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11 Little Known Facts About Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines

It's been 1 year since Southwest Airlines revealed their new aircraft livery. But a new paint job is just one of the many things that makes this airline unique.

1) "Southwest Airlines" wasn't the airline's original name. It was called "Air Southwest" until 1971.

Aero Icarus

2) In 1972, the Southwest had to sell one of their four Boeing 737s to cover payroll.

Aero Icarus

3) They continued their 4-aircraft schedule with only 3 aircraft. The "10 minute turn" was invented to make the schedule work.

Dean Morley

4) Southwest's only destinations were Dallas, Houston and San Antonio until 1975.

Raging Wire

5) Southwest took delivery of the very first Boeing 737-300 in 1984. They continue to operate more 737-300s than any other airline in the world.

Billy Wilt

6) Southwest has operated Boeing 737s almost exclusively throughout their history. However, the company operated a few 727s leased from Braniff Airlines from 1979-1987.

Jon Proctor

7) Southwest acquired Morris Air in 1992. One of the founders of Morris Air, David Neeleman, went on to start JetBlue Airways.

Aero Icarus

8) In 1995, Southwest was one of the first airlines to have a website, called the "Southwest Airlines Home Gate".

Hosted Agency Review

9) Southwest teamed with Pratt and Whitney in 2008 to develop a pressure-washing system that allows the airline to clean engine turbine blades at the gate. The airline estimates they improve fuel efficiency by 1.9% with the system.

John Rogers

10) Southwest is the largest "point to point" operator in the US. Because of this, approximately 80 percent of their passengers are local, and only 20 percent have a connecting flight.


11) Today, Southwest is the world's largest operator of Boeing 737s, with 614 aircraft in service. And that gives some real meaning to their slogan: "You are now free to move about the country."

Southwest Airlines

Colin Cutler

Colin is a Boldmethod co-founder, pilot and graphic artist. He's been a flight instructor at the University of North Dakota, an airline pilot on the CRJ-200, and has directed development of numerous commercial and military training systems. You can reach him at

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