Herb Kelleher on the Record, Part 3


Q: Now, some questions from the audience. Given the financial issues faced by the major U.S. airlines, do you think they should have been bailed out after September 11? Are the major airlines considered too big to fail?

A: That's a really good question. I went through a little soul searching on that issue because we didn't need help to keep Southwest Airlines going. But it was a national emergency. So I went to Washington and lobbied on behalf of a grant that we didn't need. It was disadvantageous to us, obviously, because some of those airlines would [otherwise] no longer be competing against us. But imagine the effect on the economy and the accessibility of transportation if two or three big airlines had suddenly stopped service.


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