Southwest founder “Democraticized the skies”

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Texas History

After three years of courtroom battles, Southwest Airlines finally got off the ground on Jun. 18, 1971 with a trio of Boeing 737’s flying passengers between Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.

Co-founder Herb Kelleher was there to meet the inaugural flight at its destination. For the rest of his days, he relived the magical moment with anyone who would listen: “I walked up to it and I kissed that baby on the lips and I cried.”

Everyone that ever knew the rule-breaking maverick, who passed away in January at age 87, has his favorite Kelleher story. For business writer Bill Taylor it was the first time he heard him talk at one of those conferences where it is hard to stay awake.



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