In October, Mrs. Sonja White set up her classroom as a mock Southwest plane and ‘flew’ her students to Mexico (watch the video here). The video went viral, garnering love from people around the world.
Southwest Airlines was tagged in the video, and Employees watched with great admiration for Mrs. White’s creativity and passion for inspiring her students. So, they quickly made outreach to Mrs. White to begin planning an actual field trip for her class to visit Southwest.
Meanwhile, The Jennifer Hudson Show featured Mrs. White on their show, and in the special segment, Southwest thanked her for her dedication to her students by making a $10,000 donation to her school. In the segment, Mrs. White shares that Southwest invited all 70 first-grade students from her school to the Corporate Campus in Dallas, Texas, for a field trip.
The field trip began at our Dallas Maintenance Hangar. As the buses arrived, Employees, including First Officer Tayvon Snowden, welcomed and celebrated the first graders. The students toured the Hangar, learning about different aspects of airplanes and maintenance.
Next, they boarded a Southwest Boeing 737 MAX 8 and were greeted by Flight Attendants Matthew, Robin, and Grace. For many students, this was their first time on an airplane. The students selected seats (thanks, open seating!) and enjoyed a snack onboard. Captain Nancy, a Southwest Pilot who is a longtime participant in our signature Adopt-A-Pilot program, shared information about aviation and Southwest with the students. The group took photos in front of the aircraft and had the opportunity to watch planes take off at Dallas (Love Field) from the Hangar.
The kids continued their visit at the Southwest Headquarters building, where Employees had fun surprises in store, starting with two round trip tickets for anywhere that Southwest flies for the first-grade teachers and the school principal as a thank-you for supporting these future leaders.
The fun didn’t stop there! In their virtual field trip, Mrs. White’s class visited Mexico, so Southwest Employees hosted a fiesta for the students, complete with a mariachi band and Mexican food for lunch.
After the class field trip at Southwest Corporate Campus, The Jennifer Hudson Show followed up with Mrs. White to hear about the fun adventures. Check out the segment here!
Southwest is honored to have had the opportunity to create a unique aviation experience for the first-grade students, just as Mrs. White did for her class. Who knows... maybe there’s a future Southwest Employee in that group!
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In 2021, Southwest partnered with Wattpad, a leading webnovel platform, to host the Southwest: Storytellers On The Rise writing contest. This contest took place during our 50 th Anniversary and celebrated a core value to Southwest of kindness by calling upon the Wattpad community to share stories of kindness rooted in travel.
We received hundreds of heartfelt stories and, from the submissions, selected 10 finalists. The winning story, “Alone in Tombstone,” was written by E.A. Comiskey and is a coming-of-age tale about life, love, and loss. It tells the story of a young woman searching for her place in life when faced with a surprise visitor. As part of the contest prize, Comiskey received a once-in-a-lifetime writing mentorship with Beth Reekles, the Wattpad author behind the global Young Adult sensation and film franchise “The Kissing Booth” from Netflix and Komixx Entertainment, alongside additional prizes to help her writing career take off.
As we continue to look for ways to support On The Rise creatives, we saw the opportunity to work with filmmakers to bring “Alone in Tombstone” to the screen. We worked with Tongal, a global creator community that connects emerging talent to opportunities, to adapt the story into a short film. Kelsey Taylor is a member of the Tongal community, and she directed “Alone in Tombstone.” E.A. Comiskey was a part of the adaptation process, as well, as we hired her as a consultant to incorporate her vision into the film.
Since 2017, we have been proud to support up-and-coming creatives through our On The Rise platform and look forward to continuing to provide a lift in their careers.
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We've fielded many inquiries from Customers and news outlets regarding Flight 5136 from Buffalo to Fort Lauderdale on May 20. On that flight, we welcomed all families to board the aircraft during Family Boarding, which happens between the "A" and "B" boarding groups. Our Operations Agent at the gate informed two parents that another member of their group was ineligible to board under Family Boarding, and asked that she board in her assigned boarding group. This conversation in the boarding area had nothing to do with discrimination; we welcomed both parents to board the aircraft with all of their children. The parents expressed disappointment that the Family Boarding policy was not applicable to another member of their group. The two parents did not agree with our policy, and our Flight Crew worked to save seats together on the aircraft for the family while the conversation continued in the gate area. You can read about our Family Boarding Policy on Southwest.com. Our Employees work hard to follow the policy to accommodate families traveling together while also maintaining boarding priorities for all of our Customers. Our Chairman and CEO recently wrote a post about Civility and The Golden Rule, which means treating every Customer and fellow Employee with respect and dignity.
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In 2007, Southwest received a meeting invitation from the legendary radio personality Kidd Kraddick. Kidd invited us there that rainy morning with one small request, an airplane. Sitting across the table from Kidd, you could feel the deep love that he had for his charity, Kidd’s Kids. After making us laugh and putting the room at ease, Kidd submitted his request on behalf of hundreds of sick kids who wanted nothing more than to escape to a magical place.
Southwest Airlines has had the privilege of spending the last six years supporting a cause that is both rewarding and meaningful, thanks to the passion of one man. Kidd made a difference in the world and we want to thank him for letting us be a part of doing the right thing.
