Going retro back to 1971 (but not like our April Fool's video), honoring our fallen heroes, spreading Southwest magic, and much more. It's the 11th creation of the SWA Stew! The usual peanut gallery, of course, makes it into the background. Oh, and I didn't make fun of Caleb this week. SWA Stew: Sure to make a fool out of me and you (but mostly me). Link LUV: From Inside the Eye Caring for the Lost Heroes Art Quilt #1971 Photo Contest Denver Contest Winner Showcasing Southwest Spirit in the Magic Kingdom
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At long last, the long-awaited (by few) return of the SWA Stew! In this longer-than-normal episode, we tackle the reason behind the delay, a salute to our troops, rockin' Denver, and Mary, the trailblazing Flight Attendant. Oh, and some minor self-indulgence by the likes of myself. Link LUV: Denver Day of Rock Holiday Travel Alert Saluting Our Troops Flight Attendant for the Day One LUV
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St. Louis Business Journal - by Mark Harden
Date: Thursday, May 26, 2011, 2:19pm CDT
Southwest Airlines, Lambert-St. Louis International Airport's busiest carrier, is the most generous U.S. airline when it comes to redeeming frequent flier miles, according to a new study.
The study was compiled by consulting firm IdeaWorks Co. and is cited in Scott McCartney's "The Middle Seat" column in the Wall Street Journal.
Twenty-four airlines were rated on how often they award free tickets in response to website inquiries on redeeming frequent-flier miles. IdeaWorks evaluated the carriers by making 6,720 web requests for a standard-mileage award.
Dallas-based Southwest awarded free seats 99.3 percent of the time, the study showed. Worldwide, only Brazil's GOL awarded seats more often — 100 percent of the time.
United Airlines ranked third in the U.S. and 11th worldwide for its frequent-flier generosity, with an award rate of 71.4 percent, according to the IdeaWorks study.
The stingiest carriers in the world? According to the study, the worst is US Airways, with an award rate of 25.7 percent, followed by Delta Air Lines, at 27.1 percent.
The average award rate for U.S. airlines was 68.6 percent, up from last year's 66.1 percent rate.
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This morning in San Antonio, we rolled out the red carpet for a lemur, a wallaby, and Pete and Penny, the Magellanic penguins (you may remember Pete from his debut at 30,000 feet). It’s raining here in most of Texas, but that’s usually a tell-tale sign that summer is right around the corner. And because this is our 40 th Year of LUV, this summer is going to be really special. Lots of celebrating, and lots of stuff to give away. Today, Pete and Co. made different headlines than his excursion: Southwest Airlines and SeaWorld are teaming up to offer Customers the chance to win a trip to visit SeaWorld. In fact, to commemorate our 40 th and SeaWorld’s new Shamu show, “One Ocean,” we’re giving away 40 trips in 40 days! Each prize includes for a family of four:
Tickets to the winner’s SeaWorld of choice Hotel accommodations in that city Roundtrip tickets on Southwest Airlines
So how do you enter to win? Get on over to www.southwest.com/oneocean.
The prizes don’t stop there. We’re also offering special anniversary deals in Orlando, San Antonio, and San Diego.
These deals include:
40% off hotels $40 off Avis car rentals 4 th night free on vacation packages Adult tickets at kid prices to all three SeaWorld parks
In addition to the new “One Ocean” whale show, SeaWorld San Diego also debuts this summer, “Turtle Reef,” which is an attraction that will allow guests to get a close look at 60 threatened or endangered sea turtles, thousands of tropical fish, and a new ride that takes passengers on an exciting rescue mission of their own. And if you see Pete the Penguin, give him my regards.
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Growing up, I was terrified of flying. The concept of embarking on the sky in a huge, heavy metal flying machine boggled my young mind. I hope that's not sacrilege, and I still marvel at certain facets of how we make it into the air. My aerophobia came from my Dad's side of the family. I suppose I grew out of it around my high school years, and gradually into my Mom's genes (she worked for many years as a Flight Attendant). As I write this (on a plane), I think of how far I've come in this short adventure at Southwest. Already, I feel like I have been at Southwest for years and years. The sky has become my second home. There are so many moments I can single out and personify to convey why this job means so much to me. I'm at a loss for which to choose. So instead, I choose all of them. Every single interaction I've had. From Sharing the Spirit around Communities we serve, to brainstorming new ideas and finding a way to see those ideas properly take flight--I am blessed. I value everyone I've met so tremendously, Employees and Customers alike, that I'd like to use this space to let you all know that. Even during my island vacation where I chipped away at this post, I had a certain yearning to be included in the buzz of daily work. And really, when you're voluntarily digitally interacting with your Coworkers while waves are crashing just feet in front of you, under lush palm trees and a blue island sky? That about says it all. And if it doesn't, a picture's worth a thousand words. My first trip as a Southwest Employee (to ELP) Meeting Herb and Colleen at the Dallas LUV Classic Halloween at Headquarters Volunteering in Dallas with the Communications Team Cake Boss Cake Up Close and Personal Sharing the Spirit in Newark With CEO Gary Kelly at the Chili Cookoff Celebrating OneLUV in Milwaukee! To get Employees and Customers amped up for Southwest’s 40th anniversary, we are having a special blog series—40 Years in 40 Days. Beginning May 9, we will post one rockin’ blog post per day, counting down the days until our anniversary on June 18. The posts—written by 40 Southwest Employees who were hired in each one of our 40 years—will offer a unique perspective of living the life of LUV at our legendary carrier.
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Panic washed over me as I stepped onto the jet bridge in Baltimore. Indeed, producing a three-to-five minute video was well within photographer Terry and my skill sets. I am often quick to remind people about my News background (old habits die hard). Terry's eye for video is unrivaled (check's in the mail, Terry).
But this was undiscovered country.
Tackling the feelings surrounding an airline acquisition carries with it a large degree of uncertainty. Are we welcome? Do we stick out like sore thumbs? Would our 48-hour tour through Baltimore, Orlando, and back to Dallas end in cheers, or tears?
Alas, if you've watched the video that accompanies this post, our story has a very happy ending.
We conducted dozens of interviews with Employees from both AirTran and Southwest. Each person I met put me more at ease.
The stories are endless.
In Baltimore, an AirTran Employee and Southwest Employee who live near one another and go to the same pool will now be working alongside one another. They're ecstatic about it.
Cliff, from Orlando, frequently manages the ticket counter lines. He'll soon have even more Passengers to greet with his never-ending enthusiasm.
And Chuck came to Southwest through our acquisition of Morris Air. 18 years later, he's still here. His advice for AirTran Employees is, "Be yourself, and keep an open mind." Indeed, you may find yourself looking back 20 years from now, wondering where the time went.
Everyone's excited about the opportunity to spread Low Fares Farther, and becoming an even bigger Family.
The legal marriage of these two airlines is only the beginning of something far greater.
Terry and I got the chance to see it firsthand. In all, we captured more than two hours of footage. I've never seen so many gushing compliments in my life. But this is Nuts, not Cannes. So here's the video: bottled up into a little more than three minutes.
One LUV, y'all!
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DALLAS, TEXAS – April 21, 2011 – Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) today reported
first quarter 2011 net income of $5 million, or $.01 per diluted share, compared to net income of $11 million, or $.01 per diluted share, for first quarter 2010. Both periods’ results included special items related to non-cash, mark-to-market, and other items associated with a portion of the Company’s fuel hedge portfolio. In addition, first quarter 2011 results included approximately
$9 million in charges (net of profitsharing and taxes) primarily related to consulting fees in association with the Company’s proposed acquisition of AirTran Holdings, Inc.* Excluding special items in both periods, first quarter 2011 net income was $20 million, or $.03 per diluted share, compared to $24 million, or $.03 per diluted share, for first quarter 2010. Operating income was $114 million for first quarter 2011, compared to $54 million for first quarter 2010. Excluding special items in both periods, operating income was $110 million for first quarter 2011, compared to
$102 million for first quarter 2010. 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, “While escalating jet fuel prices and inclement weather challenged our first quarter profitability, our People prevailed. We are very pleased to report first quarter 2011 operating income of $110 million and net income of $20 million (each excluding special items). Record monthly load factors, combined with solid passenger revenue yields, resulted in a 17.8 percent
year-over-year increase in passenger revenues. Passenger unit revenues increased almost nine percent, compared to first quarter last year, representing the sixth consecutive quarter of record passenger unit revenues. Since first quarter 2007, passenger unit revenues have increased 34 percent. Other operating revenues also grew a healthy 26.7 percent, compared to a year ago, largely due to growth in our EarlyBird Check-In TM revenues, which nearly doubled. All in all, a solid start to our 40 th year of service.”
Based on bookings and revenue trends thus far, the Company expects another solid unit revenue improvement in second quarter 2011*, even with the continuation of difficult
First quarter 2011 unit costs, excluding special items, increased 9.2 percent from
first quarter 2010, mostly due to a 26.5 percent year-over-year increase in economic fuel costs per gallon. First quarter 2011 economic fuel costs of $2.96 per gallon included $13 million, or $0.03 per gallon, in unfavorable cash settlements for fuel derivative contracts. Based on the Company’s second quarter 2011 fuel hedge position and market prices (as of April 19 th ),
second quarter 2011 economic fuel costs*, including fuel taxes, are estimated to be approximately $3.35 per gallon, which includes $0.04 per gallon in favorable cash settlements for fuel derivative contracts. Additional information regarding the Company’s fuel derivative contracts is included in the accompanying tables.
Excluding fuel and special items in both periods, first quarter 2011 unit costs increased
1.9 percent from first quarter 2010, as anticipated. Based on current cost trends, the Company expects the year-over-year increase in its second quarter 2011 nonfuel unit costs*, excluding special items, will exceed first quarter 2011’s year-over-year increase, largely due to advertising related to the launch of its All-New Rapid Rewards® program. However, full year 2011 nonfuel unit costs*, excluding special items, currently are estimated to increase approximately
two percent from 2010.
In the first quarter, the Company was able to grow revenues sufficient to cover soaring jet fuel prices. Traffic and revenue trends remained strong, offsetting the impact of a
36.7 percent year-over-year increase in first quarter 2011 economic fuel and oil expense. For 2011*, the Company is planning to increase its available seat mile capacity in the five to six percent range, as compared to 2010, primarily as a function of increased aircraft utilization. However, given the current outlook of continually rising jet fuel prices, the Company is planning cautiously for 2012.
Kelly continued, “First quarter 2011 was very active for Southwest, and it was very gratifying. After years in development, we launched our All-New Rapid Rewards ® program. Growth in our program has been strong and surpassed our system averages. We launched new service to Charleston and Greenville-Spartanburg airports very successfully. Those markets have been underserved and overpriced, and we were welcomed enthusiastically by the people of South Carolina. We jumped at the opportunity to acquire slots and terminal facilities in Newark, where we also were warmly welcomed when we launched service there last month. Much progress was made towards the 2012 introduction of the Boeing 737-800 model to our fleet. Finally, we made tremendous progress in our integration planning for the acquisition of AirTran Airways. I am very proud of what our hard-working People accomplished already in 2011.
“With the overwhelming approval of AirTran stockholders in March, we are ready to move forward with the closing of the transaction, now planned for May 2 nd . We anticipate that all regulatory approvals needed to move forward will be obtained by that date. We look forward to that milestone day, first and foremost, to finally welcome the AirTran Crew Members to the Southwest family. Together, we can then begin the exciting work to integrate AirTran into Southwest.”
On September 27, 2010, Southwest Airlines announced a definitive agreement to acquire all of the outstanding common stock of AirTran Holdings, Inc., the parent company of AirTran Airways (AirTran), for a combination of cash and Southwest Airlines’ common stock. The acquisition will significantly expand Southwest Airlines’ low-fare service to many more Customers in many more domestic markets. Moreover, the transaction has the potential to yield net annual synergies of more than $400 million by 2013. Excluding one-time acquisition and integration costs estimated to be approximately $500 million, the transaction is expected to be accretive to Southwest’s fully-diluted earnings per share within the first twelve months following the close of the transaction, and strongly accretive, thereafter, upon full realization of the estimated net synergies.
