Reports indicate that the winglets of two Southwest aircraft made contact with each other while leaving the DTW terminal area from adjacent gates. Both aircraft returned to the gates. Initial inspections indicate neither aircraft sustained substantial damage, however each has been removed from service for further inspection and appropriate repair. Southwest is accommodating our customers on other flights out of Detroit.
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In the presence of Brian Lusk, I learned a lot, and I groaned a lot. The man had a knack for knowledge, and a penchant for puns (and planes).
Mr. Lusk was the unmatched combination of a human encyclopedia, almanac, and thesaurus, all wrapped into one of the worst joke-of-the-day books I’ve ever read.
Often, Mr. Lusk would dispense my way one of his trademark puns, and delight in my agonized reaction. I wasn’t really put off. Of course, he knew that.
For how different we were, Brian and I had a lot in common.
We both graduated from SMU, and ran the radio station there. Nearly three decades separated us, but Brian often joked we were distant roommates (more like the odd couple, if you ask me). We'd been known to bust into Varsity from time to time. At Southwest, Brian bequeathed me the management of this very blog. And although I moaned and groaned about his brand of wit, I rarely passed up spending time with him, and consider myself very lucky for having done so. I had so much more to learn from him.
Brian’s vast knowledge was outmatched only by his big heart, and I can’t recall a single moment where Brian didn’t cheer me up. I smiled even when we were driving back to Milwaukee from Oshkosh, and he fell asleep in the passenger seat, and knocked the car into manual gear-shift, and sent us into fourth gear. Not once, but twice. We very nervously laughed about it at the time.
In Brian’s galaxy of history, I was just a small star. Those are just the facts, because I never felt that way. His LUV for aviation knew no bounds, rivaled only by his adoration for trains and, of course, for his family and friends. If you were interacting with Brian, you had his undivided attention. Brian Enjoying a Train Ride in Canada
It would take days for us all to recount our Brian stories, but here are a few from some of Brian’s closest friends and Coworkers. Let’s not stop there—please share your stories about Brian below in the comments section. Sandy Nelson Price, Communications Specialist When Brian and I met in 1997, we immediately clicked—he and I had started at Southwest two years earlier, only about two weeks apart; we had both had previous airline careers—his with Delta, mine with Braniff; we both loved the airline industry; we shared a love of language—both written and spoken; and then, there was the humor. I’m sure I could go on forever on how brilliant Brian was and how vast his knowledge of all things aviation, but right now, it’s just going to be about the funny (okay, okay, punny) and creative guy I always called BL.
Everyone knows what a truly unique holiday Halloween is at Southwest, and if you’ve ever been to Halloween at HDQ, you’ve probably seen Brian in a variety of roles and costumes. Southwest Airlines Halloween (Executive Office) Brian and I collaborated on a number of Halloween skits/shows while working together in the Executive Office. I have fond memories of seeing (and hearing) him gargle an entire song while dressed in a yellow rain slicker; watching him stroke a bald cat as Dr. Evil; enjoying his somewhat macabre rendition of the narrator in The Rocky Horror Airport Experience; and representing “Dullta” Air Lines in MDW, the Musical. But a performance that will stay with me forever (and still brings a smile to my heart) was his (and four other intrepid Southwest guys’) appearance in The Full Freedom Monty, complete with black bomber jackets, pilots’ caps, and yes, even the hilarious foam-rubber bare chests. To say that watching five guys (with rhythm enough between them to equal maybe one amateur dancer) practice a mild “bump and grind” move was a sidesplitting experience cannot come close to the hilarity that ensued every time they performed their routine.
As you might imagine, Brian’s theatrical inclinations not only allowed him to become many different characters, but also provided him with opportunities to let his penchant for accents to shine through. Rarely was a phone call from my phone to his not answered with, “Jerry Lundegaard here,” in his very best Fargo inflection. I would always reply, “Have you had any cars go missing off your lot?" (or “any planes go missing off your tarmac,” depending on my mood) in my very best Marge Gunderson voice. We’d continue in that vein for a minute or so, before getting down to business, and, strange as it may seem, those conversations will be part of what I miss the most about Brian: his reliable, unique, and always welcomed sense of humor. Brian and Sandy Nelson Price Love you, BL! Jon Shubert, Sr. Project Lead Some of us come to the airline industry and learn to appreciate its wonderment, and some, like Brian, have been fascinated with it from birth. And that was one of the most endearing things about Brian—his love of all things “airline.” I knew this, and had experienced his wide-eyed enthusiasm for airline facts, history, and trivia many times. But nothing drove it home for me more acutely than a flight we took to Atlanta on one of our AirTran Integration Team trips—and I can’t believe I hadn’t noticed it before on the many other flights we’ve taken together. We deplaned in Atlanta, and he took a sharp left out of the jetbridge, walked over to the gate window, and began writing on a notepad. I stopped to wait for him, and when he caught up with me, I asked him what was up. With a radiant look on his face—you’ve seen it many times too—he proudly told me that he was recording the tail number of the plane, the mileage of the flight, the city pairs… I didn’t hear anything else he said after that because I was so distracted by the awe of how much he loved—LOVED—airplanes. I’ll for sure miss him, for that and many, many other things. Jon Shubert (left) and Sonia Avila (center) with Brian at the Frontiers of Flight Museum Have a nice flight, Brian. Dan Johnson, Dispatch ATC Specialist & Original Southwest Employee I was contacted at home and advised that Brian Lusk had passed away. I am so grateful I did not hear about it in an email, that someone cared enough to call me directly.
I just saw him in the hallways last week, he seemed a little weak now that I think about it, but we all may seem weary from the daily battle.
Brian had a small ‘open house’ in one of the training rooms some time ago, displaying artifacts from SWA’s past. I went because I wanted to meet this guy that was writing about the history of my Company. Writing about things I had lived and worked and laughed and worried about, he rekindled those times for me in his Flashback Fridays. He brought to life events I thought I had long forgotten and was now reading and laughing about how crazy we were “back in the day”.
I didn’t know Brian on a deep personal level, but knew him well from the numerous emails we exchanged about “any idea who this is?” "Dan do you recognize this picture, this station, these folks? What the heck is this?" When I didn’t know or wasn’t sure, I gave him other Employees still working here who might know the answer.
What I enjoyed the most was his writing and passion and the comments from Employees so grateful to learn about how SWA got from three planes to where we are today. So many Employees commented on so many of his posts I often wondered if he knew just how much he was appreciated. I certainly hope so.
The stories and information about our past, the history lessons, it was almost like he was teaching a class on Southwest. He was teaching how to appreciate what we have by reveling what it took to get to where we are today.
Brian will be sorely missed; I will miss his emails, and certainly the history lessons in Flashback Friday.
How do you replace a gem like Brian Lusk?
Rest in Peace, Brian.
Dan Johnson #135
Kim Seale, Senior Representative, Customer Relations & Rapid Rewards How do you write about someone who was a legend to everyone but himself? Some of us are blessed in life to know a few special people who are humble enough that they fail to realize what an impact they’ve made on others. Brian Lusk was just that type of person. I suspect that Brian was much like George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life, as he went about his life at Southwest Airlines, helping others, being a friend, and sharing his Company Spirit with everyone, completely oblivious to what a huge difference he was making. His knowledge of aviation lore, aircraft details, and the history of every air carrier was encyclopedic in scope; so his transition to the role of Corporate Historian at Southwest was a perfect fit. I first became acquainted with Brian in May 2006, about a month after reading a small story in the Dallas newspaper about our hometown airline starting an online blog “under the guidance of Mr. Brian Lusk.” At the time, I wasn’t even sure what a “blog” was, but with Southwest’s reputation for a Fun-LUVing Attitude, I had to find out. As a Customer since 1973, my personal and work life often connected with Southwest, so I was excited for the opportunity to connect even more closely. What started as a few swapped jokes with Brian led us to begin an electronic friendship that was deepened through our mutual delight with puns. At Brian’s offline encouragement, my contributions to the Nuts About Southwest! Blog grew in regularity and boldness, since a Customer is in the unique position of being able to defend an airline he LUVs in a way that an Employee could never say in a published forum. The Nuts! online venue expanded significantly under Brian’s Leadership, and he eventually started referring to himself as “Blog Boy.” In appreciation for my frequent and enthusiastic submissions, Brian bestowed the title of “External Blog Boy” on me, which was an honor I wore proudly. We finally met in person, and I came to HDQ for regular visits. Amazingly enough, as I approach my fifth SWAnniversary at this great Company, I still meet Employees who, upon hearing my name will say, “Wait, didn’t you used to be ‘External Blog Boy?’ I read your stuff all the time!” After a series of corporate layoffs left many folks without a job at my former employer, Brian’s Servant’s Heart kicked into overdrive as he began working to lure me to Southwest. He encouraged me to apply, he wrote a recommendation to the People Department for me, and, knowing Brian, he personally spoke to others on my behalf. There is no doubt that Brian is a big reason that I’m privileged to be a Southwest Airlines Employee. That’s just the kind of person he was: always willing to help a friend. Will life at Southwest continue without Brian? Absolutely. Will it be the same? Absolutely NOT. Brian has shaped this Company, our Culture, and our Employees in ways that can never be fully measured. Suffice it to say that this is a better place because of our self-professed ‘avgeek’ and that many of us have been enriched by counting him as our friend. Although Brian would not want his beLUVed airline to miss a beat, we all pause to shed a tear and say goodbye to someone who has left far sooner than we would have wished. With a sad heart from the Employee/artist formerly known as External Blog Boy Paula Berg, former Southwest Employee I had the privilege of working with Brian on the Southwest blog and social media efforts from 2006-2009. We were a good team. I knew a few things about public relations and customer relations. Brian knew that and pretty much everything else. We were yin and yang. Actually, more like oil and water. We fought like cats and dogs – especially when it came to the Southwest blog. We fought about what we should post, when we should post it, what it should say, who should say it. It was good for the development of the blog. But boy could I get under his skin. And, he could really zing me with his snarky wit. One day, per usual, we had been fighting over email. I had obviously written something that really set him off because within 30 seconds of hitting send, my cell phone was ringing. I knew he was mad, so I didn’t answer. A couple of days later I arrived back at Southwest Headquarters and walked into his office. I apologized for making him mad. He apologized for what he said on my voicemail. I told him I had been too scared to hear it and had deleted it without listening. He said it was “probably for the best.” We laughed, hugged, and never fought again.
