The airline industry is notoriously brutal. As Warren Buffett once wrote in a letter to shareholders, "[I]f a farsighted capitalist had been present at Kitty Hawk, he would have done his successors a huge favor by shooting Orville down." Yet Southwest Airlines just recorded its 39th consecutive year of profitability--in a business sector where profits can be excruciatingly tough to come by.
How does Southwest do it? In part, by keeping operations simple. Simpler operations mean fewer things that can go awry and botch up the whole process.