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Employee Stories: A Southwest Pilot Years in the Making

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My cousin, Brandon Jackson, and I were born six weeks apart, and I remember him talking about his dream of becoming a Pilot when we were little. Brandon’s love for aviation started at an early age. “My dad took me to air shows as a kid and our grandfather had his Pilot’s license,” Brandon recalls. With his love for aviation growing stronger, Brandon came to work for Southwest Airlines in 1996 as a Ramp Agent at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. He loved working on the Ramp and bringing in our aircraft, but he never lost sight of his dream to become a Pilot. While working as a Ramp Agent, he simultaneously learned how to fly and practiced on his days off until he earned his Private Pilot’s License. Brandon had the support and of his Fellow Coworkers and maintained strong Southwest connections that helped make his dream become a reality. In 2004, Brandon became a Certified Flight Instructor, teaching classes in the morning and then working his shift as an Operations Agent in the evenings. A year later, he left Southwest to focus solely on his flying and he said to me, “One day I’ll be back!” Ten years later, I’m happy to say that he is officially a Southwest Pilot! “I knew from day one that I was going to fly for Southwest. I loved the Company's history and Culture. Southwest was very good to me as a Ramp and Ops Agent. There was never a question in my mind to go fly elsewhere,” said Brandon. Our family couldn’t be more proud of him for following his dream and pushing himself to get there!  Brandon, it’s about time you made your way back to your Southwest Family!   Featured picture above: A Southwest Family: (Left to Right) LAS Cargo Agent Ryan Jackson (Brother), LAS Customer Service Agent Nadia Jackson (Sister-in-Law), LAS Customer Service Agent Becky Handel (Mom), LAS First Officer Brandon Jackson, LAS Flight Attendant Katie Jackson (Wife), and, me, Sr. Specialist Safety & Security Jocelyn Saia (Cousin).