Beginning October 13, Dallas Love Field is FREE! The restrictions of the Wright Amendment will be gone, ushering in nonstop destinations that span from coast to coast. Southwest has been counting down the years and weeks (literally—we have a billboard at the Love Field entrance and a countdown clock in our Headquarters lobby) until we can say, “Goodbye, Wright Amendment. Hello, America!"
We are excited to begin this new era by serving five new nonstop destinations on October 13, followed by ten additional new nonstop destinations on November 2. The addition of these 15 new nonstop destinations will bring Southwest to a total of 31 nonstop destinations from Love Field.
In anticipation of this momentous event, each week we will take a look at one of the cities that North Texas Customers will be able to soon visit nonstop on Southwest. Each post is written by a Southwest Employee who is affiliated with the city and can give an insider’s view of what to see and do while visiting. Enjoy!
In 2005, my Department (then known as Corporate Communications) was tasked with pounding the pavement to obtain as many signatures we could get for the petition to "Set Love Free." I couldn’t be more thrilled to personally experience the fruits of our labor with all of our new nonstop cities from Dallas Love Field—especially Ft. Lauderdale! Having only been here about 16 months, I've noticed that typically Ft. Lauderdale is not often thought of as a "destination" city—primarily because so many people come through here to get to their cruises or to use the city as a convenient (and less expensive!) way to get to Miami—but don’t be fooled, there is plenty to see and do!
Ft. Lauderdale serves connections to over 20 cities with 42 nonstop departures a day. When I transferred here from the concrete confines of Dallas, I returned to my first LUV, the beach! In Ft. Lauderdale, it's all about the water. The ocean is warm; the color of it is different every day, and there's plenty of sand and lots of water activates for everyone! There is a huge truth in the saying, "It's always better at the beach!" Please enjoy some of my recommendations, because you could get lost in all the possibilities.
Your Ft. Lauderdale to-do list:
Don Arturo’s: Local flavors such as Cuban or Jamaican are well-blended with the seasonal tastes brought in from the Canadian and European snowbirds, providing many different ways to enjoy excellent food from all around the world. I suggest stopping by Don Arturo's for a wonderful plate of Cuban/Latin specialties like pork chunks with sweet plantains.
Local Bakeries: Whether you need breakfast or a small pick-me-up, you’ll be able to find some delectable treats at our local bakeries. Incredible French and Italian bakeries like Croissan’Time and Pan’e Dolci make you feel like you’re in Europe, with the added bonus of a Florida beach nearby!
Water Activities: You can fish off the pier or out on the sea, standup paddleboard, kayak, or just hang out under a palm tree and read a book. When in Ft. Lauderdale, you have to take advantage of our water! Let the sunshine keep you company while you try something new, like paddle boarding, or something comforting, like reading you magazine in the sand.
Gondolas West: Ft. Lauderdale is known as the “Venice of America,” and Gondolas West provides another wonderful way to experience the city and its vast number of canals and waterways. Their quiet electric boat tour takes you right by the beautiful waterfront homes and massive yachts along the smaller canals.
Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show: Also the “yachting capital of the world,” Ft. Lauderdale hosts an International Boat Show in the fall. This spectacular event that brings in over a billion dollars’ worth of private yachts and super yachts from all around the world. It is truly a sight to behold!
Everglades Holiday Park: One of my favorite places to take my (now ironically frequent!) out-of-town guests is Everglades Holiday Park. The television show “Gator Boys” began there, and the park is a really fun and informative way to learn about the Florida Everglades. Take an airboat ride, and then get up close and personal with the alligators. I’ve never been disappointed and have seen alligators every time I’ve been on the tour.
My City Secret:
Coconuts: Ease into the evening by enjoying fresh seafood at a waterfront table on the Intercostal Waterway at Coconuts—their Key Lime pie is out of this world. You definitely won’t regret it!
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Recently, we hosted a CAN-tastic contest to raise awareness and encourage volunteerism during National Disaster Preparedness Month. With the recent impact to Employees and Customers with Hurricane Sandy, we know just how important it is to be prepared in the face of disaster.
We are proud to announce that more than 600 Employees in 34 cities collected and donated 13,734 pounds of food, which will generate 11,195 meals benefitting communities across the nation. The giving back didn’t stop there—hundreds of Employees traveled to their local food bank to donate the cans they collected and to volunteer their time to help sort food, clean, and assist with other needs.
The Employees who participated also competed in a CAN-tastic design contest, which was judged based on the overall combination of volunteer hours, pounds of food collected, and creativity. You can see some of the amazing creativity our Employees have by checking out this video!
How do you give back in your community? Let us know by commenting below!
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Bill-I got goose bumps reading this--thanks for sharing how much it meant for you to be there! I've always wanted to see a Shuttle launch, but your post might have inspired me to make actual plans before it ends!!! Thanks for the re-count...literally!
