Southwest operates somewhat differently from many of its competitors. While operators like American Airlines and United Airlines route passengers through hubs, Southwest Airlines flies point-to-point, often through smaller airports. lily competing in a way that other airlines do not, Southwest has found that it can capture enough demand to keep its planes full. Moreover, because it avoids many hubs, Southwest has experienced fewer delays. In the first eight months of 2008, Southwest planes arrived on schedule 80% of the time, compared to 76% at United and 74% at Continental.
Southwest flies only one type of plane, the Boeing 737. This reduces training costs, maintenance costs, and inventory costs while increasing efficiency in crew and flight schedules. The operation is nearly ticketless, with no seat assignments, which reduces cost and back-office accounting functions. There are no meals or movies on the flight, and the airline will not transfer baggage to other airlines, reducing the need for baggage handlers.