The paper "Market Values of Southwest Airlines" is an outstanding example of an assignment on marketing. As we would expect for any successful company, Southwest Airlines fulfills market values for users, buyers, and payers. For the most part, these values are fulfilled at the Universal level. For the user, Southwest Airlines provides transportation -- basically, the ability to get from City A to City B. Significantly, Southwest views this value in both a broader and a narrower sense than do conventional airlines. Southwest's service is narrower in the sense that it does not attempt to enable its customers to travel easily from anywhere to anywhere; instead, it offers its customers a selection of individual city-to-city routes that do not connect with other airlines' long-haul routes, and indeed do not necessarily connect conveniently to one another.
Southwest does not even offer its customers the ability to check baggage through to the final destination of a multi-flight trip, and some 80% of its travelers fly nonstop to their final destination. Further, Southwest's service is "narrow" in the sense that only "no-frills" transportation is offered: only light snacks and drinks are served on board, and only a single coach class is available. At the same time, Southwest views its services broadly in two important and closely related ways: First, it realizes that its competition does not consist solely of other airlines, but includes ground-based transportation.
Since many of Southwest's routes are relatively short, potential customers could drive instead of flying. Second, Southwest understands that even though the service it directly provides consists of aerial transportation from an airport terminal in one city to an airport terminal in another city, the customer's experience of the trip includes the time required to get to the departure airport and from the destination airport to his/her actual destination.
Thus, by favoring airports in smaller cities as well as smaller airports in or near large cities, Southwest can often provide more convenience and shorter total travel times than conventional airlines. At an individual level, Southwest makes a concerted, and generally successful, effort to provide its users with excellent and courteous service despite its "no-frills" reputation. Its flights almost always run on schedule; and its baggage handling system, kept simple by avoiding multiple-flight check-through, functions almost without a hitch.
This focus on the excellent delivery of a limited range of services has made Southwest's customers the happiest in the industry. At the buyer level, Southwest offers simple but good service, with frequent flights between the city-pairs it serves. For payers, Southwest offers prices that are hard to beat. Realizing that its competition is not restricted to other airlines, Southwest keeps its prices low even on routes that other airlines do not serve.