“Operationally, the Employees of Southwest Airlines exhibited their exceptional resilience to successfully manage over 3,000 flight cancellations from weather interruptions in the first quarter,” stated Kelly. “It is their resolve to provide outstanding Customer Service that continues to gain us honors and recognition, such as recently being named the fourth most admired Company in the world in FORTUNE magazine’s 2011 survey of corporate reputations.”
Other Southwest Airlines’ recognitions and honors include:
Voted best low-cost carrier in North America by Business Traveler Magazine subscribers Recently ranked fifth and most improved in the 2010 Airline Quality Rating compiled by Purdue University and Wichita State University Named the 2011 Customer Service Champion by J.D. Powers based on customer feedback regarding service excellence Named Brand of the Year in Harris Poll EquiTrend’s airline category based on equity, customer connection, commitment, brand behavior, brand advocacy, and trust Ranked third in the Top 10 Business Thought Leaders by TLG Communications southwest.com received first place for Best Overall Customer Experience in the Keynote Competitive Research Industry Study examining U.S. Air Travel Websites Named Airline of the Year by Express Delivery and Logistics Association, the tenth consecutive year for Southwest Airlines Cargo to receive the recognition; also awarded for Excellence in Web Site and Technology for the second year in a row Southwest Cargo was also named Domestic Carrier of the Year for 2011 by the Airforwarders Association for the second consecutive year and was recently recognized for excellence in Air Cargo World’s annual Air Cargo Excellence (ACE) Survey Recognized by PR News with several awards including the 2011 PR News Corporate Responsibility Awards for Diversity Communications, the Corporate Social Responsibility Award for Best Report, and honorable mention for the Social Corporate Responsibility Award for Corporate/Nonprofit Partnership Recently ranked first among North American airlines and fourth in the world among 65 global airlines in GreenHorizon Aviation’s 2010 World Airline Environmental Rankings for excellent environmental performance and initiatives Named the Greenest Airline by ClimateCounts.org based on the review and reduction of company environmental impact, policy stance, and public information available
Southwest will discuss its first quarter 2011 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 southwest.com/investor_relations.
Total operating revenues for first quarter 2011 increased 18.0 percent to $3.1 billion, compared to $2.6 billion for first quarter 2010. Total first quarter 2011 operating expenses were $3.0 billion, compared to $2.6 billion in first quarter 2010. Operating income for first quarter 2011 was $114 million, compared to $54 million in first quarter 2010. Excluding special items in both periods, operating income was $110 million for first quarter 2011 compared to $102 million for
first quarter 2010. The Company’s return on invested capital (before taxes and excluding special items) was approximately ten percent for the twelve months ended March 31, 2011, compared to approximately five percent for the twelve months ended March 31, 2010. Additional information regarding pretax return on invested capital is included in the accompanying reconciliation tables.
“Other expenses” increased to $96 million in first quarter 2011 from $37 million in
first quarter 2010. The $59 million increase in total other expenses primarily resulted from
$29 million in “other losses” recognized in first quarter 2011 versus $27 million in “other gains” recognized in first quarter 2010. In both periods, these “other gains/losses” primarily resulted from unrealized gains/losses associated with the Company’s fuel hedging program. “Other losses, net” also included premium costs associated with the Company’s fuel derivative contracts of $31 million in both first quarter 2011 and first quarter 2010.
The Company’s effective tax rate was approximately 72 percent in first quarter 2011 compared to 35 percent in first quarter 2010. The higher rate in first quarter 2011 primarily was due to a $5 million increase in income tax expense from an IRS settlement during first quarter 2011 related to tax years 2007 through 2009, and a $2 million increase from a State of Illinois tax law change that occurred during the first quarter 2011. The Company projects a full year 2011* effective tax rate of approximately 40 percent based on currently forecasted financial results.
Net cash provided by operations for first quarter 2011 was $965 million, and capital expenditures were $57 million, resulting in over $900 million in free cash flow. In addition to a fully available, unsecured, revolving credit facility of $600 million, the Company currently has over $4 billion in cash and short-term investments.
* The closing of the proposed acquisition of AirTran is anticipated to occur on May 2, 2011. Forward looking commentary in this release and the accompanying tables including, but not limited to, revenues, costs, fuel consumption, fleet, and available seat miles for 2011 and beyond, excludes any potential impact of the acquisition.
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 expectations with respect to its future results of operations; (ii) its plans and expectations related to managing risk associated with changing jet fuel prices; (iii) its growth expectations, including fleet and capacity plans and expectations; and (iv) its expectations related to its anticipated acquisition of AirTran, including the expected timing and benefits of the acquisition. 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) changes in the price of aircraft fuel, the impact of hedge accounting, and any changes to the Company’s fuel hedging strategies and positions; (ii) the impact of the economy on demand for air travel and fluctuations in consumer demand generally for the Company’s services; (iii) the impact of fuel prices and economic conditions on the Company’s overall business plan and strategies; (iv) actions of competitors, including without limitation pricing, scheduling, and capacity decisions, and consolidation and alliance activities; (v) 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; (vi) the Company’s dependence on third parties to assist with implementation of certain of its initiatives; (vii) the impact of governmental regulations on the Company’s operations; (viii) the possibility that the Company’s proposed acquisition of AirTran is delayed or does not close, including due to the failure of closing conditions; (ix) the Company’s ability to successfully integrate AirTran’s business and realize the expected synergies from the transaction; and (x) 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, 2010, and in the Company’s registration statement on Form S-4 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission that includes a proxy statement of AirTran that also constitutes a prospectus of the Company.
Three months ended March 31, Percent 2011 2010 Change OPERATING REVENUES: Passenger $ 2,939 $ 2,495 17.8 Freight 31 30 3.3 Other 133 105 26.7 Total operating revenues 3,103 2,630 18.0 OPERATING EXPENSES: Salaries, wages, and benefits 954 864 10.4 Fuel and oil 1,038 821 26.4 Maintenance materials and repairs 199 166 19.9 Aircraft rentals 46 47 (2.1) Landing fees and other rentals 201 190 5.8 Depreciation and amortization 155 154 0.6 Other operating expenses 396 334 18.6 Total operating expenses 2,989 2,576 16.0 OPERATING INCOME 114 54 111.1 OTHER EXPENSES (INCOME): Interest expense 43 41 4.9 Capitalized interest (3) (5) (40.0) Interest income (3) (3) - Other (gains) losses, net 59 4 n.a. Total other expenses 96 37 159.5 INCOME BEFORE INCOME TAXES 18 17 5.9 PROVISION FOR INCOME TAXES 13 6 116.7 NET INCOME $ 5 $ 11 (54.5) NET INCOME PER SHARE: Basic $ 0.01 $ 0.01 Diluted $ 0.01 $ 0.01 WEIGHTED AVERAGE SHARES OUTSTANDING: Basic 748 743 Diluted 749 744
Three Months Ended March 31, Percent 2011 2010 Change Fuel and oil expense, unhedged $ 1,044 $ 730 Add/(Deduct): Fuel hedge (gains) losses included in Fuel and oil expense (6) 91 Fuel and oil expense, as reported $ 1,038 $ 821 Add/(Deduct): Net impact from fuel contracts (1) 19 (48) Fuel and oil expense, economic $ 1,057 $ 773 36.7 Total operating expenses, as reported $ 2,989 $ 2,576 Add/(Deduct): Net impact from fuel contracts (1) 19 (48) Total operating expenses, economic $ 3,008 $ 2,528 Add: Charge for AirTran integration costs, net (2) (15) - Total operating expenses, non-GAAP $ 2,993 $ 2,528 18.4 Operating income, as reported $ 114 $ 54 Add/(Deduct): Net impact from fuel contracts (1) (19) 48 Operating income, economic $ 95 $ 102 Add: Charge for AirTran integration costs, net (2) 15 - Operating income, non-GAAP $ 110 $ 102 7.8 Other (gains) losses, net, as reported $ 59 $ 4 Add/(Deduct): Net impact from fuel contracts (1) (29) 27 Other losses, net, non-GAAP $ 30 $ 31 (3.2) Income before income taxes, as reported $ 18 $ 17 Add/(Deduct): Net impact from fuel contracts (1) 10 21 $ 28 $ 38 Add: Charge for AirTran integration costs, net (2) 15 - Income before income taxes, non-GAAP $ 43 $ 38 13.2 Net income, as reported $ 5 $ 11 Add/(Deduct): Net impact from fuel contracts (1) 10 21 Income tax impact of fuel contracts (4) (8) $ 11 $ 24 Add: Charge for AirTran integration costs, net (3) 9 - Net income, non-GAAP $ 20 $ 24 (16.7) Net income per share, diluted, as reported $ 0.01 $ 0.01 Add/(Deduct): Net impact from fuel contracts - 0.02 $ 0.01 $ 0.03 Add: Impact of special items, net (3) 0.02 - Net income per share, diluted, non-GAAP $ 0.03 $ 0.03 n.a. (1) See Reconciliation of Impact from Fuel Contracts (2) Amounts net of profitsharing impact (3) Amounts net of profitsharing impact and taxes
Three Months Ended March 31, 2011 2010 Fuel & Oil Expense Add/(Deduct): Reclassification between Fuel and oil and Other (gains) losses, net, associated with current period settled contracts $ 2 $ 4 Add/(Deduct): Contracts settling in the current period, but for which gains and/or (losses) have been recognized in a prior period* 17 (52) Impact from fuel contracts to Fuel & Oil Expense $ 19 $ (48) Operating Income Add/(Deduct): Reclassification between Fuel and oil and Other (gains) losses, net, associated with current period settled contracts $ (2) $ (4) Add/(Deduct): Contracts settling in the current period, but for which gains and/or (losses) have been recognized in a prior period* (17) 52 Impact from fuel contracts to Operating Income $ (19) $ 48 Other (gains) losses Add/(Deduct): Mark-to-market impact from fuel contracts settling in future periods $ 3 $ 27 Add/(Deduct): Ineffectiveness from fuel hedges settling in future periods (30) 4 Add/(Deduct): Reclassification between Fuel and oil and Other (gains) losses, net, associated with current period settled contracts (2) (4) Impact from fuel contracts to Other (gains) losses $ (29) $ 27 Net Income Add/(Deduct): Mark-to-market impact from fuel contracts settling in future periods $ (3) $ (27) Add/(Deduct): Ineffectiveness from fuel hedges settling in future periods 30 (4) Add/(Deduct): Other net impact of fuel contracts settling in the current or a prior period (excluding reclassifications) (17) 52 Impact from fuel contracts to Net income ** $ 10 $ 21 * As a result of prior hedge ineffectiveness and/or contracts marked-to-market through earnings ** Excludes income tax impact of unrealized items
Percent of estimated fuel consumption covered by fuel derivative contracts Average WTI Crude Oil Full Year price per barrel 2Q 2011 2011 Up to $90 approx. 60% approx. 65% $90 to $95 approx. 45% approx. 50% $95 to $110 approx. 35% approx. 30% (2) $110 to $120 approx. 35% approx. 45% Above $120 approx. 30% approx. 40% Estimated difference in economic jet fuel price per gallon, above/(below) unhedged market prices, including taxes Average WTI Crude Oil Full Year price per barrel 2Q 2011 2011 $85 $0.10 $0.08 $100 ($0.03) ($0.01) $109 (1) ($0.04) ($0.05) $115 ($0.06) ($0.05) $130 ($0.16) ($0.16) Percent of estimated fuel consumption covered by fuel derivative contracts at Full Year varying WTI crude-equivalent price levels 2011 approx. 30% (2) 2012 approx. 60% (3) 2013 over 50% 2014 over 40% * All forward-looking information in this schedule excludes any potential impact of the Company's anticipated acquisition of AirTran. (1) Based on the current WTI forward curve and current market prices as of April 19, 2011 and current estimated fuel consumption covered by fuel derivative contracts, second quarter 2011 economic fuel price per gallon, including taxes, is estimated to be approximately $3.35 per gallon, or four cents below market prices. (2) Based on the current WTI forward curve as of April 19, 2011, the Company has approximately 30% of estimated 2011 fuel consumption covered at current market prices by fuel derivative contracts. If prices settle between $110 and $120 per barrel, the estimated 2011 fuel consumption covered by fuel derivative contracts increases to approximately 45%, and if prices settle above $120 per barrel, the coverage decreases to 40%. (3) For 2012, the Company has approximately 60% of estimated fuel consumption covered by fuel derivative contracts up to a crude-equivalent price of $130 per barrel. If prices settle between $130 and $145 per barrel, the estimated fuel consumption covered by fuel derivative contracts decreases to approximately 30%, and if prices settle above $145 per barrel, the coverage decreases to less than 10%.
