When Southwest came to “Beautiful Downtown Burbank” in 1990, the average fare was almost $200 to intra-California destinations such as Oakland. As a way to introduce our brand to the market, our first promotion offered Customers the chance to travel for much less than half the traditional rate by offering cash back at the gate.
With ads stating “Fly Southwest to Oakland and get $127 Cash Back at the Gate,” our $59 fare was a great way to kick off the new service. And the fine print—"just pay us the ridiculously high regular coach fare of $186 from Burbank to Oakland, and we’ll give you $127 cash back at the gate, each way.” It was a simple enough idea that helped introduce our new way of flying to a location recently vacated by a legacy airline.
Herb cutting the ribbon, along with airfare, at Burbank