This is in positive response to FirstClass!:
You have put forth three excellent pieces of evidence as to why Southwest is successful. The ontime rate generates more $$ for SW because it can turn its planes around in 25 mins or less where as other airlines usually take 45 min.-1 hour. By creating such a quick turnaround, SW can put in another 1-3 flights a day! This is economics.
Furthermore, Southwest is NOT a carrier for people who cannot afford to pay a higher price. It's not fair to say who can and cannot pay a certain airfare. I could very well pay $400 to fly DA or AA to Florida, but I have grown a liking to Southwest's flying and business philosophies. Many times, I find that some carriers are too business like for me and Southwest FA's create a very friendly and less tense environment. Granted, SOMETIMES, I feel that I want some element of 'seriousness' if you will, but SW FA's are still and always will be professional, in their own way.
In addition, airline choice does have to do with location. I may be reiteratining somethings here, but I haven't the time to read through all the messages. I'm from Providence, RI, a smaller busy airport since having been remodeled. SW came into PVD under the condition that the new terminal be built. The thing with SW coming into PVD is that they create a whole new market. In comparison, Boston (1 hr away) is so much more expensive. Even for the common carriers (AA, CO, UA, DA, US, NW), PVD is much cheaper. People are willing to drive the 1-1.5 hours (even from Maine!) to save $150 on a plane ticket. And none of this would have happened if it were not for Southwest. What Southwest has done for Providence is a very good economics lesson in airfare wars and competition.
Obviously, there are millions of people out there who like SW, otherwise, they would not be creating as much competition and fare wars in the airline industry.