12 Months Ended 12 Months Ended March 31, 2011 March 31, 2010 Operating Income, as reported $ 1,047 $ 367 Add/(Deduct): Net impact from fuel contracts 105 189 Add: AirTran acquisition costs, net (1) 21 56 Operating Income, non-GAAP $ 1,173 $ 612 Net adjustment for aircraft leases (2) 81 93 Adjustment for fuel hedge accounting (134) (147) Adjusted Operating Income, non-GAAP $ 1,120 $ 558 Average Invested Capital (3) $ 10,599 $ 9,990 Equity adjustment for fuel hedge accounting 305 668 Adjusted Average Invested Capital $ 10,904 $ 10,658 . ROIC, pretax 10% 5% (1) Amounts shown net of profitsharing impact (2) Net adjustment related to presumption that all aircraft in fleet are owned (3) Average invested capital represents a five quarter average of debt, net present value of aircraft leases, and equity
NOTE REGARDING USE OF NON-GAAP FINANCIAL MEASURES
The Company's Financial Statements are prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States (GAAP). These GAAP financial statements include unrealized non-cash adjustments and reclassifications, which can be significant, as a result of accounting requirements and elections made under accounting pronouncements relating to derivative instruments and hedging. As a result, the Company also provides financial information in this release that was not prepared in accordance with GAAP and should not be considered as an alternative to the information prepared in accordance with GAAP. The Company provides supplemental non-GAAP financial information, including results that it refers to as "economic," which the Company's management utilizes to evaluate its ongoing financial performance and the Company believes provides greater transparency to investors as supplemental information to its GAAP results. The Company's economic financial results differ from GAAP results in that they only include the actual cash settlements from fuel hedge contracts--all reflected within Fuel and oil expense in the period of settlement. Thus, Fuel and oil expense on an economic basis reflects the Company's actual net cash outlays for fuel during the applicable period, inclusive of settled fuel derivative contracts. Any net premium costs paid related to option contracts are reflected as a component of Other (gains) losses, net, for both GAAP and non-GAAP (including economic) purposes in the period of contract settlement. These economic results provide a better measure of the impact of the Company's fuel hedges on its operating performance and liquidity since they exclude the unrealized, non-cash adjustments and reclassifications that are recorded in GAAP results in accordance with accounting guidance relating to derivative instruments, and they reflect all cash settlements related to fuel derivative contracts within Fuel and oil expense. This enables the Company's management, as well as investors, to consistently assess the Company’s operating performance on a year-over-year or quarter-over-quarter basis after considering all efforts in place to manage fuel expense. However, because these measures are not determined in accordance with GAAP, such measures are susceptible to varying calculations and not all companies calculate the measures in the same manner. As a result, the aforementioned measures, as presented, may not be directly comparable to similarly titled measures presented by other companies.
Further information on (i) the Company's fuel hedging program, (ii) the requirements and accounting associated with accounting for derivative instruments, and (iii) the causes of hedge ineffectiveness and/or mark-to-market gains or losses from derivative instruments is included in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2010.
In addition to its “economic” financial measures, as defined above, the Company has also provided other non-GAAP financial measures as a result of items that the Company believes are not indicative of its ongoing operations. These include a first quarter 2011 charge of $17 million (before the impact of profitsharing and/or taxes) related to expenses associated with the Company's planned acquisition of AirTran. The Company believes that evaluation of its financial performance can be enhanced by a presentation of results that exclude the impact of these items in order to evaluate the results on a comparative basis with results in current or prior periods that did not include such items and as a basis for expecting operating results in future periods.
Three Months Ended March 31, 2011 2010 Change Revenue passengers carried 21,115,115 19,976,835 5.7 % Enplaned passengers 25,599,118 23,694,464 8.0 % Revenue passenger miles (RPMs) (000s) 19,195,885 17,161,713 11.9 % Available seat miles (ASMs) (000s) 24,505,674 22,619,460 8.3 % Load factor 78.3 % 75.9 % 2.4 pts Average length of passenger haul (miles) 909 859 5.8 % Average aircraft stage length (miles) 656 633 3.6 % Trips flown 273,823 261,892 4.6 % Average passenger fare $ 139.18 $ 124.90 11.4 % Passenger revenue yield per RPM (cents) 15.31 14.54 5.3 % RASM (cents) 12.66 11.63 8.9 % PRASM (cents) 11.99 11.03 8.7 % CASM (cents) 12.20 11.39 7.1 % CASM, excluding fuel (cents) 7.97 7.76 2.7 % CASM, excluding special items (cents) 12.21 11.18 9.2 % CASM, excluding fuel and special items (cents) 7.91 7.76 1.9 % Fuel costs per gallon, including fuel tax (unhedged) $ 2.93 $ 2.21 32.6 % Fuel costs per gallon, including fuel tax $ 2.91 $ 2.49 16.9 % Fuel costs per gallon, including fuel tax (economic) $ 2.96 $ 2.34 26.5 % Fuel consumed, in gallons (millions) 356 329 8.2 % Active fulltime equivalent Employees 35,452 34,637 2.4 % Aircraft in service at period-end 550 541 1.7 % RASM (unit revenue) - Operating revenue yield per ASM PRASM (Passenger unit revenue) - Passenger revenue yield per ASM CASM (unit costs) - Operating expenses per ASM
March 31, December 31, 2011 2010 ASSETS Current assets: Cash and cash equivalents $ 2,039 $ 1,261 Short-term investments 2,426 2,277 Accounts and other receivables 282 195 Inventories of parts and supplies, at cost 320 243 Deferred income taxes - 214 Prepaid expenses and other current assets 262 89 Total current assets 5,329 4,279 Property and equipment, at cost: Flight equipment 14,090 13,991 Ground property and equipment 2,153 2,122 Deposits on flight equipment purchase contracts 172 230 16,415 16,343 Less allowance for depreciation and amortization 5,919 5,765 10,496 10,578 Other assets 589 606 $ 16,414 $ 15,463 LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY Current liabilities: Accounts payable $ 916 $ 739 Accrued liabilities 827 863 Air traffic liability 1,710 1,198 Current maturities of long-term debt 905 505 Total current liabilities 4,358 3,305 Long-term debt less current maturities 2,428 2,875 Deferred income taxes 2,496 2,493 Deferred gains from sale and leaseback of aircraft 85 88 Other non-current liabilities 460 465 Stockholders' equity: Common stock 808 808 Capital in excess of par value 1,186 1,183 Retained earnings 5,399 5,399 Accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) 79 (262) Treasury stock, at cost (885) (891) Total stockholders' equity 6,587 6,237 $ 16,414 $ 15,463
Three months ended March 31, 2011 2010 CASH FLOWS FROM OPERATING ACTIVITIES: Net income $ 5 $ 11 Adjustments to reconcile net income to cash provided by operating activities: Depreciation and amortization 155 154 Unrealized loss on fuel derivative instruments 10 21 Deferred income taxes 28 12 Amortization of deferred gains on sale and leaseback of aircraft (3) (3) Changes in certain assets and liabilities: Accounts and other receivables (87) (67) Other current assets (92) (18) Accounts payable and accrued liabilities 238 (85) Air traffic liability 512 356 Cash collateral received from fuel derivative counterparties 29 5 Other, net 170 (13) Net cash provided by operating activities 965 373 CASH FLOWS FROM INVESTING ACTIVITIES: Purchases of property and equipment, net (57) (139) Purchases of short-term investments (1,484) (1,380) Proceeds from sales of short-term investments 1,310 1,197 Net cash used in investing activities (231) (322) CASH FLOWS FROM FINANCING ACTIVITIES: Proceeds from Employee stock plans 4 12 Proceeds from termination of interest rate derivatives 76 - Payments of long-term debt and capital lease obligations (30) (60) Payments of cash dividends (7) (7) Other, net 1 - Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities 44 (55) NET CHANGE IN CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS 778 (4) CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS AT BEGINNING OF PERIOD 1,261 1,114 CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS AT END OF PERIOD $ 2,039 $ 1,110
The Boeing Company -700 -800 Purchase Previously Firm Firm Options Rights Owned Total 2011 18 - - - 2 20 (1) 2012 - 20 - - - 20 2013 19 - 6 - - 25 2014 21 - 6 - - 27 2015 14 - 1 - - 15 2016 17 - 7 - - 24 2017 - - 17 - - 17 Through 2021 - - - 98 - 98 Total 89 (2) 20 37 98 2 246 * All forward-looking information in this schedule excludes any potential impact of the Company's anticipated acquisition of AirTran. (1) Includes six aircraft delivered through April 20, 2011. (2) The Company is evaluating substituting 737-800s in lieu of 737-700 firm orders currently scheduled for 2013 through 2016.
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DALLAS — April 14, 2011— Earlier today, the respective Unions representing Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways Pilots, as well as both Companies signed a Four-Party Process Agreement that provides for the two pilot groups to begin their seniority integration discussions prior to legal closing of the AirTran acquisition. It also outlines provisions of an implementation schedule in the event an agreement is reached on an integrated seniority list (ISL). Southwest anticipates closing on its acquisition of AirTran Airways in second quarter of 2011.
“This is yet another important step in the overall process of bringing these two great carriers together,” said Mike Van de Ven, Southwest Airlines Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “I applaud both sides for signing this important agreement that lays the groundwork for bringing together these two hard working Pilot groups.”
The Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association (SWAPA) and the Air Line Pilots’ Association (ALPA) can now begin the work of integrating seniority lists in accordance with the McCaskill-Bond Act. This new Four-Party Process Agreement also creates a timeline for SWAPA and ALPA to reach an ISL agreement. If an agreement is not reached during this timeframe, the matter will be sent to arbitration and a new implementation process will have to be negotiated.
After nearly 40 years of service, Southwest Airlines continues to differentiate itself from other low fare carriers--offering a reliable product with exemplary Customer Service. Southwest Airlines is the nation's largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded, now serving 72 cities in 37 states. Southwest also 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 more about how Southwest is doing its part to be a good citizen, visit southwest.com/cares to read the Southwest Airlines One Report TM . Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates more than 3,400 flights a day and has nearly 35,000 Employees systemwide.
Southwest Airlines Media Contact: 214-792-4847
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DALLAS—April 14, 2011—Southwest Airlines Cargo was recognized for excellence in Air Cargo World’s annual Air Cargo Excellence (ACE) Survey as the winner of the “up to 199,999 tonnes” category. In addition, Southwest Airlines Cargo received the highest overall rating across all weight divisions and was the highest rated carrier in three of the four performance categories: Customer Service, Performance, and Value.
