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The Business Side of Southwest

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Is there a more appropriate place to blog than at 35,000 feet? Something about having my head in the clouds has inspired me. I'm on my third connection and third different plane from Dallas Love Field to Pittsburgh (damn Wright Amendment!). As I changed from plane to plane I couldn't help but think about a recent USA Today article that defined Southwest Airlines as " the giant discounter popular with leisure travelers." For 21 years I've heard us categorized as a leisure airline and that dumbfounds me (although most things dumbfound me). We fly 29 times a day between Dallas and Houston...22 times between Oakland and Los Angeles...and we have five or more daily flights between more than a hundred city pairs. Grandma certainly doesn't need that kind of frequency to visit the grandchildren and surfer dudes usually don't want to travel and return the same day. But for some reason we continue to be classified as a leisure carrier. I think it's a conspiracy... propaganda put out by our competitors or simply assumptions made by reporters because our fares are so inexpensive that families can actually afford to fly. I've even heard it said that you don't see business travelers on Southwest. Huh? What exactly does a business traveler look like? Business suits and a briefcase? Hardly. If you stand in a gate area and start observing closely, you begin to figure out who is traveling on business by what they carry rather than how they dress. A Blackberry tends to be a dead giveaway, a laptop might indicate a business traveler if they are working on a spreadsheet as opposed to playing computer games (although business people do play computer games). Today I'm traveling on business in a Polo shirt and blue jeans…with my Blackberry strapped to my belt. My point is that Southwest Airlines has never been given the credit it deserves for carrying millions of business travelers each year. With the industry's best business web site (in my humble opinion anyway), SWABIZ, it's time to get a little recognition.
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