In June 2011, the road leading into the entrance of Dallas Love Field was given the honorary name of “Herb Kelleher Way” in honor and recognition of our beloved Founder. In preparation for the repeal of the Wright Amendment, The Dallas City Council unanimously approved to officially and permanently rename a portion of Cedar Springs Road from Mockingbird Lane to the entrance of the Love Field Terminal “Herb Kelleher Way.” At the City Council Meeting Wednesday morning, multiple Council Members lauded Southwest Airlines as a great corporate citizen in the Dallas area and praised Herb for his pioneering spirit and contributions to the industry.
As Southwest Airlines’ Founder and Chairman Emeritus, Herb Kelleher has a permanent, beloved place in the hearts of thousands of Southwest Airlines Employees. Millions of Customers across the nation have benefited from his vision to give America the Freedom to Fly, and Southwest Airlines couldn’t be more pleased that the City of Dallas has decided to permanently recognize Herb’s contribution to aviation by officially renaming the street leading into Love Field in his name. Bestowing this honor on the eve of the repeal of the Wright Amendment couldn’t come at a more appropriate time. Herb has undoubtedly transformed the world of aviation and Southwest is thrilled that our home airport will forever be connected to our Founder.
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This summer, Southwest Airlines brought to light the stories behind our Purpose. A Purpose to connect People to what's important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel. Our Employees are at the heart of our Purpose, interacting with Customers every day. This month, we're celebrating a very special group of our Customers- our military heroes. Sometimes our Military Heroes are eager to get home after a long time away. Sometimes, they are leaving family and loved ones at the gate. These Passengers are more than Customers, they are patriots who are serving our country; and we're honored that they choose Southwest Airlines for their air travel.
We realize that in our industry, moments really matter and time is precious. In bringing our purpose to life, we heard from one military family who wrote in to tell us about their interactions with Southwest Airlines. The family shared a story of how one of our Operations Agent was to give her family the most precious gift of all--the gift of a few moments of time. At Southwest Airlines we are blessed and honored to be able to highlight the ways that our Employees were able to offer a small thank you to one of our Country's finest military heroes. With gratitude and appreciation, Southwest Airlines offers a heart-felt "thank you" during Military Heroes Month to all who serve.
Here is Southwest's full Purpose video in it's entirety. The story I referenced above begins at the 1:04 mark. November is Military Heroes Month at Southwest! Share your photos using #Sacrifice and #MilitaryHeroes.
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Happy New Year 2012! I love turning over a new page in the calendar with a fresh start; there’s something that’s so exciting about a blank slate. And, I love receiving a fresh batch of vacation days—this means it’s time to start dreaming about what trips to take and what types of adventures might be in store for 2012. And this year, with an extra day “leaping” in February, there are 366 opportunities to get out there and make good on your travel resolutions for 2012! Travel Resolutions can come in all shapes and sizes…you could aim to travel to all 50 states. Or see the sunrise on one coast and the sunset on the other. Perhaps you’re on a quest to find the best burger in America? Or maybe you’d like to travel to specific historic battlefields. Maybe you’re an airline geek and you want to try flying on a different aircraft type than before. Or, maybe your resolution is to rack up A-List status because of your frequent flights on Southwest. One thought is to help create a travel book and journal for someone special who can't travel themselves by visiting a place that's always been a dream for them and creating a gift through photos and memories. Perhaps your travel resolutions revolve around your family—taking that “princess” of yours on a trip to Disney or seeing your grandson’s face light up when Shamu makes a splash! Is this the year you resolve to take a special Veteran in your life to finally reflect upon the memorials in Washington D.C. in person? Or maybe you’re simply resolving to make special memories by being together with family or friends throughout the year—whenever life’s big events pop up. My travel resolution for 2012 is to make some progress on one of my “bucket list” items which is to celebrate each holiday in the city that does it best! I’ve already been able to cross some off my list over the past several years: New Year’s in Vegas; Independence Day in Washington, D.C. one year, Bristol, RI another year, and then the Philadelphia Fourth of July Parade another; and cheering on a winning race horse at the Kentucky Derby in Louisville. And this year, I made it to the Rose Bowl Parade for New Years—so fun! But, I still have a long ways to go… What could the year hold? Mardi Gras in New Orleans, St. Patty’s Day in Chicago (or Dublin), Thanksgiving at the Macy’s Parade (or at Plymouth, Massachusetts), New Year’s Eve in Times Square? We’ll just have to see! No matter where your travel resolutions may take you, I hope that in 2012 you take some time to get out there and explore this wide wonderful world. Would love to hear about your plans for travel in the coming year in the comments below! Here's to happy and safe travels in 2012!