“We are very proud to receive this prestigious recognition, which is a testament to the hard work and dedication of many Southwest Airlines Employees across our system,” said Southwest Airlines Vice President of Cargo and Charters Matt Buckley. “We truly appreciate that our dedication to excellence continues to be recognized by our valued Customers.”
The ACE Survey, established six years ago and published annually by Air Cargo World, acknowledges Cargo Carriers for achievements in air cargo excellence in four key areas: Customer Service, Performance, Information Technology, and Value. The ACE rankings are based on a survey conducted by Air Cargo World of more than 300 members of the airline and freight forwarding industries.
Southwest Airlines’ Relentlessly Reliable Employees offer Cargo Customers expedited air cargo service to more than 90 destinations across the map, including complimentary Road Feeder Service and interline destinations. With more than 200 million pounds of available cargo lift domestically per month, Southwest is proud to operate a majority of their Cargo Facilities from coast-to-coast, providing Customers with award-winning Customer Service.
In its 40 th year of service, Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) continues to differentiate itself from other low fare carriers—offering a reliable product with exemplary Customer Service. Southwest Airlines is the nation's largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded, now serving 72 cities in 37 states. Southwest also 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 more about how Southwest is doing its part to be a good citizen, visit southwest.com/citizenship to read the Southwest Airlines One Report™. Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates more than 3,400 flights a day and has nearly 35,000 Employees systemwide.
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DALLAS, TEXAS – April 7, 2011 -- Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) announced today that the Company flew 7.3 billion revenue passenger miles (RPMs) in March 2011, a 9.8 percent increase from the 6.7 billion RPMs flown in March 2010. Available seat miles (ASMs) increased 8.9 percent to 9.0 billion from the March 2010 level of 8.2 billion. The load factor for the month was 81.6 percent, compared to 81.0 percent for the same period last year. For March 2011, passenger revenue per ASM is estimated to have increased in the eight to nine percent range compared to March 2010. For the first quarter of 2011, Southwest flew 19.2 billion RPMs, compared to 17.2 billion RPMs flown for the same period in 2011, an increase of 11.9 percent. Available seat miles increased 8.3 percent to 24.5 billion from the 2010 level of 22.6 billion. The year-to-date load factor was 78.3 percent, compared to 75.9 percent for the same period last year. This release, as well as past news releases on Southwest, is available online at southwest.com. CONTACT: Investor Relations (214) 792-4415
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DALLAS, TX — April 7, 2011 — Southwest Airlines said today that it has completed all aircraft inspections in accordance with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airworthiness Directive (AD) that was released on Tuesday, April 5. The airline began operating a normal schedule Tuesday morning and does not anticipate the directive impacting the schedule moving forward.
During the airline’s thorough inspections of aircraft this week, minor subsurface cracking was found on five Southwest aircraft which will remain out of service until Boeing’s recommended repairs are complete. As of today, Boeing has provided repair instructions for all five of the impacted aircraft, which includes the removal and replacement of an 18-inch section of the lap joint. Southwest’s Maintenance and Engineering Department has begun the repair process, with each repair taking 8 to 16 hours to complete. The airline anticipates returning four of the five aircraft back into service by Saturday (pending the appropriate FAA approvals), with one aircraft remaining in previously scheduled maintenance. The incident aircraft has been released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) but the airline does not have a repair update at this time.
Based on information from the NTSB investigation and inspections performed since the event, Boeing has asked operators of certain 737-300/-400/-500 airplanes at or above 30,000 flight cycles to inspect certain lap joints. Although Southwest does operate a small number of 737-500 aircraft, the FAA’s Airworthiness Directive focuses on a particular set of 737-500 airplanes which are not included in the Southwest fleet.
“Now that our inspections are complete and the FAA has issued an AD for the rest of the world-wide 737 fleet, our focus shifts to completing the repairs and getting the aircraft back into service,” said Mike Van de Ven, Southwest's Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “Our event, though obviously not what we would want to happen, is ultimately working to improve the effectiveness of 737 inspections and maintenance programs world-wide.”
After the April 1 incident, Southwest immediately and voluntarily discontinued flying a portion of the Boeing 737-300s in its fleet prior to any government or manufacturer mandate.
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Innovation and hard work have hatched a breakthrough here at Southwest Airlines. One of our lead aviation technicians determined it was possible to disrupt the laws of physics, through extensive research and dedication. In short, we have discovered time travel. Scientist Reginald Aloysius McGillicutty has been secretly working in an undersea hangar for nearly twenty years. Recently, McGillicutty manufactured disruption in the space-time continuum inside his prototype of the planet Earth, using velocity-based time dilation under the theory of special relativity*. Employees here at Southwest are so excited, we decided to duplicate the mechanism and ready it for real-life time travel. A few lucky Customers were selected for the maiden voyage, for a flight back to 1971, the first year of Southwest operations. The lucky few were picked to relive the very first flight from DAL-SAT, and got to experience for themselves what it was like to travel forty years ago. Passengers were warned that they might see strange things during the trip. Richard Nixon was in the White House, Dirty Harry was in the theater, and the refrains of “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha,” could be heard streaming from televisions across the land. Most unbelievable of all, a gallon of gas only cost 40 cents.
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I'm back making a fool outta myself in the seventh edition of the SWA Stew. Yes, they keep bringing me back. I get to talk your ears off about Newark, Dude Perfect, Mary Bigham, AirTran, and much, much more.
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Matt Buckley Brings More Than Two Decades of Aviation Experience to Leadership Position
DALLAS—March 25, 2011— Southwest Airlines is pleased to announce that Matt Buckley has been promoted to Vice President Cargo & Charters.
Matt began his career with Southwest Airlines in 1982 as a Southwest Ramp Agent in Midland, Texas. With the majority of Matt’s 29-year career focused on leading our Cargo Management Group, Southwest has benefited tremendously from his vision and Leadership. Southwest’s Cargo and Charter business generates significant revenue annually and Matt accredits much of Cargo’s success as an Industry Leader to the hardworking Cargo, Ramp, and Operations Employees across our system.
“This is a well deserved promotion for Matt, who has shown his leadership and vision by increasing the breadth, scope, and profitability of our award-winning Cargo service,” said Southwest Airlines Senior Vice President Operations Greg Wells. “I am consistently impressed with his commitment to Southwest and to his People.”
Southwest Airlines Cargo is recognized as an industry leader, winning numerous awards due to the relentlessly reliable Southwest Employees who run its operations to over 90 destinations across the nation, which includes interline and road feeder service. Southwest Airlines Cargo Employees continue to focus on improving the Customer Experience, delivering excellent Customer Service and operational excellence for which the carrier is known.
In its 40 th year of service, Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) continues to differentiate itself from other low fare carriers—offering a reliable product with exemplary Customer Service. Southwest Airlines is the nation's largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded, now serving 71 cities in 35 states. Beginning March 27, 2011, service will begin to Newark Liberty International Airport. Southwest also 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 more about how Southwest is doing its part to be a good citizen, visit southwest.com/cares to read the Southwest Airlines One Report™. Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates more than 3,400 flights a day and has nearly 35,000 Employees systemwide.
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Contact: Southwest Airlines
DALLAS, TX – March 23, 2011 – Southwest Airlines [NYSE:LUV] confirmed today that shareholders of AirTran Holdings, Inc. [NYSE:AAI], the parent company of AirTran Airways (AirTran), have overwhelmingly approved the proposed acquisition of AirTran by Southwest Airlines. More than 98.6 percent of votes cast and 77.5 percent of shares outstanding were voted in favor of the acquisition.
The transaction remains under review by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and is subject to certain other regulatory clearances. Southwest and AirTran continue to operate as two independent companies pending those clearances. Southwest anticipates the transaction to close in the second quarter of this year.
“We appreciate the confidence AirTran shareholders have in Southwest to continue the good work of AirTran’s hardworking Crew Members (employees) who have made AirTran a successful airline over the past 17 years,” said Gary Kelly, Chairman, CEO, and President of Southwest Airlines. “This approval is another important and exciting step toward completing the transaction and beginning the integration of AirTran into Southwest to ultimately serve the flying public as one carrier.”
On September 27, 2010, Southwest Airlines announced that it entered into a definitive agreement to acquire all of the outstanding common stock of AirTran Holdings, Inc., for a combination of cash and Southwest Airlines’ common stock.
About Southwest Airlines
In its 40th year of service, Southwest Airlines continues to differentiate itself from other low-fare carriers--offering a reliable product with exemplary Customer Service. Southwest Airlines is the nation's largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded, now serving 71 cities in 36 states. Beginning March 27, 2011, Southwest will initiate service to Newark Liberty International Airport. Southwest also 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 more about how Southwest is doing its part to be a good citizen, visit southwest.com/cares to read the Southwest Airlines One Report(TM). Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates more than 3,400 flights a day and has nearly 35,000 Employees systemwide.
Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Communications in this news release contain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Forward-looking statements are based on, and include statements about, Southwest’s estimates, expectations, beliefs, intentions, and strategies for the future. Specific forward-looking statements include, without limitation, statements regarding Southwest’s plans and expectations with respect to Southwest’s anticipated acquisition of AirTran. 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, the possibility that the transaction is delayed or does not close, including due to the inability of Southwest and AirTran to obtain all approvals necessary or the failure of other closing conditions. Additional information concerning the risks associated with Southwest’s anticipated acquisition is contained in Southwest’s and AirTran’s most recently filed Annual Reports on Form 10-K and in Southwest’s registration statement on Form S-4 filed with the SEC that includes a proxy statement of AirTran that also constitutes a prospectus of Southwest. Southwest undertakes no obligation to publicly update any of these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that may arise after the date hereto.
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Perfect harmony would be the words used if I actually land everywhere I intend to go during my visit to Austin for SXSWi. SXSWi is one of the biggest interactive events in the nation, a place where tech geeks converge to talk shop and let loose. I have never been, and the more likely scenario is that I end up confused and out of luck more than once, a victim of my own lack of experience. Thankfully, the fate of Southwest Airlines is not held in the hands of a novice like myself. We have the help of our trusty location partner Gowalla, also the official partner for SXSWi, to help spread the word. Lest I bury the lede for all you journalists, Southwest is once again enhancing the Gowalla travel experience. We're offering the opportunity to win a free roundtrip flight just by checking in. But this time we're doing things a little differently and adding an extra treat - you also get a rare, virtual souvenir! These Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 model planes will be spread out all over Austin, including Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and festival venues. If you find this item, there is a chance that you have won! If you do, you'll receive this message: Tray tables up, seatbelts fastened… okay, keep your electronic device on. You just won a ticket on Southwest Airlines! Check your e-mail to redeem your prize! So check in early and often, take lots of pictures, meet new friends, and complete some trips. And if you happen to see a clueless-looking Southwest Employee wandering the streets of Austin, how's about giving him a hand? He's a SXSWi newbie!
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Going green (in more ways than one), flashing back, and praising a young artist. These stories and your usual follies, in the latest SWA Stew.
Can you tell I edited this? Talk about second-rate. Everyone who wants Caleb to show me his tips and tricks, speak! The harder you clap, the more likely it is to happen (like bringing a Care Bear back to life).
