retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

There is an old saying in retailing that it can take years, even decades to build a reputation ... and then about 30 seconds to lose it if you behave in a way that seems at odds with whatever brand equity that you've established.

Apparently, the same rules apply at 30,000 feet.

The Los Angeles Times reported over the weekend that Southwest Airlines - long seen as a no-frills, budget-conscious airline industry maverick that put customers first - seems to be losing some of its vaunted reputation. While it continue to be profitable, it has been losing some respect among its customers "since it recently began to shift its focus away from low fares and friendly service toward swelling its bottom line.

"Among the changes that critics say show Southwest's new profit-boosting attitude: It cut the legroom on many planes to fit more seats, retooled its frequent flier program to make passengers spend more money to collect points and adopted new fees to board early."

You can read the whole story here.
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