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The Five Days of Southwest

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Southwest is the family friendly airline, literally. I am a third generation "Day" here at Southwest. In total, five of us in the Day family have the SOUTHWEST SPIRIT. My dad, Steve, started the Southwest employment trend in 1988 as a Dallas Line Mechanic. One year later my cousin, Rusty, started working as a Houston Line Mechanic. My Granddaddy Bill decided to make it a trio in 1991 in Houston Maintenance. The last of the handymen, Uncle Randy, started working for Southwest in 1995. I started working at Southwest last March, completing a "full work week" of Days.

There are a few advantages to being part of a little family within the big Southwest Family:

  • The highly skilled Mechanics of my family saved me a ton of money in college by keeping my old 96' Camaro in repair.
  • On my first day of work I had no idea what A/C meant – easily explained by 20 year WN veteran dad. (It's aircraft, not air conditioning!)
  • I grew up with the Dallas Maintenance guys looking over me. Many of them came to TCU Football Games, family weddings, lake house outings, golf tournaments, and they've met a few boyfriends through the years.
  • There is usually at least one Southwest shirt, jacket, or ball cap at every family function.
  • You can always find a buddy pass 
Now, my dad and my uncle work on the floor right below me in Maintenance Control (when I was little it was the Dutycenter). Uncle Rusty works across the street in DAL MX, and Granddaddy is retired. Maybe someday we will be the Seven Days of Southwest.
34 Comments
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What a great family tradition you have going there. Congratulations.
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Morning, Christi Day. Great story! The part about your 96 camero really made me giggle. I've often wondered where all the good mechanics have gone (aside from the SWA hangers, of course). My father and brother could build a car from the ground up and fix just about anything. Living out state, whenever I had car trouble they would always tell me to just "have one of my guy friends look at it." Um...I don't know if it's just the guys I attract, but I wouldn't trust a one of them to change my tire..tee hee. Thank god for AAA...and the Day's!
New Arrival
I was very depressed when I read the first paragraph of your post ... just the fact that anyone could be young enough to work at the same place/time as their grandfather. I was a little less depressed when I got to the last paragraph and learned that at least he is retired :-) Great post!! B
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Great read! Makes me want to fly Southwest!
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Did you attend TCU? I'm sure you've heard of LaDainian Tomlinson, possibly the best running back ever in the NFL and featured back of my favorite football team, the San Diego Chargers. Unfortunately, things didn't work out as planned for the Chargers this season. I think I'm going to make a ton of money by having shirts printed up for both Padres and Chargers fans that say "Wait Until Next Year".
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Great Story... Just a note to the Youngest one here... Sounds like you need to work on keeping this Tradition alive... For a carrier like this, well.. You have to start at a young age.
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Christi, The Days are at the airports, it is a little strange over here in San Antonio Reservations, too. In January 2007 I was an official Southwest employee. My mom was hired in November 2006. My cousin had her 15 yr anniversary this year. My aunt is retiring in February. In training I met a man im marrying in February (we have a leadership course in Las Vegas, and we are stopping by the Little White Wedding Chapel) His mom has worked here for 15 yrs as well. When they say Southwest family, they really mean it!
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I did graduate from TCU, but LT was a little before my time there....he's still a legend in Horned Frog land though. Also, I don't know if I'm the youngest one here. There are a few interns younger than me : ) Happy Tuesday!
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This truly IS the family airline. In 1981, my mom won a contest in Dallas and was "President for a Day" at Southwest Airlines. They liked her so well, she was hired as a full time employee. In 1984, she convinced me to quit my "real job" and interview as a Flight Attendant. I was hired 3 weeks later. Because of my mom's love for this airline, she convinced my Aunt, my cousin, and my younger sister to interview. They were all hired in various capacities. The best thing that happened was in 1985 when I met my future husband while on an overnight in Albuquerque. He was hired here in August of 1986 and we were married the next month. Only my husband and I are still here. The others have either retired or moved on to other things. I thank my lucky stars every day for my mom entering that contest in Dallas. Because of her, I work for the best airline in the world and met the most wonderful man in the world. Can't ask for much more in life!!
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I have always agreed that Southwest is family friendly, until I learned that they changed their boarding policy to prevent families with young children from preboarding. While there is a "family boarding" option between groups A and B, both my husband and I found that we help up the line while trying to settle in our 10 month old daughter, put our luggage in the overhead bins, and find seats together quickly and comfortably. I applaud the grouping of boarding passes by number, but think that making families with little children wait to board is a family friendly, logical or reasonable change to have made. Several passengers who watched us struggle came to our assistance and agreed that it was ridiculous that we needed to wait. And these were people without children. Just my two cents, and I hope this will change back in the future. Wendy
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Cool story, Christi. I am always interested in who has a family legacy at Southwest. I am a 2nd generation Employee. My dad worked for Southwest from 1977 to 1998, mainly at HOU. So, I too grew up an "Airline Brat." In fact there has only been about 6 months of my life where I did not have non-rev privileges. @Wendy: If you check in early enough, your family can still board with the A group. Otherwise, one of our friendly Flight Attendants can (and should) always help your family sit together by re-arranging Passengers if necessary.
