But Kelly said he expects the opportunity in 20 years to be in longer-distance flying and bigger airplanes, “maybe some bigger, dual-aisle version of the 737.” He referenced Boeing’s new mid-sized plane under development, known as a 797, and said “maybe we’ll think about something like that one of these days.”
For now, he said the 737 is “a pretty good airplane, so we don’t’ have any thoughts whatsoever of doing anything differently.”
Asked about recent viral incidents such as the dragging of a United Airlines passenger off a full flight earlier this year, Kelly said "it was a catalyst for us to refocus" on overbooking. Southwest in May stopped the practice of overbooking, while acknowledging that some flights may still end up with too many passengers due to issues such as aircraft changes or weight restrictions.
Kelly said the company had been studying the issue before the United incident. An oversold flight “is horrible,” he said.
Southwest has a “no change fees” policy, but in 2013 started a policy for “no shows,” which has helped reduce its historically higher rate of no shows. And with better economic circumstances today than in past years, “we can afford to take that risk,” Kelly said.
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