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Flashback Fridays: Little Known ProfitSharing Factoids

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For as long as I have been with Southwest, winter has also been the “season” for Messages to the Field (where our CEO delivers a "state of the airline," talks about the priorities for the year, and fields questions from Employees). One of the traditional announcements at the Messages that affects all of our Employees is the amount of the Company’s contribution to our... read more

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Flashback Fridays: Selling Love Field in 1974

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We’ve covered the landmark day of January 13, 1974, before in previous editions of Flashback Fridays.  Those earlier posts have shared pictures of the abandoned Dallas Love Field lobby after the other airlines packed up and moved to the DFW Airport.  Just as the other airlines shifted airports overnight, Southwest consolidated our operations into the old baggage... read more

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Flashback Fridays: Southwest’s First Valentine’s Day Celebrations

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It’s no secret that Southwest LUVs to celebrate holidays, especially Valentine’s Day and Halloween.  It’s a longtime tradition, but just how deep are those roots?  As these documents and photos from the archives show, our association with Valentine’s Day goes all the way back to our very beginnings.  I recently found documents recapping both our very... read more

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Flashback Fridays: When AirTran Came to Branson

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The first AirTran city conversion to Southwest Airlines in 2013 is just a few weeks away when Branson, Missouri, becomes a Southwest city on March 9.  It’s also going to be the first time since we began service to Little Rock on February 27, 1984, that a new Southwest city will open with nonstop flights to Dallas Love Field, thanks to the Wright Amendment. ... read more

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Flashback Fridays: More Assorted Early Southwest Photos

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As I go through the archives, I find interesting photos that I want to share, but sometimes there aren’t enough photos on a specific subject to which an entire Flashback Fridays can be devoted.  So, I save these “onsies” and “twosies” to present in periodic grab-bag posts, and that is what we have this week. Regular readers know how much I treasure “slice of... read more

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Flashback Fridays: Fun With Annual Reports

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This week, we take a different approach to Southwest’s history by tracking some measurements of our growth over our first 40 years.  Upfront, I have to admit that I am intimidated by numbers, especially those used to express economic terms.  I just squeaked by my college Economics class (although I do remember we played a neat board game).  However, while... read more

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Flashback Fridays: An Airline Future That Never Was, Part Two

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Back before the holidays, I shared some photos in a book my best friend from childhood had sent me.  The book, Transport Aircraft of the World by Lester Ott, was published in 1944, a climactic year during World War II.  In the first installment, I shared some American-built/designed aircraft that were unusual and that wound up either never being built or relegated to... read more

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Flashback Fridays: Five Best Flashback Photos of 2012

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This time of year could be called “list season.”  I have to admit that I am a list junkie, and I devour any “best of” (or better yet, “worst of”) list relating to a subject in which I am interested, and I don’t think I’m alone.  Why are we so interested in lists?  My take is that they give us a chance to compare our judgment with those of... read more

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Flashback Fridays: Happy Holidays from Long Ago

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This week’s Flashback gives you the opportunity to look at the details of how we have celebrated a few of the past 42 Holiday Seasons, and the photos run the gamut from early Southwest to early AirTran holiday costumes and celebrations.   The first photo features a trio of Flight Attendants from the the earliest of the years that Southwest was in operation.  Our... read more

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Looking Back at Kitty Hawk

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In many ways, today may be the most important day on Southwest Airlines’ calendar because it marks the 109th anniversary of the date that humans took to the air in powered, controlled flight.  After all, without airplanes, you can’t have airlines.  While the problems of controlled flight would probably been solved sooner or later, the Wright Brothers did it... read more

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National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day 2012, A Few Random Thoughts

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If you are lucky to know a World War II Veteran, and have an opportunity to ask them their recollections of December 7, 1941, most assuredly they will convey the shock and horror they felt when the Armed Forces of the United States of America were attacked.  Although, the number of people who have firsthand memories of the attack on Pearl Harbor is dwindling, this... read more

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Flashback Fridays: An Airline Future That Never Was

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A week or so ago, I received an amazing book from a lifelong friend from my childhood.  The book dates to 1944, and it is printed on pulp paper because higher quality “slick” paper was in short supply during World War II.  I have to admit that the content of this book, Transport Aircraft of the World by Lester Ott, simply blew me away.  I thought I had a... read more