Despite our playful bickering, I genuinely loved Brian and everything he brought to the table. He was the model of everything I loved about working at Southwest Airlines. Aviation was in his blood, he had a sense of humor and knowledge of history similar to Herb’s, he cared about our customers, he was a storyteller, and he was fiercely protective of our company’s history and culture. To this day, there are only four people whose tweets I have sent directly to my phone: The Wall Street Journal, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, comedian Steve Martin, and Brian Lusk. I will miss his tweets; his puns; his Flashback Fridays; his commentary of Portlandia, SNL, and other current events; and, his affectionate updates on the comfort level of his sweet Bassett Hound, Annabelle. Annabelle the Basset Hound Brian with former Southwest Employee Paula Berg
Love you, Brian – Paula Berg
Before we close this post with a few photos, I thought it most appropriate to end where we began. In the first ever NUTS post, Brian wrote “We look at this blog as the place where our Employees ‘come out to play,' and we hope you will join us on the playground…”
Brian sure made this space fun; it was his playground, and I’m happy he shared it with me, and so many others. And to take a page out from our alma mater's hymn, Brian, though deeply saddened at your passing, our hearts are filled with joy.
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Southwest Airlines is currently working to squash several scams involving free Southwest tickets. Please do not click any of these links, or give away any of your personal information. If a user has clicked any of these links or supplied personal information to the sites, Southwest recommends users change their account passwords, and check Facebook privacy settings to see if any undesired apps exist. Under privacy settings, the left-side tab should look like this: As a reminder, all communication from our official channels regularly links to our Company website, southwest.com, or our award-winning Company blog, Nuts About Southwest. Here's an example from the latest scam, which appears with a tumblr URL: Here’s an example of two of these scams (reported around 1/3):
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That's fair. But we literally didn't have any idea where our gates were going to be, or any of that, until we showed up at the Norfolk ticket counter. I'm not embellishing when I tell you I was surprised it was that easy, and I realize that's an implicating statement.
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Traveling with your boss is a little nerve-racking. Traveling with your boss to test network connectivity presents itself an entirely different class of exhilaration. Add in the fact that it's also your boss' birthday, and then you can forget sleep! Recently, all of the above came into play during a test where we connected the Southwest and AirTran networks in several markets through one seamless itinerary (better known as 'codesharing'). We flew from Norfolk, VA to Atlanta, GA on Southwest, then switched over to AirTran to travel from Atlanta to Fort Lauderdale, FL. The check-in process was a breeze. You enter your confirmation number, both flights show up, and the AirTran portion indicates “Operated by AirTran Airways.” Both boarding passes are printed out on the spot, and if you’re checking bags, you simply hand them off to the carrier operating your first flight, as you normally would. When we arrived in ATL on Southwest, we took out our boarding passes and realized we were a mere ten yards from our AirTran gate for our next flight. Doesn’t get any easier than that. Having arrived in Fort Lauderdale on AirTran (even though we checked bags with Southwest), we proceeded to theAirTran baggage claim to wait for Beth's bag. Lo and behold, around the belt the bag came, just like it was supposed to. Watch the video to see network connectivity in action, and please check out this FAQ, in case you have more questions!
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This morning, we had the pleasure of surprising the first couple to get married at the Denver courthouse on Valentine's Day with two roundtrip tickets on Southwest Airlines. Madeline Jacobs said she couldn't sleep all week. She would've camped outside the Denver courthouse to be first in line to get married to her sweetheart, Josè, on Valentine's Day. Josè has a knack for making his holidays big. This past year, Josè popped the question to Madeline on Thanksgiving Day. "This big turkey got on his left knee and proposed to my loved one right here," Josè said, his arm tightly around his girl's shoulder. Getting to the courthouse hasn't been easy. Madeline and Josè met 20 years ago, lost touch over the years, and it wasn't until last July that the two reconnected at a pizza parlor. This morning, the two experienced a more dangerous obstacle when they got in their truck, started it, and the engine caught fire. Madeline laughed, "The burning desire of our love is like the truck that caught on fire." Surrounded by family & friends, the city, and Southwest Airlines, LUV was all around as Josè and Madeline tied the knot. Shortly after kissing the bride, we stepped in to sweeten the moment, presenting the happy newlyweds with two oversized boarding passes, good for travel anywhere Southwest flies. Happy Valentine's Day, and congratulations, Josè and Madeline!
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Southwest Airlines is a proud sponsor of Sundance Film Festival, and we are always delighted to light up Park City, UT with Southwest LUV; from the signs to the giveaways. But the films are obviously the main event, and the people in them are a very close second. Actors, directors, and everything in between are constantly on-the-go, whether it's an on-location shoot, or a cross-country promotional trip. So videographer Stephen M. Keller and I went in search of answers to a few very important questions. We asked them about their travel quirks and habits, and what they bring with them when living out of a suitcase?
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I gained tremendous insight into the world of cinema at last year's Sundance Film Festival, which Southwest was lucky enough (and honored) to sponsor. After many of the films, the cast and crew answered questions from the audience. This crowd didn't mess around, either; if they hated a film, the people spoke out (I'm looking at you, Compliance; a film I found important to see, mind you). But if I learned anything from these Q&A sessions, it was that directors and their chosen cast spare no detail. In bringing screenplays to life, the best directors carefully select what emotions are meant to be felt in any given scene. Similarly, actors often breathe life into a director's instruction. So much emotion can be poured into even 15 seconds, and sometimes, it is more than enough time to twist a plot. Our buddies at Viddy have once again joined up with us to give away plane tickets and other great prizes to the top three 15-second Viddymakers. Here's how to enter to win this contest: 1. Download the free Viddy app in the App Store or Android Market. 2. Create a Viddy account (you can do so on the Viddy website, or within the app). 3. Link your Viddy account with your Twitter account 4. Create your best Southwest-themed Viddy 5. Share your Viddy with us on Twitter, using the #SWAViddy hashtag Deadline: January 20th, 2013 Grand Prize: Two Roundtrip Southwest Airlines Plane Tickets Runner Up: One $100 LUV Voucher Third Place: One $50 LUV Voucher OFFICIAL RULES Southwest Airlines - 2013 Southwest Sundance Viddy Challenge 1. To Enter: No purchase or obligation necessary. Contest runs January 17, 2013 from 10:00 am CT – January 20, 2013 at 5:00 pm CT. To enter without purchase or obligation, submit an original Viddy to us @SouthwestAir on Twitter, using the #SWAViddy hashtag. By entering, Entrant grants Sponsor an irrevocable, perpetual, royalty-free, freely transferable license to use the video for all purposes, in any and all media, whether now known or hereafter devised. Entries may not violate any third party rights nor use any third-party intellectual property such as logos, trademarks, copyrighted material (such as music) or background signs. Entrants acknowledge and agree that their entry does not violate any rights of privacy or publicity and that they have the written permission of those appearing in their video to submit their image. Entries must not disparage; contain material that is inappropriate, indecent, or vulgar; or promote bigotry, racism, hatred or discrimination based on race, gender, religion, sexual orientation. All entries will not be returned. Entries limited to one (1) per person. Any person found using multiple Twitter accounts to enter will be found to be ineligible. Anonymous entries will be considered invalid. You warrant your video will not be sexually explicit, unnecessarily violent or derogatory. It cannot promote drugs, alcohol, or firearms. 2. Selection of Winner: On or about January 22, 2013 at 5:30 pm CT, members of the Southwest Airlines Emerging Media Team will review all eligible entries received and choose a winner. The judges will be judging on the following qualities:∙ Creativity and Originality: 20%∙ Entertaining: 25%∙ Southwest Appeal: 35% - entry should reflect our Culture and Fun-LUVing Attitude.∙ Rules: 20% Read and complied with the official rules. Prizes are guaranteed to be awarded. 3. Prize: One (1) Grand Prize to consist of two (2) roundtrip tickets on Southwest Airlines (APV for Southwest Airlines tickets is $420); one second place consolation prize to consist of one (1) $100 Southwest LUV Voucher; one third place consolation prize to consist of one (1) $50 Southwest LUV Voucher. Roundtrip tickets on Southwest Airlines are subject to Southwest Airlines terms and conditions; certain restrictions may apply. No blackout dates. Airline tickets awarded will be open origination and open destination and will expire one year from date of issue. Expiration dates will not be extended, and tickets will not be refundable or redeemable for cash or credit at any time, nor will tickets be replaced if lost or stolen. Tickets may not be sold to a third party. Tickets valid on Southwest-operated, published, scheduled service only from the airport nearest the winner's residence served by Southwest Airlines. If the winner does not live in a city served by Southwest Airlines, he/she is responsible for transportation to the nearest airport served by Southwest Airlines.
