The Sky-High Costs of Southwest’s Outdated Tech and Leadership

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Though its business model has changed a few times, Southwest Airlines grew into the nation’s largest economy airline by streamlining the customer experience to cut costs. All seats are coach, seating is first-come, first-served, and the in-flight amenities are… well… limited. But these savings are passed on to legions of appreciative customers. That is, until recently, when the airline was forced to request FAA assistance in grounding its entire fleet due to old, dated communications and routing technology.

(Yes, the same types of tech gaps that ruined the 2022 holiday season for thousands of would-be travelers.)

In this episode, Steph and Albert discuss why Southwest’s business model – currently lacking C-suite leadership in several tech areas – is a root cause of these epic missteps. A streamlined model is one thing, but a lack of digital infrastructure is certain to send the airline on a one-way trip to corporate disaster. 

Unlike Southwest, our communication channels are working perfectly. If you have thoughts on Southwest or the state of modern travel, be sure to reach out to info@mission.org to share your stories. 



Episode 476