Herb Kelleher, who changed the airline industry by helping create and lead Southwest Airlines, a low-fare carrier that made air travel more accessible to the masses, has died. He was 87.
Southwest confirmed that Kelleher died on Thursday.
"Herb was a pioneer, a maverick, and an innovator. His vision revolutionized commercial aviation and democratized the skies," Southwest said in a statement.
Kelleher was a lawyer in San Antonio when a client came to him in the late 1960s with the idea for a low-fare airline that would fly between big cities in Texas. Today, Southwest carries more passengers within the U.S. than any airline.
At a time when many other airlines were run by colorless finance wizards, Kelleher boasted about drinking whiskey and showed a gift for wacky marketing ploys.