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This picture is of Dallas-Love Field, as seen from our deck at Headquarters on Friday morning, February 4, 2011. Our new Blog Team covers many areas of Southwest Airlines, including the areas hit hard by recent winter storms. We thought it would be interesting to share with you a Captain's Blog from the people who experienced it first-hand. Transmission from Capt. Joe Gautille, Feb. 1 at 1034 Just got to the Houston Pilot Lounge. I flew Flight 3133 this morning and due to the Texas weather they rerouted us over Corpus Christi - Palacios and then Houston. It added about an hour to bring us from the southwest insead of the northeast, as we usually do. Fortunately, once the backed up traffic from the morning weather eased up, we got a shortcut into Houston and arrived only thirty minutes late. Many flights were canceled for our connecting passengers and it's a typical ugly winter weather day in the airline biz. Lots of changes and very fluid operation in these kinds of conditions. My own flight to Love Field was canceled and I'll be hanging out until 1300 for the next flight home. Regards, Joe the Pilot Transmission from Capt. Joe Gautille, Feb. 1 at 1034 Just got to the Houston Pilot Lounge. I flew Flight 3133 this morning and due to the Texas weather they rerouted us over Corpus Christi - Palacios and then Houston. It added about an hour to bring us from the southwest insead of the northeast, as we usually do. Fortunately, once the backed up traffic from the morning weather eased up, we got a shortcut into Houston and arrived only thirty minutes late. Many flights were canceled for our connecting passengers and it's a typical ugly winter weather day in the airline biz. Lots of changes and very fluid operation in these kinds of conditions. My own flight to Love Field was canceled and I'll be hanging out until 1300 for the next flight home. Regards, Joe the Pilot Transmission from Capt. Joe Gautille, Feb. 1 at 1554 The fallout from the storm continues. Love Field has been shut down all day due to ice on the runways and the taxiways. Not one aircraft has taken off or landed at Love. Incredible! I'm stranded in Houston along with MANY pilots and flight attendants all trying to get home to Dallas. Maybe tomorrow. Heard DFW has only one runway open and is on a very reduced flight schedule. Regards, Joe the Pilot Transmission from Flight Attendant Rob Garren, Feb. 1 at Sooo lucky to have made it to Tampa! Barely made it out of Chicago. Barely made it into Boston. Barely made it OUT of Boston. Luckily, made it to Tampa where the weather is PERFECT! I got to hang out on the porch of my hotel room and had a few drinks at the hotel restaurant while the sun set over the ocean. Could have easily been stuck in a hotel in Boston for a few days watching snow pile up. Tomorrow is Ft. Lauderdale at the beach! We are supposed to go through Islip, NY. If that doesn't happen for weather reasons...being stuck in Tampa...well...it could be worse! Keep warm, Rob El Paso International Airport sees snow accumulation Evening, Feb. 1 Taken by Operations Agent Frank Gonzales Chicago-Midway International Airport jet way bombarded by snow Evening, Feb. 1 Taken by Customer Service Agent Supervisor James Goodman Chicago-Midway International Airport blizzard continues, all flights canceled Morning, Feb. 2 Taken by Customer Service Agent Supervisor James Goodman Transmission from Community Relations & Giving Specialist Casey Welch, Feb 2. at 1253 I'm sitting at my desk here at Southwest's Headquarters here in Dallas. Ironically, the most treacherous part of my trip into work this morning was navigating through the Headquarters' parking lot which is famous for its ability to transform into a lake in thunderstorms and a frozen lake during icy weather. I looked like a cartoon character who was walking across a bunch of banana peels this morning. Our hearts are going out to our Employees and Customers who are navigating through much more complicated situations. From a Charitable Giving and Community Relations standpoint, we stay in close contact with our community partners such as the Red Cross that respond to natural disasters and emergencies like this. They keep us updated regularly on the needs in the community and always alert us if there is a way we can step in and help. So far, we haven't activated any of our community disaster response plans. Stay warm and be safe, everyone! Casey Transmission from Station Training & Compliance Specialist Paul Thompson, Feb. 2 at 1301 On Tuesday, I woke up to the sound of ice pellets against the bedroom window at 4:30AM. I laid there for a while, hoping the noise wouldn't wake up my two daughters. While scanning through Twitter on my phone, still in bed, I saw that the major school districts in the city had canceled classes. I got dressed to come to work and let the dogs out. Once I saw that the ground was already covered in sleet, paired with the ice on my car and every concrete surface, I decided to stay home. I crawled back into bed and slept two more hours, and never left the house that day. Wednesday, I was determined not to burn another Vacation day on the couch. I woke up early and did my routine, then left the house 30 minutes earlier than usual. The roads were pretty slick as I left the neighborhood, but the city streets and highways were navigable. The places where other cars had driven were ice-free and dry. My 16-mile trip took an hour, but I made it to work right on time. As I locked my car, I realized I had left my ID badge in the kitchen at home! Throughout the day my work has been interrupted 8 times (so far) by power outages in our building, causing a lengthy re-boot of my computer each time. Paul Transmission from Jonathon Nield & John Valetta, Scheduling & Call Allocation Team, Feb. 2 at 1417 2011 has been a challenging year so far in terms of weather. You have braved those storms to travel to your destinations and we have faced the challenge head-on. The sheer volume of calls we see when weather gets bad can make most Call Center operations crumble, and in some cases our phone providers tremble with fear. We like to think of ourselves as Call Center Emergency Responders, saving as many calls as we could and trying anything we could think of to get more calls answered. We know getting a busy signal or an announcement saying the hold time is high is very frustrating, as we all have been on that side of the phone as well, we worked hard to get as many of those calls answered that we possibly could. Here at the Scheduling and Call Allocation Team, we saw the data not as numbers but as people trying to get home, to work, to family, or a job interview. We know at times it may not seem like it, but rest assured that we are working very hard here in our Dallas office to get you all your destinations as quickly and as safely as possible by making sure that someone is there to answer your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year! J&J Transmission from Capt. Joe Gautille, Feb. 2 at 1459 STILL stranded in Houston by the Mother of all winter storms so far this season. We thought that we had a shot at going to Dallas at 0615 this morning, but after loading up about 35 Southwest Pilots and Flight Attendants and a full 737-700 with passengers, the flight to Dallas was canceled. Ugh. All the passengers got off, except for two, and the rest of us flew to Amarillo. The thinking was that we would have a better shot Amarillo to Dallas, but that didn't pan out. The kicker was that the terminal in Amarillo had NO HEAT! How cold was it? It was so cold you could see your breath inside. So now, change 2 to Plan B, and we flew back to Houston and are waiting for the 4 PM to Dallas. It's booked to about 200 with the majority probably Crews from the last couple of days . A lot of SWA Spirit out there under these stressful conditions. Our folks are going the extra mile helping Passengers and other crew members as well, as we all deal with this unusual weather event. Our Schedulers, too, are doing an amazing job dealing with Crews spread out all over the country and hanging in there in all the chaos. Just heard that three of our gates are open at Love Field and as soon as some flights get our Customers out of Dallas they will be accepting flights in! No airline traffic yet for the second day, but a few business jets have been getting in for the Super Bowl. That will make Jerry Jones happy. When the owner of a multi-million dollar corporate jet wants to go somewhere the crew usually takes them, and they fly under different rules than we do. Hope to sleep in my own bed tonight after five days on the trail. Stay Warm. Wish I was there. Regards, Joe the Pilot Transmission from Strategic Planning & Projects Manager Mike Sims, Feb. 2 at 1500 We’re in the midst of one of my favorite times of year in Texas—a winter storm. The grocery stores are raided, media outlets doing their best Chicken Little, schools and factories barred their doors, and we Texans are sliding our cars into the ditches. Ah, paradise! What a mess! I am such the novice when it comes preparing for Mother Nature’s winter wrath, but I did the best I could. First, I turned to our local news for live updates—every hour, on the hour, and for the whole hour. Newscasts are interrupting their newscasts! This effort successfully raised my personal weather panic terror alert to something like “platinum.” Faster than one can say “storm of the century” in a sound bite, I joined the Texas-sized stampede to get emergency provisions. I grabbed my coat and hat and bolted out the door in search of the nearest grocery store to secure the necessities. After all, I could be holed up for weeks! Fourteen boxes of Pop-Tarts and one deli ham: Check. Flashlight batteries (for flashlight I don’t own): Check. Copy of Us Weekly Magazine (to monitor how celebrities cope with bad weather): Check. Yet, I froze (no pun intended) in the pet food aisle. Panic. I don’t have any pets! What am I going to do? What if a cat shows up at my bunker to rest a spell? Four cans of cat food (and one cat toy for the long days): Check. I bought a bunch of other stuff that ultimately proved useless, except for the two cans of creamed corn I got on sale “two for one.” Even in tough times, I won’t turn my head to a bargain! I got home, put up my rations, and headed to bed, tossing and turning all night. When I woke up, I looked out the window and saw the ice. Jokes aside, I know our Customers are braving the weather and many of you are in circumstances far tougher than mine. I was determined to make it into Southwest Headquarters. So far, I have made it to the office every day since this storm began by driving slowly (with a few slips and slides along the way) on Dallas’ iced covered streets. We are receiving operational updates from our Crew Schedulers, Flight Dispatchers, and our other operational folks who have been working long hours to ensure that we are getting our operation back on track and, most importantly, taking care of our Customers. Each day is getting a little better and I am confident we will be back to our normal schedule as soon as possible. I am thankful for my fellow Employees who are working extremely hard out in our cities across the nation and our Headquarters. By the way, no cat ever showed up at my house. I have a few cans of cat food to spare if you like! Take care, be safe, and stay warm. Mike Transmission from Online Content Manager Brian Lusk, Feb. 2 at 1531 I am working even though it is 80 here in Orlando. Transmission from Emerging Media Coordinator Brooks Thomas, Feb. 2 at 1534 Seriously, Brian? Better enjoy it. Home awaits! Transmission from MDW Customer Service Agent Supervisor Timothy O'Keefe, Feb. 2 at 1535 As a junior Customer Service Supervisor, I have the highly coveted days of Wednesday and Thursday as my Saturday and Sunday. Luckily, the storm arrived about the same time my weekend began. Monday evening, we were notified that operations at Midway were going to be suspended at noon Tuesday just before the storm arrived. Behind the scenes there is a lot of planning taking place for our People. As easy as it would be to flip a switch and start flying airplanes, many People work to determine how to transition back to regular business. Since there were no flights after Noon on Tuesday, I was given the option of taking the day off since I work an evening shift. My position offers fantastic flexibility in trading shifts, trading start times, or simply giving the day away to another supervisor who wants the hours. One of my coworkers wanted the day off so I picked up her morning start time so I could head back home and start my weekend early. Tuesday morning, I was supervising on the concourse. Lots of Customers were trying to get out of town and get anywhere they could before the snow hit Chicago. One of our pilots was trying to get home to St. Louis since the rest of his trip was cancelled and he was stuck at the base. Unfortunately for him, the St. Louis station had already shut down so there were no flights to get him home. Like some folks who did not want to wait for the storm to pass, he ended up renting a car and making the dangerous trek. The storm really left a mess of Chicago, so I hope that he made it home safely. My morning rounded out with a few last minute cancellations for flights to New York since weather was diminishing out there earlier than anticipated. It was difficult breaking the news to folks who were hoping to get out of town before the storm. Initially, we were going to resume flights at noon today (Wednesday). Since our morning Customer Service Team typically starts around 5 o'clock and there were no flights (and presumably limited Customers) for the first half of the day, we wanted to give our People the option of safely staying at home and coming in late or being a part of a skeleton crew at the airport. Just as our Admin Supervisor finished calling everybody, we received notification that the suspension of service was extended into the evening. Everyone from the morning shift had to be called back to be told they could take the whole day off! I finished out my day helping make all of the second phone calls to communicate the plans. Timing worked out well as the snow was starting as my day was ending. I hopped in my car for a slow drive home where my wife, my dog, and I locked ourselves inside to enjoy the thundersnow. This morning I took a walk with my dog to check things out. It was unusually quiet in the city since there were hardly any cars out at all. The roads in my neighborhood were still unplowed and the wind was blowing snow everywhere. In the middle of the block, someone abandoned their car after getting it stuck in a drift. After a long week at work, I am lucky to be enjoying my ‘Saturday’ at home with a nice cup of coffee and good company with the family. I will be recharged and ready to help get our Customers and planes back in the sky when I return Friday. Until then, it is time to relax. Transmission from Customer Jenna B. via Communications Specialist Laurel Moffat, Feb. 2 at 1545 Hi! I wrote a cranky thing on [Facebook] earlier but then I finally, finally got through to a human and spoke to a wonderful Customer Service Rep on the phone named Elleni. She totally rocked and fixed everything and had an awesome attitude, despite the fact that she's probably been speaking to angry people all day. Sorry for being cranky. 