Sign Of Southwest Airlines Losing Its Mojo?

I’ve always been a huge fan of Southwest Airlines.  Whether it was how they battled American Airline’s predatory pricing tactics in their early days to former CEO Herb Kelleher arm wrestling for the right to use a tag line, I’ve always found Southwest to be different than all other airlines.  They are what they are and they are usually on time.  And more often than not, their employees are friendly and highly competent. 

They’ve also done a great job weathering many economic storms.  They are by far the most consistently profitable airline in our country.  Some of this was based on the fact they locked up long term gas contracts (although I’ve heard these are no longer in operation), as well as flying only one type of aircraft.  And a lot of it is that they just seem to run more efficiently and less stupidly than the other airlines.  (Are you listening United?)

That being said, today was a ominous sign.  On the way to LAX from DEN, Brad and I were 2 of 15 people on the entire plane.  I really like flying empty planes and it was the most mellow flight that I’ve had in a long, long time, but not a good sign for my favorite carrier.  See the follow picture which I took from row 7 just after pulling to the gate.  These were all the people sitting behind me on the flight.