Southwest CEO Calls Delta Nothing More Than A Squatter They Need to Remove

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Southwest vs Delta Battle at Dallas Love Field Rages On

The Southwest vs Delta Battle at Dallas Love Field Rages On

Gary Kelly, Southwest’s Chairman and CEO, is getting tired of Delta’s game. Or maybe he just doesn’t want the added competition at Dallas Love Field?  The two airlines have been fighting over gate space for years now and the court case continues to drag on. At a recent chamber of commerce meeting in Dallas Gary Kelly had this to say:

It’s like you having rented a house, and there’s a squatter in the house and you’ve got to get them out. It’s really no more complicated than that.

This all started when Delta was awarded gate space for 5 daily flights to Atlanta years ago. Southwest had a stranglehold on 18 of the 20 gates at Dallas Love Field so whose space do you think they took for those 5 flights? If you guessed Southwest then you are correct. The arrangement was supposed to be temporary but once the agreement was up Delta never left.

Southwest vs Delta Battle at Dallas Love Field Rages On
The courtyard plaza next to the Hunt Oil building in Downtown Dallas.

The city of Dallas, who owns the airport, feared retaliation from the airlines if they chose sides so they decided to let the courts figure it out.  That was supposed to happen in February but it once again has been postponed. This time until September of this year.

Delta isn’t sitting pat either.  They have asked for 8 more flights that they say they could operate from Alaska’s underused gates.  Alaska inherited these gates from their Virgin America purchase.  Alaska of course announced their plans to expand their service at Dallas Love Field once hearing of the proposal. It appears no one wants Delta in the sandbox.

Southwest vs Delta Battle at Dallas Love Field Rages On

After hearing of the quote from Kelly a Delta spokesperson had the following to say about it:

Only long term, meaningful competition provides the best options and fares for the citizens of Dallas. And to that end, we are pursuing our right to continue flying out of Love Field.


Sometimes these big time corporations and CEOs sound like middle school kids on the playground. Competition is always good for the consumer so as a customer I would prefer Delta to get the space and create a price war.  But I also understand where Southwest is coming from on the business side of things.

I do find it funny that the Southwest CEO talks about a rented house and a squatter since he is nothing more than a tenant at the airport.  I wish the city of Dallas would have just made a call on the matter instead of dragging it out in court.  Maybe they should look into expansion if there is that much demand. Have Delta chip in for it if they really want to become a player in Dallas.


Source: Dallas Business Journal


  1. I use to fly BTR into Dallas-Love years ago then DFW came along coupled with living in PDX area for over 22 yrs, it hadn’t happened. Until three months ago. Alaska is my fav carrier these days but residual points scattered. I priced (using miles) both AS and AA non-stop into Dallas all airports. AS wanted more mile than AA. So I book AA mileage ticket (using AA miles which I haven’t flown in years) but the best timing option was on partner AS’s metal into Love Field! Ironically, the return was from DFW on AA metal.

    Consumers benefit from all the squabbling between these airlines. Wish there was more of it in more cities.

    Yeah, it was SW’s sandbox for years, but I’m pulling for AS to get serious in the area, or even DL. I am 3MM with DL but don’t fly them anymore.

  2. Of course, Delta isn’t so pro-competition when the shoe is on the other foot. It has successfully killed every attempt to build, or even consider building, a second commercial airport for the Atlanta metro area. 🙂

    • Corporations speaking out both sides of their mouth – say it ain’t so Ryan :). It is comical to watch the hypocrisy though!


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