Kidd, we will miss your child-like Spirit and tremendous heart and we offer our condolences to your family at this time.
Luv, Southwest Airlines
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BREAKING NEWS: The world is still spinning on Friday the 13th. That's right, we are happy to report air travel at Southwest Airlines has not been hindered by superstition. If you are reading this while sitting in Row 13, using Row 44 internet: don't be alarmed: you are okay (and thanks for flying with us by the way)! The black cat nestled comfortably in the Southwest Airlines-branded pet carrier in front of you is not going to develop super-feline strength or bring you years of bad luck. Initial reports indicate that all load factors are normal, and Customers are not avoiding the skies, in spite of today's nefarious date. Bags are still being packed, and continue to fly free. Superstitious Customers who decide to change their flights will continue to do so without paying a pesky change fee. In fact, it is said hidden fees charged by other airlines are proving to be far scarier than the 13th row, or walking under a ladder, or even breaking a chain letter that was forwarded to you by your in-laws or college roommate. In addition to Bags Flying Free, Southwest Airlines will not charge a fee for throwing salt over one's right shoulder, though we are not responsible for the dirty looks you might receive from the person behind you. We recommend Customers carefully wrap mirrors in bubble wrap before shipping on SWA Cargo, not because we're afraid you'll get seven years of bad luck, but because no one likes ending up with a broken mirror! Customers traveling to popular casino destinations are encouraged to bet on number 13. But we remind you, the odds are still 35:1. If you win, we want a cut, and if you lose, it wasn't our idea. If you've read this far, please forward this to five of your friends by the end of the day. That's a chain letter joke, but sharing is caring.
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There are multiple things that immediately come to mind when I think of the word "pride". For example, anyone who is a parent can relate to the immense pride we have in our children’s accomplishments. And this week, we are celebrating the extraordinary pride we all feel for our country and the military men and women who protect it. These are the obvious examples that virtually anyone can relate to. I am lucky enough to have a deep pride in something I don't think many get to experience - at least not to this level. Today, I am reminded of the enormous pride I feel for my Company and my Coworkers. More than four years ago, a few of us from Southwest sat down at a table with the folks from the Kidd Kraddick Show. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Kidd, he is a Dallas-based deejay who hosts a syndicated radio show and has huge heart. Sitting across the table from Kidd that morning, you could feel the passion he has for his charity – Kidd’s Kids. He brought all of us into the room that day to ask us a question on the behalf of sick children everywhere who want nothing more than to escape to a magical place. He knew what he wanted was not a small order but he also knew that the Employees of Southwest Airlines had a heart just as big as his. And he was right. We left the room promising him a plane. That’s right, Kidd asked for one of our Boeing 737s to send sick children and their families to Disney World in Orlando every year for five days of fun. Five days that these kids could forget about their illness, forget about the struggles, the hospitals they endure on a regular bases and we said, “Yes.” Now, it was time to break the news to our Executives that we just donated a plane, free of charge. Now enters the pride. We explained what this plane would mean to the kids and why it was the right thing to do. One memo later, we officially had our Southwest plane. Now we were faced with what we thought would be our next challenge at the time, finding a Southwest crew to donate their time to work the flight to and from Orlando. We quickly learned that the only challenge was deciding how we were going to select from the long list of pilots and flight attendants who wanted an opportunity to be a part of this wonderful cause. Today is our fourth year to send these kids to Disney World – Southwest style! We fly them from our private hangar in Dallas with one heck of a party – complete with balloons, video games, food, big screen movies, and a visit from the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. Many local vendors donate their time and product, proving that there is a host of people who care and want to make a difference. A group of Southwest Employees volunteer their time to ensure the kids get to Orlando safe and that they feel special as soon as they step onto our campus. I am extremely thankful to not only play a very small part in today’s Kidd’s Kids adventure but more importantly, to work for a Company that I am proud of. Southwest is the official airline of the Kidd’s Kids trip to Disney World. For more information about Kidd’s Kids, visit www.KiddsKids.com.
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At Southwest, we always jump at the opportunity to be part of a good cause, and there is nothing better than sending kids to Disney World--the Happiest Place on Earth! For the fourth consecutive year, Southwest Airlines has partnered with radio deejay Kidd Kraddick’s charity, Kidd’s Kids, by loaning him one of our Southwest jets to send more than 50 deserving families to Disney World in Orlando for a fantastic four-day adventure. The trip allows children with special medical needs to take a break from their daily stresses and enjoy a family getaway. The charter flight departed Dallas at noon yesterday on a special plane donning the Kidd’s Kids decal. Of course, every event at Southwest is a cause for celebration, so we made sure they started their trip off right by throwing a “Southwest style” party that included a visit from the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, plenty of food, games, and souvenir photo buttons. After boarding the plane, Employees gave our little heroes a special Southwest send-off with waves and cheers as they departed on the trip of a lifetime. We are so thankful and honored that the Kidd Kraddick Morning show allows us to be a part of this annual event, and a special "thank you" to our Flight Crew who donated their time as well.
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