In 1961, Herb kelleher then a Manager and a young Lawyer from Texas who left New Jersey as a kid, without any experience in the aviation industry other than his laughter and unhappiness about airline industry applied for airline license to start his own company in the State of Texas.
Herb’s goal was to provide cheap transportation between Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, he also wanted his airlines to be the cheapest, in the South West of America, with no seat assigned, no first class seat to anyone, he wanted fliers to sit anywhere on first come first serve basis like a restuarant or movie house, he also did not want fliers to pay for any baggage.
What a dream from a man with no experience!
Herb’s airline staffers of his dream would be those that could make fliers laugh with funny stories including good services, and it all became his idea of what the airline should be.
Herb’s application for Aviation license immediately faced lots of problems from the Government and competitors, he would be a spoiler and or even lower the standard of the field controlled by the big guys was then the thinking of the government and the competition.
It took Herb Kelleher 10 years to secure his Airlines license for the dreams of SouthWest Airlines after lots of rejects from Government even from investors, as a Lawyer, he argued his own case before Texas Supreme Court and won the right to start his own airline company.
To frustrate his dreams, Southwest Airlines was allocated a dying second Airport in the City of Dallas with a funny name Lovefield Airport as the hub, SouthWest airlines was not even allowed to get close to the newly built Dallas Fortworth (DFW) the best Airport in the state of Texas exclussively for American Airlines and Delta.
The approval for SouthWest to start business in 1971 changed aviation industry in the United States of America with unique inovations including the uniform of the staffers.
Herb Kelleher in the press interview attended by the few who had come to witness the death of the new company instead of its birth said, if his company can take care of the people, the people in return will take of the company, in return, they will take care of the shareholders, that was his policy.
Lovefield Airport on Mockingbird Road in Dallas Texas today is one of the most beautiful airports in America, the hub of SouthWest Airline has gone through renovation with prompt services, good food and car rentals and it is easily assessible, just five minutes drive to Downtown Dallas and the best hotels link Anatole, Renances Hotels around Lovefield Airport.
The proximity of Lovefield Airport to everything in Dallas increased the need to travel SouthWest Airlines as against the DFW which is 25 miles away from Downtown Dallas.
Southwest company deliberately would not fly to big Airports, in New York, SouthWest Airlines is with LaQuardia Airport in the Queens not in JFK and it is still one of the best, when asked if the Airline would move to DFW because of space Mr.Helleher said “What for?” If our customers love it here why do we have to run away from them, with that SouthWest rejected the request of DFW Authority
The Airlines with the staffers still share the dreams of Mr.Herb Kelleher the founder, they still make fliers laugh with stories, when Herb told fliers on his SW Airline if they pay more they could ask for a bottle of Whiskey, the demand exploded.
The CEO of American Airlines Doug Parker, said Herb Helleher brought freedom of travel to millions of Americans until his death Herb never stopped smoking, with cheese crackets as his breakfast.
Herb Helleher the founder of SouthWest Airlibe was the CEO of SouthWest Airline from 1978-2008. Chairman Emeritus of the company, Born in Camden New Jersey and married to Joan Negley, they had four Children.
Herb Helleher was awarded Tony Jannus Award, International Airspace Hall of fame, Bower Award, in 1988 he was inducted into Texas Business Hall of Fame.
Herb Hellebet died on Thursday January 3rd, 2019 aged 87 and his legacy, the SouthWest Aurlines, the pride of Dallas Texas indeed the pride and hope of all dreamers is still there to inspire all mankind, sometimes you don’t need experience to achieve a lot or to make a difference, a dream and the zeal can take you up than you can imagine.
May his soul rest in peace.
Zents Sowunmi is a New York based writer and author of “Don’t ask Question” “Unequally yoking”, “Not a stranger anymore”, 100 Ways to laugh, “The vultures and the Vulnerable” “Ogun State Policy of Manipulation since 1976”, coming soon “The returns of the Oracle” among other books available on amazon.com, bn.com and your local book stores.