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Thanksgiving with Carole

Not applicable
I had the pleasure and rare opportunity to fly a three-day trip over Thanksgiving with fellow blogger Carole Adams.  Since Carole and I are based in different Southwest cities and our seniority is quite different, along with the fact that Pilots and Flight Attendants rarely spend more than one day together, a full three-day trip is almost unheard of.  Carole is the consumate professional.  She is always impeccably dressed, has the greatest personality, and is cheerful and fun to be around 24/7.  I am fanatical about ontime performance (especially during the Holidays when so many people depend on Southwest to get them to family and friends).  Having Carole as one of our Flight Attendants made the boarding process go very smoothly, and she does a wonderful job of getting Customers on and off the plane quickly and efficiently.  During the 14 flights we made those three days, we were only tardy once and were as much as 15 minutes early on one flight. Our Thanksgiving was spent in Tampa (TPA) after getting up very early in Detroit (DTW) and flying five legs.  We arrived in Tampa about 4:00PM and drove to our hotel which is situated on a beautiful cove overlooking Tampa Bay.  Southwest has an agreement, as part of our contract with the hotels that we utilize that on Holidays, that the hotel will provide Crew Members with a traditional holiday dinner on our arrival.  Since the restaurant at this particular hotel has a seafood theme, I was skeptical as to what "traditional" might mean.  We were served an outstanding dinner with salad, roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, yams, veggies, cranberry sauce, sage dressing and pumpkin pie (Carole wouldn't share her pie!!).  The wonderful meal and the beautiful view of the sun setting over Tampa Bay made it a picture perfect evening.  I would have preferred to have been home with my wife, son, and relatives who were gathered at my house, but I was very thankful that I got to spend the day with members of my Southwest Family, as I am sure there were people around the country that couldn't be with any loved ones on this special day.  So to Carole, Donna, Linda and Phil thanks for a great time and a fun filled three-day trip.
Explorer B
What a wonderful story. I hope to have the pleasure of flying with you one day in the future. I am "in the pool" waiting for a class. Hope you have a Merry Christmas and can spend some time with your family.
Explorer C
Nice li'l story.
Explorer C
Adventurer C
I had the pleasure of flying SWA from El Paso to Dallas on Thanksgiving day and home again on Saturday. I know every person working for Southwest would probably have rather been home with family and friends, but they all were extremely gracious and I appreciate their kindness and willingness to allow me to spend Thanksgiving day with my family. 2 questions : A) What happened to those cute little chocolates that said "Gobble, Gobble" I got last time I flew on Thanksgiving day? They were really cool. B) How can your planes be full - I mean completely full - when the terminals were so empty? That was a bit of a shock. And a few comments: C) Those Nabisco blueberry bar things are awful. Hardly anybody eats them. D) The "Plane Crackers" are really good. E) The King brand peanuts are not as good as whatever brand was before them - the lowest bidder isn't always the best choice.
Explorer A
What struck me is how nice it is for the company to have an arrangement for holiday dinners. My husband has a job that requires out of town holiday work as well...but unfortunately with the way of the world these days...providing a holiday dinner for those away from home doesn't seem to be a big deal. (he ate a turkey sandwich from a deli) What a nice touch - to know, at least, even though you have to work, the company recognizes your sacrifice - and tries to make it just a little better by "setting up" these arrangements. Jenny
Frequent Flyer B
Captain Evans, Thank you for sharing such a great story! I've said it before and will say it over and over again; one of the distinguishing features of Southwest Airlines is the camaraderie that exists among its Employees. As I've mentioned several times on this blogsite, specifically in my "guest blog" about airline attitudes ( ) the differences in the way I see SW Employees interact with each other and the way that employees of other, unnamed AAirlines interact with each other are dramatic. I often notice a distinct "caste society" within the "other" airlines, where pilots don't talk with anyone other than fellow pilots, and that example seems to fit for every job description for the employees that are visible to us passengers. But, your blog entry above is representative of, and indicative of, the respect and sense of togetherness that is shared by Southwest Employees towards each other. The recognition that it is a team effort is never as obvious elsewhere as it is between SWA folks. Thank you for helping to set and to maintain such a high and professional standard of demonstrating the Golden Rule as it applies to treating people within your own organization! Although I've never met Carole, I'm betting that she would and could write a similar article praising YOU as well. Safe travels to all of my SWA buddies during this holiday season, Kim 🙂
Explorer C
David, as one of Carole's closest friends, I can tell you that Carole only shares her pie when she has determined that it is no good. Just yesterday, she actually brought a piece of pie to my house to show me how bad it tasted so that I would not ever make that recipe. But that's Carole, always looking out for others. Jamie Gaines
Adventurer C
I flew over the Thanksgiving holiday with crews that were on their last or next-to-last segments for their respective trips. They treated me and my family with smiles and good service as if they were just starting their trips. The only thing that would have made my flights better is if I ended up flying with Carole again. 🙂
Explorer C
Well that's the last straw. Southwest, e-mail me. We have an interview to arrange!