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At Southwest Airlines, we like to say, “we are in the Customer Service Business, we just happen to fly airplanes.” We make promises to our Customers that our Employees keep, each and every day. But to ensure we keep these promises, we know we must take care of both our Internal and our External Customers. That’s why we always capitalize the “C” in Customer and the “E” in Employee. It is both a tribute and a reminder that they are the reason we come to work every day. We view our business as a partnership with our Employees and our Customers because, really, we’re all in this together. So what’s the benefit–does all of this focus on Employees and Culture and Family really pay off? Well, who better to tell you than our Customers and Employees. The video below shares a few things that our Customers and Employees had to say about the Southwest Culture and how they feel when they do business with us. Take a look at the video below and let us know your thoughts.
***This video was given to the Employees and Customers of Southwest Airlines as a gift from Southwest Airlines' President Emeritus, Colleen Barrett. It was her dream and vision to capture on film the people and the relationships that are the building blocks of our Culture and our success.
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Caleb--welcome to the SWA Family! It's been great having you as a neighbor these past few weeks! I'm so glad you captured the receipt of your first swa t-shirt on film--there will be MANY more to come!
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Wow--best in show for photography? That's amazing!
Several years ago, I set out on a quest for a State Fair of Texas Blue Ribbon. I'm thrilled to report that you can see my first place Banana Jam and first place Wild Plum Jam on display in the creative arts building this year. Of course, the competition is more fierce in the photography division, but a blue ribbon's a blue ribbon--right!?
Brian--I heard they changed the times on the pig races this year--maybe so they didn't conflict with the bacon frying as much!
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Oh of course! My official line was:
MR. CHAIRMAN, MY NAME IS KATIE COLDWELL, AND, AS A PROUD HOLDER OF COMMON STOCK OF THE COMPANY ON THE RECORD DATE, I HEREBY SECOND THE MOTION.
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I second that emotion! I've liked the stock exchange for a long time. I can remember when I was a little girl--in the days before the Internet--my dad would turn on CNN, tell me three letters to look for, and then I was to shout out the numbers that followed. He had me checking stock prices as they'd rise and fall throughout the day. And of course, I love--or rather, LUV--Southwest Airlines. I think I really hit the jackpot when I came to work for Southwest nearly eight years ago. Throw in a little enjoyment of Robert's Rules of Order back from my Parliamentarian days in my Camp Fire club and you can only imagine how much fun I had a few years ago when I went to my first actual Shareholders' Meeting here at Southwest! It was great to watch--voting by proxy, making motions, seconding motions, opening items for discussion, adjourning the meeting. It was by far the most formal, business-like aspect of Southwest Airlines I'd ever seen. But even with everyone in suits, making statements for the record, it still had those typical Southwest elements of fun and family. One of the things I noticed from my first Shareholders' Meeting was that the people making the nominations were not just Shareholders, they were Employees. This shouldn't have surprised me. Southwest always puts our Employees first--that way we can take good care of our Customers--who make life good for our Shareholders. This is also interesting because Employees own about ten percent of the shares of our Company. But most of all, I thought about how really cool it would be to one day actually be part of the meeting and play a role as a Shareholder. Well, at the recent 2008 Shareholders' Meeting, I had the distinct honor of playing a small--make that miniscule--role in the meeting by seconding Captain Dave "Bubba" Edens’ motion to nominate our Board of Directors. A couple of months ago, when I got the e-mail from our General Counsel department asking that I serve as a nominator I was thrilled! Ahh, the joy of parliamentary procedure--there's just something great about that! I also realized that this would be a very special meeting for SWA. Herb Kelleher, our Co-Founder and Leader, would be stepping down from his title as Executive Chairman and would be handing the gavel to our CEO, Gary Kelly, who was elected the new Chairman. So Herb's final meeting was quintessential Southwest Airlines: laughter, tears, hugs, kisses, jokes, and unmatched business acumen. It was touching to watch Herb as he reveled in the adoration of Employees, Customers, and Shareholders. Colleen Barrett, our President, made a heartwarming presentation about the value of relationships. I am seated on the far left in a sea of Pilots who came out to show support for Herb's last meeting! My line came in six minutes into the meeting and lasted for nine whole seconds. It wasn't earth shattering, but it sure was fun! You can hear it on southwest.com. But the best part by far was when Herb started speaking about the People of Southwest. It happens around the one-hour, ten minute mark in the web cast, and wow, it's such a touching picture of how much this Company means to him. The meeting concluded with lots of presentations, more heartfelt thanks to Herb and Colleen, and the final tap of the gavel. But, to sum it up, a meeting that was intended to focus on LUV (our stock), wound up being all about love. Thanks Herb and Colleen for all you've done for us. The song that I used for the title of this post has a line that I think is very appropriate. "So if you feel like giving me a lifetime of devotion, I second that emotion."
