When we made our photo debut in the world of Instagram, we thought our Customers would enjoy an inside look at all things SWA. Recently on our @SouthwestAir Instagram, we took Customers through one of our most treasured places, our Headquarters (HDQ) building which opened in February of 1990 here in Dallas, Texas.
By definition, “headquarters” is a place or building that serves as the managerial and administrative center of an organization. I suppose most corporate headquarters align to this definition, but for us HDQ is so much more than that. Here it’s more of a collaborative meeting place for creativity, innovation, passion for our Company, and our LUV Culture! So with that, let’s begin our #PhotoSWAlk with the main entrance to the building.
Over the 23 years since opening, HDQ has expanded to a whopping 920,000 square feet! From the moment you step into the lobby, you can tell this place is filled with a gargantuan amount of history and fun facts about our Company and People. To give you an idea of how much history, we have over 20,000 framed items on the walls and over 20 display cases!
As you work your way up the five-story building you’ll find several timelines of iconic moments in our history. From the start of Southwest Airlines on the famous “Texas Triangle” napkin, to our Flight Attendants outfitted in bright red-orange hot pants with lace-up go-go boots, and then the introduction of the $13 fare and bottle of liquor in 1973.
The third floor is the home of our beloved Deck that provides fantastic views of the Dallas Love Field runways. The Deck is truly an AvGeek’s dream! You can always find someone out on the Deck watching our LUV jets landing and taking off.
Most offices have a cafeteria, but at SWA, we have “The Landing” on the top floor. This portion of the building was added in 1998. The Landing is another great location in the building that provides an awesome view of downtown Dallas and Love Field. Along with food served at the Landing, we also have our Freedom Shop, where you can purchase all sorts of collectibles, accessories and apparel (which is all modeled by Southwest Employees).
Working our way back down to the first floor is our University for People, which is celebrating its 25th Anniversary! You’re probably wondering what the heck a “University for People” is; the U4P is a section of the building that fosters the personal and career development of all Employees. Classes are provided both in person and online for Employees across the System. Pretty cool perk for Southwest Employees.
Next to the U4P is our first floor Culture Center. This is one of many special gathering places in the building that’s accessible to all Employees and guests. This Culture Center is themed after our Queen of Hearts, President Emeritus Colleen Barrett. Colleen teaches all of our Employees to live by The Golden Rule: Treat others as you want to be treated, and she is always focused on the preservation and promotion of our Culture. In her honor, the Companywide Culture Committee donated the heart-shaped chairs shown in the photo.
Another renovated portion of the building is our third floor Culture Center which opened in late 2012. This Culture Center is appropriately travel-themed with innovative meeting spaces with FUN names like, “Now Boarding,” and “Space Available.”
You may or may not know that the start of every new Flight Attendant’s journey begins here in Dallas at HDQs. Our Inflight Training Department on the second floor is equipped with an assortment of aircraft configurations and models to help our Employees learn the ins and outs of flying the blue skies.
One tool to assist with Inflight Training is an aircraft motion simulator called, “Poolie.” The simulator’s name pays homage to one of our first Flight Attendant instructors, Sandy Poole, who was instrumental in getting the simulator to HDQs.
Here’s a look of the past and present of our Dispatch office in the building. Dispatch isn’t seen by Customers, but their job is crucial to our operation. On the left you’ll see the first Dispatch office with only one desk in 1971. Shown below that photo is our current Dispatch office where we currently have over 200 Dispatchers working behind the scenes leading aircraft all across our System.
Construction of our Dallas Maintenance Hangar began in 2006 and has now expanded to fit approximately eight aircraft at one time. Our Maintenance and Engineering (M&E) operations runs 24 hours a day. In addition to routine maintenance checks, our M&E Employees have the exciting task of swapping engines and retrofitting our fleet with the new Evolve Interior.
Our TOPS building will be home to some of our training and operations departments as well as Customer Relations/Rapid Rewards. The new building will be sustainable and environmentally-friendly, which will allow us to continue practices that meet LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards for design, construction, and renovations. We’re anxiously waiting to create new and exciting SWA memories in the building.
And that concludes our #PhotoSWAlk folks. You can join the conversation on the @SouthwestAir Instagram by tagging photos with #SWApic.