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Back in the Day

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One Sunday evening I strolled across the street to the home of my neighbor, Denny, to hang out for a little while, and he introduced me to a gentlemen who was visiting him named Joe. Our conversations went from real state to lawn care to our place of employment, and that's about the time Joe asked me what I did for a living. I told him that I was an Aircraft Mechanic for Southwest Airlines. 1976.jpg After Joe heard the name Southwest Airlines his face literally lit up...and it was not from the adult beverages we were consuming at the time.  1972.jpg He said how much he loved Southwest Airlines and began to reminisce about the early years of flying Southwest Airlines in the 70s. He remembered the $39 fares and how he and his friends would hop on a plane from San Antonio to Dallas just to party on the flight.  1971.jpg  Joe went on to share some specific stories about flights he took on Southwest Airlines, some I wish I could have been on. It was nice to hear that a Customer was that excited about talking about Southwest Airlines. It started getting late, so I told the guys that I had to go, and Joe had one request.... He said "If you see Herb, tell him to bring back the Hot Pants and Go Go Boots". 1977.jpg Sorry Joe... I don't think that will happen.
18 Comments
New Arrival
Hot pants today would not be HOT. The good old days are better remembered than repeated. I'm certain the free whiskey would get more applause than Daisy Dukes.
New Arrival
The sexy outfits was something that set the airline apart back then. Today with so many women and families flying it probably would upset more potential customers than they would please. ANd quite frankly service is more important to a lot of us who fly regularly so replacing experienced flight attendents just to get women who look good in hot pants wouldn't go ever that well.
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Hmmmmmmm....maybe men in hot pants??? lolololol Sorry....couldn't help myself!!
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Cindy, NO. I sit beside Trojan Blog Boy and he wears hot pants ALL the time. Jedi Blog Master (J/K Jeramy 😄 )
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As a long time customer of Southwest, I am writing to you to let you know that your airline has now become just like any other airline, ordinary, mediocre just plain bad. And it is too bad, because you were once one of the best. My wife and I took a flight on the 17th of March from Reno to LAX. It was suppose to take off at 2.15 pm. We did not take off until after 3:00pm. Now I do understand about weather conditions, but this was just rude. Along with everyone else, we had to let our pickup know what was going on. And in LA traffic, you have to plan when you drive anywhere there. And the people who were making other connections to different cities were really upset. Not only was our flight late, but also you were overbooked again, as do most airlines. This is a terrible policy! There was a 14 year old who was supposed to make the connection to Houston, once in LA. But because the flight was overbooked, there was no room for him. Now I did feel bad for this kid. HeÃ
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Cindy, Ewwww! Paco, double Ewwww! Warning! Screen will not stop child from falling out of window. Keep children away from open windows. Ding! boy Joe
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Gordon, Now you've got me curious...wonder what James Malone would look like in hot pants and go-go boots?? LOL Kim 🙂
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I was not alive back then but i think for your 40th anniversary you should brink back the hot pants. USS BLOG BOY
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Mr. Wexler, As a stockholder and one of the "owners" of Southwest Airlines, please let me offer you my apologies for the problems you experienced leaving Reno a few weeks ago. As a long-time Customer of Southwest Airlines, please let me empathize with you, because I have also encountered delays on Southwest flights. However, I would like to politely beg to differ with your assessment of Southwest Airlines. I believe that it is entirely possible for any member of the "service industry" to have a logistical problem without then being branded as "mediocre". Whether you are looking at airlines, hotels, rental car agencies, restaurants, taxi companies or any of the other myriad participants in the efforts to accomodate large numbers of people with many different demands, the travel industry is getting much more complex and the task is becoming more difficult by the day. Unfortunately, there are times when human error or unavoidable outside influences can affect a customer of any part of the travel business. That is always regrettable and is something that most companies strive to prevent. In my opinion, Southwest Airlines does a MUCH BETTER job at moving people from point A to point B than any other airline. They are consistently on-time with very competitive fares and have utstanding Employees with terrific attitudes. Does that mean that they are perfect? No, absolutely not. But I believe that they are FAR from mediocre and in fact, at the head of the pack. Southwest is not unique to the world of 'overbooking'. It happens in the airline industry, the hotel industry and the rental car industry for certain. The economic reality is that most companies must overbook to a degree or they will face the problem of unsold product. For an airline, an empty seat that flies from Reno to LAX is lost revenue that can never be recaptured. At a hotel, a room not slept in one night represents income that is forever gone, since like an airline seat, it exists only in a particular point in time. Historical data tells most companies what their "no-show" ratios are, and they try to book their reservations accordingly. If the particular flight you mentioned, from Reno to LAX at 2:15 pm on a Saturday afternoon, for example, has consistently had five empty seats when it departs, despite having been booked "full", then at some point, to try to put a paying passenger in those seats, Southwest might use a percentage and decide that they will 'overbook' by 3 seats to increase the odds that more of those seats will be used (and paid for). A hotel location will use a formula as well to try to be sure that even though various people have reserved all of their rooms on a given day, when that night arrives, there are actually people occupying all of them. These techniques are very common, but all result from customers who make reservations and then fail to cancel them, or who for some reason, just don't show up to 'consume' the product they've reserved. Southwest actually is able to REDUCE this occurence through their liberal policies allowing people to change reservations. Many airlines drastically penalize their customers with fees and charges, but Southwest WANTS to have their reservations as accurate as possible and so they encourage their Customers to often change without penalty. As a customer of a member of the service/travel