Southwest LUV Vouchers are subject to Southwest Airlines terms and conditions, Contract of Carriage, and rules and regulations of Southwest Airlines. Southwest LUV Vouchers are valid as a form of payment toward future air fare only on Southwest Airlines through southwest.com, toll-free Reservations 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792), or at any Southwest Airlines Ticket Counter. Southwest LUV Vouchers must be redeemed and all travel completed by the expiration date indicated. Validity of Southwest LUV Vouchers will not be extended and any unused value will be forfeited upon expiration. Southwest LUV Vouchers and travel issued in exchange for Southwest LUV Vouchers have no cash value and cannot be exchanged for cash or other monetary consideration. Southwest LUV Vouchers will not be replaced if lost, stolen, or destroyed. Southwest LUV Vouchers are VOID if sold, altered, purchased, brokered, and/or bartered. See www.southwest.com for complete terms and conditions. 4. Eligibility: Contest open to all legal US residents, with a valid email and Twitter account, 21 years and older as of January 13, 2012. Employees of Southwest Airlines Co., AirTran Airways, Inc., Viddy, Inc., and their advertising and promotions agencies, and their immediate families (spouse and parents, children and siblings and their spouses) and individuals living in the same households of such employees are ineligible. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Contest subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations. By participating, entrants agree to these official rules and accept decisions of the Sponsor as final. Void in Puerto Rico and where prohibited by law. The promotion is offered in the United States only and shall only be construed and evaluated according to United States law. Do not proceed in this site if you are not located in the United States. 5. To Claim Prize: Potential winner only will be notified by Southwest Airlines via e-mail, and potential winner must provide valid address (No P.O. Boxes). Unclaimed or undeliverable prize will be forfeited and awarded to an alternate winner. Prizes are guaranteed to be awarded. Acceptance of prize constitutes permission (except where prohibited) to use winner's name, hometown and likeness for purposes of advertising, promotion and publicity in any media without additional compensation. Potential winners must execute and return any required affidavit of eligibility and/or liability/publicity release within one (1) day of notification attempt or prize will be forfeited and an alternate winner may be chosen. If a potential winner cannot be contacted, fails to sign and return the required affidavit of eligibility and liability/publicity release within the required time period, or if a prize or prize notification is returned as undeliverable, potential winner forfeits prize. 6. Limitation of Liability: Neither Sponsor, nor their affiliated entities, are responsible for printing or typographical errors in any related materials; stolen, fraudulent, entries or mail; or transactions that are processed or lost due to computer or electronic malfunction. Winners are solely responsible for payment of all federal, state, and local taxes on prize and for any travel or other expenses not specifically mentioned in prize description. Sponsor reserves the right to cancel or modify Contest if fraud or technical failure compromise the integrity of the Contest as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion. This Contest offer is being made exclusively by Sponsor. Sponsor not responsible for technical, hardware, software or telephone failures of any kind, lost or unavailable network connections or fraud, incomplete, garbled or delayed computer transmission whether caused by Sponsor, user, or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the promotion or by any technical or human error which may occur in the process of submissions which may limit a participants ability to participate in this promotion. 7. Winner's List: To request a Winner's Name List, send a self addressed stamped return envelope, after January 21, 2013, to Southwest Airlines Emerging Media. All requests must be received by February 21, 2013. Utah and Washington residents may omit return postage. 8. Sponsor: Southwest Airlines Co., P.O. Box 36611, Dallas, TX. 75235-1611
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When we began the 12 Days of LUV, we knew Customers would be really into it and ready to vie for $12,000 worth of southwestgiftcards® (one for each day, compliments of Dr Pepper). Take a look at the winners, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
What we didn’t know was the story of full-circle generosity that we’d be able to tell, due to one stranger reaching out to help another through the Facebook comments section of 12 Days of LUV: Day 1.
I won’t soon forget the selflessness displayed by Kristy Wilson, the Customer who helped Mike Calandra, the aforementioned stranger who just wanted to see his soldier son before deployment.
You’ll witness in this video Kristy’s genuine surprise and insistence that we didn’t have to reward her generosity.
“This is so not necessary,” she softly muttered, holding back tears.
But also unnecessary was her decision to help someone across the United States who she’d previously never interacted with.
The result was an unforgettable experience that led to lots of hugs, tears, and joy, and the reaffirmation that we truly work for the best Company, with the best Employees, and the best Customers on the planet.
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Cinema's a big deal for us right now. Once again, we're lucky to sponsor the Sundance Film Festival as the official airline. Have you ever pinpointed the moment when you're watching a film and you feel in your heart that you're witnessing cinematic history? In my younger years, Macauley Culkin's signature jaw-dropping yell in Home Alone comes to mind, or Meg Ryan's dinner moment in When Harry Met Sally. Or when Winston tells Ray, "When somebody asks you if you're a god, you say 'Yes!'" I've always wondered whether these moments are designed to be great from the beginning, or are so by happenstance. We want to give you a chance to manufacture an iconic film moment of your own, by making a five-minute movie using the following criteria: Genre Options (Choose One) Genre A: A Romantic Comedy Genre B: Action/Adventure Genre C: Animated Film Character Options (Choose at least Two) Southwest Ramp Agent Southwest Pilot Southwest Flight Attendant Southwest Customer "The Other Airline" Villain Time Limit: 5 Minutes Prizes: 1st Place: Two roundtrip tickets 2nd Place: One $100 LUV Voucher 3rd Place: One $50 LUV Voucher How to Enter: 1. Upload Your Video to YouTube 2. Send a Tweet to @SouthwestAir, and include your YouTube link and the hashtag #SWACinema Questions? Ask @SouthwestAir on Twitter. Hasta la vista, baby. OFFICIAL RULES Southwest Airlines - Southwest Sundance Cinema Challenge 1. To Enter: No purchase or obligation necessary. Contest runs January 7, 2013 from 12:00 pm CT – January 13, 2013 at 5:00 pm CT. To enter without purchase or obligation, submit an original YouTube video to us @SouthwestAir on Twitter, using the #SWACinema hashtag. By entering, Entrant grants Sponsor an irrevocable, perpetual, royalty-free, freely transferable license to use the video for all purposes, in any and all media, whether now known or hereafter devised. Entries may not violate any third party rights nor use any third-party intellectual property such as logos, trademarks, copyrighted material (such as music) or background signs. Entrants acknowledge and agree that their entry does not violate any rights of privacy or publicity and that they have the written permission of those appearing in their video to submit their image. Entries must not disparage; contain material that is inappropriate, indecent, or vulgar; or promote bigotry, racism, hatred or discrimination based on race, gender, religion, sexual orientation. All entries will not be returned. Entries limited to one (1) per person. Any person found using multiple Twitter accounts to enter will be found to be ineligible. Anonymous entries will be considered invalid. You warrant your video will not be sexually explicit, unnecessarily violent or derogatory. It cannot promote drugs, alcohol, or firearms. 2. Selection of Winner: On or about January 15, 2013 at 5:30 pm CT, members of the Southwest Airlines Emerging Media Team will review all eligible entries received and choose a winner. The judges will be judging on the following qualities: ∙ Creativity and Originality: 20% ∙ Entertaining: 25% ∙ Southwest Appeal: 35% - entry should reflect our Culture and Fun-LUVing Attitude. ∙ Rules: 20% Read and complied with the official rules. Prizes are guaranteed to be awarded. 3. Prizes: One (1) Grand Prize to consist of two (2) roundtrip tickets on Southwest Airlines (APV for Southwest Airlines tickets is $420); one second place consolation prize to consist of one (1) $100 Southwest LUV Voucher; one third place consolation prize to consist of one (1) $50 Southwest LUV Voucher. Roundtrip tickets on Southwest Airlines are subject to Southwest Airlines terms and conditions; certain restrictions may apply. No blackout dates. Airline tickets awarded will be open origination and open destination and will expire one year from date of issue. Expiration dates will not be extended, and tickets will not be refundable or redeemable for cash or credit at any time, nor will tickets be replaced if lost or stolen. Tickets may not be sold to a third party. Tickets valid on Southwest-operated, published, scheduled service only from the airport nearest the winner's residence served by Southwest Airlines. If the winner does not live in a city served by Southwest Airlines, he/she is responsible for transportation to the nearest airport served by Southwest Airlines.
