January 22, 2006

Southwest Airlines

America West sucks. Everyone knows that.

Southwest is a different story. Many hate the herding. Never bothered me. For over 20 years I have flown this airline with cheap tickets, ontime travel, a great rewards program and a birthday card like clockwork.

My first Southwest problem - ever - occurred this September when a few buddies and I headed to Ireland for my 40th. They lost my bag on the flight out of Phoenix and I did not receive the bag until day three of my trip.

Although it was a major inconvenience, I bought some clothes and today was surprised to find a check for $719, which reimburses me for the purchases I had to make in Ireland. Add in $200 in vouchers and $100 in LUV coupons (their ticker symbol on the NYSE) - great idea by the way and you have a happy customer.

It is a shitty business to be in, but someone has to do it. At least they do it well.

Too bad oil is going much higher or it would be my favorite stock. It is a shame that American West and US Air get to keep coming back out of bankruptcy and fight an unfair fight much like MCI was allowed just recently as well in the telecom sector.

The bankers win and the customers and shareholders lose in the long run. On that note, please read www.billcara.com and his coverage on the debacle of a ripoff carried out by the Stelco management team.

Barron's has voted him the best financial read and so do I.

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