🙂 Transmission from Emerging Media Coordinator Brooks Thomas, Feb. 2 at 1550 Nice save, Elleni! And thanks for sharing, Jenna. I'm sure you're not alone in your frustration. If it makes you feel any better, I just slipped and did a Looney Tunes-esque fall on the ice, windmill hands and everything. Transmission from Project Support Supervisor Kari Kennedy, Feb. 2 at 1600 All I've seen is the inside of my house and I'm about to turn into a character from The Shining. LOL! I'm hoping tomorrow I can get out of my driveway. Transmission from Online Content Manager Brian Lusk, Feb. 2 at 1622 My colleague Jon Shubert and I were lucky to leave the Dallas area early this morning from the DFW Airport to Atlanta and Orlando. The roads from my house to the other airport were almost completely ice-encrusted. Ever wonder where the aircraft go that should be operating those canceled flights? This storm, they are lining the perimeter of the Atlanta and Orlando Airports. Chicago-Midway International Airport plows out on the tarmac, Feb. 2 at 1655 Taken by Customer Service Agent Supervisor James Goodman Transmission from Communications Manager Marilee McInnis, Feb. 2 at 1711 - 950 cancelations today across the System - About 90 cancelations at Love Field El Paso International Airport - Vacant gate with snowy mountains in the background, Feb. 2 at 1722 Taken by Operations Agent Frank Gonzales Chicago-Midway International Airport Employees during a break, Feb. 2 at 1831 Taken by Customer Service Agent Supervisor James Goodman Although Chicago-Midway's flights are canceled for the duration of Wednesday, all hands are on deck to get up and running as soon as possible. Transmission from Assistant Marketing Manager Erin Terry, Feb. 2 at 1917 I got to experience this storm as both a Southwest Employee and a Passenger trying desparately to get home from vacation. My husband and I had been on a ski trip in the Denver area....and getting home to Dallas during ice-a-palooza 2011 turned out to be much more than we'd bargained for! For starters, kudos to the Coloradans for handling this storm like winter weather champs....the roads were in great shape and the airport operations were running extremely smoothly, despite the circumstances. A Marketer at heart, I was thrilled to see many of our Customers taking advantage of our new Express Bag Drop service at the Denver Ticket Counter, allowing them to progress through the line as quickly as possible and freeing up resources for other passengers needing additional assistance from our Customer Service Agents. It was especially heart-warming to witness our awesome Denver Employees in action --- keeping our Passengers spirits' up with your smiles and outstanding Customer Service during this hectic time! While we didn't make it to our final destination (Dallas --- ice-a-palooza headquarters!), we managed to make it to Austin for the night to bunk up with family (thanks for the free room and board, Mom & Dad!). And while the following morning was equally unsuccessful on the flight front (Love Field was still shut down due to ice), there was a definite silver lining in the form of Maudie's breakfast tacos in the Austin airport. Down, but not defeated, we opted to rent a car, brave the slippery roads and inexperienced Texas drivers and headed northbound on I-35. After a quick rental car exchange at the airport, we were on our way home to our adorable doggies, rolling power outages, and a big pile of laundry. Winter vacations....always fun, a little chilly, but definitely never boring! Transmission from Staffing Liaison David Weck, Feb. 2 at 2227 We did get a cold snap here in the Valley of the Sun, Phoenix, AZ. We are expecting temperatures to drop down below 30F and we had to get out our extra blankets. Here at the Phoenix Call Center we are working overtime to help our fellow Employees at other centers who cannot even make it to work. Rest assured though we are here to help our Customers with whatever they need in this Snowpocalypse of 2011. I decided yesterday that comfort food was in order and I wanted to share this simple (yet satisfying) recipe with you. Prepare 4 cups of rice made with a quarter pound of butter (mmmm). In a separate saucepan sautée about 2 lbs of chicken (breast or thighs) cut into bite size pieces, in about a half stick of butter and 3 tbsp of flour season with salt and pepper to taste. After the chicken is delicious and golden brown add a cup of milk and let that simmer (it will thicken slightly). Add a can of cream of mushroom soup and a can of cream of chicken soup and let that come to a nice simmer. I added a can of green beans, but you can add spinach or any other veggie you want to convince yourself it is actually healthy. When it is complete and the rice is all fluffed, fold the rice into the chicken and gravy mix, and enjoy! I also added another half stick of butter because it looked too healthy. Enjoy! Transmission from Emerging Media Coordinator Brooks Thomas, Feb. 2 at 2233 Staying home is a drag, figuratively and literally. Rolling power outages wedged their way into my work flow, forcing me out of stride. It's hard not to trip to the ground with so many hurdles. Luckily, I had my own balance take care of that for me, when I lost my footing and windmilled my way to an ungraceful fall. Yes, that really happened, as I earlier stated. There were witnesses. No footage (that I'm aware of). In the midst of the icy madness, I did manage to access e-mail to see a steady stream of updates from the Blog Team. This made me happy when it was happening; even happier when I found time to reflect. So many different perspectives, so many people working toward the same goal from completely different ends of the spectrum. My thanks goes out to the Team for taking time out of their busy days to write something. An idea and the process of arranging it is the easy part, especially when the pieces are given to you just so. But we're still in the thick of it. Tomorrow is a new, hopefully less challenging day. I hope you're also looking forward to seeing where Captain Joe or Rob is, or whether any of those plans Casey discussed were put into action. Heck, maybe Mike will run out of rations and David will open the recipe book up again? I'm sure that cat food is still up for grabs. Echoing sentiments - stay warm, be safe, take care of each other. End Transmission for Feb. 2, 2011 Begin Transmission for Feb. 3, 2011 Transmission from Customer Representative Krista Crow, Feb. 3 at 0100 I live in Oklahoma City and very early tuesday morning it started to sleet, and then the snow came. At first, it was really pretty. School was canceled for the kids and there were snow drifts everywhere. It was so cold, there was no way we could go outside, but being together inside was nice... at first. It is now Wednesday night and if I don't get out soon, I think I will lose my mind! I love my three children, but there is a thing as too much togetherness in a small house. Our call center was closed Tuesday, but was opened Wednesday afternoon. I hope to be able to get out of my neighborhood tomorrow and go to work. I know a lot of customers have been on hold waiting due to canceled flights and delays, due to the storm. I am sorry so many of us have not been able to get to work to answer those calls. Believe me, I want to talk to someone else besides my children about now! Transmission from Flight Attendant Rob Garren, Feb. 3 at 0825 Yesterday, they canceled my regular day due to the storms and they just deadheaded us to Ft. Lauderdale. All day at the beach - UNBELIEVABLE! Got a bit sunburned... but that's the worst of it. Later, on the weather, they showed how the only good weather to be had in the United States was in Florida. Lucky me! My day today has been changed around a bit, but it looks like I'll be getting home. My sister was working at the same time and it looks like she got the worst end of the deal with lots of delays, re-routes, and de-icing... only to end up in Raleigh twice. Needless to say, she did not want to hear about how my trip was going. I'm sure that was the last time I'll do so well during bad weather. Nine times out of ten you get a much worse deal than your original trip. Rob Transmission from Communications Manager Marilee McInnis, Feb. 3 at 0830 Customers holding reservations for travel to/from AUS, BHM, CRP, DAL, HOU, HRL, JAN, MSY, or SAT on Thursday, February 3 or Friday, February 4 are eligible to reschedule their flight in accordance with our accommodation procedures. If you would like to rebook online, please click HERE to reschedule your flight. For customers who did not purchase their ticket via southwest.com, please call us at 1-800-435-9792. Transmission from Customer Relations Writing Representative Whitney Bartels, Feb. 3 at 1100 If you’ve been traveling at all over the past few days, this picture will likely bring a sinking feeling to your stomach. With more than 14,000 cancelled flights, record breaking snowfall, and all-time temperature lows, the storm literally knocked the country off its feet, presenting a number of unseen challenges. On Tuesday, February 1, Love Field Airport closed for only the second time in history - the first being September 11, 2001. Coupled with Love Field, thirty other airports across the System were experiencing closings, delays, and cancelations as a result of the weather. So, as you can imagine, things have been a little crazy in the Customer Relations Department. We’ve been working alongside our incredible frontline and Customer Service Employees in attempt to conquer the task of accommodating each and every Customer affected by the storm. We’ve been here every day through ice, sleet, freezing temperatures, and rolling power outages across Texas. It’s been all hands on deck in an effort to handle the unprecedented call volumes. Just yesterday. four other CR/RR reps piled into my Jeep to brave the weather and head to Headquarters (thank you Kansas winters for teaching me how to drive in winter weather). If that’s not LUV for our Customers, I’m not sure what is! Transmission from Central Baggage Support Specialist Shannon Draper, Feb. 3 at 1105 I had a wonderful day. After slipping and sliding out of the driveway, I thought, "I think I will take a vacation day." I went back into the house and, to my surprise, I was able to video tape my dog, Paris standing on her hind legs looking out the blinds at the squirrel on the back porch. She was standing on her hind legs away from the blinds because she will get in trouble if she puts her feet there . She stood there and barked and looked at that squirrel for over 5 minutes until my husband finally let her out the back door. Then the chase was on! They played chicken with each other up and down the fence until he finally out-foxed her and made it to the tree. She sat there in the back, looking at the fence and the tree like , "how did he get by me?" She was so funny to watch, but the most amazing thing was the balancing on her hind legs. She wouldn't let that squirrel out of her sight and he wasn't about to give up tormenting her. Neither one of them minded the cold. It was nature at its best and worst on Tuesday morning. Transmission from Flight Attendant Joey Reynolds, Feb. 3 at 1151 Well the winter blast sure did cause chaos among the travel world! With so many airports shutting down and flights being canceled as mother nature dumped record amounts of snow, the scheduling team behind Southwest was scrambling to relocate all of the flight crews. As the storm started, I was in the thunderstorms of New Orleans, planning on making my way through Florida, then up the East Coast. I would finally call it a night in Cleveland. With Cleveland looking like a winter wonderland, we were unable to make it there and ended up spending the night in Baltimore. Not knowing what was in store for me that night I contacted our scheduling department to find out that almost every hotel in Baltimore was sold out! Finally, after an hour they found a hotel for me and I made my way there. About 2 hours after landing in Baltimore, I reached my hotel with my crew to find out that they were at capacity and only had one room. This is where the LUV Airline comes in!!! There was a large number of crew members in the lobby. Two other Flight Attendants offered to share a room and give one to us. I ran into an old friend and shared a room with him. And now we only needed one room which was the last one they had! After all of that confusion and working together to make things happen we were able to find a restaurant down the street that was open. We grabbed ourselves some nice warm food, a frosty beverage and sang "I'm Leaving On A Jet Plane" at karaoke! It ended up being a great time and certainly one for the history books! Joey Reynolds Boise Airport De-Icing Morning, Feb. 3 Taken by Capt. Roy Cook Transmission from Emerging Media Coordinator Brooks Thomas, Feb. 3 at 2246 All quiet on the Southwestern front. As operations resumed, so did the workloads of our Blog faithful. Snow has started falling in Central Texas, and we're supposed to get some here in Dallas, too. Funny, but I feel as though it takes only three days of ice in Dallas to feel impervious to the snow's wrath. Everyone