning and execution ((or lack thereof) his own words) at Midway to avoid similar ordeals in the future. Also enclosed with the letter were roundtrip passes to anywhere Southwest flies, valid for one year.
We didn’t complain about the delay and I wonder if anyone else did. This was totally unexpected and has made me a loyal Southwest customer and I want to share it with everyone.

And Jeff who also got stuck on a runway, waiting for a storm to pass:

Well, I was completely surprised to find the attached letter in the mail a few days ago. Southwest made the effort to pro-actively appologise for the inconvenience, and even sent a $75 voucher. I know this action would not have pleased everyone on that flight, but if all airlines even took this modest measure, I believe the Consumerist would have a lot fewer stories to cover regarding runway passenger hostage situations.

Alma also got $75:

Southwest Airlines just sent me, my husband and my toddler each $75 travel vouchers as an apology for a flight delay we didn’t even complain about!

We do get Southwest airlines complaint letters, but not many. Southwest seems to be able to handle their business without our help.

Other airlines, take note.

Southwest on pace to top American this year [Houston Chronicle]
(Photo:Bright Star)