Southwest LUV Vouchers are subject to Southwest Airlines terms and conditions, Contract of Carriage, and rules and regulations of Southwest Airlines. Southwest LUV Vouchers are valid as a form of payment toward future air fare only on Southwest Airlines through southwest.com, toll-free Reservations 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792), or at any Southwest Airlines Ticket Counter. Southwest LUV Vouchers must be redeemed and all travel completed by the expiration date indicated. Validity of Southwest LUV Vouchers will not be extended and any unused value will be forfeited upon expiration. Southwest LUV Vouchers and travel issued in exchange for Southwest LUV Vouchers have no cash value and cannot be exchanged for cash or other monetary consideration. Southwest LUV Vouchers will not be replaced if lost, stolen, or destroyed. Southwest LUV Vouchers are VOID if sold, altered, purchased, brokered, and/or bartered. See www.southwest.com for complete terms and conditions. 4. Eligibility: Contest open to all legal US residents, with an email address and a Twitter account, 21 years and older as of January 7, 2013. Employees of Southwest Airlines Co., AirTran Airways, Inc., and their advertising and promotions agencies, and their immediate families (spouse and parents, children and siblings and their spouses) and individuals living in the same households of such employees are ineligible. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Contest subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations. By participating, entrants agree to these official rules and accept decisions of the Sponsor as final. Void in Puerto Rico and where prohibited by law. The promotion is offered in the United States only and shall only be construed and evaluated according to United States law. Do not proceed in this site if you are not located in the United States. 5. To Claim Prize: Potential winner only will be notified by Southwest Airlines via e-mail, and potential winner must provide valid address (No P.O. Boxes). Unclaimed or undeliverable prize will be forfeited and awarded to an alternate winner. Prizes are guaranteed to be awarded. Acceptance of prize constitutes permission (except where prohibited) to use winner's name, hometown and likeness for purposes of advertising, promotion and publicity in any media without additional compensation. Potential winners must execute and return any required affidavit of eligibility and/or liability/publicity release within one (1) day of notification attempt or prize will be forfeited and an alternate winner may be chosen. If a potential winner cannot be contacted, fails to sign and return the required affidavit of eligibility and liability/publicity release within the required time period, or if a prize or prize notification is returned as undeliverable, potential winner forfeits prize. 6. Limitation of Liability: Neither Sponsor, nor their affiliated entities, are responsible for printing or typographical errors in any related materials; stolen, fraudulent, entries or mail; or transactions that are processed or lost due to computer or electronic malfunction. Winners are solely responsible for payment of all federal, state, and local taxes on prize and for any travel or other expenses not specifically mentioned in prize description. Sponsor reserves the right to cancel or modify Contest if fraud or technical failure compromise the integrity of the Contest as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion. This Contest offer is being made exclusively by Sponsor. Sponsor not responsible for technical, hardware, software or telephone failures of any kind, lost or unavailable network connections or fraud, incomplete, garbled or delayed computer transmission whether caused by Sponsor, user, or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the promotion or by any technical or human error which may occur in the process of submissions which may limit a participants ability to participate in this promotion. 7. Winner's List: To request a Winner's Name List, send a self addressed stamped return envelope, after January 15, 2013, to Southwest Airlines Emerging Media. All requests must be received by February 15, 2013. Utah and Washington residents may omit return postage. 8. Sponsor: Southwest Airlines Co., P.O. Box 36611, Dallas, TX. 75235-1611
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This morning, Flight #4695 leaving Islip for Tampa exited the taxiway during taxi from the gate. The aircraft had 129 Customers on board, and there were no reported injuries. The Customers deplaned the aircraft and were bussed back to the terminal where a replacement aircraft will take them to their original destination. Maintenance crews are working to move the aircraft and evaluate it for any damage.
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We had a really great time selecting the winners each day of the 12 Days of LUV. It's a shame that, out of hundreds upon hundreds of submissions, only 12 people can win. The creativity was unbelievable! Check out the 12 winners, and tell us in the comments which one is your favorite!
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CEO of leading social media marketing agency recognizes likeable organizations. NEW YORK, Dec. 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Social media agency Likeable Media issued today its list of the five most likeable companies in the United States for 2012. These companies were chosen based on their ability to meet criteria of a LIKEABLE BUSINESS, including gratefulness, team playing, responsiveness, passion, and surprise and delight. Likeable Media's CEO and author of Likeable Business, Dave Kerpen, has named The Company Store, DaVita, Entenmann's, Southwest Airlines, and Trader Joe's as this year's top brands.
The Company Store (La Crosse, WI) has been honored for its philanthropic efforts, including donating blankets to local shelters and disaster relief. This year, the company is handing out comforters to military families as part of its nationwide "Operation: Comforter Drop." More than just a business, The Company Store strives to be a positive influence in its communities.
DaVita (Denver, CO) is the nation's second largest dialysis provider and holds "team playing" as a core value. The DaVita Village, home to 45,000 team members, is a community first, and a company second. The democratic company culture lets each member have a say in DaVita's vision, mission, and values.
Entenmann's (Bay Shore, NY) excels at responding to its online community. The baked goods company responds not only to positive feedback, but negative comments as well—oftentimes turning a frustrated customer into a brand advocate.
Southwest Airlines (Dallas, TX) is known for its passion. The company, one of the few airlines with steady profits, is passionate about its employees which results in a passionate staff eager to spread its brand love to passengers. Trader Joe's (Monrovia, CA) has been recognized for the delightful customer experience it provides. Designed to be a place where people enjoy grocery shopping to a point where it's like going on a vacation, the store offers "tasting huts," ever-helpful "crew members," and pleasant policies like mixing and matching brews or returning opened products.
Dave Kerpen is the New York Times bestselling author of the new book Likeable Business: Why Today's Consumers Demand More and How Leaders Can Deliver and Likeable Social Media: How to Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, and Be Generally Amazing on Facebook (and Other Social Networks). (McGraw-Hill) In his new book, he outlines the 11 principles of a likeable business: listening, storytelling, authenticity, transparency, team-playing, responsiveness, adaptability, passion, surprise and delight, simplicity, and gratefulness.
Disclaimer: The Company Store and Entenmann's are clients of Likeable Media.
About Likeable: Likeable Media is an award-winning, global social media and word of mouth marketing firm with a focus on creating compelling content. Likeable Media has worked with over 200 brands such as Medtronic, General Electric, Neutrogena, Verizon, and Logitech. Likeable Media is recognized as one of Facebook's top 90 Preferred Marketing Consultants, and is the only agency to win three consecutive WOMMY awards from the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA). In 2012, Likeable Media was named number 146 on the Inc. 500 Fastest-Growing U.S. Companies List. Likeable consists of Likeable Media, as well as the small business software product Likeable Local. SOURCE Likeable Media
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Awkward conversation at Thanksgiving dinner is practically a national past-time. Each of us has a loudmouthed, inappropriate, or otherwise controversial family member who makes Thanksgiving entertaining for half of us, and miserable for those who share a direct bloodline. I'm probably that controversial family member (but I say this mostly to absolve myself of any potential scorn from the rest of my family). Southwest's Social Media Team gets really into the holidays, and we like to make into reality the crazy ideas we think up. So when it was suggested that we do a Potlucksgiving, off we went! Not only did we get to measure each other's culinary excellence, but this occasion also enabled us to share not one, but two awkward Family dinners! After all, we're all Family at Southwest. And in the spirit of giving, we decided to tell you about what we made, and show you how to make it! Oh, what's that? You want me to start? Why, I'm so glad you asked! My recipe is for crab soup, and is actually borrowed from another holiday: Easter. The first time I had crab soup was when my Aunt Linda made it after the kids scurried around the yard and house, searching for eggs (and okay, probably me, too). It was delicious, and I clamored for the recipe... then quickly forgot about it. Never fear, though. At Christmas the following year, my Mom gave us all recipe books that included only recipes from our family. I fiercely tore through the pages to find crab soup, and jumped for joy when I found that the recipe was included. I became even more excited when I saw how easy the recipe was to make. And without further ado, here it is in all its glory: Ingredients: 1 medium-sized yellow onion 2 tablespoons of butter 1 tablespoon of flour 1 can of tomato soup (or cream of tomato) 1 quart of half and half 1 pound lump crab meat (fresher the better!) A few healthy shakes of Tony Cachere's cajun seasoning 1/4 cup of sherry Directions: 1. Dice onion into small pieces that resemble the crab meat. 2. With the heat on high, melt butter in a big pan, gradually adding flour until cooked to a penny-colored coppery brown. 3. Once cooked thoroughly, turn down heat to medium and add can of tomato soup. 4. Gradually add half and half, stirring frequently. 5. After washing hands, sift through crab meat to double-check for shells. 6. Add crab to soup, and immediately season with Tony Cachere's before crab has been fully mixed with soup. 7. Add a 1/4 cup of sherry, for taste, and stir. 8. Let the soup cook for ten minutes, but closely monitor so it doesn't froth. Let sit briefly, and serve. Enjoy! Rob Hahn Green Bean Casserole When trying to think of my favorite original Thanksgiving recipe I hit a wall. From a young age, my family has always dined on the traditional Thanksgiving cornerstones—turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, green beans, and stuffing—no fried turkeys or extravagant fixings! I asked my mom why she stuck with these simple dishes. My mom explained that my dad and I were very picky eaters (that sure has changed for me) so she always kept Thanksgiving dinner simple. One of my favorite dishes from our classic feast is green bean casserole with French fried onions on top (I’m sure most of you have probably had this recipe as it’s a staple for Thanksgiving). Oh, and by the way, mom was happy to provide this picture of my stubbornness years ago at the Thanksgiving table!
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
3/4 cup milk
1/8 tsp. black pepper
2 (9 oz. each) pkgs. frozen cut green beans, thawed (or canned whole or French cut beans)
1 1/3 cups FRENCH'S® Original French Fried Onions
Mix soup, milk and pepper in a 1 1/2 -qt. baking dish. Stir in beans and 2/3 cup French Fried Onions.
Bake at 350°F for 30 min. or until hot.
