A New Kind of Airline

In 1971, a new kind of airline took to the skies. With low fares, a casual atmosphere, a schedule tailored specifically to Customer needs, and a survival mentality, Southwest Airlines was changing the way America viewed air travel. Southwest bucked tradition by featuring uniquely warm brand colors, the iconic hot pants uniform, and a clear message that Southwest was here to “Spread the Love”. This Customer-friendly and Fun-LUVing business model begged the question: “Remember what it was like before Southwest Airlines?” And just like that, air travel would never be the same.

A Bold Statement

The original hot pants uniforms for Hostesses (now called Flight Attendants) sent a clear message to Customers: Southwest Airlines could not be ignored. The uniforms reinforced the airline’s unique image and were a clear reflection of the times: bright red and orange hot pants, white lace-up go-go boots, and wide belts that hung on the hips.

Remember what it was like before Southwest Airlines?

In a time where air travel was a formal affair, primarily for the rich, Southwest flew in the face of tradition. The airline adopted a casual atmosphere. Southwest’s message was simple, fun, and of course, attention-grabbing: “At last, there’s somebody else up there who loves you.”

The “Texas Triangle”

Southwest’s first route map started as a simple sketch drawn onto a cocktail napkin. Fondly known as “The Texas Triangle”, the airline began by serving only three major cities in Texas: Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. But, it didn’t take long for Southwest to expand and start “spreading love all over Texas.”

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Warrior Spirit is Born

When it comes to competition, Southwest has always had an indellible Warrior Spirit. When faced with a fare war started by Braniff International (a Dallas hometown carrier) in 1973, the Company decided “Nobody’s going to shoot Southwest out of the sky for a lousy $13.”

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1970 – 1979
by the numbers

Skeptics bet that Southwest would fail before it began. But despite humble beginnings, the Company flew in the face of conventional wisdom and grew from a three-city carrier to an airline that travelers and competitors could not overlook.

*As stated in the 1979 Southwest Annual Report.

After a decade of “spreading love all over Texas,” Southwest was just beginning interstate growth as the Company entered the 1980s.

This way

to 1980-1989