The following blog post was written by Southwest Customer Joanna Chan.
My partner Julie and I recently completed our five-year journey of attending an NHL game in all 31 arenas in North America, and we couldn’t have done it without Southwest! With the help of the Rapid Rewards Program, our accumulation of Rapid Rewards points, and qualifying for a Companion Pass thanks to my business travel, we were able to visit 25 out of the 28 arenas that were not within driving distance of our home.
How did this journey begin exactly? We realized early on in our relationship that we both loved hockey. Before we knew it, we had visited a couple arenas in our first year together and then decided to make it a goal from there to see them all. Once we checked off a few, we realized the dream was definitely doable. Southwest’s route map led us to discover that we could not only see hockey, but also see the country. We enjoyed traveling to cities we may not have ever thought to visit before while also accomplishing our dream along the way.
I’m a numbers nerd—I’ve been crunching the numbers and tracking them along the way. We’ve traveled on a total of 60 different Southwest flights which accumulates to 454,516 Rapid Rewards points spent, 174.37 hours in total flight time, and 67,570 miles flown—enough to circle the globe 2.71 times!
By my calculations, the monetary value of the Rapid Rewards points came out to 61.72 points per dollar. Based on this information, my partner and I have saved more than $14,728.42 during our complete arena tour by taking advantage of Southwest’s Rapid Rewards Program and the Companion Pass.
Thanks to Southwest, we were able to make our dream of visiting all 31 arenas a reality. My favorite part of our journey however is when I surprised Julie with a marriage proposal in front of 20,000 hockey fans at our last arena during a Flames-Oilers game. We also received a fun write-up on NHL.com about our story.
Many thanks to Southwest for making this possible by having the best rewards program out there. We look forward to many more adventures on Southwest as we begin this exciting new chapter of our lives together!
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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!
Tampa/St. Pete is no doubt one of the best areas in the country to visit. I’m a big guy, and food is important to me. For my money, the best steak in the world is from Bern’s. Some of the best beaches in the country are in Clearwater, and if you are young enough and cool enough (I’m not) to crave nightlife, you can party all night in Ybor city.
My first experience with Tampa was as a college senior when I flew there for a job interview to be a reporter in nearby Sarasota. The boss was smart, he picked me up in a convertible, and we drove over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Instantly, I was hooked.
I love the area so much that years later, long after I’d left that first gig, I quit a really good job just to buy a convertible and move back there.
In terms of daily nonstop departures, Tampa Bay hosts quite a few—62 to be exact! That’s a huge indication of how beautiful Tampa Bay is…
Your Tampa to-do list:
Beach Bistro: Located on Anna Maria Island (South over the Sunshine Skyway bridge), the Beach Bistro is worth the drive. Intimate, waterfront, and absolutely delicious. Everything from the lamb to the Bouillabaisse is first class. Warning: it can be so hard to make a decision on what to eat here, people have been known to order two entrées (I’ve actually seen this happen).
Bern’s Steakhouse: Bern’s is as old-school steakhouse as you can get—my advice come hungry. The hardest thing to do is to save room for desert, but desert is a must. It’s not just food—it’s an experience as your server guides you upstairs to the dimly lit desert room. Don’t miss the Macadamia nut ice cream. It is unforgettable.
The Beach: Obviously! St. Pete Beach is fantastic, so is Clearwater. If you have a little more time, drive south to Siesta Key in Sarasota, where the white sugary sand is beautiful. Man, oh man, it will stick to you and everything in your rental car.
Ybor City: Again, if you are a party animal and cooler than I am, hit Ybor City. Ybor is the center of Tampa’s nightlife with streets that close down to vehicle traffic at night and club after club where you can listen to music and dance. I haven’t been there in years, but younger souls tell me it is still a great place to hang out.
Vinoy or Loews Don CeSar: I am typically a fan of new things, clean, modern etc, but on this trip go old. I’ve stayed at both the Vinoy and Don Cesar, and in a word both are perfect. If you are a beach bum, pick the Don Cesar (known as the Pink Palace to locals). It sits right on St. Pete Beach which is one of the nicest you’ll find in Florida. If you want to be closer to the action the Vinoy is right on St. Pete’s downtown waterfront. You’ll find dozens of local restaurants within walking distance.