Stir. Top with remaining 2/3 cup onions. Bake 5 min. until onions are golden. Nicole Rosenblum Sweet Potato Casserole The main focus of a traditional Thanksgiving meal is usually the turkey, but for me it’s all about the savory sides! As my family gathers each year for Thanksgiving, we have everyone choose a side or appetizer to make. As far back as I can remember my mother always picked the delicious sweet potato casserole to cook for our family meal. Several years ago she passed the cooking duties to me and I thought how can I jazz up this simple dish? By adding crushed corn flakes and pecans the sweet potato casserole has evolved. I LUV making the dish and putting down some new roots in our family tradition. Ingredients:
SWEET POTATO FILLING:
2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 5 medium-sized)
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup non-fat milk
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Canola Oil cooking spray
CORNFLAKE, PECAN, AND MARSHMALLOW TOPPING:
1 1/4 cups cornflakes cereal, crushed
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 1/4 cups miniature marshmallows Directions: 1. Prepare filling: Preheat oven to 400°. Bake sweet potatoes on a baking sheet 1 hour or until tender. Reduce oven temperature to 350°. Let potatoes stand until cool to touch (about 20 minutes); peel and mash with a potato masher. 2. Beat mashed sweet potatoes, 2 Tbsp. softened butter, and next 5 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Spoon mixture into an 11- x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. 3. Prepare topping: Stir together crushed cornflakes cereal and next 3 ingredients. Sprinkle over sweet potato mixture in diagonal rows 2 inches apart. 4. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle miniature marshmallows in alternate rows between cornflake mixture, and bake 10 more minutes. Catherine Gantt Spinach Balls When I first moved out of the dorms, my mom sent me back to school with a collection of our family’s favorite recipes. In addition to Grandma’s cream puffs (which any civilized person knows should be eaten while standing over the sink or near a hungry dog), she included the recipe for spinach balls—a recipe she received from her friend Nola (at whose wedding my mom met my dad). Spinach balls have been a staple at every holiday meal. Mom LUVs to entertain, and my three brothers and I grew up with our house full of friends and family devouring the appetizing appetizer. Now that I have kids, I’ve found that spinach balls are a good way to sneak in some green (the benefits of which are likely at least somewhat cancelled out by the butter and stuffing...). Ingredients: 2 pkgs frozen chopped spinach
3 cups herb-seasoned stuffing mix
1 lg. onion finely chopped
6 eggs well beaten
¾ cup melted butter
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 ½ tsp pepper
1 ½ tsp garlic salt
½ tsp thyme
Cook spinach as directed. Drain well to remove excess moisture. Combine all ingredients. Form into 1” diameter balls and place on baking sheet.
Bake at 325 for 15 to 20 mins. Stuff your face. Forming the balls—the icky stage at which you remind yourself how much you love your family and want them to enjoy their holiday. Pre-baked goodness. The final product. Daniel Hernandez Veggie Bars Thanksgiving with my family is quite a production. As one would expect, everyone comes together for the largest meal of year. While the location may change from year to year, everyone in the family knows what they are required to bring for the feast. Funny story, one year our family ate at the local Boys and Girls Club because the family wanted to have a basketball tournament. It was made possible by an uncle had access to the building despite it being closed for the holidays. But back to the food, with seven aunts, and nine uncles, and quite a few cousins, we always have a nice variety of eats. For instance, one aunt brings potatoes every year, another makes a special version of Mac and Cheese, a uncle is responsible for two hams, and then the most trusted uncle of them all provides the "main turkey" that will compliment the other three. My recipe of choice, Veggie Bars, is an aunt's specialty. She makes them every year without fail, and the entire family only eats them during the holidays. Nevertheless, the real recipe has come to epitomize the holiday season for our family. They are not to be savored during any other time of the year! These bars have become synonymous with family, love, and joy for the entire family. They are a personal favorite of mine but I must remind you this is a rendition of the true top secret recipe that only her and her three daughters know. Ingredients: 3 Tubes of Crescent Rolls 1/2 Cup of Purple Cabbage (chopped) 5 oz of Carrots (shredded) 1/2 Cup Broccoli Trees (shredded) 1/2 Cup Cauliflower Head (crumbled) 1 Bag of Hidden Valley Ranch Dip 16oz of Sour Cream Directions: 1. Take crescent rolls and lay them flat on a cookie sheet. (Bake as indicated on packaging) 2. Mix Hidden Valley Ranch Dip mix in 16oz of sour cream. 3. Spread Ranch mix on cooled crescent roll in cookie sheet 4. Spread a mixture of chopped veggies on top *SERVE THE SAME DAY Brooke Young Rosemary Roasted Carrots Carrots, you say? What’s so special about a recipe for roasted carrots? As a kid, this was always the dish that my mom put me in charge of when I would want to help her make Thanksgiving. I always asked if I could take on something really crucial to the Thanksgiving feast like the turkey or the mashed potatoes. Instead, my marching orders were always to roast the carrots. As the years went on and I started taking more responsibility and could actually reach the stove, the carrots still remained my domain. I tried new things every year and would try and perfect the time it took to get the perfect amount of softness in the oven. This is the masterpiece that emerged. So this Thanksgiving, feel free to let your kids get their hands dirty and take charge of the carrots! Ingredients: 12-14 full sized carrots ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil Pinch of sea salt Generous amount of pepper 2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary 1 baking sheet Directions: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare the carrots by cutting the tops and bottoms off and slicing them in half if they are large. Then cut them lengthwise so you have carrot halves. Lay the carrots on the baking sheet and drizzle the olive oil evenly over the sheet. Sprinkle salt and freshly ground pepper over the olive oil and mix everything with your hands or mixing utensils so that the carrots are evenly coated. Sprinkle the rosemary over the carrots. When the oven is ready, put the carrots on the top shelf for 35-40 minutes until golden and browned on the edges. Serve hot! Gabe Briones Broccoli, Cheese & Rice Casserole Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends to gather and share time together. It is a good time to reflect on the past and create memories for the future. One of my favorite memories is when my Mom taught me how to make one of her signature side dishes: broccoli cheese & rice casserole. It’s a quick, easy recipe that is guaranteed to have your family and friends wanting more! Ingredients:
1 package frozen broccoli
½ small onion, chopped
½ cup butter
½ cup cheese whiz
½ cup milk
1 can Campbell’s cream of chicken soup
1 ½ cup rice, cooked
Melt butter in skillet and add onion and broccoli. Sauté until the onion is transparent and the broccoli is thawed. Add the soup, cheese whiz, and milk. Cook until well blended. Add cooked rice to mixture and pour into non-stick casserole dish. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Ashley Pettit Pioneer Woman's Mashed Potatoes The Pioneer Woman’s Creamy Mashed Potatoes are not for the faint of heart. They mean business. Seriously delicious business. I’ve been following the Pioneer Woman’s food blog for years now, and her recipes are always a crowd pleaser. Not only are they delicious, but the recipes contain a heaping helping of humor which makes them just as fun to make. Since stumbling upon this recipe for mashed potatoes, they’ve become a family tradition at my Thanksgiving table. And if I’m being honest, they’ve been known to make regular appearances at family dinners throughout the year. Ingredients: 5 pounds Russet Or Yukon Gold Potatoes 3/4 cups Butter 1 package (8 Oz.) Cream Cheese, Softened 1/2 cup (to 3/4 Cups) Half-and-Half 1/2 teaspoon (to 1 Teaspoon) Lawry's Seasoned Salt 1/2 teaspoon (to 1 Teaspoon) Black Pepper Directions: Peel and cut the potatoes into pieces that are generally the same size. Bring a large pot of water to a simmer and add the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook for 30 to 35 minutes. When they’re cooked through, the fork should easily slide into the potatoes with no resistance, and the potatoes should almost, but not totally, fall apart. Drain the potatoes in a large colander. When the potatoes have finished draining, place them back into the dry pot and put the pot on the stove. Mash the potatoes over low heat, allowing all the steam to escape, before adding in all the other ingredients. Turn off the stove and add 1 ½ sticks of butter, an 8-ounce package of cream cheese and about ½ cup of half-and-half. Mash, mash, mash! Next, add about ½ teaspoon of Lawry’s Seasoning Salt and ½ a teaspoon of black pepper. Stir well and place in a medium-sized baking dish. Throw a few pats of butter over the top of the potatoes and place them in a 350-degree oven and heat until butter is melted and potatoes are warmed through. Note: When making this dish a day or two in advance, take it out of the fridge about 2 to 3 hours before serving time. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 20 to 30 minutes or until warmed through. Verity Kugelmann Orange Pound Cake After leaving Japan with her American husband and 2-year-old twin daughters (my Mom and Aunt) and arriving in America after World War II, my maternal Grandmother's well-meaning mother-in-law advised her that, in order to assimilate and acculturate into American society, my Grandma should quickly learn the customs and traditions of America. Grandma was only too eager to please and be accepted by her husband's family. Her desire to adapt to the ways of the West extended, especially, to learning to make traditional American dishes--and without any Eastern influences. Cooking with soy sauce and sake was reserved for Japanese dishes only! One particular dessert my Grandma loved to make was Orange Pound Cake. She considered it a special dessert and baked it for special occasions. My Grandfather would be sure to request it for Thanksgiving and Christmas every year. Grandma would not buy the boxed cake mixes as she thought that the from-scratch-cakes had the best flavor, texture, and, more importantly, the essence of the one who made it. Here is the cake that my Mom learned to make from watching her and passed down to me. Enjoy! Ingredients & Directions: 1 cup cake flour or all-purpose flour, sifted 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/8 teaspoon salt 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened 1/3 cup sugar 2 eggs 1 orange, juiced and zested (to yield 4 tablespoons juice, divided) 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 tablespoons orange liqueur Preheat oven to 350. Thoroughly oil an 8x4-inch loaf pan. In a medium bowl, combine cake flour, baking powder, and salt. In a second medium bowl, cream butter and sugar with mixer until soft, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and beat another 2 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons orange juice, zest, and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture. Transfer batter to pan. Smooth with a spatula and bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Combine remaining 2 tablespoons orange juice and the orange liqueur in a small bowl. Poke holes in top of the cake with a fork or a skewer and pour the liqueur mixture over the cake. Allow to cool, then remove from pan. Serve immediately, or wrap tightly until ready to serve. ~~Serves 12 Christi McNeill Pumpkin Parfait Last year I bought these "tasting party" parfait glasses and spoons for Thanksgiving. Turkey day rolled around and I realized these little suckers would be tricky to transport to Grandma's house! Handyman husband to the rescue! Ryan cobbled me up a carrying tray for my cute desserts. It's perfect and now makes it easy to transport to any party! I used a pumpkin mousse recipe from FoodNetwork.com. The pumpkin parfaits are a sweet small treat and they were perfect for wrapping up our Social Media Team PotLucksGiving!
