All the while, the airline remained profitable and has seen a long-term upward trend in its stock. In fact, it was recently rated as one of the top places to work in America by jobs posting and review platform Glassdoor.
So what's Kelly's secret?
"There is a lot to a culture, and it's easier to have a strong culture if you feel like you're a champion," he says. "And that's the way our employees feel."
Many Southwest employees agree with the CEO.
In anonymous job reviews on Glassdoor, dozens of employees cited the same reasons why the company is a great place to work.