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Flashback Fridays: Early Candid Views of Houston Hobby

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When Southwest began flying on June 18, 1971, we operated out of Houston Intercontinental (IAH). Southwest reopened Hobby to commercial service a few months later on November 14, and we used the occasion to complete the “Texas Triangle" by beginning service between Hobby and San Antonio.  (We operated from both Houston airports until May 14, 1972, when we we... read more

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Southwest Honors Larry Hagman

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In a very real sense, Larry Hagman represents our hometown, Dallas.  As J.R. Ewing he made Dallas an international destination, even if his character was a shady, conniving scoundrel.  And as himself, he became a part of the city’s heart through his generosity.  As these photos from our archives show, Mr. Hagman had an early relationship with Southwest. ... read more

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Flashback Fridays: A Thanksgiving Avgeek Photo Feast

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This week, I raided my postcard collection to find some photos built around the general theme of the way airlines display their names on the outside of their aircraft.  The other reason was that I just wanted a chance to share these interesting older images with you as an after-Thanksgiving treat. We set the stage with this early Southwest image from the archives, and as... read more

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Wild Turkey: The National Bird of Southwest Airlines

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Is there a more iconic symbol of Thanksgiving than the turkey?  No, we’re not talking about a big Tom as the centerpiece of the table surrounded by dressing, mashed potatoes, and cranberries.  I’m talking about the magnificent wild turkey, which was the mainstay of the diets of Native Americans along the East Coast.  Ben Franklin thought the bird was more... read more

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Flashback Fridays: Southwest Airlines on the Radio Dial

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Don’t touch that dial!  This week’s Flashback Fridays is both a look at our relationship with some Dallas radio stations, and it’s a review of some of the methods we have used to build the Southwest Airlines brand.  There are some cool photos too.   We begin with the above, and no, these aren’t 70s revolutionaries trying to take the airplane to... read more

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Flashback Fridays: Sequels to Iconic Images

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In the early days, Southwest Airlines created more iconic images than an upstart carrier with just three airplanes should have generated.  I don’t think anyone ever said:  “Today, we’re going to make an icon.”  It just happened naturally.  Some of those images include the early television advertisement where a model dressed in our first Flight... read more

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Flashback Fridays: A Few Thoughts about Original Employees

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Maybe you’ve worked or flown on 737-700, N418WN, and you saw the words The Winning Spirit proudly displayed on the aircraft’s nose.  The reasons behind the names some of our aircraft carry are self-evident, but what about N418WN?  It is actually the latest of several aircraft to wear this title, and it and its predecessors are dedicated to our Original... read more

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Flashback Fridays: The Origins of Southwest Reservations Department

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In the beginning, there were flights.  Those Southwest Airlines flights served Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.  Flight Attendants and Ticket Agents in hot pants and big smiles served our Customers, but American Airlines served as the initial point of contact for most of those Customers.  For the first year and a half (up until March 1973) of Southwest’s... read more

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Best of Flashback Fridays: Origins of the Boeing 737—Part One

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Brian subtitled this post “The “Originals: The 737-100 and 737-200” as the first installment of a four-part series that originally began on February 17, 2012.  Brian gives us an interesting view (as always) of the beginnings of the legacy that is the 737.  Let me know in the comments section if you would like to see Brian’s remaining chapters appear if... read more

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Best of Flashback Fridays: Dallas Love Field Before Southwest Airlines

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In this week’s “Best of” Brian Lusk’s Flashback Fridays, we take a look back at not only a brief history of Love Field before Southwest Airlines, but also at some great photos from Brian’s own postcard collection. Although Brian’s story on Love Field begins in in the 1940s, it’s fun to note that, nearly 100 years ago—in 1917—aviators from the U.S. Army first... read more

Flashback Fridays: The Ten-Minute Turn in Pictures

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For the next several weeks we’ll be publishing what we consider to be the “Best of” Brian’s Flashback Friday posts.  The first one that we’ve selected reflects a subject and practice of Southwest Airlines that still elicits respect and awe from airline insiders and the traveling public alike.  Hope you enjoy this remarkable “Quick-turn” rerun. How cool... read more

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Flashback Fridays: Selling Love Field in 1974

