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Southwest Airlines Celebrates 50 Years





The year 2021 is a truly significant one for Southwest Airlines—it marks our 50th year of giving travelers the freedom to fly with our low fares and unmatchable Hospitality. Although our current environment looks slightly different than we’ve anticipated for our 50th year, I want to be crystal clear—that difference in no way takes away from the immense pride that our entire Southwest Family, past and present, should have in us reaching this extraordinary milestone. It certainly doesn’t for me. And, in fact, it strengthens it. I’ve never in our history been more proud of our Southwest Warriors.


As with so many things, we’ve had to pivot in order to acknowledge and celebrate our 50th anniversary in appropriate ways. And, we’ve made some logical decisions to pull back from our original plans in order to take advantage of some free and low-cost options, as well as develop plans that allow us to celebrate safely.

But make no mistake, these unpredictable times do not dampen the excitement for our accomplishment of hitting the 50-year mark. All Southwest Airlines Employees, Customers, and friends should be very, very proud.


Throughout the year, we’ll share some of our more compelling and iconic Southwest stories—some may be familiar, and others won't—but each one has played a significant role in our rich and colorful history. And, our hope is that these stories will inspire meaningful contributions to the next 50 years of building the Southwest Airlines legacy. Our history continues to grow with every single flight.


And just as everyone has had to drastically change personal lives, we’ve also had to adapt our airline to operate in a very unique environment. But something that remains solid is the critical role played by every Employee and Customer. Our People are the Heart and soul of our Company, a source of immense pride and joy for me, and will continue to be our greatest competitive advantage. Even with masks on, I can see the spirit and the pride and the smiles for our beloved Company shining through.


And like any good story, ours is full of ups and it has some downs, but it consistently conveys an underlying pride for our many accomplishments, some very special moments, and our incomparable Employees and Customers.


I wouldn’t change much about these past 50 years—because everything that we’ve been through has made Southwest Airlines who we are as a brand, as a Company, and as a Family. And our renowned Culture is five decades in the making and continues to stand out as a shining example to others. And we must continue to nurture it and believe in it.


So stay tuned—our Planning Team has been resilient and extremely cost-conscious, and their creative adjustments to our 50th plans are nothing short of fantastic! And I’ll give you a sneak peek at one component of our 50th year: We’re inviting everyone to put their Hearts in Action to spark and inspire one million Acts of Kindness! What an important and appropriate focus for our 50th year.


And beyond that, I’ve been sworn to secrecy, so I’ll play it safe in this message. I’ll just say for now that surprises should be expected—and I can't wait for everyone to experience them.


So although our 50th year may look a little different, we're still celebrating it with a deep pride and an unwavering joy.


Join us in celebrating our 50th year!

  • Check out our 50th Anniversary website where you will find stories about the origin of Southwest Airlines, pictures from our rich history, and more. This site will be continually promoted and updated with new stories and resources throughout the year!


  • Visit Southwest: The Store to shop new 50th-themed merchandise. More great items will be added throughout 2021!


Cheers to our 50th year!