Did you know that Southwest Airlines has its own time zone? Well, we share it with everyone else who lives and works in Central Time, but we have our own name for it. We call it “Herb Time,” and it is what our Flight Crews use on every flight, every day, and in every flight log book. And, apparently, we are unique in the industry!
It seems other airlines schedule in the local time zones, so a flight from Detroit to Chicago leaving at 0900 would land at 0900. It is then up to the crew to know that those two cities are one time zone apart and that it is a one-hour flight. Our system would show that 0900 arrival in Chicago with an 0800 departure because our Crews always stay in “Herb Time.”
Time management for an airline, as you might imagine, is complex. And, if we hadn’t started flying to El Paso in 1977, we’d probably just still be using Central Time for everything.
Not too many people had the desire to take a job at a startup airline back in 1971, but the ones who did made this airline what it is today. On this episode of Red Belly Radio, I talk with one of those first Employees, Willie Wilson, whose Employee number confirms that he was the 16th Southwest Employee ever hired. Willie talks about the origin of “Herb Time,” and we learn about one of the people who helped us get off the ground. (Literally—Willie started as a Mechanic.)