Special thanks to Jaime for sharing her Southwest Airlines LUV! Keep reading to learn how flying Southwest changed Jaime's life.
Southwest Airlines'recently launched a brand refresh, called "Heart." According to company executives, it represents the heart that their employees put into every flying experience. But for me, the heart of Southwest lies in my ownpersonal story.
I've flown Southwest countless times. Mostly from Northern California to Southern California, on a flight that lasts no more than an hour and a half. On these short flights, the best entertainment is the conversations you have with the people sitting next to you.
Some people have no desire to talk to their seatmates, and as someone who is more prone to be an introvert than an extrovert, I sometimes fall in that camp. But in my experience, Southwest's love-it-or-hate-it "open seating" policy opens the door for a unique kind of opportunity. More often than not, I board early and hope that my friendly-but-not-pushy posture draws a friendly passenger into my row.
I've sat next to filmmakers, marketers, executives, and grandmothers. Some flights have ended in the exchange of business cards. Some simply in a "nice talking to you." But one ended in me giving out my cell phone number- my real one- and years later led me to a beach in Mexico where I married the guy I sat next to. We have been together for 12 years and married for 4.
As a content marketing evangelist and consultant, I know companies would kill to have personal stories like mine that back up their self-proclaimed brand identity. I am sure there are business reasons behind their open-seating policy, but having a radically different approach to an everyday process is not only part of their calling card, it is the catalyst behind what are probably thousands of stories that lie at the heart of their customer experience.
Given the number of flights per day, and the number of years the Southwest has been in business, one can only imagine the number of "seatmate" stories that live behind that heart. If you have one, share it in the comments below.