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Just fabulous! Good job, Christi!
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Cristi, You have a great family indeed. I have had the pleasure of meeting just about the entire Day workforce at Southwest... y'all have a contageous personallity just like so many do at Southwest. I can remember going to Southwest Airlines' "Deck Parties" as a kid with my mom and dad and I thought, what a COOL place this is... and here I am more than 20 years later experiencing it from the inside. I think it is impossible to truly describe the Southwest Spirit and Culture... it is one of those things that you have to EXPERIENCE to get the true impact.
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For the record Christi, we all tried to talk you into a more reliable vehicle! Great post, and thanks for keepin the spirit alive!
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Christi, Isn't is FUN having family here at Southwest?! My dad is now a retired pilot who joined SWA in 1984 when I was five years old. His passion and love for the Company inspired my older brother and I to interview for positions here in 2004. (Michael and I had interviews one day apart and he is now a PHX First Officer.) Whenever my brother and I joke that me, his younger sister, has a more senior Employee number at SWA, my dad jokingly reminds us that he has a four digit Employee number. (Point for dad!) The three of us love sitting around and talking Company business as well as listening to stories from my dad about the 80s and 90s here. I love that the three of us having something so special to share. Even though we work in very different areas of the Company and contribute very differently to the Company's success, we are all part of the SWA family. Although I sit at a desk in headquarters every day, I am constantly thinking about my brother flying around the country and giving our Customers a safe, fun flight. What a joy to have that connection!
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Don't worry about the A/C abbreviation Cristi! When I first came to SWA to work for your dad in 1999, he taught me the lesson of jet blast. When running late one morning (probably picking up breakfast tacos for him) I waited for an A/C to leave the area in front of DAL hangar A so I could cross. When I felt like I couldn't wait any longer...not wanting your Dad's breakfast tacos to get cold of course, I carefully walked a long distance out of my way toward hangar C. Even at that distance I still felt jet blast. When I got to your dad's office I was still pretty shaky while I asked him what the perimeter of safety was and told him that the feeling the jet blast really scared me. Instead of giving me a statistical figure, he simply replied "good...it should have" and that was that. By the way, I loved working with your dad and getting to know the Day family! ABQ golf tourney was always a treat!
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Christi-- Can we start a support group? If only to discuss our legacy stories? When I was kid, I remember receiving a brown and orange stuffed plane that was really soft. I named him Burt (I didn't know he already had a name, TJ LUV.) Burt has been with me over 20 years, through high school, college, and my adult life. Now, Burt sits on my desk here at Southwest Airlines (albeit a little deflated.) My Uncle Jon, and Aunt Sandy (both long-time Employees of Southwest Airlines) gave me Burt, and Burt eventually brought me to Southwest Airlines. I love Burt... almost as much as Uncle Jon and Aunt Sandy! 🙂 Now, can someone help me convince my baby sister (23 years old) to interview to be a Southwest Airlines Flight Attendant?
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Hey, Cristi.... Great story! Thanks for sharing. :) My parents have 5 children - out of the 5, there are 4 of us working for Southwest. Even better - my brother, Reggie and I share the same hire date....except he was hired in 1991; I was hired in 1996! It was meant to be!! Take Care!
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What fun you must have when all the "family" is together and you tell your own "war stories". My sister-in-law is a flight attendant based in LAS and I am finally based at home in Dallas! We have a great time swapping stories and ideas! Melanie Schreiner & Karen Smith
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Christi, you forgot to mention the best part of having your Daddy one floor below you...you can always go and get lunch money from him! I'll see you later mom! :-) My mother Hyacinth works in Finance one floor under me and I enjoy my lunch time perks with her! She has been with Southwest over 25 years I began working here almost 6 years ago. My aunt Margret also works in Finance. My ugly brother in-law Willie works in Aircraft Appearance. My sister Patricia and my dad J.W. both also use to work at Southwest. I love that family is important here and I hope that never changes!
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New hire flight attendants are always asking what is the best advice from someone more senior. I jokingly tell them "don't talk bad about anybody, because you never know who is related at this company." I guess it is a little more justified than I thought!
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Nice job, Chrsti...Loved your story. Both of my kids have literally grown up on Southwest Airlines, and it has been particularly gratifying for me, as well, to share my "work/ home away from home" with my son for the past several years. Today is his last day as an Ops Sup at HOU ... he starts in TPA (my home town, incidenatlly) on February 1. Although my daughter opted for school teaching (as I did myself years ago), I hope that she will "see the light" one day and become Cope #3 at SWA. While only two of us are "blood relatives," I have had the pleasure over the past 25 years of recommending a handful of friends to the Company, all of whom, I'm happy to say, are still "family members." Your story, and others like it, should serve notice that the Company's legacy is in good hands.
