Southwest’s Secrets of Success

Conde Naste’s Portfolio gets kudos in some quarters for hard-hitting reporting about business. They recently published a story titled “Why Southwest Succeeds,” explaining how the low-fare carrier is making it in a difficult environment.

The airline has been in the black for 33 consecutive quarters, and last week they paid out their 127th quarterly dividend to shareholders. They’re even getting ready to take delivery of another dozen planes–Boeing 737s, thank you very much.

Among their secrets is that plane. Not a collection of turboprops, single aisle and wide-body models from a slew of manufacturers…only that vanilla 737, so there is only one kind of part and any plane’s fuel filter fits all the other’s.

And not flying hub and spoke routes leaves their planes in the air an average of one-hour longer every day. Plus on-time performance is greater when you don’t have to fit into the lines waiting to land and take off from crowded hub airports.

Lastly, not offering meals, just bagged snacks, means clean up between flights is just 20 minutes instead of 90. More flights mean more money. It’s that simple.