DALLAS — Gary Kelly has a standing offer: a steak dinner to anyone who can prove that Southwest Airlines (LUV)
does not carry more domestic business travelers than any U.S. carrier.
It's a sucker's bet, of course.
Southwest Airlines' CEO knows he'll never have to pay up. There's no way to prove him wrong because airlines don't know the purposes of many customers' trips.
Kelly maintains that internal research shows Southwest is already No. 1 in domestic business travel, and he is steering Southwest to capture even more of the business-travel market in 2009. To accomplish that, he's doing some heavy tinkering with a business model that has kept the airline profitable for an unprecedented 35 consecutive years.
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