As we celebrate Veterans’ Day and our “Heroes Month” at Southwest Airlines, we take time to reflect on a different kind of military service. For years, Southwest Cargo has transported fallen soldiers to their final destination and I’m incredibly proud of the way our Employees show their respect for these heroes and their families. These men and women have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country, and we are privileged and humbled to provide this service for our military families.
The transport of a fallen soldier is an emotional experience. And, it’s one that requires immense Teamwork in order for everything to go smoothly. It begins when our Southwest Cargo Customer Care Center is contacted to book the transport. The Representative reaches out to our Employees at the designated airports, Pilots, and others involved to ensure that everyone is aware of which flights the soldier will be traveling on and to communicate logistical details. For example, the airport may need to coordinate escorts for a family or Honor Guard, and the Flight Crew must know how many individuals will be accompanying the soldier from the origin to the final destination. Because of the cooperation across several different workgroups, we are able to provide our utmost care and respect.
The day of the transport, our Crews on the ground and in the air honor our heroes in a variety of ways.
During the loading and unloading all work on the ground ceases. We don’t add bags; we don’t fuel our aircraft.
Instead, all attention is focused on the brave fallen soldier, along with his or her friends and family. Our Ground Operations Agents spontaneously remove their hats, bow their heads, and clutch American flags.
Pilots and Flight Attendants offer their support for the escorts, and let our Customers know what precious cargo we are carrying. And when the flag-draped casket is taken off the airplane at the soldier’s final destination, it is incredibly moving.
In this month of Heroes, these particular heroes have done so much for our country, and together our kindhearted, patriotic Employees were honored to pay tribute to each one on his or her final flight home.
For this week of November, our theme is Sacrifice. Please share your photos using the hashtags #Sacrifice and #MilitaryHeroes.
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It is no secret that Southwest Airlines Cargo has the best Employees in the industry. The dedication and efficient service our Cargo, Ramp, and Operations Employees provide our Customers continues to amaze me every day. Our incredible Team and award-winning Customer Service is apparent through numerous accolades we have received over the years. We didn’t become the most highly decorated airline on the planet in terms of air cargo excellence by being average!
Our Cargo, Ramp and Operations Employees continue to win the hearts and minds of Cargo Customers all over the country. We are also fortified by the tremendous support and dedication of Ground Operations and Station Leadership. In addition, the superb Teamwork and support of Flight Ops, the OCC, Communications, and other Teams we count on every day enhances our overall performance. As a result of all the exemplary Teamwork I’ve mentioned above, I am proud to announce that this year we have been presented with not one, but four awards for our incredible Relentlessly Reliable® service and dedication! Here’s a look at the awards we have received this year:
AIR CARGO EXCELLENCE (ACE) AWARD: The ACE Survey, published annually by Air Cargo World, is based on more than 600 members of freight forwarding industries. Southwest was presented with the Diamond Award, the top award given in the “up to 299,999 tonnes” category. This is the 11 th consecutive year Air Cargo World Readers have recognized Southwest. We were the highest rated carrier in three of the four performance categories: Customer Service, performance and value.
Caption: Southwest Airlines’ Jim Mckeon, Strategic Advisor, accepts Air Cargo Excellence Award.
DOMESTIC AIRLINE OF THE YEAR and EXCELLENCE IN WEB SITE AND TECHNOLOGY AWARDS: The Express Delivery and Logistics Association (XLA) Awards are based on an annual survey of association members who use the services of commercial passenger airlines for their express deliveries around the world. For the 13 th year, Southwest has been placed on XLA’s Airline of the Year list. This is the 3 rd year the Excellence in Web Site and Technology Award has been received.
Southwest Airlines Cargo Employees accept XLA Awards.
DOMESTIC CARRIER OF THE YEAR AWARD: For the fourth year in a row, Southwest has received the Airforwarders Association (AfA) “Domestic Carrier of the Year” Award. The AfA is an alliance of Indirect Air Carriers, Cargo Airlines, and affiliated businesses located throughout the global transportation community. This award was presented based upon Southwest’s ontime performance, Customer Service, problem resolution, claims handling, technology support, service options, and overall value.
Matt Buckley and Fellow Southwest Airlines Cargo Employees accept the AfA “Domestic Carrier of the Year” award.
The People of Southwest Airlines are unique to the Cargo industry and our Employees keep us winning awards year after year. With our AirTran Cargo Connectivity launching on April 14th, we will broaden our service offering with hundreds more flights and new nonstop markets for our Cargo Customers to choose from. We are excited to leverage the outstanding reputation AirTran has earned as they join us in our quest to win more Cargo Customers with service. Thanks to all the hard working employees at Southwest Airlines for putting us in the enviable position of being the most beloved niche Air Cargo provider in the world!
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I may be the most spoiled Cargo guy in the airline industry. And I mean that in a good way. As Vice President Cargo and Charters for Southwest Airlines, each day I’m amazed by the efficient and Relentlessly Reliable® service our Employees across the SWA system provide our Customers, and once again, their dedication to excellence is recognized for awards because of that. This year, we’re celebrating awards in excellence from Air Cargo World, Airforwarders Association (AfA), and Logistics Management Magazine. All of these awards measure carriers based on multiple performance categories and while we typically rank well in all areas, they are continually recognized with the highest rankings in Customer Service and Performance. The continuous award recognition represents the tremendous commitment and hard work of our Employees in many different capacities across our system. From Cargo, Ramp, and Operations Employees, to Pilots, Dispatchers, and the Cargo Management Group, Teamwork is apparent by the support received across our Company. To celebrate the Teamwork that continues to win the hearts and minds of our Customers, I’m excited to share that we’re launching a brand NEW ad campaign featuring our biggest strength, our award-winning Employees. We will continue to invest in our People and trust that both our internal and external Customers know that “We Get Ship Done.” Our Employees’ energy around every shipment shows our Customers that we mean business. They bring a work ethic that is unmatched in the industry. When we ship, we ship with speed, efficiency, and dependability. We Get Ship Done! But, we can’t take all the credit. We wouldn’t be recognized for our service if it weren’t for our great Customers. I thank our Customers from the bottom of my heart for making our Employees the best in the industry for showing true dedication to excellence.
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We like Cargo at Southwest Airlines, and we like milestones, so today is an exciting occasion as it marks our first International Cargo shipment. That’s right, hosers -- beginning today, Southwest will launch an interline Cargo agreement with our friends north of the border, WestJet, by allowing our Cargo Customers in six cities (Dallas, Denver, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Phoenix) to transport their hockey sticks, skates, and any other acceptable Cargo items to four Canadian cities (Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, and Vancouver). Our Cargo Department has been hard at work on several initiatives, and it’s exciting to see another one of them come to fruition. While we eventually hope to be able to transport Cargo throughout both airlines’ entire route networks, this initial phase will only allow for the export of Cargo from the U.S. to Canada. Customers in the six U.S. cities can ship their Cargo via Southwest Airlines, where it will be routed through Las Vegas and transferred to a WestJet flight (after the appropriate paperwork and procedures are complete) and ultimately delivered to one of the aforementioned Canadian cities listed above. WestJet makes for a natural first partner for our entrance into International Cargo shipments given our positive working relationship and eventual plans to offer passenger codeshare service with the Canadian airline. While you might have seen that our plans for starting our passenger codeshare agreement will be delayed due to several immediate revenue initiatives, our ability to offer International Cargo shipments utilizes different resources, technology, and Teams, and is not related to, or impacted by, our eventual passenger codeshare agreement. We know that your precious Cargo will be in good hands with our Canadian friends. As we like to say in Cargo, “reliability knows no borders,” so ship away, eh!
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