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I'm Feeling a Bit Verklempt...

angela
Not applicable
I'm a little emotional right now...and, no, it's not because I'm a girl...it's because I just finished reading Colleen's "Packet of Good Letters." Each quarter, our President, Colleen Barrett, circulates a select packet of commendations from Customers and Employees. Every Employee in the system is encouraged to take a few moments to read these letters...and I can speak from experience, that it is time very well spent.  Today I was feeling a bit frustrated...I was working on a project that was befuddling me, and I needed a break so I opened up the latest edition of Colleen's packet and started reading. I was immediately filled with an overwhelming sense of pride as I skimmed letter after letter from Customers and Employees who took the time to write our Leaders about an amazing Customer Service experience. I got misty reading about a Flight Attendant who sprinted through an airport to try and find a replacement snow globe for a little girl who had dropped and broken her new souvenir while boarding the flight. I got a lump in my throat as I learned about a Customer Service Agent in Orlando who stayed at a hospital all night to watch over a sick Customer's children. I got downright emotional when a Customer relayed an experience with a Customer Service Agent in Louisville who went above and beyond to accomodate a family with a terminally ill child traveling to what might be their last family vacation.   After I finished reading the packet I felt reenergized and ready to tackle my project again. I was reminded of what a wonderful Company this is and that I am so lucky to have a small part in making Southwest what it is. To all of our frontline heroes, thank you for inspiring me and for reminding me what Southwest is all about...People. Anyone got a tissue?      
18 Comments
Marc31
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This is why SW is winning. No other large airline views it's customers this way. Keep reading those notes! SWA rocks
Francisco_Delga1
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What sets Southwest apart from the rest is its employees. I had a minor complaint about a recent flight that I took, I received two letters in the mail, one from Mr.Lusk, and one from Colleen. To me the minor complaint was not a big deal, yet they went above and beyond to address the issue. I will continue to fly Southwest because of its people. I will be heading overseas soon, and I look forward to jumping on a Southwest flight after my deployment. Francisco
Ryan20
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This is a long shot but I have put my reume in for a position at Southwest Airlines Corporate. I am relocating to the Dallas area and just continue to hear how great of a company Southwest is to work for. Is there any advice as to how to get an interview? Thanks in advance! Ryan
FriendofBlogBoy
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Angela, I've said it before and will say it again and again, to friends, business associates and to readers of this blog. Southwest is NOT in the airline business. Its NOT in the transportation industry. Southwest is in the PEOPLE business, and it does a superlative job in that field. As we know from the military, computers can fly a plane. As we know from your competitors, passengers could pick up their own 'snacks' from a cart before boarding. You could virtually operate without any human interaction if all you wanted to do was to move folks from point A to point B. But, instead, you (that's the generic you, because I mean every single SWA employee) work with people who have needs and wants, and I've repeatedly seen over the years how hard 'you' work to meet those needs and wants. Customers flock to do business with companies that act as if they appreciate their business. There simply is NOT another airline out there that demonstrates that appreciation more clearly than Southwest. I can only imagine how great it must make you feel to read those letters and to know that you work alongside people who regularly get to practice the Golden Rule. When a firm focuses on the bucks, they often earn some pretty good bucks. But, SWA shows that if you focus on the people, you can earn some more lasting rewards. I'll take one of my Rapid Rewards drink coupon books and see if I can swap it at the grocery store for a large box of extra soft tissues for ya! Kim
Jimmy3
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When my partners' Mom passed away last year, her brother, who is 81 flew Southwest for the first time from CMH to MCO. Feeling sad because he had just lost his Sister, the Flight Attendants on board, not knowing he was headed to bury his Sister, sensed he was upset and took extra care of him. He commented to me about the three F/A's and how these three did not know him from Adam but went above and beyond to make him feel comfortable. I honestly think we have the best F/A's in the airline industry.
Murray
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The leadership of SWA is the best in the industry. When the highest level Employee cares about the lowest level Employee, a culture develops that breeds loyalty, caring and exceptional Customer & Employee service . Would Colleen Barrett, Herb Kelleher or Gary Kelly do anything different for those Customers Angela mentioned? NO. They would do exactly the same thing and every Employee knows it. That is tremendously empowering, and I cannot think of a better motivator. By spending very little money and taking time to distribute those letters has inspired Angela to possibly exceed her own limits at the workplace. And doesn't she sound happy and teary at the same time? Wow. Leadership is key and everyday we see the fruition of excellent leadership at SWA.
Mike_Vargo
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GIVE ME A BREAK. TELL ME HOW GREAT THEY ARE WHEN OPERATING COSTS MAKE YOU LIKE EVERYONE ELSE. IT WILL HAPPEN ONE DAY.
Murray
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Mike: I am not sure what you mean by "It will happen one day," but it is those operating costs that make SWA different from other air carriers. The efficient use of equipment, employees and other resources have translated into the only multiple decade cosistently profitable airline. Oh, and they have never declared bankruptcy. Your "one day" has not come for 35 years of SWA operations.
