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Southwest Airlines One Report: Our Citizenship

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This is the fourth in a series of posts about our new Southwest One Report ™—a single report on our triple bottomline of Performance, People, and Planet adhering to Global Reporting Initiative standards.

Have you read the Southwest One Report™ yet? You might ask what this report means to you. Well, I’m just going to throw these reasons out there: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Corporate Citizenship, and Sustainability. Have I lost your attention yet? Stay with me. It’s important. I have no doubt that you’ve heard one or all of these words used in relation to a business at some point or another. But what do those words mean to Southwest Airlines and our Customers (or prospective Customers)? Great question. I’m glad you asked.

First, let me clear this up. Each of these phrases is completely interchangeable with the other: It’s kind of like how Southwest Airlines calls our Human Resources Department, “The People Department.” They’re the same thing, but we chose to name that department with a title that would resonate with our People and align with our Company values and Culture. The same is true for Citizenship. Each company that practices Citizenship calls it something that speaks to their brand and company values.

Whatever you call it, the important thing to know is that Citizenship and the values behind it are driving business strategy for companies around the world including Southwest Airlines. In short, Citizenship is a word used to describe how a company “does the right thing” and functions ethically. It’s making business decisions that not only affect our People, Shareholders, Customers, Communities, and bottomline today, but in the long run, as well. How will the decisions we make today impact future generations? (See, I told you it was important.)

The Citizenship umbrella encompasses everything from a company’s philanthropic philosophy, corporate volunteerism, and environmental efforts to its supplier diversity, hiring practices, and sustainability efforts. At Southwest Airlines, we believe that our Citizenship efforts contribute directly to our continued profitability. The Southwest One Report™ is one of the first annual reports of its kind to speak to both the financial health and Citizenship efforts of our Company in the same document. For instance, Southwest knows that when the communities where we operate are prosperous, then our Company will prosper as well. That’s why we are dedicated to charitable organizations, community programming, and supporting Employee volunteerism. One of the community programs close to our hearts is the Southwest Airlines Medical Transportation Grant Program that provides complimentary travel to medical transportation organizations and hospitals across the country for distribution to patients who must travel for medical care. In 2009, Southwest increased our giving to this program by 33 percent.

While “doing the right thing” is nothing new to Southwest Airlines–after all, The Golden Rule is taught in our New Hire training and reiterated in our Leadership development classes–reporting on it in this manner is new. Southwest recognizes that our Employees, Customers, Shareholders, and communities want this information, and we’re pleased to offer a visually appealing piece that is both informative and easy to understand.

To read the One Report™ and learn about how your favorite airline is doing well by doing good, visit southwest.com/cares.

 

