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A Message From Our President: "Happy Birthday Southwest!"

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I feel like a stranger in a strange world venturing into the blogosphere, but I hope that youColleen.jpg are enjoying Nuts About Southwest. I have been nuts about our wonderful Company for almost four decades, and I think it is great that our Employees and Customers have been able to share their own enthusiasm for Southwest through this blog. On Saturday, June 17, we hold our annual Awards Banquet here in Dallas, and each year, we celebrate those Employees who have completed their Tenth, 20th, 25th, and 30th Anniversaries, along with those who are receiving our President's Awards for above and beyond service. This year is even more special as we celebrate our 35th Anniversary, and we will also celebrate the group of Original Employees who are completing 35 years of service. As those small-town newspapers like to say, "A grand time will be had by all"! June 18 marks Southwest Airlines' 35th Anniversary. When we first took to the sky in 1971, our future was far from secure. Four years prior to that, our Cofounders, Rollin King and Herb Kelleher, met to discuss an idea for a new airline that would bring low fares and high frequencies to flights between Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. The new airline, originally known as Air Southwest, would spend the next four years fighting continual court battles against the existing carriers just to win the right to operate. The legal battles didn't stop on June 18, 1971, and for the rest of the decade we had to fight to expand, to remain at Love Field, and to extend our reach beyond Texas' borders. Besides the legal challenges, we faced many economic hardships, which gave birth to the Warrior Spirit that has provided the "wings" upon which Southwest could grow and thrive. Today, we face different but equally challenging obstacles, yet the Warrior Spirit—hard work, courage, perseverance, and innovation—still soars at Southwest. But, the Warrior Spirit is only one part of the Southwest Way. Certainly, Warrior Spirit is our muscle, but our Servant's Heart that puts People first and our soul, a FUN-LUVing attitude, complete the Southwest Way. On our 35th Anniversary, we still have 17 Original Employees working with us, and they defined the Southwest Way for their Coworkers. They and those who followed helped Southwest grow from a Texas airline serving three cities with three airplanes to a coast-to-coast airline serving 62 cities in 31 states with almost 460 aircraft. For this important occasion, I want to celebrate People, our Employees and you, our Customers, because without our Employees' LUV, hard work, and sacrifice and your own LUV, support, and loyalty through good times and bad, we never would have lasted, much less thrived, for 35 years. To me, the most exciting part of our history and our future, are the People of Southwest Airlines, and I am so grateful to have walked and worked among them. So, to each of you from all of us, we say Happy Birthday and let's celebrate! -- Colleen Barrett
27 Comments
James5
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Colleen - Thanks for taking the time to blog! I am so grateful to be an Employee at Southwest Airlines. Thank you for your hard work and dedication over the years. I look forward to many more! See you at the Banquet!
Janet_Hahn
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We LUV you, Colleen!!!
Francisco_Delga1
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Colleen and Company, Southwest Airlines is a national icon. Southwest has given me the abiltity to fly home to see my family while serving in the United States Navy. Your cheap fares and top notch employees will keep me coming back for another 35 years. I just recieved a birthday card from you guys in the mail. Thanks for what you guys do. I hope to see you real soon. Francisco
Nona_Rogers
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Dear Employees and Valued Customers: I am in the group that is fondly known as "The Dinasours". That means that there are Employees out there who have Employee #'s that are higher than mine, 1511, multiplied by 10. On June 6, I celebrated my 29th anniversary with Southwest Airlines. Those of you who know Colleen also know that she shuns the computer. She doesn't even have an email address. She prefers personal communicaton. So, for her to post a blog on this website is certainly a milestone for her! You go girl! Colleen, I have been proud to have walked and worked with YOU! From "Spreading LUV All Over Texas" to "Ding, You Are Now Free to Move About the Country", you have been there for all of us. You have always been generous with your knowledge, your support, and your LUV! So Happy Birthday to YOU! And here's to many, many more! Luv, Noner
Patt_A__Fuller
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HAPPY BIRTHDAY SOUTHWEST AIRLINES!!! Boy, what a privlege to work for the most awesome Company and people, like you Colleen, Herb, Gary, Dave (my Station Manager) and all the other Station Leaders and Employees!!! I have only been with the Company only 6 years, but in a previous life I was in Human Resources and case studied Southwest Airlines!! I can remember going to seminars and the example was How Southwest Airlines treated their Employees and knew that their Customers were being treated the best of the best,The Southwest Way, How Southwest was doing it "Their Way" and succeeding! Then I was lucky enough to become a part of this wonderful organization. It is with pride that we go into our Birthday Week! We are here 35 years later due to the tenacity of Herb & Colleen and those very first Emploees! I thank you very much because of you I have a job! LUV Patti
Janet_Holler
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Dear Colleen: Happy Birthday to SWA! I am currently waiting for an invitation for flight attendant class. I can't wait to join the SwWA family! As I researched SWA, I couldn't believe what a wonderful company it is! SWA's philosophies are my own. I have to tell you it brought tears to my eyes when reading of their commitment to organizations such as the Ronald McDonald Houses, etc. I also believe in having fun, working hard, and giving to others. I believe in volunteering and have been fortunate to work with American Lung Association as camp nurse for 7 years as well as volunteer with other organizations. I look forward to participating with SWA to help others. SWA is an exceptional organization. 35 years young and counting! Janet Holler
Terry_Lessig
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Happy Birthday Southwest! It seems like just yesterday I took a flight with Captain Linda on "Silver", your 25th Anniversary plane, but it was 10 years ago. Time flies...nearly as well as y'all do.