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Reduced visibility is creating operational challenges at Chicago-Midway, and in response, Southwest has canceled 46 flights this morning. Forecasts indicate the heavy fog will lift before 12 p.m. central, and the carrier will continue to monitor the situation. Southwest has issued a weather advisory for Chicago and has implemented its weather reaccommodation plan. Customers impacted by this morning's weather in Chicago can rebook their flight within 14 days of original date of travel at no extra cost.
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Ear-to-ear smiles never get old, least of all when they are on the faces of families who have been through a lot. Annually, Southwest Airlines has contributed to Kidd's Kids by chartering the plane that transports the families to The Magic Kingdom. Children are selected each year by the Kidd Kraddick Foundation; each child deals with a chronic or terminal illness, and many of them spend a lot of time in hospitals. This year's Kidd's Kids trip returned to our private hangar in Dallas yesterday. As the plane touched down, all of the families held their hands to the sky like a roller coaster. When we were safely on the ground, cheers erupted, the end of an exciting, unforgettable ride and a vacation away from it all. We are always so overjoyed to be able to take part in this trip, and make our slice memorable. Every year when I reflect on what all I've done, Kidd's Kids always sticks out as the most rewarding. Take a look at these pictures taken by our Multimedia Team Member, Stephen M. Keller; they do a magnificent job capturing emotions that aren't always best expressed through words:
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Southwest Airlines Flight #1905 from Oakland landed safely at Denver International Airport this afternoon at approximately 5:00 p.m., Mountain Time. While taxiing to the terminal, the nosewheel of the aircraft departed the taxiway. There were 125 Customers and five crew members onboard, all of whom were deplaned and bussed back to the terminal. No injuries have been reported. weather.com reported blowing, snowy conditions in Denver this evening. We are working with those Customers who were connecting to other cities and reaccommodating them as quickly as possible.
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DALLAS—Nov. 9, 2012— The Civic 50 today revealed the companies who ranked in its national initiative to survey, rank, and recognize America’s S&P 500 most community-minded companies, naming Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) in the top 20 for demonstrating a strong commitment to corporate civic engagement in the communities where Southwest does business. A partnership among Bloomberg News, the National Conference on Citizenship, and Points of Light, the Civic 50 survey is the first to scientifically measure corporate civic behavior. The initiative fills a notable gap in existing research and creates a roadmap for businesses seeking to become better stewards of their community. To view the complete Civic 50 list, visit Businessweek’s web site.
“At Southwest, we consider citizenship an extension of our mission and longstanding history to do the right thing for our People, our Communities, and our Planet, while maintaining our commitment to sustaining a strong business model,” said Ginger Hardage, Senior Vice President of Culture & Communications at Southwest Airlines. “Southwest wants to continue providing our Legendary Customer Service for many years to come, and building meaningful relationships in our communities is essential to that goal.”
Since Southwest’s beginnings more than 40 years ago, the LUV airline has always approached business differently—instituting the ten-minute turn, democratizing the skies with affordable air travel, delivering Legendary Customer Service—the list goes on and on. One thing that has remained constant since Southwest took to the skies four decades ago is doing the right thing and focusing on the triple bottom line of Performance, People, and Planet.
ABOUT SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO.
In its 42 nd year of service, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) continues to differentiate itself from other carriers with exemplary Customer Service delivered by nearly 46,000 Employees to more than 100 million Customers annually. Southwest is the nation’s largest carrier in terms of originating passengers boarded, and including wholly-owned subsidiary, AirTran Airways, operates the largest fleet of Boeing aircraft in the world to serve 97 destinations in 41 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and six near-international countries. Southwest is one of the most honored airlines in the world, known for its commitment to the triple bottom line of Performance, People and Planet. To read about how Southwest is doing its part to be a good corporate citizen, visit southwest.com/citizenship to read the Southwest Airlines One Report™.
From its first flights on June 18, 1971, Southwest Airlines launched an era of unprecedented affordability in air travel quantified by the U.S. Department of Transportation as “The Southwest Effect,” a lowering of fares and increase in passenger traffic wherever the carrier serves. On every flight, Southwest offers Customers the first two pieces of checked luggage (weight and size limitations apply) and all ticket changes without additional fees. Southwest’s all-Boeing fleet consistently offers leather seating and the comfort of full-size cabins, many of which are equipped with satellite-based WiFi connectivity and a new, eco-friendly cabin interior. With 39 consecutive years of profitability, the People of Southwest operate more than 3,100 flights a day and serve communities around 78 airports in Southwest’s network of domestic destinations. Southwest Airlines’ frequent flights and low fares are available only at southwest.com.
AirTran Airways, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Southwest Airlines Co., offers coast-to-coast and near-international service with close to 600 flights a day to 54 destinations. The carrier’s high-quality product includes assigned seating and Business Class. As Southwest continues to integrate AirTran’s People, places, and planes into Southwest Airlines, Customers of both carriers may book flights at airtran.com and exchange earned loyalty points between both AirTran’s A+ Rewards® and Southwest’s Rapid Rewards® for reward travel on either airline.
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Southwest Airlines is currently working to deactivate several fake Instagram accounts that advertise a ticket giveaway promotion using the hashtag #southwestgiveaways. We regularly hold promotions on our official Twitter and Facebook channels, and also link to Nuts About Southwest and Southwest.com As a reminder, our official Instagram account is "@SouthwestAir" and that is the only Instagram account that is operated by Southwest Airlines. Should you ever come across a promotion involving Southwest Airlines that appears fraudulent, we have a very active Social Media Team ready to assist you on the channels mentioned above.
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Operational Impact of Sandy - Updated Monday, Oct. 29, 12pm CDT Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways have canceled or modified operations at a total of 16 airports in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic US. Affected Customers continue to be contacted and offered options to change their travel plans. Click the links at the bottom of this statement for the most up-to-date Customer policies. Southwest has canceled a total of 887 flights from Sunday evening through midday Wednesday. AirTran Airways has canceled a total of 278 flights from Sunday evening through midday Wednesday. To provide context, Southwest Airlines was scheduled to operate more than 3200 flights across the Country each weekday this week; AirTran Airways currently has a published systemwide flight schedule of nearly 600 flights a day. Operational planners are still determining the flight schedules for both carriers beyond the timeframe described above. To obtain city-specific flight cancelation information, please directly consult the airports' websites or visit Southwest Airlines Flight Status Information or AirTran Airways Flight Status Information. A City Fact Sheet for each destination we serve, including the number of Employees, gates, and scheduled nonstop flights and destinations, is available onswamedia.com As the storm moves, our Customer accommodation policies for Southwest Airlines andAirTran Airways will be updated. Operational Impact of Sandy - Updated Sunday, Oct. 28, 5pm CDT Out ahead of the projected landfall of Hurricane Sandy, Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways have canceled operations on Monday at a total of ten airports in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic US. Customers are being contacted and offered options to change their travel plans. Click the links at the bottom of this statement for the most up-to-date Customer policies. Southwest has canceled a total of 58 flights (less than two percent of the published schedule) on Sunday evening, mainly the last inbound flights in the affected airports. Similarly, AirTran Airways has canceled 23 flights (four percent of the published schedule) Sunday evening. These are final numbers for Sunday. On Monday, Southwest Airlines was scheduled to operate more than 3200 flights across the Country and now projects to have canceled more than 550 of those departures. AirTran Airways projects to have canceled more than 180 departures out of a published systemwide flight schedule of nearly 600 flights on Monday. Operational planners are still determining the Tuesday flight schedules for both carriers. To obtain city-specific flight cancelation information, please directly consult the airports' websites or visit Southwest Airlines Flight Status Information or AirTran Airways Flight Status Information. As the storm moves, our Customer accommodation policies for Southwest Airlines andAirTran Airways will be updated. Operational Impact of Sandy - Updated Saturday, Oct. 27, 10am CDT We are closely monitoring weather conditions in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, and are posting updates about the operating status and flexible travel accommodations for both Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways. As of midday Saturday, the projected path of Hurricane Sandy has both Southwest and AirTran offering some Customers an opportunity to change their travel plans out of ahead of landfall. Click the hyperlinks below for specifics. Both carriers continue to operate their full flight schedules in all cities. As the storm moves, our Customer accommodation policies for Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways will be updated. Operational Impact of Sandy - Updated Friday, Oct. 26, 8pm CDT Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways continue to monitor conditions associated with Hurricane Sandy. At this time, both Southwest and AirTran are operating scheduled service to/from all their respective locations. As the storm moves, our Customer accommodation policies for Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways will be updated.
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In this week's episode, we're talking about things you should be buying used, Tricky the rescued cat, the event that led to the creation of the 10-minute turn, our #CarvingTheLUV contests, and behind the scenes with Pete & Penny penguin.
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DALLAS, TEXAS – October 18, 2012 – Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE:LUV) (the “Company”) today reported its third quarter 2012 results. Third quarter 2012 net income was $16 million, or $.02 per diluted share, which included $81 million (net) of unfavorable special items. This compared to a net loss of $140 million, or $.18 loss per diluted share, in third quarter 2011, which included unfavorable special items totaling $262 million (net). Excluding special items, third quarter 2012 net income was $97 million, or $.13 per diluted share, compared to $122 million, or $.15 per diluted share, in third quarter 2011. This exceeded the First Call consensus estimate of $.12 per diluted share. Operating income for third quarter 2012 was $51 million, compared to $225 million in third quarter 2011. Excluding special items, operating income was $208 million for third quarter 2012, compared to $285 million for the same period last year. Additional information regarding special items is included in this release and in the accompanying reconciliation tables.
