Low-cost carriers differentiate themselves from full-service carriers by offering lower ticket prices generally through two methods. First is to charge additional fees for items usually included by full-service carriers, such as food and beverages, and checked luggage. Second is by often operating out of secondary airports, which generally charge lower usage costs to airlines. Southwest Airlines is the worlds’ largest low carrier, both in terms of passengers carried and revenue.
In 2022, Southwest Airlines had the third highest domestic market share of all U.S. airlines – although little separates the top four. However, the three full-service carriers which round out the top four - American Airlines, Delta, and United - are all more profitable. This is likely due to Southwest’s low-cost business model and lack of international destinations. Despite these limitations, Southwest consistently receives higher customer satisfaction scores than the leading full-service providers.