James5
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Hey Nona - are you going to the Dinasour party at the Landing after the 35th Anniversay Bash? If so, I'll look you up and say Hello. Hope to see you there! James
Dale_Krebsbach
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I am the very proud father of one of your 10th anniversary honorees at Saturday's banquet. Congratulations Debra, and congratulations to SWA for 35 great years.
xtina
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I can't come to the bash Sat., as it's my parents' wedding anniv. party. Will you drink a toast to my ten years at SWA?
Nicholas_Zellic
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Happy Birthday Southwest!!! Congratulations on 35 successful years of business!! After I graduate from college, I hope that I can be employed by SWA, so that I can work for company so dedicated like SWA! Happy Birthday, I LUV YOU! Ms. Colleen, you are such an inspiration for me! I hope that one day I can meet you in person!
Ron_Katzenberg
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Colleen..thanks to you and everyone else who has made a dream come true of being able to find a career and not just a job. After working for a competitor for several years before coming home to Southwest, I thought all airlines were the same. Thanks for showing me different and for welcoming me as a member of the family. The last ten years have been a great ride and I expect the next ten to be just as exciting. See you at the party on Saturday night. Ron
Michael_A__Cont
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First, I would like to wish all of us a happy birthday since we are all owners of this great company! But, even that is not enough to say. IÃ
Matt29
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Colleen- I can't being to say THANK YOU enough for everything you do for us at SWA. I know for a fact that I wouldn't be doing what I LUV without the hard work you, Herb, Rollin, and all the original FAs did in the early days. It was a real pleasure meeting you at the BWI New Hire Luncheon earlier this year and I know I'll see you again! :-) LUV, Matt BWI SWAFA
Nona_Rogers
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James: Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend this quarters Dinasour Party. I just recently got on Joy's list and already had other plans. But...I do plan to attend one of them, asap. Can't wait to see all the "old" faces. It seems like we all grew up with each other! "Seems like"....heck, we did! Nona
FriendofBlogBoy
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Dear Colleen, Gary and Herb -- best wishes on your 35th Anniversary from a long-time customer, stockholder and continuous cheerleader for SWA! I'm exceedingly proud of "my" hometown airline and all that you do. Your Corporate Culture is a terrific example to any company, and the studies of the way SWA is run should be required coursework for any college business degree. You have provided my family and me many 'free' vacations over the years that I've earned by eating my weight in peanuts back and forth across this country! By way of this blog entry, I also send out kudos to my friend Brian Lusk, who I got to know a few years ago through my donation of old SWA flight schedules to your 'archives'. Just like all of your employees, Brian is an outstanding ambassador of the Southwest spirit. Brian, I always enjoy your contributions to Airways magazine, and am enjoying reading your 35th anniversary edition! I look forward to at least 35 MORE years of flying with you guys. I definitely LUV you all, Kim Seale P. S. Please don't miss another 35th Anniversary being celebrated on June 18th which you can take note of at your dinner this Saturday. One of your Original Employees and a good friend of mine, Mr. Dan Johnson and his wife Marilu were married on June 18, 1971. Congratulations and best wishes to Dan and Marilu also!
FltEngCPO
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Happy Anniversary Southwest! 35 years and running strong. We are loyal SWA customers and always will be. Keep up the great work and keep prerssing to repeal the Wright Amendment. Set LUV free. Greg & Kristin
April3
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Happy Birthday Southwest!!! I feel so honored to be a part of such a wonderful company and work with such intelligent, warm-hearted, and halarious people everyday! I thank you Colleen for all of the dedication and hard work that you and so many others have put into this company. you truly are the reason why we are who we are today! Keep up the good work! I look forward to many more "milestones" with SWA and I know each one will be fantastic! To our Customers, thanks for being loyal, and to my fellow co-workers, thanks for making this an experience of a lifetime!!
