Snapshot: A Look at Southwest Airlines, by the Numbers

Aug 28, 2019

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Southwest Airlines bridges the gap between the USA’s traditional legacy carriers and those that began flying after deregulation. Now, as it nears its 50th year of service, Southwest has not only outlasted most of its post-deregulation challengers, but has carved out a key position for domestic travelers.

It’s the largest airline domestic travelers flying within the US. And, though it started out competing with suggestive ads, it’s known today as a particularly laid-back and family-friendly company.

Southwest may be a low-cost carrier at heart, but its rapid growth this century has moved it closer to the legacy carriers it has battled over the years. In 2010, Southwest flexed its increasingly powerful muscles by announcing a deal to buy AirTran, a rapidly-growing budget carrier based in Atlanta that had begun to challenge major carriers along the East Coast. The deal closed in 2011, finally bringing Southwest into Atlanta and paving the way for it to launch international service for the first time in its history.

Here’s what else you need to know about Southwest:

Headquarters: Dallas

CEO: Gary Kelly

Destinations: 101 in 10 countries

Related: The Best Southwest Airlines Credit Card for Family Travelers

Hubs: Southwest famously does not designate cities as hubs, instead touting the power of its “point-to-point” network. Despite that, a number of Southwest’s airports function largely as hubs, facilitating connections for thousands of passengers flying between others cities. Among the most prominent to fit that bill for Southwest are Chicago Midway, Baltimore, Las Vegas and Denver. Many of Southwest’s mid-sized airports — such as St. Louis and Nashville — also facilitate a large number of connecting passengers.

Daily Departures: About 4,000

Frequent-flier Program: Rapid Rewards

Busiest Airports by Number of Southwest Passengers in 2018

  1. Chicago Midway (20.45 million)
  2. Denver (18.70 million)
  3. Baltimore-Washington (18.09 million)
  4. Las Vegas (17.95 million)
  5. Phoenix (15.36 million)
  6. Dallas Love Field (14.98 million)
  7. Houston Hobby (13.59 million)
  8. Orlando (11.14 million)
  9. Atlanta (10.36 million)
  10. Los Angeles (10.13 million)

Source: Diio by Cirium 

Related: Southwest’s ‘Second Wave’ of Hawaii Expansion Is Now Underway


Busiest Airports by Average Daily Southwest Departures in 2018

  1. Chicago Midway (223)
  2. Las Vegas (199)
  3. Baltimore-Washington (198)
  4.  Denver (190)
  5. Dallas Love Field (171)
  6.  Phoenix (169)
  7. Houston Hobby (154)
  8.  Los Angeles (118)
  9. Orlando (116)
  10. Atlanta (115)

Source: Diio by Cirium 

Planes in Southwest’s Fleet

  • Boeing 737 (753, including different variants of the plane)

Source: Southwest Airlines fact sheet, as of June 30, 2019

Featured photo by Jim Watson/AFP.

Related: Why the Last Row on Southwest Is the Best Place to Fly


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