Gary C. Kelly, Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “Our third quarter 2012 net income was $97 million, and operating income was $208 million, each excluding special items. Our third quarter 2012 passenger revenues, unit revenues, and load factor were all third-quarter records and meaningful accomplishments; however, we need sustained revenue momentum to achieve our return on invested capital target. And, that is a priority. While in line with the domestic industry, our third quarter 2012 year-over-year unit revenue growth was more sluggish than planned due to weaker demand, particularly in September. While the economy remains a significant concern, we are encouraged, thus far, by October’s bookings and revenue trends. Thus far in October 2012, passenger unit revenues are running ahead of the comparable year ago period by approximately four percent. For next year, we are excited about planned initiatives including the first phase of our new revenue management system.
“We have significant transformation work underway on five key strategic initiatives, and I am proud of our People and their results. The integration of AirTran into Southwest is our top priority and much progress was made in third quarter. We have converted nine AirTran aircraft to the Southwest livery. AirTran’s airport facilities at Seattle and Des Moines have been converted to Southwest; Key West, Florida will be converted next month; and Branson, Missouri is scheduled for March 2013. Our April 2013 schedule, to be published next week, will reflect four more AirTran city conversions at Charlotte, North Carolina; Flint, Michigan; Portland, Maine; and Rochester, New York. During third quarter 2012, AirTran ceased operations at six cities, while Southwest launched new service to Dayton, Akron-Canton, and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, which began the integration of AirTran in those cities. We remain on track to launch connection of the two airlines’ networks early next year and significantly optimize the combined networks compared to third quarter 2012. Seniority list integrations for seven of the eight impacted unions have been resolved. We produced approximately $110 million in pre-tax synergies in the first nine months of 2012, and we plan for $400 million in pre-tax synergies in 2013 (excluding acquisition and integration expenses). I am very pleased with the AirTran integration results, thus far, and anticipate significant financial performance improvement from next year’s planned actions.
“Our operating costs grew in the third quarter, but much of the growth was investment related. In particular, we are in the early stages of restructuring and retrofitting our fleet to improve our unit costs and long-term financial performance. This ‘fleet modernization’ effort is one of our strategic initiatives, and it, too, is expected to drive significant financial benefits beginning in 2013. We have retrofitted 147 Southwest 737-700s with our updated cabin interior and plan to complete all 372 -700 retrofits in first half 2013. AirTran’s -700s are receiving the updated interior as the aircraft are converted to the Southwest livery. We have added 26 737-800s to our fleet, with eight more deliveries scheduled for this year. Our near-term plans call for keeping the fleet relatively flat taking into account our aircraft deliveries, 737 Classic retirements, and leases/subleases to Delta. Overall, we anticipate our fleet modernization efforts will significantly benefit pre-tax results in excess of $700 million, annually, once fully implemented in 2015.
“Third quarter 2012 economic fuel costs were $3.16 per gallon, which was in line with third quarter 2011. Crude oil and jet fuel prices have soared over the last several months, and our fourth quarter 2012 economic fuel costs are expected to hit an all-time high $3.45 per gallon (based on market prices as of October 15, 2012). This is disappointing, especially given the weak economy, and we will need to more aggressively control costs in the next year.
“Our liquidity and balance sheet remain strong. As of yesterday, total cash on hand and short-term investments were $3.5 billion, in addition to a fully available unsecured revolving credit line of $800 million. Operating cash flow for the first nine months of this year was approximately $1.8 billion, resulting in strong free cash flow* of nearly $900 million. During that time, we continued to return cash to our Shareholders with the repurchase of approximately 37 million shares of common stock for approximately $325 million and dividends totaling $22 million. We also repaid $517 million of debt and capital lease obligations without refinancing. Our debt levels are modest with debt-to-capital leverage near 40 percent, including off balance sheet aircraft leases. We remain committed to our goals of enhancing Shareholder value, preserving our financial strength, and achieving our 15 percent pre-tax return on invested capital.”
Financial Results and Outlook
AirTran Airways, Inc. became a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company on May 2, 2011. Results discussed in this release and provided in the accompanying unaudited Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements and Comparative Consolidated Operating Statistics include the results of operations and cash flows for AirTran beginning May 2, 2011, including the impact of purchase accounting. Year-to-date 2011 results do not include AirTran’s results prior to the acquisition date. However, the Company believes the analysis of specified financial results on a “combined basis” provides more meaningful year-over-year comparability. Year-to-date 2011 financial information presented on a “combined basis” is the sum of the historical financial results of the Company and AirTran for periods prior to the acquisition date, but includes the impact of purchase accounting beginning May 2, 2011. Supplemental financial information presented on a “combined basis” and the accompanying reconciliations are included in this release.
The Company’s total operating revenues in third quarter 2012 of $4.3 billion were comparable to third quarter 2011. Operating unit revenues increased 0.6 percent from third quarter 2011. Based on traffic and revenue trends thus far, the Company currently expects a solid year-over-year increase in operating unit revenues in fourth quarter 2012.
Total third quarter 2012 operating expenses were $4.3 billion, compared to $4.1 billion in third quarter 2011. Excluding special items in both periods, third quarter 2012 operating expenses increased 1.9 percent from third quarter 2011.
Third quarter 2012 economic fuel costs were $3.16 per gallon, including $.03 per gallon in unfavorable cash settlements for fuel derivative contracts, compared to $3.18 per gallon in third quarter 2011, including $.02 per gallon in unfavorable cash settlements. Based on market prices as of October 15, 2012, the Company expects fourth quarter 2012 economic fuel costs to be approximately $3.45 per gallon, including $.09 per gallon in unfavorable cash settlements for fuel derivative contracts. Fourth quarter 2012 premium costs, recorded in Other (gains) losses, are currently estimated to be approximately $3 million, compared to premium costs of $14 million in fourth quarter 2011 and $36 million in fourth quarter 2010. As of October 15, 2012, the fair market value of the Company’s hedge portfolio through 2016 was a net asset of approximately $196 million, compared to a net asset of approximately $133 million at September 30, 2012, and a net liability of $140 million at June 30, 2012. Additional information regarding the Company’s fuel derivative contracts is included in the accompanying tables.
Excluding fuel, profitsharing, and special items in both periods, third quarter 2012 unit costs increased 6.2 percent from third quarter 2011. Based on current cost trends, the Company expects a similar year-over-year increase in its fourth quarter 2012 unit costs, excluding fuel, profitsharing and special items in both periods. Third quarter 2012 profitsharing expense was $29 million, compared to $36 million in third quarter last year.
Operating income for third quarter 2012 was $51 million, compared to $225 million in third quarter 2011. Excluding special items, operating income was $208 million for third quarter 2012, compared to $285 million in third quarter 2011. The Company incurred $145 million in special charges (before taxes) during third quarter 2012 primarily associated with the Boeing 717 lease/sublease agreement with Delta Air Lines, Inc. and Boeing Capital Corp. Cumulative costs associated with the acquisition and integration of AirTran, as of September 30, 2012, totaled $310 million (before taxes). The Company expects total acquisition and integration costs will be approximately $550 million.
Other expenses for third quarter 2012 were $18 million, compared to $451 million in third quarter 2011. This $433 million decrease primarily resulted from $10 million in other gains recognized in third quarter 2012, compared to $405 million in other losses recognized in third quarter 2011. In both periods, these gains and losses primarily resulted from unrealized mark to market gains/losses associated with a portion of the Company’s fuel hedging portfolio, which are special items. Excluding these special items, other losses were $18 million in third quarter 2012, compared to $36 million in third quarter 2011, primarily attributable to the premium costs associated with the Company’s fuel derivative contracts. Net interest expense declined to $28 million in third quarter 2012, compared to $46 million in third quarter 2011, primarily as a result of the Company’s repayment of its $400 million notes in December 2011 and the redemption of its $385 million notes in March 2012.
Total operating revenues for the nine months ended September 30, 2012 increased 11.8 percent year-over-year to $12.9 billion, while total operating expenses increased 12.5 percent year-over-year to $12.4 billion, resulting in operating income in the nine months ended September 30, 2012 of $532 million, versus $546 million for the same period last year. Excluding special items, operating income was $702 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2012, compared to $672 million for the same period last year. Excluding special items and compared to combined results for the same period last year, total operating revenues for the nine months ended September 30, 2012 increased 3.4 percent, while total operating expenses increased 3.3 percent, resulting in a 5.2 percent increase in operating income for the nine months ended September 30, 2012.
Net income for the nine months ended September 30, 2012 was $343 million, or $.45 per diluted share, compared to $26 million, or $.03 per diluted share, for the same period last year. Excluding special items, net income for the nine months ended September 30, 2012 was $352 million, or $.46 per diluted share, compared to $263 million, or $.34 per diluted share, for the same period last year.
The Company’s return on invested capital (before taxes and excluding special items) was approximately seven percent for the twelve months ended September 30, 2012. Additional information regarding pre-tax return on invested capital is included in the accompanying reconciliation tables.
Awards and Recognitions
During third quarter 2012, Southwest Airlines was named to the 2012 Customer Service Hall of Fame by MSN Money. Southwest also was honored for various efforts to be an employer of choice such as being recently named to the 2012 list of "Best Adoption Workplaces" by The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and also being recognized by the Learning Spotlight Award by the Elliot Maises Learning 2012 Consortium for its commitment to employee training and development programs. Southwest also was recognized as one of the Best Companies for Diversity Practices by Hispanic Business for diversity recruitment, retention, promotion, and supplier diversity.
