I recently had the pleasure of watching our newest Flight Attendants graduate and earn their wings. What a difference from the first day they arrived at Initial Training! On day one, there were lots of “deer-in-the-headlights” looks, anxious grins, and nervous chatter. At graduation, I saw confident, thrilled Southwest Flight Attendants just itching to serve our valued Customers.
That afternoon took me back to my own Flight Attendant graduation 20 years ago, and I must admit I had some feelings of envy. Although I flew for another carrier, I know firsthand what these new Employees are feeling. There is nothing like it! Earning those coveted wings is a huge accomplishment. Many people have the misconceived notion that Flight Attendants are just waiters or waitresses in the sky. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.
During my time in the air, I delivered a baby, lost an engine on takeoff, navigated a smoke-filled cabin, experienced lightening strikes, and lots more. Thank goodness I was highly trained for all these situations. Our Flight Attendants are also highly trained. For four weeks, they are immersed in the world of Inflight. They are given the tools to deal with various events from medical to security to Safety. Upon graduation, Southwest Flight Attendants are equipped with the knowledge and tools to fight an in-flight fire, perform life-saving CPR, evacuate an aircraft, and more. This is all in the name of transporting our Customers from point A to point B safely. Of course, if they happen to have some FUN along the way, all the better.
Our Flight Attendants are known for their cheerful personalities, and our newest bunch is no exception. I’ve heard them singing their PAs, making jokes, and having a great time. I have no doubt that they will take all that energy and share it with everyone onboard our LUV jets.
I am so excited for our new Flight Attendants because I know what a great ride they will have. Flexible schedules allow for lots of time to use our valued nonrev privileges. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit every state in the U.S., as well as numerous countries throughout Europe and the Middle East. I hope our newest Employees will take advantage of their opportunity to see the world.
Even though I hung up my wings almost six years ago, the love of the job never goes away. Many of these brand new Flight Attendants will develop a LUV of flying that will stick with them forever. I hope they will always carry the pride they had the first time they put on the Southwest Airlines uniform and wings.
My Son and Me, Taken in 2005