Herb Kelleher Founder of Southwest Airlines Dead at 87

Herb Kelleher, the founder of Southwest Airlines, died January 3, 2019. He was 87. The cause of death has not been disclosed.

Southwest Airlines issued a statement regarding Kelleher’s death. They stated that he was a maverick, pioneer and innovator. The vision that he had revolutionized the airline business.

Kelleher started his career as a lawyer and resided in Texas. He left his law firm in the 1960’s to start Southwest Airlines. His dream was to provide inexpensive airfare for those in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.  However, a temporary restraining order was issued by his rivals, Trans Texas, Braniff and Continental Airlines.

Kelleher fought the ban himself and went to the Supreme Court of Texas, who ruled in favor of Southwest.

Southwest became known for inexpensive fares, no assigned seating and an all-coach cabin.  It started taking to the air in 1971. It eventually became a force in the airline business and flew everywhere in the United States.

In 2016, Kelleher told Guy Raz at NPR Radio that he knew nothing about the airline business which made him qualified to start one because he wanted to get away from the tradition way of running an airline.

Kelleher was Southwest Airlines executive chairman from March 1978 toMay 2008.  He was then the CEO of the company from September 1981 to June 2001. At the time of his death, he was considered the chairman emeritus.

Southwest CEO and chairman Gary Kelly, stated that his vision revolutionized the airline industry. He always had a vision to make air travel inexpensive. He inspired everybody he met, motivated them and kept everybody laughing.

I the 2016 interview he had with NPR, Kelleher talked about his fondness for Wild Turkey bourbon, how he smoked cigarettes most of his life and he loved cheese crackers for breakfast.

Southwest airlines stated he is survived by his wife and he has four children.

Written By Barbara Sobel


CNN: Herb Kelleher, Southwest Airlines founder, dies at 87
Washington Times: Southwest Airlines founder Herb Kelleher dies at 87
Dallas News: Southwest Airlines founder Herb Kelleher dies at 87

Featured and Top Image Courtesy Of Eman Winston’s Flickr Page

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