I've spoken with is shrugging it off. Guess they don't like icing on their cake? Oh, sweet irony. End Transmission for Feb. 3, 2011 Begin Transmission for Feb. 4, 2011 Transmission from Lead Planner-Schedule Development Bill Owen, Feb. 4 at 0700 Three days into ‘super storm 2011,’ I had my first belly-laugh of the whole event. Since Tuesday, the sleet on my deck has gradually morphed into black ice, so it’s insanely slick. However, when I got home from the office (the call of nature being what it is) I had to let my three dogs out back to do their business. First out of the chute was Marley, the 160-lb yellow lab that thinks he’s a lap dog. He had galloped at full speed all of 3 feet from the back door when all four paws went four different directions, and he hit the ice hard and slid another 6 feet, stopping perilously close to the edge of the pool. Next came Abby, the 2 lb Tyrannosaurus-Chihuahua mix who, following in Marley’s footsteps, went three feet, hit the ground equally hard, and slid directly into Marley’s derriere, which ricocheted the big guy right into the water head-first. Last came Miss Ginger, my little brown 20-lb earth-mother that thinks she’s a cat. She took one step out, sniffed of the ice, and took disdainful notice of Marley flailing in the pool. She turned around, blithely looked up at me with her famous “are you KIDDING me?” glance and trotted back inside to resume her nap on the electric blanket. Marley lumbered out of the pool, shook vigorously several times, SOAKING Abby, and gave her a “WHAT THE HECK WAS THAT ALL ABOUT??” look. I laughed until I cried! I hope everyone is coping well with the winter weather! Transmission from Crew Scheduler Annie Hoelzel, Feb. 4 at 0800 I know instantly it's going to be a busy day in scheduling when I walk onto the scheduling floor and the whole area is buzzing. Everyone is talking at once, phones are ringing constantly, and there are pizza boxes lying open on the tables. On a regular day I might have to notify about twenty flight attendants of changes to their flying throughout my eight hour shift. Instead, on Monday, I had seventy flight attendants to call in my notification window! And the list continued to grow to about 120 by 4 AM. And that was just for MDW flight attendants! The schedulers that were handling notifies for our other seven bases certainly felt my pain! Other schedulers took phone calls. At one point we had as many as eighty calls in cue, and the call volume stayed pretty steady throughout the day and well into the night. Those who weren't watching flight changes or taking phone calls tackled the 695 canceled flights from nearly half the United States. On Tuesday, we had about 600 more canceled flights and on Wednesday we topped the day off with nearly 900 problems to take care of. Those problems show up on a list in a computer program called Solver. Those 900 problems were a mix of canceled flights, crew rest issues, and flights with no crew members. Some flight attendants' trips were changed so much from canceled flights that when we called them yet again, they answered the phone laughing, "What are we doing now?" The Midwest and East Coast weren't the only areas with wicked cold weather. Dallas actually dropped down to 15 degrees, and the roads were covered in ice. It's an eerie feeling sliding through a traffic light. I now know what it must be like to drive a Zamboni. Is it wrong of me to say I can't wait for Spring? Transmission from Scheduling & Call Allocation Team Member Jonathon Nield, Feb. 4 at 0900 Transmission from Lead Planner-Schedule Development Bill Owen, Feb. 4 at 1104 Okay, perhaps I’ve been cooped up too long, but just noticed that TVLand goes right from “The Nanny” at 10:30 AM CST to “Gunsmoke.” Man, that has GOT to create some sort of hormonal feng-shui imbalance somewhere!!!!! Transmission from Emerging Media Coordinator Brooks Thomas, Feb. 4 at 1107 Let me know when F Troop comes on, Bill. Everyone, apologies for the formatting issues. Seems when you play computer roulette, things get a little dicey. By the way, slight bruise from Wednesday's fall is subsiding. Bruised ego still in tact. Transmission from Communications Manager Brad Hawkins, Feb. 4 at 1130 180 Cancelations Systemwide (60 in DAL) DAL Conditions Rapidly Improving Confidently Optimistic About Running Post-noon Schedule at DAL Big Game Charters are launching and headed this way [to Love Field] Transmission from Marketing Specialist Emily Richardson, Feb. 4 at 1135 I hadn't experienced any interruptions from the winter weather this week because my Team and direct Customers live and work in the Western region of the country. While I was freezing in Dallas, the majority of our corporate accounts were enjoying sunny weather. It's been business as usual this week, until now. I'm currently sitting at Gate 10 in Love Field waiting for the snow to stop falling, the runways to be cleared, the planes to be de-iced, and revenue Customers to be re-accommodated so I can get to Phoenix tonight to host a suite at the Suns game. At this point, it's not looking like I'll make it on time or at all, but for now I'm waiting it out and hoping to get as much work done as possible from the airport. Thank goodness for WiFi! Emily Transmission from Communications Intern Lauren Kraft, Feb. 4 at 1200 snOw.M.G! It is certainly an interesting time to be an Intern at Southwest! I'm sitting in my cubical in Headquarters right now and it's a little lonely. Those of us that live close by have braved the snow, but so many others are working hard from home, making sure our Customers know we are doing the best we can in this crazy weather. I've had an amazing time so far and learned so much, but this isn't exactly how I thought my first few weeks in Dallas would be. As I sat in frigid Illinois, packing up my belongings to make the journey to Southwest's hometown, I thought "It's hot in Texas, right? The snow boots are not coming with me! Halleluiah!" Well, I was wrong. Very wrong. My family in Illinois has definitely got it worse with the 4 foot drifts, but here in Dallas we are just not equipped for this kind of weather. So while my feet might be a little cold, hearing the great stories of fellow Employees going the extra mile during this craziness has warmed my heart. I'm so proud to call them my Family! Keep up the great work everyone! Transmission from Emerging Media Coordinator Brooks Thomas, Feb. 4 at 1209 Just thought I'd give credit where it is due. Lauren took the picture that is featured today for the Captain's Blog, as I am one of those people working from home. Thanks, Lauren! End Transmission for Feb. 4, 2011
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As the nation's third major winter storm system affects airports throughout the U.S., we wanted to remind travelers that utilizing our online channels is the fastest way to ensure a smooth traveling process. On southwest.com or through our mobile app (on Apple, Android and Blackberry), passengers can check in to a flight, see weather alerts and check flight status. If the ticket was booked online, Customers can also rebook a flight on southwest.com or straight from the app. Weather alerts are constantly updated on southwest.com (and can be accessed near the top of the home page, as seen in the screen shot below): Passengers can sign up for e-mail or text notifications on http://www.southwest.com/flight/flight-notification-subscribe.html (seen below) You can check flight status and rebook within the mobile app. To rebook, first click ‘Air Reservations’. After that, click ‘Change Air’ Enter the confirmation number to retrieve a reservation. For Customers who did not purchase their ticket via southwest.com, please call us at 1-800-435-9792 to rebook their flight in the original class of service or travel standby (within 14 days of the original date of travel between the original city-pairs) without paying any additional charge.
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Want to know what the Top 5 most viewed blogs of the week were on Nuts About Southwest? Well, wait no longer. Here they are! Every week, a member of the Blog Team will present the stories you're most interested in. Fools will be made, in the process.
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Come Monday, don’t be confused. Nuts About Southwest is getting a facelift. Monday – 7:37a.m. Central Standard Time. Coincidence? I think not. Let's get our upcoming downtime issues out of the way first – our precious blog (and my livelihood) won’t be operable this weekend, due to the upgrade. The blog will return - you guessed it - at 7:37a.m. CST on Monday. Have I said that enough? We've been working on a refresh of Nuts About Southwest for about six months. The blog will soon feature the Southwest social streams (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and an introduction to our newly selected Southwest Employee blog team. Of course, our new look calls for a new blog team hailing from all across the Southwest System, armed with fresh ideas. Don't worry, they’re not quitting their day jobs - they will still be working hard to give you the Freedom to Fly. These fine folks are blogging voluntarily, independent of their daily responsibilities. You’re going to read posts from pilots, flight attendants, crew schedulers, marketing experts, baggage service representatives, and the list goes on. We're very excited about our refresh, which is not restricted to the look and feel of the blog, but includes enhanced functionality, too. In addition to the social streams and a new group of writers, users will have the ability to earn badges and interact on the blog through Facebook Connect. Nuts 3.0 also will offer a more streamlined approach to share news, video, and Red Belly Radio podcasts. But wait, there's more - diehard fans will have the ability to click the "Download" tab to get access to iPhone wallpaper, badges, and other cool stuff. I will try to hold my excitement for Monday's launch and if I haven’t outed myself as a complete dork yet, never fear, there’s still time. I have the honor and privilege of helping to manage the blog with Brian Lusk - O Captain, My Captain. With our powers combined, we will undoubtedly unleash heartbreaking works of staggering genius. A lot can happen in five years. Degrees are earned, Presidential terms come and go, and apparently blogs get refreshed (twice). Monday, 7:37a.m. Central Standard Time, everything comes to fruition… unless something goes haywire, in which case this post is April Fool’s Day come early! Just kidding.
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The holidays are technically over, but that doesn't mean we can't relive some of the magic. Before Christmas, we brought back our 12 Days of LUV contest on Twitter. Each day, we asked people to Tweet us a different Southwest-themed holiday picture. The pictures below are the people who impressed the judges most and were crowned the winner of their respective contest day. I hope you'll enjoy them as much as we did. Spread the LUV in the comments section and remember - Valentine's Day is only a Cupid's arrow away! On the 1st Day of LUV, we wanted a pic of you in your best holiday sweater! On the 2nd Day of LUV, we asked for a pic of a creative Christmas tree! On the 3rd Day of LUV it was a pic of you and a reindeer! On the 4th Day of LUV, we asked for a pic of you in your office all decked out for the holidays (Kae even spelled 'LUV' right!). Things got nutty on the 5th Day of LUV, when we asked for a picture of a Southwest-themed snowman. Things got tricky on the 6th Day of LUV, when we wanted a pic of you & a Southwest Employee wearing holiday attire! The 7th Day of LUV called for a picture of you with a gingerbread house (apparently, this one has a runway where Bags Fly Free!). A Southwest-themed ornament highlighted the 8th Day of LUV. Back to the Future? Not exactly, just the winner of the 9th Day of LUV, who delivered what we asked for - a car decorated in Southwest gear. The 10th Day of LUV brought pets into the mix. We asked for a picture of pets dressed up for the holidays. The 11th Day of LUV asked for a funny and festive photo... needless to say, this picture delivered! The winner of the 12th Day of LUV went all out, recapping the entire contest, and fulfilling the 12th Day - a picture at a Southwest Gate! Thanks to everyone who submitted pictures for this year's contest. We do plenty of fun stuff throughout the year, so stick around our Facebook and Twitter pages.
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I can still remember my first friend. His name was Scott, he liked Legos, lived in a house at the end of a gravel driveway, and it was more of an arranged friendship. We didn’t exactly meet each other. We were given each other. And really nowadays, that’s how strangers usually meet online. Over the internet, we stumble upon people because of the things they say or do online. That’s why, when I saw Southwest Airlines’ Facebook page had surpassed a million fans, I was humbled. Sure, it’s a great feat. Our company is the first in the industry to reach that milestone, and one million is a great number to boast about. For me, it’s the symbolism - that we’ve integrated ourselves into a million lives, in ways big or small – that makes the moment most appreciable. We can’t force you to like us (no, really, on Facebook it’s digitally impossible to do). Our goal has never been to be the loudest guy or girl at the party (you know the one, crying for attention). So to stare at my computer screen and try to realize one million different lives who have sought us out to be part of theirs? It’s pretty dumbfounding. It’s hard to quantify a million. Sure, it rolls off the tongue, is easy to say… but can you really wrap your head around a number that large? Good thing we’ve got computers, because Facebook can. And without social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, a million might still be a pie in the sky. Thank you for trusting us with your feelings. Your praise makes us sing (I regularly break into song, though… sometimes dance, too). Your criticism makes us work harder. And the fact that you’re there, well, it means the world. And if you’re not part of the conversation, don’t be afraid. If a million fans is any indication, there’s always room for more.
