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So, you want to be a flight attendant!

‎09-20-2006 08:49 AM cadams
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‎09-20-2006 08:49 AM

Twenty three years ago I announced to my friends and family that I wanted to become a Flight Attendant for Southwest Airlines. This announcement was met with raised eyebrows, as I was considered by some as not being suited for this profession. "Why not?" you say. "You are not going to wear those shorts, are you?" my best friend asked. "What about your degree in speech therapy?" my father questioned. "You are going to abandon me?" my 17-year-old son complained. My only support came from my husband who said, "I always wanted to sleep with a Flight Attendant, but I never thought it would be you!" For Christmas that year, all the gifts had been opened that were under the tree. Ready to disband, my brother said, "Wait - there's one more gift!" He leaves the room for a minute and comes back with a size 2 Southwest Airlines uniform; a pair of plastic Flight Attendant wings, and a roundtrip ticket to Austin. "Put these on and work a round trip to Austin and back. I bet you change your mind!" Every night, I lay in bed thinking about interview questions I might be asked and acceptable answers. I had answers to questions I have yet to be asked! I received my letter asking me to come for a Group Interview. Now came the hard part: What am I going to wear? I decided on a red wool suit that was similar to the Flight Attendant uniform at the time. I bought new camel colored pumps (closed toe and heel) and matching purse. Looking the part, I reported to the Headquarters Building in Dallas. The chairs in the interview room were arranged in a horseshoe shape. I headed for the middle seat. The applicant sitting beside me asked if I would put her keys in my new purse since she didn't bring one. She was to become one of my best friends to this day. We were asked to stand up, spell our names, tell something about ourselves and why we wanted to fly for SWA. When I stood up, I went to the front of the room and just knew I was going to slip and fall on my face. I should have worn those new shoes previously so the soles weren't slick! I told them that, when I reached my midlife crisis, I didn't know whether to go to medical school (the residency for brain surgery was so long) or become a fry cook at Denny's (even though I had lost my taste for that sort of thing). Then I realized I would be a perfect fit for the job of Flight Attendant because I had waited on people hand and foot; I could talk to a wrong number for fifteen minutes; and I had certainly worked for peanuts. I hoped Southwest Airlines would agree!" Well, they did agree and I've been grateful ever since.