Matt29
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That guy must not have gotten his peanuts one one of our flights. We're SOOO sorry Mike! *hands peanuts to Mike* There ya go buddy! Aww, that's better! And you have such a great smile! 😛
angela
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Hi Mike - Saw that we share the same last name. Guess that's where the similarity ends. As Colleen always says, "others can copy our business model but they can't copy our people."
FriendofBlogBoy
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Mike, I think the original intent of this thread started by Angela was one of how rewarding it is to work with and around people who care about other people. I have known enough SWA employees and have observed them during a variety of both positive and negative situations involving their jobs to believe that their people would care about you and me as their customers regardless of their profitability. However, even though it is true that part of their profitability is based on their employees' desire to be efficient and not wasteful in the way they do their jobs, I think that the cause and effect relationship you are suggesting is backwards. They aren't profitable because their employees are "great" -- they ARE profitable and their people ARE great, but it those are nearly unrelated to each other. What Angela, a lot of others and I have commented on repeatedly throughout this blog is that what makes SWA a great airline is not its profitability, its their people. Profitability is ONE criteria of success, but happiness and satisfaction that comes from serving your customers well and being a part of a culture that nurtures and rewards its people is another equally valid, and I would argue, a more important, criteria of success. In my book, SWA could be losing money and still be a great airline! Best wishes to you, Kim P. S. Gary -- yes, I AM a shareholder and NO, I'm not insane! I'm pleased that you're profitable!! 🙂
Mary__Reservati
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I myself love reading the "Warm Fuzzy" packet of letters that Colleen distributes. I always have a box of tissues next to me when I sit down to read them. I must add a few "attaboys(and girls)" to Angela's list of front line employees going above and beyond. As a Customer Care Representative/Supervisor for Reservations, I see examples everyday of our Reservation Sales Agents going that extra mile to assist our passengers. I know it isn't "face to face" service when you call Reservations, but the personal touch and heartfelt care still shines in each of our voices.
DC1
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I'm with you Angela. I get choked up everytime I read the "good letters". I love reading them though because they fill me with so much pride that I work for a company of caring People. And Mary - we have awesome Res Agents!
cheryl_m_
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we just returned from vegas and loved flying sw.. we especially enjoyed the second part of our trip home. it was from phoenix to phila on aug.26.we dont know who was doing the singing, but it really made the time go quicker, and almost made us forget about the bad weather and turbulents!!!!i we will definately fly sw again!!!thanks
interstate275fl
New Arrival
After I got done reading this post it has truly led me to believe that Southwest is not just an airline - it is a people company that cares about its customers and its employees. I had a recent positive experience where a Southwest gate agent at BWI really went above and beyond. On Tuesday, 5 September 2006 as I was getting ready to take my place in the A boarding group at BWI's Gate B11 for the return flight home to Tampa on Flight 256, I checked to make sure that I have my laptop carrying case as well as my power adapter with me as I went to the newsstand earlier to get something to read to pass the time away. I was looking for my power adapter and I could not find it! At that point I got very scared that I left my power adapter in the newsstand and that I would have to lose my place in the A boarding group line to go find it. A Southwest gate agent who was checking in passengers at the gate for an Orlando bound flight that departed from Gate B11 earlier immediately recognized my plight when I thought I lost my power adapter for my laptop - well, it turned out that I had my power adapter on me only it was hidden along with the magazines that I bought at the newsstand earlier. Finding my laptop's power adapter plus a caring Southwest gate agent who immediately recognized my plight really saved the day and when boarding time came for Flight 256 I was on my way home. After all even laptop computer accessories come with a high price tag, especially when you have to replace it. I carry my power adapter with me along with my laptop so that if I can find an electrical outlet nearby I can use it rather than depend on my laptop's battery (save the battery for working on my laptop while in flight). This positive experience shows how a caring company goes out of its way to achieve - or I would rather say exceed - positive customer service that one cannot find at the other airlines. Since I started flying on Southwest in 2000 and becoming a Rapid Rewards member I have never flown on any other airline since then, as flying on Southwest is always a positive experience from the time you check in to the time you get to where you want to go and retrieve your baggage.
Cindy9
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You know, as I read this I got to thinking..We fly SWA quite a bit and honestly I can't ever remember even one rude person, whether its gate agents, flight attendants, reservationist...Not one rude person ever.. Almost like a stepford family...lol Actually, I just thought that maybe whomever it is that does the hiring needs a BIG pat on the back also..She/he is not on the front lines but obviously has a sense about people.. So next time I pull out one of my drink coupons, it will be a toast to those that probably don't get the recognition and thanks from the ones that benefit from their decisions...The customers.. Thanks!!
Anonymous4284
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As one of my last business trips comes to an end, I'd like to thank Sharon, one of the FA on FLT 1207 on Sat 5-10 from Chicago to Providence. She made the trip interesting, fun, and made me realize why I like traveling....hope you see this Sharon! Wish I was flying SW more...:) Tino
Anonymous2142
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I flew SW on Nov 13th and to my complete surprise did run into a SW employee who seemed unhappy. Her name is Hope and she was working gate 9 at BWI late afternoon/early evening. No smile or eye contact she seemed quite unhappy. I know we all have bad days and I hope that Hope is feeling better. I also hope that this is an unusal occurance because I love SW! Overall VERYYYY impressed with the airline as a whole. Keep up the good work.