An American Boeing 787-8 (N812AN) at LAX. Southwest does not have any 787s.
A few weeks ago, my esteemed colleague JL Johnson penned a piece extolling the virtues of his favorite carrier, Southwest Airlines. He laid out nine reasons why Southwest was tops in his mind, and quite honestly I didn’t disagree with any of the facts he laid out on why the airline is so immensely popular with so many people.
However, with all the positives Southwest has under its belt, I personally can’t remember the last time I stepped foot on a Southwest 737… at least seven-to-eight years, I think. So if Southwest isn’t so bad, and I think it’s a perfectly fine airline, why have I clocked about 800,000 miles without a single Southwest flight?
First, let’s get one thing clear: This piece isn’t meant to be a hostile response to JL or his story, or even as a “Southwest is bad” take-down rant. Like I said, he has valid points, and Southwest is a fine airline, one that I even recommend others to fly. The goal of this piece is to give those who are wondering some insight into why someone might choose not to fly Southwest.
Southwest’s Heart One – Photo: Stephen M. Keller for Southwest Airlines
I frequently find myself explaining why Southwest is my favorite airline for personal and business travel. I get this question so often that last year I decided to create a list in my favorite note-taking app to help organize my thoughts. As a self-anointed brand ambassador, frequent flyer, and card-carrying A-Lister, I take this opportunity to educate curious travelers (and future Southwest loyalists) very seriously. Last week, I again had this question pop up and, upon opening my note, I realized I had more than enough content for a full-length AirlineReporter piece. So, without further ado, here are my top nine reasons why Southwest is the best domestic airline.
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
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 first Boeing 737 (Heart One – N8642E) in Southwest’s new livery – Photo: Mal Muir
On a sunny Texas Monday morning, Southwest gathered hundreds of its employees, along with media from all over the country, to reveal a mystery that had been partially hinted at in previous days. Hints, rumors, and gossip pointed to a new livery and new branding, with huge feedback from not only passengers but Southwest staff wanting to make their feelings known.
But as everyone gathered in the hangar, it was almost a party-like atmosphere. CEO Gary Kelly got into the spirit and was among the staff, greeting folks and posing for photos.
More than just the planes are being updated – Photo: Mal Muir
When Kelly took the stage, he told the crowd how proud they should be. The airline employees have worked hard over the last 12 months for this special moment. “The one constant thing in the company is heart,” he said.
This gave a giant hint into what was to come. As the lights went down, a video played showing a transformation. The old livery shed its skin to a blank canvas. The new heart branding then slowly appeared onto the 737 on screen. Soon after, the doors opened, and there was the 737 in a new livery was waiting outside.