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I am right there with you on the Amazing Race -- but I think the contestants are kinda being wimpy--flying around with a confirmed airplane seat and all. Maybe we should suggest that the producers step it up a notch and have a whole season full of only airline Employees. Then we could nonrev around the world! I think that would totally add to the fun--and Bill--I'd sure give you a run for the money! 😃
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Hollee--thanks for letting me clean my office before you took a picture of it! Good thing you didn't post the one taken from the other direction.
As Brian's next door neighbor, I will verify that is office is just plane fun!
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(Read Eric Hoever's post below this one for the thoughts of one of our 36 Southwest Airlines Veterans.)
The last week of June, I had the great pleasure and distinct honor of hosting 36 of our Employees as they traveled to Seattle to take delivery of our 500th airplane. But these weren't just ordinary Employees (like we'd have any ordinary Employees), these 36 Employees either were currently serving or had served in the armed forces, defending our nation. In addition, this flight was piloted by two military Veterans, Captain Chuck Magill (Marine Corps and Air Force), Vice Presdient of Flight Operations, and System Chief Pilot, Captain Terry Gleason (Marine Corps). You see, they didn't just bring America the Freedom to Fly. They brought America Freedom.
Some of the most touching moments of the trip came from conversations with our military servicemen and veterans. We had designed this trip as a small "thank you" to them for the time they've sacrificed in service to our country. But truly, I had no idea the amazing impact this trip would have on them, and on me. These 36 men and women came from all branches of the military, and had served in many different wars and operations. They had served in Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, and countless other lands--foreign and domestic. They'd earned purple hearts, bronze stars, and Medals of Honor. They had flown through hurricanes, performed air strikes in Baghdad, and been prisoners of war in Vietnam. The sacrifices they had made were monumental.
But what touched me most of all was when several of our Vietnam servicemen talked about how when they returned home from the war, there was no welcome, no parade, no yellow ribbon, no fireworks. Unlike soldiers returning home from other wars, who were greeted with parades and yellow ribbons, some of our Vietnam Veterans had returned home from war to find a country unwilling to thank them for what they had done. Not anymore.
On June 28, the People of Southwest Airlines greeted these men and women with a true hero's welcome. That afternoon, complete with color guard, band, confetti, and American flags; our heroes were embraced with the warmest of ceremonies. More than 30 years later, they finally received a long-awaited welcome home. My heart swelled with pride as I witnessed Gary call out their name and military accomplishments. They were greeted with hugs from Herb and Colleen, and cheers from the crowd of Employees.
Some descended the stairs from the airplane wearing a uniform that they wear when they actively serve our country today--its familiarity like a friend who has seen you at your best and worst. Some wore uniforms that hadn't been outside the cedar chest for many years--the fit having changed a little with age, but the deep pride that comes from donning the colors still endures. For others, wearing the uniform from decades ago was a true impossibility--but they proudly wore the insignia of their branch of the armed forces in another way.
These men and women sacrifice still to this day to ensure our Freedoms. They guard our land, but they also fight for intangible concepts like justice, honor, and equality. No words that I can type could ever convey the deep gratitude that I feel towards those who fight for our Freedoms after an encounter like this. For all of those who are actively fighting for our Freedoms today, my heart is thankful.
God Bless America.
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I love finding Dallas landmarks--including my house (not that it's really a landmark, but it is to me) when I fly into DAL! Luckily, Dallas has a plethora of highways so it's pretty easy to get your bearings.
One of my favorite sights from a plane window is on July 4. I love flying over the small towns and seeing their Independence Day fireworks from up above.
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