7 Comments
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Robin and crew on flight 1269 from PDX to LAS las night were amazing! Best time I've ever had on any flight.
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How do you fly on Southwest and your whole group sits with each other?
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I am very upset with my all time favorite airline SWA. I have been flying with your airline from the time you spoke our name into a little hand held recorder when boarding. I am retired and live in Southern CA. My grandkids(3 of them) live in No. CA and I fly them down for a vist twice a year each. They are ages 8, 10 and 11 and have been flying on SWA since they were 5, unaccompanied. They are great flyers and I am always complimented at their excellent behaviour when I pick them up. I went to schedule a flight for the 8 yr old and discovered a $100 roundtrip fee for unaccompanied minor payable at time of purchase. I was able to handle the $50 last year as I could spread the payments out, i.e. flight, then trip, and finally trip home. So, for the 50 minute flight I am now paying $238 x 6 instead of $138 x 6. If you really think about it, most of the situations of unaccompanied minors are similar to mine. On a couple of occasions my grandkids have run into other children who make this flight weekly or bi-weekly as parents are divorced and live in different parts of the state. So...in my opinion this is definitely discrimination. Are you next going to charge for wheelchair assists getting on and off the plane, if not you should be. Come on, make changes. If the flight is under an hour or so maybe $25, if over that maybe $50. Let's rethink this. Or another thought let's charge for the people who come on with everything but the kitchen sink and slow dow boarding etc.
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Hi Julie- Thanks so much for sharing your kind words about our Crew yesterday. So glad they made your flight so enjoyable! I'll certainly let them and their Leaders know how much you appreciated their service! Laurel
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Anon--since we have open-seating, we can't guarantee that your entire group will sit together. If you do have problems finding seats together, you can always ask one of our Flight Attendants to help you locate adjacent seating. Another option would be to purchase EarlyBird, which automatically saves you the best available boarding number after Business Select and Rapid Rewards A-List Members. Hope that helps! Laurel
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Hi Connie--Thanks for sharing your thoughts on our Unaccompanied Minor (UM) fee, and I'm sorry that this has been a source of frustration for you. Even though our UM fee is still among the lowest in the industry, we increased the fee to transport UMs because we could not otherwise afford to provide such a level of service to children traveling alone. This service is different than what we provide to Customers with disabilities. We don't stay with Customers with disabilities in the gate area or escort the Customer to a specific party or check said party’s ID (we are not required by law to provide custodial care to Customers with disabilities). However, we will do those things for UMs. I understand where you're coming from, and I've shared your feedback. Again, we're sorry that we've disappointed you. Laurel
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My husband and I have noticed on many occasions that "many" (and I won't zero out a specific age group) are taking advantage of all of us. We are A Listers and have been since you've implemented that program, and both of us are companion members for each other. Now, we've spent mega monies to reach these goals, at times even taking extra trips just to meet our deadlines. It really does "irk" us, that we've seen a husband or wife, buy a business fare ticket, and the other half will stand right up front with this party, and when asked by someone behind what number they were (knowing they were out of place) the reply would be, I"m A45 but he/she has a business fair ticket and we're traveling together...then off they go onboard...! This also goes too with kids 16-19 who do have later numbers and the parent would have them stand and board with them because he/she is on the A List. Seems as though most of your agents are breaking the rules you ask us to follow. Speaking for us, it doesn't really affect us as much as it does the person who stayed up late or got up extra early to check in, hoping they'll have a decent place in line for their flight, only to see idiots like this who knows the system, take advantage of it because your agents aren't strong enough to send them back to their place in line. In New Orleans there is this agent, who is the best ever and will never allow this to happen, as he has stopped many, then continued to call the next number and the next etc. to make it right. Folks will always try to beat it, but it's extremely unfair. My husband got in an argument with an agent in Las Vegas for not stopping the person in front of him who was at the end of A boarding, after my husband tried to tell him he was not in the right place. He told my husband it didn't matter and wouldn't move, so we thought for sure because we were A16 and A18, and this guy was standing where there were only 3 business fared purchasers the agent would stop him, but NO...!!!!!! The agent in Las Vegas instead told my husband not to get in a tiffy and get over it...........If you spent the kind of money we spend each year to retain both our memberships in both programs, then excuse me, YOU ARE SO WRONG, and her even yelling at my husband while he was going down the isle to the plane was uncalled for...She then went back and although I didn't hear what she said to the crowd waiting to board, I heard them all laugh...This again is an agent of yours in Las Vegas, and sorry to say, as good as I am in remembering names, I didn't catch hers. This was a few months back too, and can't even remember what flight, although my profile will show how often we flew and where too.....We let it go, but in noticing these folks pulling this stunt more and more and more, we ask that you PLEASE have your AGENTS do their job correctly when boarding...We know they make announcements all the time to boarding procedures, but many will still act as though "they didn't know" or try to get another one over..I'd be more then happy to volunteer to check those tickets myself if these agents don't understand their jobs. Just do the right thing for all Southwest fliers, and when they find some out of line, make them hold them out until its there turn if they don't have the guts to send them back to their positions. Put yourself in all of our shoes! Thank you