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Flashback Fridays: Farewell to the Old San Antonio Center Building

Aviator C

Since we will be changing locations for our San Antonio Customer Support and Services (CS&S—formerly known as Reservations) Center, I thought this would be a good time to look at the construction photos of the current building.


By the end of the 1970s, our Dallas Reservations Center was out of space, and San Antonio, one of our original cities and the adopted home town of Cofounders Herb Kelleher and Rollin King, seemed like a good choice for a second Reservations Center.  In the photo above from 1981, we see Herb, along with then CEO, Howard Putnam (R), and Bill Franklin, the Executive Vice President responsible for Reservations (L), visiting the construction site for the San Antonio Reservations Center (or as we called it for years, SRC).


The first step was erecting the metal framework comprised of steel girders.  The basic outline of the building is revealed in the photo above.


SRC’s concrete façade was applied later, and be sure to check out the vintage Chevy pick-up in the photo above.  That truck leaves no doubt that this scene is deep in the heart of Texas.


I guess you would call the brick structures shown above a modern day “flying buttress,” and that’s a word I thought I would never use in relation to blogging about an airline.  In this photo, the glass has been installed, and the exterior is pretty much complete.  From all appearances, it looks like the contractors tried to save as many trees as possible on the site.

Above, is an interior view of the construction.  I’m guessing that this is an emergency exit door, and there are still construction materials in front of the door.


Once the interior was completed, the Agent positions were arranged theater-style around what we call the “Console.”  The Console is equivalent to the bridge of a ship, and it acts as the facility’s command center.


Next we have a set of before (above) and after (below) photos taken from roughly the same perspective.  In the top photo, taken prior to the facility opening, we see the row of windows just behind the Agent positions.  Below is a photo taken in 1991 for our 20th Anniversary, which was ten years after SRC opened.  (Sherrie Helms is the Employee.)  The outside lighting is considerably more subdued than in the construction photos to improve visibility of the early computer screens.

A few years ago, our Reservations Department changed its name to Customer Support and Services to better reflect its role in the Internet age.  At the time, SRC then became the San Antonio Center or just SC, and it has always been an important location because SC houses our Group Desk, and a large portion of our Spanish-speaking CS&S Representatives.  The new SC reflects a continuing commitment to one of our original cities.  Be on the lookout for the new SC location grand opening coming later this year.

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