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I'm always amazed to hear of others that get to have to same joy of working with family. I work in the Phoenix Reservation Center. My Mother works at the airport in Phoenix as does my Brothers wife. My Mother in Law, My Aunt and My husbands little sister also all work with me in the res center. I so enjoy the benefits it affords us as family to travel and spend time together at work. Thanks for sharing your story with us Christi.
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Great Story. I don't have any "related" family that work for the company but a few months after I started working for Southwest 14 years ago (I was a Morris Air employee in Salt Lake City when Southwest took over), one of my best friends was hired and we both came to Chicago when the Salt Lake Reservations Center closed down. And my partner of 13 years, Dan, started working here in Reservations last May so how I have family her also. The 3 of us work side by side and it makes our days fun and go by fast. I love it. 🙂
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When I meet a new hire, I always ask "Who do you know here?" Sometimes they seem surprised, but I start listing my relatives: My Brother in Dispatch - 22 years, a Cousin in Technology, 2 Nephews that are mechanics, 1 Niece in Customer Service, plus a friend who I have known since the 1st grade that sits in the cube next to mine. I would love to get a group picture some day, but with all this shift work, we are never in the same place at one time. (I've been in Maintenance 25 years, and I'm also very happy to have a four digit employee number 😉
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Very nice Christi, It's fun watching all of the replies. Keep up the good job!! Uncle Randy
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This story is to anyone and everyone who has grown up in a Nutty Southwest Airlines family. Over this Christmas break, my mom and I were chatting about where I will work after I graduate, in just a year in a half. We were discussing how this time was so exciting and that there were so many choices for my future career. This is when it hit me, I already know where I need to apply. Southwest of course!!! At this point I started to recall all of the wonderful memories I had of southwest. One of my earliest and favorites, was of when I was just 5 years old. That year I had been a little white bunny in my dance recital. Well naturally, this was the perfect costume for me to wear to the Headquarters Halloween exhibit. I was SO excited! I can remember hopping around and receiving candy around every corner. I can also recall all of the LUV merchandise I received for holidays: Luv T-shirts, shorts, cookie jars, coin collector airplanes, and my all time favorite the LUV beanie baby! As I got a little older, my mother would invite my up to work so that I could eat lunch on the landing or sometimes join her at the Deck parties. We always have a great time especially when Southwest is presenting a new plane. Last but not least, I remember that my mom would make my brothers and I wait on the airplane until everyone had de boarded, and we would run around and cross all of the seat belts. To this day, I still cross mine when I am getting off. These are just a few of the Nutty things I remember growing up and I hope that it brings a smile to the face of anyone who shares these memories with me. I love you mom! LUV, Jessica
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Hi Christi! I have a brother working in DAL MX now. Im over in dispatch. I was the first one actually hired, but Jay has been doing contract work for SWA for the last 25 yrs...he finally agreed since he was doing the work anyway, he might as well be on the inside and have all the fun and benifits he never got 'out there'. Keep up the good work!
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Jessica - I'm so glad you mentioned crossing the seatbelts! I don't remember anyone telling me to do it, but it's one of those things that is just so Southwest....running around the aircraft crossing seatbelts, with all of the thru Customers look at you like you're NUTS (but in a good way)!
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I would love to work at Southwest. Do I have to have a relative working there already to get a job there?
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Yeah, Paula! And it's a right of passage at Southwest to "sit 4th" (the 4th, unused Flight Attendant seat on our planes) when flying non-rev and get to pass out peanuts, pretzels or whatever to all our Customers. It's so great to see all their smiling faces and to interact with them a little, especially for those of us who work mostly "behind the scenes."
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Christi I knew your granddad at Braniff, and since I also work in Maintenance, I know your dad and uncle. I have three daughters, all of whom were on high school drill team, so I almost feel like I know you and your sister, as your dad and I would often compare drill team stories (and expenses).
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I am right behind you, as a fourth generation enployee. My cousin Sheri T, FA/HOU started over 15 years ago, my sister Roxann FA/DAL about 9 years ago, my cousins daughter April DAL/ headquarters, about 2 yrs ago, and myself FA/MCO May 07. What took me so long? I was raising 2 wonderful boys, by myself, who will soon be 22 and 21 yrs. They are great young men and excellent employees. Who knows maybe someday they will be apart of our Southwest Family. I cannot explain how enjoyable it is to be apart of such a great company with other close members of my family. It truely does add to being apart of the "Southwest Family". Its more than just a job or career.....its being apart of something more. It encourages me to not just do my best, but my "very best". I am amazed at how Southwest has used such creative means to create such an extraordinary Company. I am impressed and proud to be apart of Southwest Airlines. Thank you ,SWA, for encouraging family. Sincerely Paige
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OOPS meant to change the fourth generation to fourth family member.