The recent slough of severe weather caused havoc for many airlines. But the airline that suffered the most was Southwest.
More than 2,500 of Southwest's flights needed to be canceled, while Airlines such as Delta, American, and United canceled fewer than 40 flights combined.
There were technical reasons and staffing reasons, but one of the major problems was Southwest's failure to create meaningful partnerships with other airlines.
Other airlines in the industry have built a robust set of partnerships so that if a flight gets canceled, customers can hop on a partner flight if there is room available.
While the ecosystem effect isn’t always easy to visualize in the SaaS space, one can easily see how the lack of a partnership ecosystem created chaos for Southwest causing them to cancel 60x more flights than their competitors.
The more complex an ecosystem, the more robust it is and able to survive crises. Adding partners may seem like a tedious task that makes streamlining harder, but when the you-know-what hits the fan, redundancy and optionality are crucial.
Learn from Southwest's failure. Surround your company with an ecosystem of partners to weather the storms.