As all of the Employees of Southwest Airlines and the Crew Members of AirTran Airways get ready to celebrate next week the “marriage” of our Companies on Monday, another wedding is on my mind. Tomorrow, a member of the extended family of Airline Employees is saying “I Do.”
At Westminster Abbey.
To a Prince, the heir-apparent to the British throne.
AND I LUV IT!
I’m talking about Catherine Middleton, who tomorrow is marrying His Royal Highness Prince William Arthur Philip Louis. I think almost anyone on this planet has probably heard that Prince William is marrying a “commoner.” But what many don’t realize is just how common Kate is—or, put another way, what all airline employees have in common with her and her parents! Her mum and dad—Carole and Michael Middleton—worked for years at British Airways. In fact, they met and married while with BA, Carole as a Flight Attendant and Mike as a dispatcher, where they remained after Kate’s birth until they started their mail-order/internet children’s party business.
Of course, airline employees marrying (and having kids!) is nothing new. Southwest, being the LUV Airline, has a surprising number of Employee couples, with over 2,400 Southwest Employees are married to other Employees, at last count. But to my knowledge none of our “SWA Two-fers”—our married Employee couples—have ever had one of their kids marry into royalty!
Tomorrow morning (Central time), while I’m up at dark-thirty sipping Earl Grey, eating scones, and watching all of the royals and hangers-on arrive at Westminster for the ceremony, I’m sure that all of the good folks at Waterside (BA’s world headquarters near London Heathrow Airport) are going to feel a special excitement knowing that they have a connection with the Middletons. And I’m going to relish the fact that the Father of the Bride knows how to file a flight release, and that the Mother of the Bride knows how to evacuate passengers from an aircraft in an emergency. And that the future Queen of England—even if only in a dim, childhood memories—knows the exhilaration (and terror!) of trying to travel standby on full flights as a “perk” of being the daughter of an employee!
So cheers, Wills and Kate. Congratulations! Southwest Airlines LUVs you and wishes you the best of everything from our side of the Atlantic to yours. And after all the champagne is poured and the confetti settles at Buck House from your merriment tomorrow, look across the pond on Monday to see a wedding party of a different kind. Southwest and AirTran are going to have a marriage celebration of our own—and while it may not be royal, it, too, will be historic!