Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2014: 258,704
2013: 330,818

Southwest’s Social Care Team Gets a New Home

The Wall Mounted Screens of the new Southwest Airlines Listening Center

Wall-mounted screens in the new Southwest Airlines Listening Center

Airlines in the modern world seem to use social media one of two ways.  Either as an effective marketing tool with no ability to handle any customer service functions, or as a customer service tool with little-to-no ability to market effectively.  There are a rare few airlines that can do both of these things and one of them is Southwest.  Recently, they began operations in their new Listening Center, a kind of “social media command center” and I had a chance to see how it works.

A better look at the set up in the Listening Center

A better look at the set up in the Listening Center

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have become so ingrained into many of our lives.  We have access to them on our phones, tablets, and computers – even on watches – that it becomes so overwhelming.

In some forms it is a great way of sharing things with others, like what you are doing or where you are going.  However, it is also a great tool in getting a message across or being able to get some things fixed.  As social media has grown over the years, it has become more and more apparent that businesses need to address these platforms as a separate communication tool and start to use them effectively.  The Listening Center at Southwest is the first of its kind and is staffed by up to nine people at a time. Continue reading Southwest’s Social Care Team Gets a New Home

Dallas Love Field Completes Refurbishment Ahead of Wright Amendment Changes

Dallas Love Field's terminal area with Restaurant/Bar area

Dallas Love Field’s terminal area with restaurant and bar

In 1974, as Dallas/Fort Worth Airport opened to serve as the main regional airport and airlines moved their flights across town to the new facility, apart from one.  Southwest AIrlines decided that their home at Love Field was the best way to service their customers, and from that moment on, the history of the airport would be tumultuous.

In 1979, the Wright Amendment, named after Fort Worth Congressman Jim Wright, set about restricting the airport to certain limitations.  As the years went on, the amendment has had a number of changes, easing some of the restrictions.

The Wright Amendment originally restricted airlines with aircraft of greater than 56 seats to only fly services within Texas, or to the four neighboring states of New Mexico, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.  Southwest expanded their services out to those states, but the amendment was a severe restriction on their ability to really become the airline that they wanted.

As the years went on, further changes were made, adding Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi, and eventually Missouri to the state list.  The biggest changes came in 2006 though, when the repeal of the Wright Amendment began.  Although the original changes in 2006 would allow through-ticketing (previously, if you wanted to fly say Dallas to Denver, you would need to have two separate tickets, one to get you to an intermediary city like Albuquerque or Kansas City, the other onto Denver).  Eventually, in 2014, the 2006 amendment/repeal would allow long-haul flights directly out of Dallas Love Field.

Continue reading Dallas Love Field Completes Refurbishment Ahead of Wright Amendment Changes

China Airlines Receives their First Boeing 777-300ER

A Ribbon Cutting at Everett wouldn't be complete without some Dragons right?

A ribbon cutting at Everett wouldn’t be complete without some dragons, right?

On a sunny Everett friday morning, press, dignitaries, and staff all gathered on the ramp outside the Everett Delivery Center.  In front of us was a brand-new Boeing 777-300ER, a giant red ribbon, and two dragons.  China Airlines is the newest carrier to receive this twin-jet, and since this was their first of the type, a large ceremony was called for.

The first 777-300ER for China Airlines

The first 777-300ER for China Airlines – Photo Kris Hull | Hull AeroImages

China Airlines has been a Boeing customer for over half of a century.  Their first Boeing aircraft was the 727, which entered them into the era of flying internationally within southeast Asia.  Then, in 1970, they added the Boeing 707, which allowed them to begin transpacific flights to San Francisco.

Soon enough, they were expanding and other North American destinations were added.  The airline grew, taking on 747s and, after the years passed, they had a fleet of 13 747-400s flying around the world.

In fact, they were the final customer of the 747-400 in its passenger form, taking delivery of that aircraft (B-18215) on the 26th of April, 2005.  Fast-forward nine years later, and the airline is taking their newest Boeing aircraft, the 777-300ER.

Continue reading China Airlines Receives their First Boeing 777-300ER

Touring the Southwest Airlines Network Operations Control

The Southwest Airlines NOC with screens showing Airline Operations

The Southwest Airlines NOC with screens showing airline operations

In May of this year, Southwest Airlines unveiled a new crown jewel at their Dallas Love Field headquarters: their Network Operations Control (NOC).  If the employees are the heart of the airline, the brain that keeps the airline moving day in and day out is the NOC.

During Media Day, we were given a tour of the NOC — it almost felt like being in Batman’s lair.

Continue reading Touring the Southwest Airlines Network Operations Control

Airline Special Liveries of the Week – Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines New Mexcio One on approach to Los Angeles Airport

Southwest Airlines New Mexcio One on approach to LAX

With so many new liveries being released by Spirit, FrontierSouthwest, China Eastern and Etihad, it’s time for a Livery of the Week.  But why look at just one livery – lets look at many.

When I lived in Australia, there were not many choices in the way of special liveries.  With only a handful of airlines and maybe one or two planes in a fleet with the occasional sticker on the side, there wasn’t diversity.  But here in the US, you have many, many different options — which is exciting for a spotter like myself.

The one airline that astounded me as to how many special offerings they have was Southwest.

Southwest's Florida One shows the states seal on the front of the plane - Photo: JL Johnson

Southwest’s Florida One shows the states seal on the front of the plane – Photo: JL Johnson | AirlineReporter

Southwest has many different special liveries, but the most entertaining ones to me are the state liveries.  The state liveries are based upon some of the airline’s more prominent destinations.  Texas, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Maryland, Florida… even Illinois.  They are all named in the same pattern as well.  Generally, the aircraft wears the name of the state and then One.  For instance New Mexico’s aircraft is “New Mexico One.”  California would be California One, but of course everyone knows there is an exception to the rule and that is, of course, Texas.  They call their plane “Lone Star One.”  The good news with Southwest’s recent fleet-wide livery change is that these special aircraft will not be disappearing!

Continue reading Airline Special Liveries of the Week – Southwest Airlines