One of my favorite holidays is Valentine's Day, but it always raises one of those internal "chicken or the egg"dilemmas with me. Do I like it so much because of Southwest's LUV associations with the holiday? Or, are those associations the result of my love of Valentine's Day? The answer is "yes."
Both are correct, and I wrote about this in my Spirit magazine column last February. I want to share it here because you probably have seen the word "LUV" associated with Southwest Airlines in some regard. However, if you are new to Southwest or, even better, a new Customer (and by the way, what took you so long?), you may be puzzled by this association. Since we are running other St. Valentine's Day posts this week, I thought this would be a good time to explain how this "LUV Story" came to be.
Almost 37 years ago, our first jets took flight from our home, Dallas Love Field. Although we do everything possible to show how much we love our Customers, the airport's name has nothing to do with romance or geniality because its origin goes back to 1913 when Army First Lieutenant Moss Lee Love was killed in a training accident in San Diego. To honor him, the Army named their Dallas aviation facility, Dallas Love Field.
When we became the "new kids on the block" in 1971, we had a lot of fun with the airport's name. Society and the airline industry were much different then, and we needed to establish our own personality built around FUN and our uniqueness. Back then, only businessmen traveled by air on a regular basis, and we thus clad our "sexy" (not considered a bad word in the 70s) Flight Attendants in hot pants and go-go boots. Our onboard "menu" included "Love Bites" (peanuts) and "Love Potions" (cocktails), and the cash registers that dispensed our tickets were known as "Love Machines."
Obviously, the world has changed a lot since 1971, and while we are proud of our mildly "racy" past, we have matured as a Company, in much the same way that love evolves from physical attraction to emotional attachment. Likewise, "Southwest Love" has evolved into "LUV" (which also became our stock symbol in 1975). Today's LUV has nothing to do with double entendre and has everything to do with compassion, joy, and Family.
We absolutely LUV what we do--getting you to your destination safely, affordably, comfortably, and with a smile on your face. LUV is the compassion and joy we share with each other and with you. Acting from the heart, even something as simple as saying "thank you" or "we're sorry," defines LUV.
Most of all, LUV is a passion for the Freedom to Fly Revolution that we started in 1971. Needless to say, we are head over heals in LUV with you, no matter if you have just started "courting" us or if you have been a "part of the family" for years. So, once again this February 14th, I join with the 33,000+ Southwest Employees in asking you to be our Valentine.