>> heard straight from Herb's mouth, that the policy was the result of them honestly thinking, that they weren't going to make it.
How much of this statement is modesty, and how much is meant to perpetuate the fairy-tale saga, no one but Herb can say for certain.<<
Well, I don't doubt that you heard it from herb, but that doesn't make it true. Bless his heart, occasionally Herb doesn't seem to remember things the way they really were.....of course that could very well be due to the FACT that for at least the first 7 yrs of the airline's existence, Herb had NOTHING at all to do with it except lawyer.
Here is an amusing anecdote for you.
As far back as 1975, Southwest was accepting reservations for 365 days out.
They were not on a computer system.....flight reservations were put on little index cards and filed.
Loads were such that you never started to worry about flights until 30-45 days before the flight.
Imagine everyone's shock and consternation when the pasteboard box containing "future date bookings" was sorted through and everyone discovered that Flight 125 on the Friday before Labor Day, 1975, from Dallas to Houston to Harlingen at 7:30 pm, was booked to 376. On a plane that seated 118.
There wasn't much anyone could do......Rez called folks and talked them into taking an earlier flight...a later flight....whatever.....but the truth is the day of reckoning arrived and Fortuna smiled on Southwest, big time.
A hurricane moved across the Gulf of Mexico and threatened to come inland right by Brownsville and South Padre Island, just a hop-skip-and jump from the Harlingen Airport. So instead of a massively oversold aircraft, it went out from Houston with, as I recall, a load of 28.
Shortly thereafter Rez did not take any more reservations that far in advance. Ultimately, Southwest got away from the index cards and went to a NCR computer inventory system....using little bitty Bunker-Ramo agent terminals.....and it was about all those things could do to keep track of a month's worth of records, much less 12.
And that's the way it was at Southwest Airlines Reservations, 1201 N Watson Rd, Arlington TX
. Metro number 640-1221.