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Engineering—Southwest Style

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Take yourself back to 1985. You might remember the popular movie Back to the Future or the song “Careless Whisper.”  Sr. Systems Engineer, Larry Worley, remembers what it was like to work in the Technical Services Department at Southwest Airlines in 1985.

Having started his career with Southwest in 1976, Larry worked as an Aircraft Cleaner, Stock Clerk, Maintenance Coordinator, and a Technical Librarian before transitioning to the Engineering Department (then called Technical Services).  At the time, the Team consisted of eight Employees including two Technical Writers who were responsible for typing up the procedures on the Team’s typewriters.  That’s right, typewriters. 

Twenty-six years later, Larry is still in the Engineering Department.  The Team is now made up of 79 Employees.  The Engineering Department is just one part of the backbone that makes up the Maintenance & Engineering Department.  With 16 Maintenance Locations around our system, these Southwest Warriors help maintain Safety, provide exceptional Customer Service to our Employees, and implement innovative enhancements to our aircraft to not only ensure our Customers’ flight experience is enjoyable, but our hard-working Employees, too.

If you’re working a Southwest Airlines flight or you’ve flown us recently, you might notice these enhancements:

For our Southwest Customers:

Sitting by the window seat behind the Emergency Exit Row? If you think you’ve given up your tray table for more leg room, you might be wrong! In some aircraft, tray tables are located in the armrest!
Exit Row Tray Table
Hoping your child can maintain a clean diaper throughout the ENTIRE flight?  If you’re not so lucky, don’t fret yet.  After evaluating the size and space in our lavatories, our Engineers designed a changing table in the forward lavatory.  The next time the seat belt sign is off and you need to change a diaper, head to the forward lavatory, if it’s available.
Restroom Lid
Unexpected turbulence is never fun, especially if you are using the restroom!  To prevent a major startling if the toilet seat falls down, our Engineers installed magnets in the lid to keep them up and out of the way.

Who LUVs more room to stretch your legs?  Our Maintenance & Engineering Team has restructured the cabin to provide more room between rows to give our Passengers additional space for carryon items, pet carriers, and leg room!

For our Pilots:

You might notice the tailored cup holders. Southwest Engineers designed larger cup holders that allow more beverage shapes and sizes, providing better retention.  Even if you don’t have the Captain hat on—you know how frustrating it can be to order that refreshing drink through the drive thru, only to learn that cup won’t fit in your car’s cup holder.

For our Flight Attendants:

Do I have anything in my teeth?  Check it out for yourself in the mirrors that hang strategically in the aircraft cabin so Flight Attendants can take a quick glance in it before leaving the galley.
Flight Attendant Mirror
While you’re enjoying our Legendary Southwest hospitality while onboard, be sure to order one of our complimentary beverages like coffee, soda, and water, or splurge and enjoy an adult beverage. Our Maintenance folks have helped make our Inflight service even better by installing galley clips that hold drink orders to help our Flight Attendants provide our quick and efficient Inflight service.
Drink Order Clip
Whether you’re a Southwest Employee or Customer flying Southwest, as we always say, we invite you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight.  We also hope you enjoy these enhancements the next time you fly on a LUV jet—brought to you by our hard-working Maintenance & Engineering Employees!