Frequent Flyer C
Don, I hope you liked your stay in Dtw. Maybe you will get to fly the first n/s fom here to Mco next month! Joe
Adventurer C
What a great story!! What a great way to treat the employees that sacrifice their family time!! I love that they even thought to make sure you had something special for dinner.. And as a customer, I also appreciate the fact that you are there for us rather than at home where you would rather be, with your families..Thanks for that!! As Kim mentioned I have never seen, and I do pay attention, any of those other AAirlines interact with each other or the customers like SWA does, again no comparison at all.. We will be flying from STL into TPA on Christmas day, first flight of the day...Should we expect to arrive at the airport more than 2 hours before flight time?? Thanks again for the story, I luv reading this stuff!! Cindy
Explorer C
This is another great example of why Southwest is so successful. They treat their eployees like a valuable asset rather than just someone who is there to collect a paycheck.
Frequent Flyer B
Jim - I love the Blueberry Bars!
Adventurer B
David, I am touched by your post. Thanks to you, Linda, and Jamie - friends all - for valuing our long relationships. I must clear up something. The pie I took to Jamie's was not a recipe from our SWA Cookbook! It was Shoo Fly pie recommended by another flight attendant I recently flew with. (internet) I had a crust left over in the refrigerator (home made of course) and didn't want to throw it away. We did have fun with our passengers polling which pie is best - pumpkin or pecan. Fortunately my children have their own families and we are able to celebrate the holidays usually the Sunday before the event. My sister came over Saturday and said, "When are you going to give me my cookbook?" She read my "Gift the keeps on giving" blog! All over the System there are SWA employees eating holiday dinner in break rooms and hotels. All are happy to be with our extended families doing what must be done so our passengers are free to move about the country. We can look at it as our job but I prefer to look at it as a gift. Thank you David for putting a smile on my face! Yes, I could have written a similar blog about you and the rest of our crew.
Explorer C
First of all, let me apologize for the length of this entry, but to fully understand our praise, an explaination is in order: This is not about Carole, whom I am sure is fantastic like alot of SWA Flight Attendants and Crew we've dealt with in the last 5 days, but is about another outstanding SWA employee my husband and I had the pleasure to work with this past weekend in Philadelphia. It all started wrong and was admittedly our fault from the beginning. We had travelled to Phily to see The Eagles beat The Panthers on Monday Night Football and after a late game had an early morning flight out of Phily, we booked our hotel just late enough that being loyal Marriott patrons, we were forced to stay 30 miles outside of the city and although we thought we left early enough to make the one hour TSA window to timely board our flight, Phily rush hour had different plans for us. After turning our rental car in at the airport, we had 20 minutes to get the shuttle to the terminal and make our flight - cutting it way too close. Our rental car (insert plug for Enterprise) company got us there in 3 minutes and dropped us at the SWA terminal at 7:21 on Dec. 5 (our flight was 7:40 -yikes!!). We had some issues with check in being that we were evidently required to check in using the do it yourself monitor - and since this is meant to be in praise of an employee and not a contuation of a complaint we already made and has been addressed - I will stop there and skip ahead. After checking way too late in the first place, we thought we might get lucky and catch our flight - hoping there was not a line at the TSA security checkpoint and that we looked like we might be in a hurry and could somehow elicit the grace of the TSA gods. This was not meant to be. Being that we were in a hurry and could not be assured our bags would make it with us - had we made the flight - to OKC, I regressed to pre-9/11 flight mode and grabbed our toiletry bag out of our checked luggage so that we wouldn't have to make a trip to the drugstore when we got home. (Our mistake #2). So, my make-up collection was basically obliterated at the liquid/gel bin and my perfume, which I forgot was in my purse, triggered the metal detector at X-Ray. This was distressing since I had to throw away around $100 worth of merchandise at TSA. After a strenuous (and fruitless) argument with TSA, I finally made a run for the gate where my husband went to try to catch the plane (not very presentably I might add considering the amount of clothing and I had to remove at TSA since the number of "suspicious" items in my carry on triggered a quite deft search of my person and belongings). This is where this long-winded blog entry becomes the compliment I had orginally intented. At t the gate for the 7:40 am PHL-HOU-OKC flight, which we missed by 25 seconds - were two CSR's and a supervisor (I am assuming she is a supervisor because of the take-charge customer service she immediatly provided us - and if she isn't - she needs to be promoted ASAP) named Linda. Linda first wanted to know why check-in did not call to let the gate to let them know we were coming - I did not have the answer to that, since we received basically zero customer service from the 4 staff members at the terminal. Then, when she heard me telling my husband what had happened at TSA after he ran ahead, she first found us a seat on the 2:45 PHL-CHI-STL-OKC flight, then she walked with us to TSA to try to retrieve my surrendered belongings to put in our checked baggage. The TSA screener of course would hear none of this and so Linda walked us to our gate for the later flight and told us if we needed anything we knew where to find her. So we settled in for a long stay at SWA gate D-4. After calming down and accepting our situation, I decided I would go find a TSA supervisor and try to plead my case with a little more reverence. When I got back to the TSA check in at the E terminal, I found out that Linda had already been back to TSA and tried again to retreive my brand-new bottle of perfume and cosmetics and get them in my checked bags. About 15 minutes before our flight after a very long afternoon of dodging credit card solicitors in the airport mall, we were finally getting ready to board and who do we se all the way over from E terminal at the end of what I am sure was a very long day for her - but Linda! She had come to let us know she had been through the ringer with TSA and my belongings were already thrown out, she had addressed the situation at check-in as to why we got no help attempting to catch our flight and she was checking one last time to see if we needed anything else before we left her airport. My husband and I both have an extensive back ground in customer service and I currently work as a receptionist in law enforcement so we both know how long a day can get epecially when it starts with a problem. I am sure she had other things come up between 7 am and 3 pm, but she thought of us continually during the day and tried everything she could imagine to make us happy. Even though I learned a very expensive lesson at TSA and we spent a very long day at the airport, we left Phily and continued on to OKC as happy as possible thanks in whole to Southwest Airlines employee Linda from Phily. (ps- the lady stationed at D-4 on the afternoon of 12-5-2006 was also an outsatnding example of what SWA CSR's are all about!!) Thanks and we will be back flying SWA soon, thanks to Linda! Amy and Shane Pepperman
Frequent Flyer B
Amy -- Wow, it sounds as if you could filmed your own sequel to "Planes, Trains and Automobiles"! There are days when it seems that everything and everyone has conspired to make traveling unpleasant. My grown son and I recently experienced a traffic gridlock situation at Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport that would make Times Square in NYC look like a deserted ghost town. Fortunately, no one was taking my blood pressure at the time, or the cuff might have exploded! But, just when we are convinced that we've somehow run out of karma and that the best solution is to go back home, climb back under the covers and try again the next day, the sun seems to come back out, the clouds part and songbirds begin singing joyous melodies. That's all because we experience what the folks at Southwest Airlines call "Positively Outrageous Service" and that is an understatement! I am glad to hear your story, but I have to say that it doesn't really surprise me. Southwest is densely populated with Linda's who take delight in helping their Customers above and beyond what would normally be found at other AAirlines. Day after day, these people, who seem to be mild-mannered reporters for a major metropolitan newspaper, come to work, slip into a closet and emerge wearing a long red cape and blue tights, and proceed to fight for truth, justice and the Southwest Way! As best as I've found, there does not even seem to be any Kryptonite that fazes them, although at times, the TSA comes close! Aren't you glad that you flew Southwest, and aren't you glad they are as great as they are? Happy travels, Kim 🙂
Explorer C
next time, dont worry about getting a few marriott points, spend a few bucks on a closer hotel, and drink less so you wake up on time, or book a later flight... then you won't have the employees waste time cleaning up your own mess! and they can take better care of the rest of us