The Southwest Airlines Deck Bar Dedicated to its original founder.

The Southwest Airlines Deck Bar dedicated to its original founder

It is a Monday, your first day on the job with Southwest Airlines. You are nervous and want to make a good impression.  You know that whatever you do on your first day, you want to make sure you don’t embarrass yourself, ensuring a second day.  That sounds like something that would be going through a new hire’s head right?

ell, the thing is, every Monday all new hires at Southwest Airlines have the best first day introduction to the airline – the Southwest Deck Party.

View of Love Field from the Southwest HQ Deck

View of Love Field from the Southwest HQ deck

Every Monday, Southwest Airlines has a “Deck Party” at their Dallas Love Field Headquarters.  Located on the 3rd Floor, the deck overlooks the runways and the terminal at the airport and is a large open area that is ideal for a bit of a party.

To introduce new hires to the company’s culture, and more than likely to help all company employees relax, Southwest hosts this party with drinks and snacks provided.  Not just things to eat or drink either; their are sometimes themed events, but there is always some kind of music.

The Monday Deck Party at the Southwest Tech Ops hangar with two guests of honor: Heart One & Two

The Monday Deck Party at the Southwest Tech Ops hangar with two guests of honor: Heart One & Two

As part of the Southwest Livery Reveal/Media Day festivities, the weekly Deck Party was moved to the Tech Ops hangar area, as two special guests had been invited to the party.  Heart One & Heart Two were on show for everyone and were parked nose-to-nose (or, as some people were referring to it, Heart-to-Heart) outside the hangar.

What better way to celebrate the launch of a new livery than by enjoying some drinks, some beats, and some friends?  We were invited along to relax after a day of meetings with the company.

With Heart One & Heart Two going Nose to Nose, Time to celebrate and get your photo taken

With Heart One & Heart Two going nose-to-nose, time to celebrate and get your photo taken

We arrived as the party was in full swing and drinks were freely flowing.  The hangar was already packed inside and it had barely just begun!  There was some good music, with a DJ working the area and even a dedicated dance floor (I did miss the chance of getting a photo of the assembled line dancers).

I had not seen a company party of this size or intensity before.  The largest line at the event was not even for the bar!  It was for the photo booths to get printed buttons of you (and your friends if you want) with the new Southwest branding. 

Getting Photos taken in front of the new Southwest branding for some free swag

Getting photos taken in front of the new Southwest branding for some free swag

The best part for an AvGeek about this party was the fact that you had great access up close and personal to Heart  One & Heart Two.  Just like everyone else, I got my belly-shot selfie with the Heart logo (come on… can you blame me?) and there was always a dozen or more people having their photos taken.

One of Southwest's employees sets himself up for a Heart Selfie underneath Heart Two

One of Southwest’s employees sets himself up for a Heart-selfie underneath Heart Two

I have worked in the travel industry for over 10 years and I know that travel staff love to party.  However, I haven’t seen a party of that magnitude at a company-sponsored event in my life.  Obviously the new livery reveal may have had something to do with it, but all the staff I talked to kept saying “this is normal, we just love to celebrate.”

I came away from the afternoon with a new-found respect for the airline.  They really do know how to keep their staff happy and I support them in that effort.  I just don’t think I could keep that up every week!

I traveled to Dallas as a guest of Southwest Airlines.  All opinions are my own.

CORRESPONDENT - SEATTLE, WA. Mal is an Australian native who has been a huge fan of airlines and aviation and currently works in airport-related operations. Email: [email protected]

http://www.airlinereporter.com
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4 Comments

Thanks for the fun post, Mal. SWA is certainly a unique airline and I suspect a large part of their success is the result of a far better than average ‘warm & fuzzy’ culture among their staff. establishing and maintaining that kind of culture can be expensive, but numerous companies have demonstrated that it usually works. SWA’s new Livery? As is always the case, some love it and some hate it. Loving it is easy for me because I’m fond of vivid blues and red/orange is probably my least favorite. Now, if we can just get them to stop painting the hubcaps… Not a big deal, but I’ve always thought that it just looked dumb. I wish SWA every success. Frankly, I think another huge contributor to their long term economic success has been their early decision to build their fleet around a single brand and type. Not all airlines can do that, but it has certainly proven to be effective for SWA. If I’m incorrect here, someone will certainly correct me; I seem to recall that they are the largest operator of the B737. Although they may fly everything from some old -300s, up to and including the 900 series, the common fleet certainly has some advantages. If nothing else, they most certainly receive excellent attention from the support folks at Boeing. SWA may not be the fanciest or most fluffy airline, but they get the job done and usually at a reasonable cost. Glad that you enjoyed the party. -C.

Cook Southwest are the largest 737 operator at over 600 examples in the current fleet. Made up of 300s,500s,700s & 800s. No 900s sorry.

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