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We’ve covered the landmark day of January 13, 1974, before in previous editions of Flashback Fridays.  Those earlier posts have shared pictures of the abandoned Dallas Love Field lobby after the other airlines packed up and moved to the DFW Airport.  Just as the other airlines shifted airports overnight, Southwest consolidated our operations into the old baggage... read more

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Flashback Fridays: A Longtime Relationship with College Football

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Another college football season starts this weekend in earnest, and in my browsing through still more black and white negatives, I found some photos that involve my favorite school getting together with my favorite airline.  I should note that Southwest recently became the Official Airline of the Athletic Department of the University of Texas, but before we begin, I must... read more

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Soaring a Mile High: Introducing Colorado One

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We took our “LUV” for the Mile-High State to new heights today by unveiling Colorado One, a Boeing 737-700 emblazoned with the Colorado state flag! The aircraft is a testament to our great relationship with Front Range Customers and a tribute to our Colorado-based Employees.Colorado One was unveiled at a ceremony at Denver International Airport... read more

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15 Places to Fly for Ice Cream on Southwest Airlines!

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July is National Ice Cream Month and Sunday July 15th, 2012 is officially National Ice Cream Day! Well, you know, Dish Trip loves to travel for food and that certainly includes the frozen, creamy kind. To celebrate we’ll be taking flight to one of the spots we’ve listed below, to buy some fellow Southwest Airlines fans and ice cream lovers some sweet scoops, compliments of... read more

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Flashback Fridays: Southwest’s First Headquarters Wasn’t Dallas?

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We continue our “June is our Birthday Month” posts with some artifact gems that Phoenix Flight Attendant and fellow Southwest Avgeek, Rick Covington, shared with me.    (I postponed our look at the 1974 Love Field moving day until next week.)  Let’s begin with the notice below from Dun and Bradstreet.  Even though it carries a stern warning about... read more

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Flashback Fridays: Finally, A Look at Southwest’s Original Dallas Gates

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Beginning with our first anniversary in June 1972, we proclaimed June to be “Our Birthday Month.”  Last week, I mentioned that I had found a treasure trove of early negatives, and I am excited to share these mostly unseen images as a Southwest birthday gift to you throughout the month.  Ever since I began my first dives through all of our photos, slides, and... read more

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Flashback Fridays: Mid-70s Love Field Miscellany

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I’ve been spending a ton of time lately looking over our photo collection (and trying to organize the beast), and these photos have two things in common:  they were taken in the mid-70s, and they all involve Love Field. We start with a photo that was taken before Love Field underwent its first modernization with the addition of the current silver façade.  The... read more

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Otterly Irresistible

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There's no doubt about it. The opportunity to work with zoo animals is awesome! But as any pet owner knows, traveling with animals can be a headache. Especially when the animals are babies and the trip is 2,000 miles each way!So when our friend and colleague Jack Hanna asked us to help him with a recent appearance on CBS's The Late Show with David Letterman, I was a bit... read more

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Flash Forward—Part Seven: It’s an Airplane! The Continued Progress of Our First 737-800

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When I got this batch of photos from Boeing, I was really excited, and I hope you will be too.  All that metal and hard work seen in previous photos has come together to produce our first 737-800.  Before I get into the fun, I think a word of thanks to all the Boeing workers and those of their suppliers like Spirit Aerospace in Wichita is appropriate.  Their... read more

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Flash Forward—Part Three: The Continued Progress of our First 737-800

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If you have ever made a model airplane, you know the process involves making various subassemblies, then gluing them together to make an airplane.  As these photos show, the process of making a real airplane is very similar. In our last batch of photos, the fuselage had moved inside the assembly building to the fuselage make-ready station.  With this group of... read more

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THE 4-1-1 ON TWO NEW EQUIPMENT TYPES IN THE SWA FLEET

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A milestone event happened today at Southwest!  Today, we changed our schedule by introducing aircraft with the new “Evolve” interior that we unveiled on Jan. 17, and the 737-800.  The new equipment types were planned in advance, so these are equipment changes on existing flights with no “net-new” flying.  This particular milestone comes from a... read more

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Flashback Fridays: Albuquerque at Age One

