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Why is Southwest Airlines Stock Symbol “LUV”?

When it comes to investing in the stock market, symbols or tickers used to represent individual companies. These symbols are often a combination of letters that may or may not relate directly to the company’s name. In the case of Southwest Airlines, the stock symbol “LUV” might seem puzzling at first glance. However, there is an intriguing story behind why this particular symbol chosen. In this article, we will explore the history and significance of Southwest Airlines’ stock symbol and uncover the reasons behind its unconventional choice.

The Birth of Southwest Airlines

Before we delve into the origins of the stock symbol “LUV,” let’s briefly touch upon the history of Southwest Airlines. Established in 1967, Southwest Airlines a major U.S. airline headquartered in Dallas, Texas. It known for its low-cost business model, extensive domestic route network, and renowned customer service. Over the years, Southwest Airlines has become one of the most successful and recognizable airlines in the industry.

The Love Connection

Herb Kelleher and the “Love” Philosophy

To understand the rationale behind the symbol “LUV,” we need to take a closer look at Herb Kelleher, one of the co-founders and former CEO of Southwest Airlines. Kelleher was a charismatic and unconventional leader who believed in fostering a positive and inclusive company culture. He wanted Southwest Airlines to be a company where employees and customers alike felt valued and cared for.

Kelleher’s philosophy of putting people first and creating a loving and fun environment became a defining characteristic of Southwest Airlines. The company’s commitment to customer service, employee engagement, and a friendly atmosphere often referred to as the “Southwest Spirit.” This unique approach set Southwest Airlines apart from its competitors and built a loyal customer base.

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The Birth of the Symbol “LUV”

In 1971, Southwest Airlines decided to go public and listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). As part of the listing process, the airline needed to choose a stock symbol that would represent its shares. Herb Kelleher, known for his creative thinking, suggested the symbol “LUV” as a playful nod to the company’s core values and culture.

The symbol “LUV” was a clever play on words, combining the phonetic pronunciation of “love” with the first three letters of the company’s name, “Southwest.” It captured the essence of Southwest Airlines’ commitment to love, care, and exceptional customer service. The choice of the symbol “LUV” was a reflection of the company’s personality and the unique bond it aimed to create with its employees and passengers.

The Symbol’s Enduring Legacy

Since its introduction, the stock symbol “LUV” has become synonymous with Southwest Airlines. It has become an iconic representation of the airline’s brand and values. The symbol “LUV” serves as a constant reminder of the love and care that Southwest Airlines strives to provide to its employees, customers, and the communities it serves.

The Impact of the Symbol “LUV”

Brand Recognition and Differentiation

The choice of the symbol “LUV” has played a significant role in building Southwest Airlines’ brand recognition and differentiation. In a highly competitive industry, where most airline stock symbols consist of a combination of letters and numbers, “LUV” stands out and captures attention. It reflects the airline’s commitment to a unique and customer-centric approach, setting it apart from its competitors.

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Emotional Connection

The symbol “LUV” evokes an emotional connection with stakeholders of Southwest Airlines. It represents the company’s friendly and caring culture, which has resonated with both employees and customers over the years. The symbol serves as a reminder of the positive experiences people have had with the airline and fosters a sense of loyalty and affinity.

Investor Perception

While the choice of a stock symbol may not directly impact a company’s financial performance, it can influence investor perception. The symbol “LUV” aligns with Southwest Airlines’ reputation for excellent customer service and a strong corporate culture. It can create a favorable impression among investors who value companies with a customer-centric focus and a solid track record.


The stock symbol “LUV” associated with Southwest Airlines is not just a random combination of letters; it is a testament to the company’s unique culture and values. Herb Kelleher’s vision of creating a loving and caring environment within the airline shaped the choice of this symbol. “LUV” has become an iconic representation of Southwest Airlines’ commitment to exceptional customer service, employee engagement, and a positive company culture. It symbolizes the emotional connection the airline strives to establish with its stakeholders. As investors and aviation enthusiasts, we can appreciate the significance of the symbol “LUV” and the story it tells about Southwest Airlines’ enduring legacy.

Why is Southwest Airlines Stock Symbol “LUV”?
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