Freedom to Fly

By 1990, Southwest’s low fares and ever-growing network provided more of the American public the opportunity to fly than ever before. Southwest Airlines democratized the skies, giving Customers the “Freedom to Fly”. With a bold focus on Freedom, some of Southwest’s well-known promotions and campaigns came into life, including A Symbol of Freedom, Friends Fly Free and Wanna Get Away.

Malice in Dallas

By the early 90s, Southwest was running TV ads with the slogan “Just Plane Smart.” An aviation company in South Carolina thought it sounded a bit too close to their own slogan. What could have become an expensive legal battle instead turned into an arm wrestling competition for the use of the slogan. The 1992 event was coined “Malice in Dallas” and is touted in textbooks as a bout of marketing brilliance.

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A Symbol of Freedom Campaign

With expansion to more cities and low fares that continued to make flying accessible, Southwest declared to Customers what the Company stood for in its popular tagline: “You are now free to move about the country.”

Friends Fly Free

The recession of the early 1990s made for a challenging time in commercial aviation. To get Customers in seats, Southwest launched a promotional campaign in 1991 called “Friends Fly Free,” which offered two tickets for the price of one unrestricted fare. What started as a temporary promotion to get the Company through tough times proved so popular that Southwest continued it for five years.

With the internet age in full swing, Southwest launched the airline industry’s first website ( in 1995 and began selling tickets online in 1996. Low fares were now available at Customers’ fingertips, and getting away became easier than ever before.

1990 – 1999
by the numbers

Despite a recession and continued fierce competition, the 1990s were a pivotal period of growth for Southwest as the Company gave America the freedom to fly.

*As stated in the 1999 Southwest Annual Report.

The 2000s would bring crises and more legal battles, but Southwest continued to fight for what the Company believed was right.

This way

to 2000-2009