The early 1970s were a turbulent time for a little startup called Southwest Airlines.
The company had a tiny fleet of just four airplanes that flew to three destinations — all of which were in Texas. But by 1972, Southwest had already posted a net loss of $1.6 million, and the company was forced to sell one of its planes.
"They were not yet a year old. They were consistently losing money. They were constantly scrambling to see what they could do to save cost or boost revenues," says Terry Maxon, the aviation reporter at The Dallas Morning News.