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An Example of Southwest Teamwork

Aviator C
We recently heard from the publisher of an online publication called Diversity Business, and in the publication, he recounted an example of Teamwork at Southwest Airlines.  If you would like to read the article, click here.
Explorer C
Wow, nice story. I'll think of that officer & his confident smile when I think of Southwest, kind of gives your organization a character with creedence outside of the brand.
Adventurer B
I've been flying more than usual lately, and I can tell you for sure that Sam's actions are not the "exception," but are, instead, the "rule." On every Southwest flight I'm on, I see "non working" Crew Members and other Employees helping out in various ways ... passing out peanuts & pretzels, helping clean between flights, etc. Doing the "right thing" is contagious, I think.
Explorer C
I teach graduate business classes in org. behavior, strategy, etc. and am finishing a doctoral degree in organizational leadership. Southwest is often referred to in the popular business press and in serious research as a great example of servant leadership. I just returned from a two day conference on servant leadership and traveled SWA both ways. On the way to Norfolk from Columbus, OH in the evening of Aug 9, I was one of the doubtless thousands of your passengers bedeviled by the severe thunderstorms that hit the East Coast that evening. Our flight to Baltimore (SW 624), originally scheduled to leave at 5:15 was delayed as was just about everything else. At about 8:00 PM boarding was announced and we dutifully lined up. Shortly thereafter, the Captain disembarked, went to the podium and explained that, after the clearing the flight for a southerly routing to BWI, the FAA suddenly cancelled the clearance. In more than thirty years of flying for business and pleasure this is the first time I have ever seen the cockpit crew go to the trouble of explaining things. Whoever that Captain was, he deserves the a pat on the back from Colleen. Deciding that discretion was the better part of valor, I rebooked for an early morning flight and went to a hotel. The last flight status text message I got said it was going to leave at midnight. While we were waiting the gate agent called up the weather radar display on the terminal at the gate and invited passengers to take a look. Not exactly crowd pleasing but a refreshing dose of candor. Returning from the conference, I had a chance to converse with an SW crew on the hotel shuttle. Captain and First Officer both recounted having breakfast with Colleen and Herb during their training. As it turned out, they were taking the aircraft parked at the gate adjacent to mine at Norfolk. I watched out the window as they helped the baggage guys load and unload the numerous strollers that accompany a Saturday afternoon flight from a vacation destination. I even took a photo to use in my classes. (If I could figure out how to post it here I would) . Later in BWI I watched as a Captain came up the jetway and took wheelchair bound passengers down to the plane. As I passed the time in BWI waiting for my flight, I asked four separate customer service people if they like working for SW. The answer in each case was "I love it, its a big team." And this one day after they all worked into the wee hours of the morning clearing out the storm caused backlog. One agent said they had to turn 30 flights after midnight on the morning of Aug. 10.
Explorer C
On Tuesday, August 9, 2007, I was a passenger on Southwest, flight 1154, departing Tucson, AZ (TUS) at 7:00 AM, arriving Chicago, Illinois MIDWAY (MDW) at 12:20 PM. I was traveling with my parents, Arnold and Evelyn Olson. My Dad recently was diagnosed with AlzheimerÃ
Explorer C
I am the CEO of a small company (110 full time employees), and I know first hand (just on a smaller scale) how difficult it is to keep large numbers of team members happy and in love with the company they work for. The first time I flew Southwest I knew that they had something very special in their employees and attitude towards teamwork. I often "interview" people who work for different companies when I fly, to try to get a feel of the corporate culture of the company they work for, and if I learn anything, I take it back to my own company and try to improve our corporate culture. It is amazing what the people who work for other airlines will say about how they feel about the company they work for. One flight attendant said to me, "If I didn't work here for 15 years already, I'd just quit and go work for Southwest because they know how to treat their employees". Employees are truly an asset to any company, and employees are the face of your company, in any business. It doesn't take that much, at the end of the day to keep employees and customers happy. The truth is, it all starts from the top down - and the blog post by Steve says it all. Through my years of management and research, I have learned a lot. The problem with most corporations in America is that employees in companies start to feel that the executive management almost has an "elitist" attitude towards the people who work in the organization - and that is the first major failure towards the concept of "teamwork" , and what normal person wants to work for management that disassociates themselves with the "face of the company".
Explorer C
Joe is exactly right. I can't prove it but I suspect that executive compensation is a pretty good indicator of leadership or the lack of it. Look at the SW financials and you will see pretty reasonable salaries for the top execs. In fact, they are amazingly small for the largest US airline in terms of passengers, the most profitable airline and the one with the best employee relations. Seems to be a pattern here.