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I recently found a large batch of black and white negatives primarily from the year 1981.  These 30-year-old photos contain some interesting views of key Southwest events and of the day-to-day routine of three decades ago.  The next few Flashback Friday installments, including next week’s Holiday edition will come from this era.   But first, we look at the... read more

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Kid Rock Goes to Graceland, TN

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We’ve written before about Southwest’s great partnership with the Artists Den which has allowed us to send some of our Customers, Rapid Rewards Members, Corporate Clients, and Employees to exclusive and private concerts around the country where they were able to hear from Adele, Death Cab, and The Fray just to name a few.  As our partnership continued this year, we... read more

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Southwest Airlines’ Proud History of the Boeing 737

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 Boeing's 737 has allowed Southwest Airlines to fly to greatness, and conversely, Southwest’s longtime support has played a major role in the continued success of the most prolific jetliner in aviation history.  Today’s announcement about Southwest assuming the role of launch customer for the new 737 MAX further reinforces that relationship.   Look back to a... read more

DAL: A Day at Love Field

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I remember visiting the airport as a child. It was a magical place where these shimmering, winged behemoths lived. You could look out of the terminal windows and look upon the row after row of metal birds and wonder “What city did they come from, where are they going, what exciting adventure are these passengers whisking off to?” Beside each plane, a myriad of baggage... read more

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Best of Flashback Fridays: A Historical Look at Southwest and Baseball

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In honor of the opening of baseball season this week, I’ve chosen Brian’s nod to Southwest’s connection with “America’s pastime” as this edition of the Best of Flashback Fridays.  Granted, Brian’s post was written at the very end of that year’s season, just as the 2011 World Series was about to start, but there’s just something about an opening day... read more

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The Physics of Santa

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Is this podcast timely? Yes. Accurate? Well, I really don't know. Some years ago an unknown group or individual with seemingly too much time on their hands decided to apply their math and physics skills to Santa and his reindeer. Easy enough. Just run the numbers and report it. For instance one part of this podcast reports: Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks... read more

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Bigger. Better. Stronger. Help Hurricane #Sandy Victims

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Not that long ago in Breezy Point, NY, families gathered around the dinner table to talk about their day or took a moment to breathe in the fresh air and walk along the Atlantic Coast.  Today, as you walk through remnants of what someone once called their home, all that’s recognizable is a radio flyer wagon missing two wheels and a red fire truck sitting on cement that... read more

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Looking Back at Kitty Hawk

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In many ways, today may be the most important day on Southwest Airlines’ calendar because it marks the 109th anniversary of the date that humans took to the air in powered, controlled flight.  After all, without airplanes, you can’t have airlines.  While the problems of controlled flight would probably been solved sooner or later, the Wright Brothers did it... read more

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Flashback Fridays: A Cartoonist’s Take on Southwest’s Early Battles

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As the Archives Intern, I have spent many memorable moments this semester sifting through Southwest’s photos, documents, and memorabilia.   The other day, a series of tongue-in-cheek pen-and-ink political cartoons caught my eye for their wry take on the early struggles Southwest Airlines faced in the wars between Love Field and DFW Airport.  Before Facebook... read more

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Military Heroes Month: Transporting a Fallen Hero on 9/11 Anniversary

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I often hear the word “hero” used when I hear stories about people who stepped up to a challenge or overcame tremendous obstacles.  For me, I had the privilege and humbling honor to transport true heroes—including one who had sacrificed everything.  Upon landing in Baltimore (BWI) on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, we were notified that we would... read more

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Wings of Hope

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Emerging from her chrysalis on October 20th, a monarch inspired me to come to her aid. I have been raising and releasing monarchs for forty years and knew this one wouldn’t be able to fly with temperatures below 55 degrees, nor would there be any flowers with enough nectar to fuel her on her migration. Southwest Airlines responded positively to my unusual request by... read more

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Frye’s Rescue

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First of all, I would like to thank our friends at Southwest Airlines for making this whole trip possible.  Had they not offered to fly Frye and our animal transport team to Georgia and back, SEA LIFE Arizona might not have had the opportunity to rescue Frye.  Frye is an endangered green sea turtle that sustained injuries early in life from a boat strike.  The... read more

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Flashback Fridays: The Origins of Southwest Reservations Department

