Discount Airlines Compete with Legacy Airlines, but the Differences Are Beginning to Blur, Business and Industry Trends Analysis

Since its first flight in 1971, Southwest and its no-frills business model have enjoyed tremendous success, wooing customers based on price, not perks.  For most of its history, Southwest’s single-plane platform strategy (Boeing’s 737) kept maintenance costs low, while its point-to-point flying system has helped to give it a solid reputation in on-time performance.  (Southwest picked up some Boeing 717s when it acquired AirTran, adding a second type of aircraft for the first time in its history.) Despite the fact that Southwest started out and made its fortune as a discount airline, it has grown to be one of the…

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