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30 Years of Southwest Airlines and Oklahoma

Explorer C

On April 1 and 2, Southwest Airlines will celebrate three decades of service to Oklahoma City, and Tulsa, respectively. It was 1980, and our uniforms may have looked a little different, our hair may have been a little bigger, and these two cities were just our second and third destinations outside Texas (New Orleans holds the distinction of being the first). The decision to serve Oklahoma was a no-brainer – in spite of a recession, the energy and agricultural economies were booming, the winds were sweeping down the plains, the raging wheat… well, you know the rest.

Many outside Oklahoma may think like I did when I first arrived in Oklahoma City to begin the flight of my life with Southwest Airlines in July 2008 - Oklahoma meant two things: “Broadway Musical” and “What’s this ‘Sonic’ everyone raves about?” I thought, “What could a guy from Alaska have in common with this place?” The first thing I noticed among Oklahomans (right after asking if I could see Russia from my house) was that there was the same sense of “Frontier Spirit” that I’d grown up with in Alaska. There’s a warm welcome to visitors, a can-do attitude that makes even the most insurmountable obstacles seem less daunting, and a genuine friendliness to anyone who needs an extra hand. As I spent more time in Oklahoma, I noticed a few other things:

• “Could” has much more versatility in Oklahoma. Examples include “might could” (you might could try that), “used to could” (used to could, but now you can’t).
• Celebrity restaurateurs are not limited to huge metropolises. LA may have Wolfgang Puck, London may have Gordon Ramsay, but Oklahoma has Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill and Billy Sims BBQ.
• Football is omnipresent, with school colors on everything from curb stones to motorcade style vehicle flags, to the pushback tugs on the ramp at Southwest Airlines in Oklahoma City.
• Oklahoma has strong support for the Arts: The Oklahoma City Museum of Art has the world’s largest single collection of blown glass by Seattle artist Dale Chihuly in permanent residence, and the Philbrook Museum in Tulsa is ranked among the 50 Top Fine Art Museums in the United States.
• Many states list a state fruit or state vegetable; Oklahoma is the only state with an official meal, consisting of fried okra, squash, cornbread, barbecue pork, biscuits, sausage and gravy, grits, corn, strawberries, chicken fried steak, pecan pie, and black-eyed peas.
• An alternative to chicken fried steak, available at select establishments throughout the state is, believe it or not, chicken fried bacon (yes, bacon!)
• The well known eponymous number from the musical “Oklahoma!” was adopted as the state’s official song in 1955.

Oklahomans have also LUVed and supported Southwest Airlines throughout our thirty years of service here. Southwest is the largest carrier in market share in both Oklahoma City and Tulsa, and serves more nonstop destinations from either city than any other airline. Just over 800 of our SWA Co-Hearts call Oklahoma home.

Since 1980, and for many more years to come (and I just couldn’t resist one more mention of a musical come on, we all know the words) “You’re doin’ fine Oklahoma, Oklahoma, OK!”

Frequent Flyer A
Chicken fried bacon?! Sign me up. I might need to take a day trip to OKC soon 🙂
Explorer C
Take the paramedics with you when you go. I've heard of people having massive coronaries after just a few bites.
Aviator C
I can't think of a better way to go, Scott.
Explorer A
Yea, Tulsa! I'm from there! *Has a party, passes out cake, peanuts, candy corn, & beverages. Decorates with a SWA theme.* I have 3 friends I LUV who work for SWA in Tulsa. I should have sent a card for the employees there, but I had to spend a few days in the hospital last week; I didn't have computer access until I was discharged! Fact for the day: The most satiating nutrient is protein. SWA LUV! 🙂