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Southwest Airlines kicks off unique alliance with Facebook(R) Deals and Make-A-Wish Foundation(R) DALLAS, Nov. 26, 2010 -- Southwest Airlines today announced an innovative way for people on Facebook to give the opportunity of travel to children who need it most. Through an alliance with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Southwest Airlines will offer the Foundation $1 in travel each time a Customer uses Facebook Deals to check-in at any of Southwest Airlines' 69 airports. Facebook users simply need to use their smart phone to check-in using Facebook Places, and share their location upon arrival at any airport Southwest serves, and claim the Deal. Once they've checked in on Facebook Places and claimed the Deal, Southwest Airlines will automatically donate $1 in travel to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, up to $300,000. The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions, and nearly 70 percent include travel to their wish destination. For more details on how you can participate in this offer, visit: www.southwest.com/fbplaces "The Make-A-Wish Foundation is proud to join Southwest Airlines in making wishes come true through this campaign," said David Williams, Make-A-Wish Foundation of America President and Chief Executive Officer. "By checking in on Facebook Places at the airport when they travel, Southwest Customers can give the gift of travel to children with life-threatening medical conditions. We appreciate the support of Southwest Airlines and everyone who takes part in the campaign." "With the holidays right around the corner, we know many of our Customers like to find ways to give back to their communities and others in need. With this special offer, we are able to help make wishes come true for seriously ill children on behalf of our Facebook fans," said Linda Rutherford, Southwest Airlines Vice President of Communication and Strategic Outreach. The Facebook Deal offer is a new venture for the airline, which has a rich history of social media success. Southwest Airlines is a highly regarded pioneer in the social media landscape. Through active participation and engagement with online consumers, the airline has amassed more than a million Facebook fans and Twitter followers. Southwest was the first airline to venture into the blog-o-sphere with its award-winning corporate blog, Nuts About Southwest. To see more details about this offer, visit Southwest's blog at: www.blogsouthwest.com. About Southwest Airlines After nearly 40 years of service, Southwest Airlines continues to differentiate itself from other low fare carriers--offering a reliable product with exemplary Customer Service. Southwest Airlines is the nation's largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded, now serving 69 cities in 35 states with service to Charleston and Greenville-Spartanburg beginning March 13, 2011 and service to Newark Liberty International beginning March 27, 2011. Southwest also 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 more about how Southwest Airlines is doing its part to be a good citizen, visit southwest.com/cares to read the Southwest Airlines One Report(TM). Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates more than 3,100 flights a day and has nearly 35,000 Employees systemwide. About the Make-A-Wish Foundation: The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants thewishesof children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Founded in 1980 when a group of caring volunteers helped a young boy fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer, the Foundation is one of the world's leading children's charities, with 64chaptersin the United States and its territories. With the help of generous donors and nearly 25,000volunteers, the Make-A-Wish Foundation grants a wish every 40 minutes and has granted more than 200,000 wishes in the United States since its inception. For more information about the Make-A-Wish Foundation, visitwish.organd discover how you canshare the power of a wish(R). www.southwest.com
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Southwest Airlines Invites Mile High Outdoor Enthusiasts to Skyline Park for FREE Ice Skating this Winter DENVER, Nov. 26, 2010 -- Lace up your skates, Denver! the Southwest Rink at Skyline Park is ready for Denver residents and visitors to grace the ice. This outdoor ice rink, located next to the historic Daniels and Fisher Clocktower, creates the perfect winter wonderland for families to enjoy FREE ice skating in the heart of downtown Denver. After a grand opening, the Rink will be open on weekdays from noon to 10 p.m. and weekends from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. "In addition to providing affordable and family-friendly entertainment, the Southwest Rink at Skyline Park is the perfect complement to businesses in the area," said Tami Door, president of the Downtown Denver Partnership. "It will be a magnet for visitors to enjoy downtown and patron our local businesses." "Southwest's partnership with the Downtown Denver Partnership has given us the opportunity to provide Denver residents with something they have been requesting for a long time," said Linda Rutherford, Southwest's Vice President of Communication and Strategic Outreach. "The Rink is a unique way for us to make a positive contribution in the Denver community, and we're excited to interact with our Customers where they work and live." As part of the grand opening, Mile High skaters can expect a day full of activities in celebration of the official launch of the Southwest Rink at Skyline Park. Those visiting the Rink may receive a special Southwest branded fleece scarf, and throughout the day will have the chance to win free roundtrip tickets to any destination that Southwest Airlines serves. Skaters are encouraged to stick around for the Grand Illumination festivities and you'll have a front row seat to the lighting of the 22-foot tall holiday tree which is located at the north end of the rink. The first skating rink in downtown Denver opened in 1957 in Zeckendorf Plaza at 16th and Court, and was a holiday tradition for the community for many years. Skyline Park's first ice rink was open in 2001 and 2002, but closed for the park's remodeling. The Southwest Rink at Skyline Park returns skating to downtown and is free to the public with the option to bring your own skates or rent a pair for just $2. Refreshments will be available at the nearby Southwest Porch at Skyline Park as part of a special winter menu. This summer, Southwest Airlines provided support for the Downtown Denver Partnership's free outdoor summer events in Skyline Park, including the Saturday evening movie series and the Friday afternoon concert series, as a way to support fun events for Denverites of all ages. Additionally, Southwest Airlines launched a fleet of "no fee" pedicab rides through the streets of Denver. Through the end of the year, the Southwest pedicabs can be spotted outside Denver's most popular events with a flag designating when riders can enjoy a free ride courtesy of Southwest Airlines. Southwest Airlines began service to Denver on January 3, 2006, with 13 daily nonstop departures to three destinations. The airline currently operates 144 nonstop daily nonstop flights to 42 destinations from Denver. Southwest also is actively engaged in the community through sponsorships of the Downtown Denver Partnership, the Denver Nuggets, Red Rocks Amphitheater, Denver's Road Home, the Mile High Pedicab Company, and many more local organizations. To learn more about Southwest's dedication to Denver, visit: www.southwest.com/denver. About Downtown Denver Partnership, Inc. The Downtown Denver Partnership, Inc. is a non-profit business organization that creatively plans, manages and develops Downtown Denver as the unique, diverse, vibrant and economically healthy urban core of the Rocky Mountain region. For more information, visit www.downtowndenver.com. About Southwest Airlines After nearly 40 years of service, Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) continues to differentiate itself from other low fare carriers—offering a reliable product with exemplary Customer Service. Southwest Airlines is the nation's largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded, now serving 69 cities in 35 states. Beginning March 13, 2011, Southwest will initiate service in Charleston and Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina, and on March 27, 2011, service will begin to Newark Liberty International Airport. Southwest also 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 more about how Southwest is doing its part to be a good citizen, visit southwest.com/cares to read the One Report. Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates more than 3,100 flights a day and has nearly 35,000 Employees systemwide. www.southwest.com
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Southwest Airlines partners with Windows 7 to provide Customers with free holiday photos DALLAS—Nov. 23, 2010— If you’re traveling on Southwest Airlines this holiday season, you’re sure to be put on the “Nice List!” Southwest and Microsoft Windows 7 have partnered to make your holiday travel experience jollier with Holiday Photos on the Fly. Beginning Dec. 2, Southwest Airlines and Windows will offer free holiday photos to Customers at 26 airports nationwide. Customers can stop by one of Santa’s workshops in select Southwest Airlines airports to have their photo taken with Santa or in a holiday-themed backdrop. Once a photo is taken, a Windows 7 Elf will guide Customers through an online experience to edit, share, and store their photos with ease, thanks to Windows Live and Windows 7. Families will be able to print a copy of their photo at the airport, or visit www.freeholidayphotos.com to retrieve and share their photos online. “Southwest Airlines is excited to be partnering with Microsoft to bring such a unique program to our Customers this holiday season,” said Andy Allmann, Southwest’s Director of Promotions and Sports Marketing. “Our Employees love to celebrate the holidays, and we feel this program will make our Customers’ travel experience an even more positive one.” And the gift giving doesn’t stop there! Southwest Airlines and Windows 7 are giving Customers the chance to win great prizes daily. Learn more about your holiday photos and how to enter the Holiday Sweepstakes at www.freeholidayphotos.com. Visitors may enter the sweepstakes once every day and winners will be selected daily. “By taking the hassle out of getting your holidays photos taken, Windows and Southwest are making the holidays easier for traveling families,” said Lisa Sikora, Windows Senior Marketing Manager in charge of the program. “We’re celebrating the simple things that make this time of year special: spending time with family, connecting with friends, and sharing good cheer.” Southwest Airlines and Windows 7 look forward to celebrating the holiday with our Customers and providing them with their holiday photo. It’s our little way of saying thanks and Happy Holidays! Holiday Photos on the Fly will be available in the following airports: Albuquerque, Austin, Baltimore/Washington, Boston Logan, Chicago Midway, Dallas Love, Denver, El Paso, Fort Lauderdale, Houston Hobby, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Nashville, New Orleans, Oakland, Ontario, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, San Diego, San Jose, San Antonio, St Louis, Seattle Tacoma, and Tampa Bay. About Southwest After nearly 40 years of service, Southwest Airlines continues to differentiate itself from other low fare carriers—offering a reliable product with exemplary Customer Service. Southwest Airlines is the nation's largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded, now serving 69 cities in 35 states. Beginning March 13, 2011, Southwest will initiate service in Charleston and Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina, and on March 27, 2011, service will begin to Newark Liberty International Airport. Southwest also 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 more about how Southwest is doing its part to be a good citizen, visit southwest.com/cares to read the Southwest Airlines One Report™. Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates more than 3,100 flights a day and has nearly 35,000 Employees systemwide. About Microsoft Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. www.southwest.com Media Please Contact: Southwest Airlines Public Relations at (214) 792-4847
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This year was my first Kidd's Kids experience, an annual event that transports children with special medical needs and their families from Dallas to Disney World. They don't pay a dime, but as I would come to find out, the experience is priceless. I arrived to work early Thursday to help with setup. Making my way through the chain-linked security gate and across the broad path to our maintenance hangar, a million different thoughts swirled through my head. What should I expect? How should I act? I knew that in a matter of hours the hangar would be filled with children, many of whom had seen more of a hospital in the past year than I'd seen in a lifetime. Truthfully, it's hard not to think about. It tears me up inside, the thought that any child has to go through what these kids have endured. But I knew this was their weekend to forget their worries, and so I did my best to do the same. Stepping into the dressed-up hangar for the first time made me realize just how big a deal the weekend was, and the kids hadn't even arrived yet. An Emmy-themed red carpet adorned the entrance, leading to food, a mobile game truck, and other fun activities. Giant Emmy statues lined the black-curtained walls. The newest Toy Story movie was being tested for audio and video. Soon, all of this would be open for the kids' enjoyment. I was amazed at how quickly and seamlessly it had come together. The Kidd's Kids leaders and Southwest's own team have the event down, from send-off to arrival. The children arrived in specialized golf carts, redesigned to look like a classic car and a Hummer. You don't have to see it in person to know how much an event like Kidd's Kids means to these children. But, boy, watching everyone laugh and smile is truly contagious. After about an hour of fun and games, Kidd Kraddick said a few words and officially kicked off the event. Waiting on the runway outside our private maintenance hangar was a WiFi-equipped plane, decked out in a Kidd's Kids decal. Everyone loaded up and off they went for five days of fun at The Magic Kingdom and surrounding parks. Several of us from Southwest met up with the kids in Disney World on Sunday evening. Reuniting with many of the kids I got to know at the send-off reminded me just how much an impact this trip had on them. The kids brimmed with smiles, all climbing over each other to tell me about their favorite part of the trip. Arriving back in Dallas was hard, but the memories of this trip will last forever. Thank you, Kidd Kraddick, Derrick, the whole team (you know who you are)! What you do is so much larger than life, and I can't thank you enough for not only giving the children a one-of-a-kind experience, but also for giving Southwest the opportunity to be part of it.
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