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Mothers day has always been important to me for many reasons...but my number one reason is that MY mom, Linda, is definitely a woman to be celebrated! Having been her only child and raising me on her own, it was on this day every year that I could express my sole appreciation and love for her. Whether I tried to show it by cooking a homemade breakfast (usually with me pestering her all through it trying to find items I needed in the process), a funny card, or even a "free" backrub (minus the eye roll and dollar-per-minute charge for extra spending money), I wanted her to know how special she was to me. Having been at Southwest almost 12 years now, my mom also has the benefit of my flight privileges. We've been great traveling buddies on numerous trips such as: a few times to Paris, criss-crossing the country to go to the beach, rodeos, airshows, hockey games, not to mention quick day trips to places like LA, Las Vegas, and San Antonio. But on all of them-together. Our usual Mother's Day trip has been back to my Grammy's house in Peoria, IL, so that all three generations can celebrate together. Because my mom lives in Phoenix (the desert) and I live in Dallas (the concrete jungle), this trek usually meant our being like the musical, and having to "Meet Me In St. Louis." From there, our bonding in the drive usually involved catching up with lost conversations missed in our daily phone calls, heavy spring storms (some with tornadic activity), "freak exercises" (created BY us, to keep our blood moving in the car), and the annual reminder of how much green there really is in a Midwestern spring! Celebrating mom is a little different this year, because we're meeting in Pittsburgh to see the Penguins-Montreal Canadiens in their playoff series (Go Pens!). Anticipating another fun time with my mom reminds me how truly blessed i am to have such ready and easy access to seeing my awesome mom. I'm excited for all of those new moms and moms-to-be celebrating their first mothers day, but my heart is also with all of those whose moms are no longer with them--especially if it's the first time without. I hope all of you moms out there enjoy YOUR special day! I love you Mama!!!
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While Southwest Airlines definitely knows how to throw a party, the tables were recently turned when the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas threw a party to honor Southwest. My heart was literally bursting with LUV for both sides of the party since I am an 11+ year Employee of Southwest Airlines, and sit on the Board of Directors for the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas. With tremendous admiration and awe, I have watched Dallas build a much needed, much larger house during one of the worst economic times in recent history. And with great pride, I also helped Southwest raise money over the past three years at our annual Dallas LUV Classic golf tournaments to support this new house. In fact, it felt very much like my own house unveiling when we recently attended their party! The Ronald McDonald House invited all Southwest Employees to get a sneak peek at the almost fully completed 60,000 square foot, 60-room house opening next week. Yummy Mexican food was served in the new gargantuan kitchen (which is the size equivalent of FOUR commercial kitchens), and will be a fancy change for the next Southwest Employee cooking group and their monthly dinners. We also got to see the handiwork and artistry of some Southwest Employees--who donated time and resources to make a few rooms extra special. The two play/game rooms off the dining areas are painted in the legendary “Canyon Blue” color with hidden animal-shaped clouds hand-painted by a Southwest Employee, and posters hang on the walls of all of our “specialty” plane--including Shamu One! A few seats from an old 737 are even positioned in front of the TVs. A talented group from Maintenance also used some other pieces of one of our beloved 737s to create a beautiful “frame” that shows pictures of former residents beaming out the windows of the plane. In addition, there is a wall of LUV dedicated to the house that includes hearts and sentimental decorations--all donated and hung with LUV by our own Employees. The folks from the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas really outdid themselves as a "thank you" to all our volunteers and supporters, but they had a very special surprise in mind for two very special volunteers. Barbara McDermott, Executive Director of the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas, dedicated the front street to Herb Kelleher and Colleen Barrett for their LUV and support through all the years. “Herb and Colleen Way” leads from the street, right up to the front door of the House. You could definitely see that both were actually surprised (and that is hard to do!) and visibly moved by the heartfelt gesture. Barbara then introduced the band who sang a sweet song called, “The House That Love Built,” written especially for the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas by Wade Kilgore. You can hear an excerpt of the song on the podcast on Red Belly Radio. The Ronald McDonald House has been Southwest’s most beloved charity for almost 25 years! I speak for all Southwest Employees when I say we couldn’t have been more proud to be there to celebrate this exciting new and beautiful “home away from home” for families with seriously ill children. To listen to a podcast of the event (complete with song!) check out our Red Belly Radio.
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August 15 marks a significant milestone for the Southwest Airlines Charitable Giving team! The team is celebrating their one-year anniversary of going PAPERLESS via an online application system found at www.southwest.com/donations . Last year alone, this small but mighty team received 19,592 charitable donation requests – all with a paper letter, envelope, and attachments…that’s a lot of paper! Our Team was thrilled to launch an online system and start saving some trees. One year later, we’re happy to share that the application system has not only saved many trees, but also increased the team’s efficiency so that we can provide even better Customer Service. All while still allowing us to donate thousands of tickets to many worthy causes. The system has also enabled us to offer even more Positively Outrageous Service to our Customers via electronic updates alerting them that the request was received, as well as updates as the request goes through the decision making process. Lastly, the online tool allows our Customers the freedom to check the status of their application 24/7! As we celebrate our one-year anniversary of going PAPERLESS, we’re planting a tree to honor the efforts of our environmentally-minded Customers and Team. Anyone else find it ironic that the traditional 1st anniversary gift is paper?
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