Explorer C
ThankYOU all! Ive read this 3 times.
Explorer C
Dear Crew of Flight 1949: I flew Southwest to Houston August 24 and 26 to visit relatives. Just want to highlight the work of the attendants on Flight 1949 from Hobby to Oklahoma City at 4:55-6:15 on August 26. The crew was great especially Jennifer, who greeted everyone with a beautiful smile and courteous manner. She was particularly kind to a young Spanish-speaking man on my row who could not speak any English. I was impressed with how Jennifer was quite careful to ensure that the young man understood her instructions and received his refreshments. Jennifer made the flight to Oklahoma City extra special because of her excellent approach and delightful presence. Thanks Jennifer! Sincerely, Michael Decker Oklahoma CIty
Explorer C
On August 12, we traveled to Ft. Lauderdale from Nashville for our anniversary. Southwest employee, Frank Miccolis, was one of the three flght attendants on board that day. He made the announcements, so I don't know if that made him the "chief" that day or what?? Frank made the trip so fantastic! He has such an outstanding personality and a deep desire to serve his customers. Frank made that a great trip, so much so, if we could, we would request him on future flights! Thanks again! Kudos to hiring such a fantastic attendant!
Explorer C
I've been a loyal passenger of Southwest Airlines for many years. The Southwest family of employees crack me up! Courtesy & Teamwork are job one with SWA. I was recently offered a early retirement package from my employer, yup, I took it. The first thing I did was apply online to become a part of the SWA family. I hope to hear from you soon?
Adventurer C
Earlier this year I was flying standby - and not really thinking I was going to make onto the booked flight. I was at the coffee kiosk ordering my morning caffeine when I got word that we were going to make the flight! I abandoned my (paid for) coffee order because it was very last minute and they were waiting on me - their final passenger to board. As I griped at my husband for making we wait until so late to get my coffee (if I had ordered earlier like I wanted, I would have had my coffee in plenty of time!) guess what comes walking down the aisle......a very nice flight attendant carrying my special order nonfat sugar free latte from the kiosk in the terminal! What outstanding service and thoughtfulness! She made my day! SWA has my family as customers for life!
Explorer C
Our mother, Bernice Dawkins, was scheduled to return home (NC) on flight 460 from BWI to RDU on Sept 15th. Unfortunately, she missed her flight due to gate confusion on her part. When I (Kaye) arrived at RDU and could not locate her, I had her paged. When there was no response, I continued an unsuccessful search through the airport. I contacted my sister (Stephanie) to confirm that she had made it through security and that she should be on this flight. The issue now ...where is she. Making another round through the airport, I noticed her luggage in the baggage claims area. I proceeded to the SW service counter to ask if there were any reports of a problem on the flight with my mother. Billie (EMP#59386) was the associate on duty. She attentively listened to my dilemma and checked her computer to verify any information. She explained the rules regarding the privacy act, but assured me that she would do everything possible to put my mind at ease. I continued communicating with my sister trying to determine what could have happened....where could she be??? Our mom is 70 years old and suffers with breathing problems. Our imagination went wild. With every call Billie made, I became more upset. She assured me that every effort was being made to locate my mother. She had to make what seem to be 10 or more calls until getting a live person on the other end that could help us. Between calls or while waiting for someone to answer, she was trying to comfort me. She put a close position sign at her counter to devote her attention to my needs. The more I cried, the faster she dialed. On the other end of my cell phone, my sister (Stephanie) was calling BWI trying to verify. Billie reached someone in BWI and asks them to go to the gate and verify that my mother was there. SW was working on both ends. Imagine....teamwork of this nature in 2007 with a company of this size. Finally, my cell phone rung and it was an associate at the BWI gate. She told me that my mother was there. As I hung up the cell phone and began to thank God, Billie handed me the counter phone for some reassurance. It was my mother's voice.....explaining that she missed the flight and that her calling card was not working. She was so aggravated and discouraged. I called my sister with the good news. She had disconnected her call, but the associate called her back with the same good news. It was a very emotional time for both my sister and I. Being so far apart and neither of us knowing what could have happened to our mother was frightening. Our mother was on the next flight and my wait was made more pleasant by different SW employees coming by to tell me that they were glad that my mother is alright and that she would be on the next flight. Billie and the BWI SW team were angels. They know the TRUE meaning of customer service. My sister and I say THANK YOU for treating us like family. I live in Thomasville and the Greensboro airport is closer. However, it is more cost effective for me to drive to Raleigh when our mother is traveling between daughters. It is no longer for the money, but for the peace of mind and the fact that customers and employees matter to SW. This is evident by the way our situation was handled. If SW was not good to their employees, the employees would not know how to be good to their customers.