Southwest Airlines’ award-winning Cargo Team is rolling out a new tracking capability, allowing Customers to receive real-time information as Southwest moves their shipments from origin to destination.
This year, we invested in a plane-side scanning process, marking a significant technology advancement for our Cargo operation. This enabled our internal teams to track and trace cargo as it moves throughout the Southwest network from start to finish.
Since rolling out the initial process, we are now making this information available to our Customers so they have direct access to their shipment’s scanning data. In addition, we have made several enhancements for a smooth and user-friendly experience with the ability to:
View timestamps of the moment cargo is loaded on and off the plane.
Opt in to receive additional tracking emails for the confirmed departure and arrival of their cargo.
Easily find shipment information with a more streamlined tracking page structure.
When it comes to time-sensitive shipments, Customers can count on us and our Relentlessly Reliable® Team across the Southwest network, to move their cargo with confidence, getting it to where it needs to go, when it needs to get there.
To learn more about Southwest Cargo’s new tracking service, visit swacargo.com.
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At Southwest Airlines, today and every day we face adversity with a Warrior Spirit—a mantra that’s kept Southwest flying through the good and rough periods the airline industry faces. Today is no different. We’re facing one of the most unprecedented times in our industry and it’s up to us to create new and innovative ways to continue serving our Customers, including those who are moving cargo throughout the United States.
While you may not realize, Southwest offers the ability to ship Cargo via our scheduled passenger service today. Just like we do for our Customers, we have the same mission for our Cargo Customers—connecting them and their cargo to the People and places that matter most in their lives.
For many of our Cargo Customers, time is of the essence as we often carry life-critical medical treatments, medical supplies, and even food products. Additionally, we carry many e-commerce goods that you’re purchasing online. Now, as the United States faces the brunt of the COVID-19 crisis head-on, we’re looking for ways to continue getting these much-needed products to those who need it the most, including shipments from qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations who are helping combat the pandemic.
For the first time in our nearly 50 years of serving the flying public, we’ll offer cargo-only charter services on our Boeing 737s. Cargo will be shipped like it normally would on a scheduled flight—in the belly of our 737s- and only our Pilots and other necessary Team Members will be onboard for these flights. This new service is being provided in conjunction with our Passenger Charter Team. We’re looking forward to continuing to serve our Customers by these on-demand charter flights which will help move critical commodities that are vital to our health and the economy throughout the United States.
Our Heart is to take care of People because we are more than an airline; we are your neighbor. While we are all facing the realities of the pandemic together, know that Southwest and our Cargo and Passenger Charters Team are here to serve to ensure we’re doing our part to keep the country moving forward. We invite you to visit swacargo.com to see how we can serve your organization’s needs during this time.
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Our Q&A blog series answers common questions about aviation and Southwest Airlines. Our next question about our Cargo service is answered by Senior Director of Cargo and Charters Wally Devereaux. Have a question of your own? Leave us a comment!
On any given day, Southwest Airlines moves approximately half a million pounds of Cargo in our red belly war birds that needs to move on an expedited basis. Typical items include retail electronics like computers, clothing items from your favorite store at the mall, as well as multiple items you might buy from a number of online retailers. We also carry a significant number of perishable items like frozen seafood, fresh flowers for your local florist, or even live tropical fish from your local pet store. In fact, one of our busiest cargo lanes is from HOU to BWI where we carry thousands of pounds of live blue crabs from the Gulf of Mexico to Maryland. Finally, many of the commodities we carry improve or even save lives. In fact, thousands of diagnostic specimens from doctor’s offices and hospitals around the country move on our planes every day. This can range from a simple blood test, to specialized cancer vaccines created for a specific individual’s treatment. We also carry hundreds of organs for transplant that literally save lives.
As for some of the more unique items we’ve carried in recent years, that list could include drill bits for oil and gas drilling in Midland, to dishwashers from Los Angeles (Yes, dishwashers!), to cash for the Federal Reserve. But the most unique story I can recall is the time we moved three six foot alligators named Little Beefer, Simon and Theodore on behalf of the Phoenix Herpetological Society (You may have even seen that story in the news if you live in Phoenix) from Phoenix to Tampa. The alligators were actually rescued by the Department of Game and Fish from owners who kept them illegally, and were in need of transportation to their new home, an alligator sanctuary in Citra, Florida. That’s when Southwest Airlines, and our brave Ramp agents in particular, stepped in to save the day!
From the clothes on your back, to your computer, to gators on a plane, and yes, even your dishwasher, we’ve moved ‘em all on Southwest Airlines!
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Written somewhere over Utah...I think. I must admit I am amazed at what a person can do in a day...For example, today I already ate breakfast in Dallas at the fabulous Love Field McDonalds...my standard sausage McMuffin and coffee, I borrowed a pen from one of our friendly Customer Service Agents in Albuquerque (because my SWA Cargo logo pen exploded on me and my new shirt...darn logo pen), I'll have lunch in downtown Seattle, and I'll have dinner in Chicago...albeit a very late dinner courtesy of the hotel vending machine....But still, it's hard to believe you can do that in a day! Now I wouldn't highly recommend this "creative" itinerary, although it does present a great opportunity to get some work done uninterrupted, unless of course your pen explodes. But, it certainly is a testament as to exactly how far a person can go in the pursuit of productivity...if they're so inclined.
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Sorry for the delay in responding...Did a little survey internally regarding your question, and the overwhelming favorite in the "unusual items carried" category is....elephant semen! Believe it or not...
Thanks for the question! Sorry to see "former" in front of that SWA Employee number...
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While that's a little different than the freight side of the business, I am sorry to hear about the delay in getting your luggage. Typically, our folks do a good job getting it to you in a timely fashion. I would have to agree with Steve that there were probably some unusual circumstances involved, but that's certainly speculative on my part.
Regardless, sorry you had to wait...
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As part of my job with Southwest Airlines, I travel quite a bit, and, as a result, get to see some interesting places and things...not a bad perk! I also see various unique aspects of Southwest Airlines, and the things that we do as a Company.
One aspect that I certainly find to be amazing is the incredible array of products moved as air cargo in the belly of our aircraft, which is a good thing since I'm on the Cargo side of our business. This is particularly interesting since our normal Customer "above the wing" in not familiar with the fact that we have many Customers "below the wing" as well.
I commonly hear "I didn't know Southwest Airlines moved cargo..." The fact is, Southwest Airlines does move quite a bit of cargo, cargo that impacts all of us on a daily basis. To illustrate, consider your average, or maybe not so average, day... The dreaded alarm clock that woke me up this morning... The clothes I'm wearing... The newspaper I read... The book on CD I listened to driving in this morning (and the CD player)... The computer I'm writing this blog on... The fish in my fish tank... The dinner I plan to eat tonight... The flowers and card I should be giving my wife for the fabulous dinner... The blood I should give at the blood drive today... And the money to pay for it all... All of these commodities, and many more, move on Southwest Airlines every day.
So, to answer the seemingly age old question, yes, Southwest Airlines does move cargo (and very well thanks to our Ramp and Operations folks). Next time you find yourself on a Southwest Airlines flight, which will hopefully be soon, take a look out the window. You might be surprised at the products you see. Thanks for reading!
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