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Southwest Airlines Community

"On The Fly": Excess Baggage

Retired Community Manager

Legendary Customer Service is not routine.  It’s jarring, unanticipated, and for the lack of a better term, overly reasonable.  Something legendary is also inherently memorable. 

If On The Fly only showed sunshine and rainbows, I don’t know that I’d watch.  Certainly, I prefer the positive stories to delays and other obstacles, but erasing the negative would be inauthentic, and not what we’re about.  After all, each rainbow is preceded by a storm, and the hottest fires forge the strongest steel.  As you can see from the above picture, things got… well… pretty hot (that’s a lot of bags!) in one of tonight's episodes. 

Each week, we host a live chat on Twitter, and a real-time conversation on Facebook, to talk about On The Fly as it’s happening.  In that Facebook thread, a gentleman by the name of David questioned how “real” the show was.  I answered publicly on Facebook, but thought it worth reiterating.

Q: Does the camera crew just hang around until something interesting happens and then afterwards ask for release forms to put people on the show?

A: They actually did just hang around until something interesting happened.  Five days a week, and typically twelve hours a day.  Releases were signed after the events occurred.  Camera crews were based in Baltimore, Chicago, and Denver.  TLC also had a floating crew that would go around the Southwest system, usually with specific stories in mind that were submitted.  In one of tonight’s episodes, our Social Media Team got to play a pretty big role, because we discovered the story on Facebook.  I won’t give it away here, but because we were already aware of that particular story, we were able to position the crew accordingly.

Q: Do they get stories from Employees and then have them reenacted?

A: None of the stories are reenacted.  However, when the main characters are narrating their stories, they weren’t taken aside during the event.  They reflected on the situation after it was taken care of (so the show wouldn’t get in the way of solving a Customer’s issue).

Q: Did you hang signs in the gate area letting people know there were cameras?

A: Yes, we had signs surrounding an active scene. We followed legal guidelines to determine when someone needed to sign a release.

True to its name, the majority of this show was filmed On The Fly.  So fasten those seat belts, and get ready for tonight’s ride.

And how’s about a little trivia, too?