Southwest will discuss its third quarter 2012 results on a conference call at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time today. A live broadcast of the conference call will also be available at http://southwest.investorroom.com.
*See Note Regarding use of Non-GAAP financial measures Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Specific forward-looking statements include without limitation statements related to (i) the Company’s financial targets and outlook and projected results of operations; (ii) the Company’s plans with respect to its acquisition of AirTran and related financial and operational goals and expectations, including without limitation anticipated integration timeframes and expected benefits and costs associated with the acquisition; (iii) the Company’s fleet plans, including its fleet modernization plans, and related financial goals and expectations; and (iv) the Company’s other strategic initiatives and related financial and operational goals and expectations. These forward-looking statements are based on the Company's current intent, expectations, and projections and are not guarantees of future performance. These statements involve risks, uncertainties, assumptions, and other factors that are difficult to predict and that could cause actual results to vary materially from those expressed in or indicated by them. Factors include, among others, (i) the impact of the economy on demand for the Company’s services and the impact of fuel prices, economic conditions, and actions of competitors on the Company’s business decisions, plans, and strategies; (ii) the Company’s ability to effectively integrate AirTran and realize the expected synergies and other benefits from the acquisition; (iii) the Company’s ability to timely and effectively implement, transition, and maintain the necessary information technology systems and infrastructure to support its operations and initiatives; (iv) the Company’s ability to timely and effectively prioritize its strategic initiatives and related expenditures; (v) changes in fuel prices, the impact of hedge accounting, and any changes to the Company’s fuel hedging strategies and positions; (vi) the Company’s dependence on third parties with respect to certain of its initiatives, in particular its fleet modernization plans; and (vii) other factors, as described in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the detailed factors discussed under the heading "Risk Factors" in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2011.
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VETERAN PILOT AND INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNIZED EXPERT IN AVIATION AND LABOR RELATIONS RANDY BABBITT JOINS CARRIER’S EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP TEAM
DALLAS—Oct. 15, 2012—Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) proudly welcomes J. Randolph “Randy” Babbitt as Senior Vice President of Labor Relations to direct and oversee the carrier’s labor related activities. Babbitt will report directly to Chief Operating Officer Mike Van de Ven and have responsibility for all negotiation, communication, and ongoing relationships between the Company and the eleven organizations that represent 87 percent of Southwest Employees.
“For more than 40 years, Southwest has thrived because of our regard for labor organizations as partners,” Van de Ven said. “Randy’s unique skills and experience at various levels in our industry can only strengthen those partnerships to ensure our Employees continue to play an important role in Southwest’s success.”
Mike Ryan, Southwest’s Vice President of Labor Relations, and the Labor Relations Team will report to Babbitt.
Babbitt began his aviation career as a pilot, flying 25 years for Eastern Airlines. A skilled negotiator, he served as President and CEO for US ALPA, the world’s largest professional organization of airline pilots. While at ALPA, he championed the “One Level of Safety” initiative implemented in 1995 to improve safety standards across the industry. He also promoted the international expansion of ALPA through a merger with the Canadian Air Line Pilots Association in 1997.
Babbitt later served as the FAA’s sixteenth administrator from June 2009 through December 2011 after more than eight years on the agency’s Management Advisory Council providing guidance to other Administrators on a range of topics ranging from air traffic modernization to regulatory policy and safety oversight within the airline industry and the FAA.
He was recognized by Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine with the Laurels Award for outstanding achievement in the Commercial Air Transport category.
Visit swamedia.com for photos of Randy Babbitt and additional biographical information.
ABOUT SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO.
In its 42 nd year of service, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) continues to differentiate itself from other low-fare carriers by providing a reliable product and exemplary Customer Service delivered by 46,000 Employees to more than 100 million Customers every year. Including wholly owned subsidiary AirTran Airways, the Company operates the largest fleet of Boeing aircraft in the world to serve 97 destinations in 41 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and six near-international countries.
Visit southwest.com/citizenship to read the Southwest Airlines One Report™ and see how Southwest is doing its part to be a good citizen while underscoring a commitment to the triple bottom line of Performance, People, and Planet.
From its first flights on June 18, 1971, Southwest Airlines launched an era of unprecedented affordability in air travel quantified by the US Department of Transportation as “The Southwest Effect,” observable improvement in service and a lowering of fares wherever the carrier serves. Southwest now flies the most passengers nonstop of any US airline and stands alone among major air carriers in offering all Customers the first two pieces of checked luggage (weight and size limitations apply) and all ticket changes without additional fees. On every flight, Southwest Airlines consistently offers leather seating and the comfort of full-size cabins across the world’s largest fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft, many of which are being equipped with satellite-based WiFi connectivity and a new, eco-friendly cabin interior featuring sustainable materials. Having achieved a 39 th consecutive year of profitability, the People of Southwest operate more than 3,200 flights a day and serve communities around 77 airports in Southwest’s network of domestic destinations. Southwest Airlines’ frequent flights and low fares are available only at southwest.com.
AirTran Airways, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southwest Airlines Co., has been ranked top airline in the Airline Quality Rating study three times in the past five years. AirTran offers coast-to-coast and near-international service with nearly 600 flights a day to 56 destinations. The carrier’s low-cost, high-quality product includes assigned seating and Business Class. As Southwest continues to integrate AirTran’s People, places, and planes into Southwest Airlines, Customers of both carriers may book flights at airtran.com and exchange earned loyalty points between both AirTran’s A+ Rewards® and Southwest’s Rapid Rewards® for reward travel on either airline.
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At a young age, Jeff Kunde remembers feeding cows out of the back of a beat-up truck, chucking hay with the velocity of a two-year-old. Kunde's father would sometimes let Jeff stand on the seat, the youngster's hands on the steering wheel while Dad threw the truck into compound low, nothing to disturb the impromptu driving lesson but endless fields.
During a summer break in college, Kunde later recalls plowing the fields at 4 o'clock in the morning, thinking to himself, "This is what I'm getting with my degree?"
But the importance of family has been realized many times over for Kunde, and it has always drawn him back to the family business.
The Kunde Estate came from humble beginnings, by industry standards. Jeff Kunde's Great Grandfather began the estate by buying 640 acres. That number pales in comparison to the now-goliath 1,850 acres that make up the largest contiguous acreage in the Sonoma Valley.
Indeed, at the property the highs are high and the lows are low. The Kunde Estate ranges from the Sonoma Valley floor to about 1,500 ft. above sea level. The varying ecosystems not only provide an amazing visual aesthetic, but also allow for the property to diversify. Micro-climates that alter surrounding flora and fauna provide ideal conditions for wines of distinctly differing tastes. A crop might flourish below sea level, while another plants best in the mountains.
Jeff Kunde is preparing for the family's 108th harvest. He's a 4th generation Kunde, and remains a loyal steward on behalf of the estate to which he was bequeathed. What the family is doing is pretty rare in the wine business, Kunde explains, as one of the only family-owned, estate-operated vineyards in Sonoma County.
Vineyard roots are rich with history here. The property kept operating through prohibition, as a real working ranch; crops to cattle. Kunde didn't produce its own wine until 1990. Prior to that time, the estate sold its fruit to high-end, oft-times award-winning wine outfits (Robert Mondavi, to name one of the more recognizable offerings).
The longevity behind the property is largely due to the social aspect of the operation. Kunde Family Estate regularly holds events, as part of its goal to give back to Sonoma, and its surrounding communities.
At least once a month, you'll find dogs happily bounding through the estate vineyards. The dogs come from The Humane Society, and many get adopted out at the end of the dog hike. Daily "Mountain Top" tastings take guests 1,400 ft. above sea level to a tasting deck that overlooks The Bay Area on one side, and miles upon miles of beautiful vistas and vineyards on the other.
Each experience is unique, which is why Kunde Family Estate made the perfect setting for an unforgettable night put on for Rapid Rewards Visa Signature Cardmembers by Southwest, Chase, and Visa Signature. Locally-sourced food from Park Avenue Catering, the first green certified caterer in Sonoma County, and Kunde-made wine was provided for Cardmembers who were able to forget their cares, and enjoy everything Kunde and Sonoma County had to offer.
These dinners provide the type of value you wouldn't normally expect from a credit card, and the Kunde Family Estate dinner was just one of many personal experiences our Chase Rapid Rewards Visa Signature Cardmembers can enjoy. Cardmembers are invited to take advantage of these types of events, where we show them our loyalty, as a way to say thank you, for showing theirs to us. This Cardmember dinner was an intimate, exclusive event where only 20 Cardmembers and their guests attended. Cardmembers were invited to mingle with guests from Southwest, Chase, and Visa Signature, while hearing interesting facts from Jeff and tasting a variety of Kunde wines. At the Kunde Cardmember dinner, Cardmembers quickly bonded with other guests over their love for Southwest, fine food, and remarkable wines.
Keep an eye out for the next Cardmember Exclusive Dinner.
We want to share with you unbelievable scenery, like that of Sonoma County, whether rural or urban, from people who care.
We want to introduce you to people like Jeff Kunde, a man whose heart is at the core of his work. A man who, when asked what he enjoys best, replies, "Seeing the property through other people's eyes.
“To see the expression on people's faces, it makes it all worth it."
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This week, we're talking about Season 5 of "Live from the Artists Den," our Winter Fare Sale, and our #CarvingTheLUV contest that will bring the winner to tour our haunted headquarters! AND we're talking about the more than $600,000 raised for Ronald McDonald House Charities, and our two fine feathered friends Pete & Penny from SeaWorld San Diego, who recently hitched a ride on one of OUR birds.
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