My City Secret:
Secret Spot: While it may not be the most well-kept secret in Florida, just an hour north of Tampa you’ll find the Crystal River. Like its name implies, the river’s cool, crystal-clear waters make for a FUN getaway when you're not on the beach. And if you’re an animal lover or seeking out some sea life during your visit, you’ll be able to get up close and personal with some of the Crystal River’s most famous inhabitants: manatees! Make sure to bring some snorkeling gear so you can spend time swimming alongside these gentle giants.
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When the outside temperatures drop, our winter ops procedures kick into gear. Thanks to the hard work of Ramp Employees and Pilots across the system, Southwest and AirTran ensure that our planes are free from any snow, frost, or ice prior to takeoff as part of our deicing/anti-icing program.
Onboard the aircraft, you typically only see the billowing clouds of steam that result from the application of the heated deicing/anti-icing fluid, but spraying the aircraft is actually a very calculated process. We use two types of propylene glycol-based fluids to keep our aircraft clean and safe: Type I aircraft deicing/anti-icing fluid and Type IV anti-icing fluid.
Type I helps us remove snow, frost, and ice. It is heated to between 160 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is why it causes so much steam when it’s sprayed into the frigid air. The heat that is transferred from the fluid onto the aluminum aircraft surfaces protects the surfaces for FAA-prescribed minimum amounts of time from freezing precipitation while the aircraft is on the ground. Type I can be identified by its orange/amber color.
Type IV allows us to protect our planes from anticipated ice, snow, or frost build-up. Type IV has gel-like properties that allow it to adhere well to the aircraft. When it’s applied to a plane that has already been cleaned by deicing, it will absorb and melt falling snow. During takeoff, the movement of the plane causes Type IV to liquefy and flow off, which leaves behind a completely clean surface. Type IV is green in color.
Throughout the winter season, our Frontline Employees withstand the elements to ensure that we keep our planes free of contamination and our Customers safe. To see a Deicing Crew in action, check out the above video!
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Sunday was a milestone day for Southwest when, for the first time ever, the Company expanded our route map to a destination beyond the “lower 48” with our historic inaugural flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Local dignitaries, Customers, media, and Employees alike enjoyed first-flight festivities where the warm and friendly personalities of Southwest Airlines and the Puerto Rican people made their first “LUV connection.” Enjoy the video and experience for yourself not only our Employees’ heartfelt pride in their Puerto Rican heritage, but also all of the fun-filled celebrations surrounding the start of our SJU service.
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Pilots and Ramp Agents work closely together every day, every flight... But they rarely have the opportunity to literally work together, side-by-side. Recently in Denver, Southwest Pilots climbed out of the cockpit and down to the ramp so they could learn about another side of our operation.
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Finding your muse is usually associated with writer's block, or some other state of lethargy in the creative process. When "The Musers" from 1310 The Ticket show up at your work place, there's no shortage of creativity. And instead of finding your muse, you find yourself wondering, "Are these guys ever gonna leave?" But seriously, what went down Wednesday at Dallas Headquarters was nothing short of hilarious. Craig Miller, George Dunham, and the Great Gordo took a ride in our brand new 737-800 simulator, donned lifejackets and inflated them, and maybe the most exciting... they tossed aside an emergency exit window and went down the inflatable slide. It was four hours folks around here will never forget, and we hope they don't either. Click the video to see highlights from the day!
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"We all love our Fathers," says First Officer Eric Null, and in this Family business a lot of us are following in our fathers’ footsteps… Here is a special video on Fathers day that shows just how much influence our parents have on us, and hopefully serves as a reminder to reach out - not just on Father’s day or Mothers day, but every day - to let them know we love them… After watching the video please leave comments about your Dad, and let us know your favorite story. Tell us something about him.
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Another job well done at Southwest Headquarters to entertain more than 40 children and their families, before boarding a flight bound for the Magic Kingdom. This video highlights most of the action.
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