Van_Kim
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I want to thank my extended family at Southwest for letting me be myself all around!!!! Colleen, Gary and Herb are the best leaders in the world to ever have!!!! Currently, I'm at 4 years and hope to have many more years with SWA!!!! I thank my extended LUV family!!!! Van "VK" Kim Houston Reservations
Laura_Martin
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Congrlations on 35 years. June is a special month for me, I celebrate my anniversity with Southwest, My birthday also falls in June, plus I always get to go to a large party, for the Birthday of the Best Company in the World. Congrats lets go another 100
vinnie_mirchand
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Colleen, congrats on the anniversary. I am a big SW customer (companion pass last several years) and a big fan - I weave SW in to many of my technology blogs. I noticed the Wright Amendment may be reaching a settlement. You will probably cringe because you want it behind you, but I just blogged asking Congress to remove the proposed 8 year long haul phase out. You have been punished enough - why another 8 years? http://dealarchitect.typepad.com/deal_architect/2006/06/eight_years_is_.html
carroll4
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My hotpants off to SWA, I mean my hats off. Here is to 35 plus more Fun. prosperous, generous, exciting, fullfiliing years to look forward to. How lucky I feel to be at such a great place to work, we have so much to be thankful for and appreciate. I often wonder where where I would be or where I would have ever been able to go if not for this great Company , My passes, my insurance, my job security, the friends I've made, the people I've met, the rewarding work we all do. After 27 years I am still so proud and happy to be part of such a wonderful workplace so many of call a second home. If you ever want to know what your missing and not loving spend your next day off looking for a better job. Thank you to our founders, directors, leaders, investors,Customers and every employee who shares the same passion. Yes folks I am a Koolaid drinker and I'll have mine anyway it is served. This is my 1st ever E-mail.
Leah3
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In addition to sending a card & poem to Company Headquarters, I went to my home airport late afternoon on SWA's birthday with some goodies & the same poem. One of the awesome, LUVing CSA's showed me around, including the gate they had decorated! She & another CSA gave me some cool things, such as a copy of Spirit magazine with the article about your 35th birthday, a commemorative Coke bottle in a cute box, a pair of wings with "Southwest Airlines, 1971-2006, 35 years of LUVin' you" on it, two pens, & a package of playing cards! I also have pictures of me with these two CSA's, as well as at the gate! It was so much fun! By the way, the names of these two CSA's are Shannon W. & Jennifer S. :) Southwest LUV & mine, always!
Susan_Lautar
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Hello. I understand that this blog was created to get customers to interact with the airline, I really hope that you consider suggestions as well as accept praise. I have been a fan of SWA since your company started. Since my mother is suffering from an ultimately terminal degenerative disease. I fly frequently on your previously low-priced fare flights. I have noticed that your prices are going up, I'm sure due to gas increases and market factors, but it does make it harder for me to travel. One of the things that had kept me coming back was the Rapid Rewards filght coupons I received after every 8 flights. I was disappointed to find out that you have changed your policy for Frequent Fliers so that there are now only limited seats available to those of us who try to use them. How many do you put aside? All the flights I tried on several days had no "coupon reserved" seating. When I called your Customer Service number (incidentally, why is this a toll number?), I was told that the policy change was posted on your WEB site. I suggest that you find a more appropriate way of letting loyal fliers know when benefits are being cut. Now I understand that you are contemplating gong to assigned seating. Have you done any market studies? Is this for the benefit of your customers? Will it increase your costs and, consequently, your ticket prices? How do you plan to explain this to your Rapid Rewards customers? Thanks for the opportunity to give you some feed back. Robin
maria_watson
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I have loved this airline for years. My husband and I have enjoyed the companion pass and we carry 2 southwest credit cards. It's over for us with SWA. I just tried to use my rapid rewards and found the program has changed. I will cancel my cards tomorrow and go back to life with the "assigned seat" people. I loved your rapid reward program, why did you change it?
Joseph_Colella
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Dear Colleen - Happy 35th Anniversary to Southwest Airlines. Those of us who live here in Northern Virginia eagerly await the start of Southwest Airlines service at Dulles International Airport in October 2006. Will Southwest be announcing fares and schedules for IAD sometime during the month of August? Best regards - Joseph Colella
Bob_Carlson
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I love SWA but DING is driving me crazy. Tell me how to control or delete this unwanted intrusion.