industry, we sometimes run into a problem because of overbooking, and that is not enjoyable from our perspective. However, as a stockholder, I want Southwest to do everything reasonable that they can to maximize profits while minimizing passenger incovenience. As a passenger, I want to be sure that "my" seat is there as I booked it. Sometimes those two wishes may be in conflict with each other, and that is why I always endeavor to "claim" my product as soon as I possibly can. Whether that means showing up as far ahead of departure time as I can, or checking into a hotel in the afternoon, I work to reduce the chance that I will be left holding an empty bag. I've seen people come rushing up to an airport with intensely insufficient time before their flights, and I've seen people checking into a hotel at midnight. While there can be occasional circumstances that put you into these situations, that will greatly increase your odds of being 'bumped'. When that happens, though, I've seen Southwest also be much more liberal than other airlines in terms of the compensation offered for bumped passengers. The generous distribution of flight vouchers, free tickets and sincere regrets is very standard on Southwest, whereas I've seen other airlines just suggest that the displaced passenger call another airline and see if they can change to the competition. All in all, even though issues can occur to the Customers of Southwest Airlines, I believe the likelihood is much lower, and that even if they do occur, the passenger will be better treated by Southwest. I think what your fellow passenger said, "That this was not Southwest like" is very true, and any company or group of employees can have a bad day. What IS Southwest-like is to be very Customer-oriented and to go out of their way to do everything possible to see to it that you get where you wanted to go as close to your desired schedule as they can. Please don't give up on the best airline just because of a 45-minute or so delay or even a surly flight attendant. I always try to think of my own work experience and ask myself if I've ever been less than very friendly to people I've dealt with or ever let them down in terms of missed ship dates or undesired back orders before being too critical of how someone else treats me when I'm the customer. Please come back and give the AWESOME Southwest Employees the chance to restore your faith in them and their company! Kim
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Nice explanation Kim! I go! You go! We all San Diego! Ding! boy Joe
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I remember back in the old days when a free ticket on Southwest was the most convenient to use. If there was a seat available you could book it in advance. I understand with the goals to maintain some balance with revenue per seat that allowing unlimited booking of seats for free tickets could cause a problem. However, I don't understand if there are empty seats on a flight why the free tickets can't be used as standby? I sure wish this would change somewhat back to the good old days.
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Gordon, I remember "back in the day" when I'd walk up to a counter at Love Field and buy a ticket with cash. I'd hand a $20 bill to a nice lady standing at an old-fashioned tan colored cash register with push-button keys (no electronics), and she'd ring up the sale. In return, I'd get a dollar back plus a short cash register tape that served as my ticket. Then, if I had a suitcase to check, they'd put a little heart-shaped string tag on my bag. For years, I'd tear off enough of the tag upon arrival to prevent future confusion, but leave enough of the string end of the colored paper to serve as a "fringe of distinction", adorning my suitcase handle with dozens of indicators that showed what a frequent and loyal Customer I was. Much like a passport full of stamped imprints of someone's journeys, my "fringed" handle always drew an appreciative comment from the ticket counter folks at Southwest locations around Texas who could tell I was a "regular". (I thought we had really entered the electronic age when I started using the "Quicket" machines with the push buttons for day-time or evening flights and the individual city destinations that the Customer could use themselves!!) Those ticketing and bag marking procedures were amazingly unique and simple indicators of how much of a "rebel" our hometown airline was! Although the ticketing procedure has changed just a little bit (thanks to our ex-VP who invented the Internet), and we now have long adhesive strips of computer generated baggage information, the uniqueness, the simplicity and the radically different Culture remain a vital and wonderful part of the airline that we LUV! Kim 🙂
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I am currently a part-time student and earlier this semester was asked to write a paper about a successful company and identify what makes this company successful. I chose to concentrate on Southwest Airlines. I had not given the company much thought prior to writing this paper but after reading several articles, two books and now this blog site, I must say that I am very impressed with the culture and leadership of this company. I am impressed that Colleen Barrett takes the time to contribute to the blog site. I am impressed that the company encourages such a strong and positive culture. And, I am most impressed with the stories of teamwork, shared knowledge, and shared respect. So, though it is unusual for me to contribute to a blog site, I just wanted to let you all know that I have enjoyed learning about this company. I applaud your success. And, I must say that I'm quite envious of what appears to be a fun working environment! I look forward to my next Southwest flight.
New Arrival
The hot pants I could do without - but I do miss the days of smokehouse almonds. I don't kow how long they were around, but they were my favorite!
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New Orleans is OPEN for business but can you get there on Southwest? I fly frequently from Orlando and Tampa to New Orleans. I actually live in Orlando and work in the Big easy. Sadly since Katrina I have the hardest time trying to get a flight in or out of New Orleans. Especially using Rapids rewards. That's next to impossible. On a recent trip that I flew in I ended up renting a car and having to drive back home..Yes, I drove airport to airport to pick up my car... I am trying to fly my family in for a Crawfish boil and nope, nothing is available. Hopefully Southwest will add more flights to the City that Care Forgot.
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I have a question mabey a mechanic can help me with ... if i become a southwest mechanic, and they offer me the position to be in the aircraft apprentenceship program. Will i be put on salary or not.
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Our aircraft apprenticeship program pays hourly... not salary.
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Thank you for that tid-bit of information .... i am now even more eager to continuing my commitment with southwest airlines in the future !!!