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In the beginning, there were flights.  Those Southwest Airlines flights served Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.  Flight Attendants and Ticket Agents in hot pants and big smiles served our Customers, but American Airlines served as the initial point of contact for most of those Customers.  For the first year and a half (up until March 1973) of Southwest’s... read more

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Flashback Friday’s: Fun Times During the Early 1980s, Southwest Style

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If you are thinking that the guy wearing the airplane suit and the leather helmet looks familiar, you are right.  That’s Southwest Chairman Emeritus Herb Kelleher, and he’s wearing a Pac Man T-shirt.  Why, you might ask, was a respected airline executive dressed like this in public? In late 1981, Herb agreed to a Pac Man “battle” with Southwest Captain Bob... read more

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Behind the Business Travel Challenge

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It’s tough describing the atmosphere behind-the-scenes of a production shoot – forget the fact that we were surrounded by desert-like terrain in 100-degree, dry heat, and located at the base of Agua Dulce’s hills – this set was larger than life and built like an oversized play-place.   I could tell you about why my team and I decided to move forward with the... read more

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Letters of Appreciation

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September 11, 2001 is one of those rare days that are ingrained in public memory. Anyone who was old enough to understand remembers where they were that day, what they did, and whom they called. But for some, the fear and worries that pervaded the nation were amplified because they were on another flight, or a loved one was flying. Or, like many of our own Employees that day,... read more

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I Was Told There Would Be No Math

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What’s it like to get to tour the Oshkosh airshow?  Well, in early August  (Ok, really late July) I went to the EAA Airventure show in Oshkosh. But I wasn’t there by myself—a couple contest winners joined in on the fun as well. Simple enough, people entered a sweepstakes at southwest.com. To enter, it took little time and required no math. Jennie and Joe... read more

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Flashback Fridays: A Look at Early 737-200 Delivery Flights

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Taking delivery of a new aircraft is a “big deal.”  I’ve been fortunate to have traveled to Seattle to pick up two new aircraft, and for an avgeek like me, it is an exciting time.  Even if the aircraft is “just another 737-700,” that aircraft will remain “yours” as long as it is flying—my two are N436WN and N215WN.  For this edition of... read more

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SWA Stew: Episode 58

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Hey, campers, we're going to Branson!  We're also helping out some great people get the care they need via our Medical Transportation Grant Program.  Once you're done flying, get driving via National Car Rental; it is our latest Rapid Rewards partner, after all!  And if you're still flying, why not fly on Colorado One?  We were very happy to introduce our... read more

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Flashback Fridays: Early Onboard Love and an Extra Treat for Avgeeks

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This week, we have photos that take us back to the start of a longtime Southwest Airlines tradition, and as a bonus, they also show us the interior of one of our three original aircraft.  Like so many other of the recent Flashback Fridays installments, this week’s post uses uncut roles of negatives that I recently found.   We’ve heard hundreds of stories of... read more

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Rockin’ Oshkosh for Another Year

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For yet another Super Saturday, Southwest burst onto the scene of the World's Greatest Aviation Celebration.  Festival-goers were able to tour the plane, take home some Southwest swag (including "new plane smell" car fresheners), and experience a little of that Southwest Hospitality. 

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Flashback Fridays: A Look at Headquarters Past

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Those of us hired after 1990 weren’t able to experience the old Southwest Headquarters facility at the former Braniff Love Field Concourse.  For a little more than ten years, this unusual building served as the heartbeat of our system, and it was the first example of Southwest coming up with alternate uses for the many gates that were left empty when the other airlines... read more

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Flashback Fridays: Southwest LUVs Secretaries

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 While going through our archives, our Intern, Lauren Webb, encountered a group of materials belonging to a Southwest effort that hasn't received a lot of mention in our current materials.We all know about the important place women played in Southwest’s early marketing in the form of hot pants-clad Flight Attendants (called Hostesses back then). But what about the other... read more

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“The Ticket” Takes Headquarters

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Finding your muse is usually associated with writer's block, or some other state of lethargy in the creative process.  When "The Musers" from 1310 The Ticket show up at your work place, there's no shortage of creativity. And instead of finding your muse, you find yourself wondering, "Are these guys ever gonna leave?" But seriously, what went down Wednesday at... read more

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