Panic washed over me as I stepped onto the jet bridge in Baltimore. Indeed, producing a three-to-five minute video was well within photographer Terry and my skill sets. I am often quick to remind people about my News background (old habits die hard). Terry's eye for video is unrivaled (check's in the mail, Terry).
But this was undiscovered country.
Tackling the feelings surrounding an airline acquisition carries with it a large degree of uncertainty. Are we welcome? Do we stick out like sore thumbs? Would our 48-hour tour through Baltimore, Orlando, and back to Dallas end in cheers, or tears?
Alas, if you've watched the video that accompanies this post, our story has a very happy ending.
We conducted dozens of interviews with Employees from both AirTran and Southwest. Each person I met put me more at ease.
The stories are endless.
In Baltimore, an AirTran Employee and Southwest Employee who live near one another and go to the same pool will now be working alongside one another. They're ecstatic about it.
Cliff, from Orlando, frequently manages the ticket counter lines. He'll soon have even more Passengers to greet with his never-ending enthusiasm.
And Chuck came to Southwest through our acquisition of Morris Air. 18 years later, he's still here. His advice for AirTran Employees is, "Be yourself, and keep an open mind." Indeed, you may find yourself looking back 20 years from now, wondering where the time went.
Everyone's excited about the opportunity to spread Low Fares Farther, and becoming an even bigger Family.
The legal marriage of these two airlines is only the beginning of something far greater.
Terry and I got the chance to see it firsthand. In all, we captured more than two hours of footage. I've never seen so many gushing compliments in my life. But this is Nuts, not Cannes. So here's the video: bottled up into a little more than three minutes.