109 Comments
This is a wondeful story! My mother is a F/A for AA (Since 1965). I will show this to her for sure.... She knows we are a proud bunch, and for good reason..... This is just another one to list. Thank you. I think you guys are awesome!
Drew1
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Carole, having been on the receiving end of your fantastic service, I bet Southwest is grateful as well. Now, what can I do to convince you to bid to work my holiday flights? I want my family to experience your Positively Outrageous Service, too! Smiley Very Happy
I have read your site i think its great my dream is to become flight attentdent so please let me know what should i need to do. Thanks
Carole, your blog hit home with me. I've already threatened that as soon as my daughter graduates from High School, I'm off on a new adventure as a flight attendant for Southwest. Thanks for sharing your story of success for those of us in that mid-life crisis of wanting something different. However, I'm sure that I've never been a size 2 nor will I ever be! Smiley Happy
Carole, I read your story and smiled. Careers come and go, and luckly that's exactly what you get to do! Enjoyed your story, wishing you many more years of "peanuts, great Summer outfits, and having permission to say on a regular bases "..please be careful when opening the overhead bins...!"
Leah4
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Carole, your comment about your dad questioning you what you were going to do with your degree reminds me of my mom. I have an AA in Psychology & a BA in Deaf Services with an Interpreting (Sign Language) minor. She asked me what I was going to do about my education, & I told her I might serve Deaf passengers (Customers) on flights! I've been using my degree (BA), but feel like my Psychology degree will be useful, too!
Pat7
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Carole, Your personality came shinning through in your writing skills. I am sure your fun loving attitude makes you very popular with our customers. Keep up the great job and in your next life you might want to be a author and write about your flight experiences.
Leah4
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I'd like to know, please, a little more about Southwest's "decision making process" when hiring, if that makes sense! I know the Company hires for attitude & trains for skills; I also know they want people who are enthusiastic, personable, friendly, outgoing, etc., all of which I am, plus some. I have the qualities it takes to work for SWA, but am still puzzled as to why I wasn't asked back for FA training. I have some ideas why, but hopefully the Recruiter & FA who interviewed me will have a chance to respond back to my letter asking them what I can do to improve my chances; then I'll know if my ideas are right! It's strange, because I had a dream about this last night!
Jyoti - Check out http://www.southwest.com/careers and click on Flight Attendant. It will give you an idea about the Flight Attendant Career. You can also check out several of the items that Carole has written by clicking on her name and then check out A Week In the Life of a Flight Attendant by clicking on one of my blogs and locating it from there. If Carole or I can answer any additional questions, please let us know. Leah - Carole was on the SWA Interview Team for years before taking a much needed break this year. So, perhaps she can answer some of your questions. Do you have any specific questions? I just have to say for those of you that haven't met Carole in person, she is one of the most delightful people you will EVER meet in your life. She is caring, funny, loyal, HONEST (weather you want her to be or not! ;-) ) and just a GREAT person to know. I'm glad I can call her FRIEND! Regards, James Malone MDW FA
Leah4
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Thanks, James. I can post my questions here. I know SWA hires for attitude & trains for skills. I've been told that during the interview, the FA & Recruiter look for things such as, "Does this person say negative things about previous employers?", & they see if s/he is quiet or shy, they look for the ability to make quick decisions, etc. That's all I remember off the top of my head. I'd also like to know, please, what else they look for. Do the FA & Recruiter both have to agree on whether or not to ask the person back for training? My guess is yes. I know during the interviews to be myself, make eye contact, show enthusiasm, etc. Do you or Carole have any other tips? I'm wondering if maybe I gave too many answers about one previous employer, rather than giving examples from different places I've worked. Maybe that's one reason why I didn't get asked back for training; sometimes, I feel I didn't sound confident enough & if I didn't, I'm sure that's a reason, too. I'm hoping both of them will be able to respond to my letters I sent. I emailed my resumÃ
And aren't you glad you picked Southwest!?!! Hey guys! It's Queen of Sky, the blog-fired Delta flight attendant. My book is out, and flight attendants LUV it! It will definitely give anyone considering the flight attendant profession a realistic view of working for a Legacy carrier. Ciao! -Q of S
This has GOT to be a better job than answering the phones for Delta Air Lines at LAX! I tried jumping ship to SWA when they opened up reservations at ABQ, but alas they filled their hire quota. So now I'm a midwife... not exactly a direct route Smiley Wink
skky
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Thanks u guys, for taking time to advise us. I'm new to the blog scene. I'm a "wanna-be that is a GONNA-BE F/A!!! "I'm seeking to make friends. you guys make me smile. LatersSmiley Happy
Carole, I happen to type in "I want to be a flight attendant" and found your site. I smiled as I read it. I've only been on 1 interview, wasn't quite sure what to expect. Since I'm turning 47 on Nov. 2nd, I sometimes wonder if I can do it. I sincerely want to. I have the desire, but I've heard the training is like boot camp. Presently, I'm a Physical Therapy Tech. I assist therapists, so I'm used to bending, stretching, moving(people), being part of a team, ect. However, I want more! Any advice, input I would truly appreciate. One last thing, I was asked at my interview, in fact it was the first question, "Is there ever a time to lie"? It almost felt like a trick question. I wasn't sure if I answered correctly or what they expected. I said no. I don't think people like to be lied to. Maybe not include all information, but not lied to. What do you think? Thanks, I enjoyed reading everyone else's comments too! Sharon C.
Leah4
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I flew from home, which is TUL, to CMH on October 15th to attend a SW CSA GIS (Group Information Session) & Interview the 16th. On my flights from TUL-MDW (with a stop, but no plane change, at MCI), we had an FA doing her IOE! She did very well. In all the times I fly, this was the first time I've seen one doing an IOE. I wrote her a note telling her she did a wonderful job.
Hi Carole, I love your site. I have a question. At a group session I attended recently, they mentioned the first day at training you will have an agility test. What does that entail? Thanks, Sharon
Thanks for the great inspiring story..I have my flight attendant plans on hold right now because my son just graduated from high school in May. His plans are to join the US Navy. He ships out in December for Chicago. As soon as he graduates from boot camp and starts his training, I will follow through with the training. I have always wanted to be a flight attendant ever since I was a little girl. Good luck and take care!!
hi carol, it was a pleasure reading your story. i will be 50 in feb and just passed all backround checks and interview process with southwest, i will be going to dallas early in the year, jan or feb. i worked for ata as a csa and then got chosen to train as a flight attendant, however weeks before my scheduled traing date ata laid off hundreds of flight attendants and workers, it was a pretty sad time for many ata employees. well i thought my chance was over until i decided to apply for southwest, which by the way is such an awesome fun enviroment to be around and everybody aleays seems to be having a ball. i cannot wait to start my career at this late age with your great company. wish me luck in dallas in training. thanks again, peggy collins,chicago
Hi Carol, I always wanted to be a floght attendant beacause I am a people person.So I became a waitress and been doing it for 28 years.I fly swa all the time and got to talking to a few attendants and they are the most friendly and funny attendants I have experienced.I my self just turned 54 and decided to apply for FA and I got invited to a group session on Nov 14th,kid you not I am so nervous about this.I am glad to see that I am not alone.Looking forward to meeting you. donna B chicago
Sharon, To answer your question, "...the first day at training you will have an agility test...", my understanding is that you are required to leap over two inebriated passengers while balancing a tray full of drinks in one hand and holding three pillows in the other hand, and by using just your knee, turn off the flight attendant call button that was pushed for the sixth time by the bratty kid in the window seat who wants yet another soft drink. From what I've heard, it's a piece of cake. Good luck in your career at SWA, Kim P. S. Oh yeah, you have to do all of that while wearing a blindfold. :-)
Carol, I would love to talk to you via email regrading becoming a flight attendant. I have since Junior High School been interested in this profession. But I also wanted to be a mom. I am now 43 and have three grown boys two of which are Deputies for Volusia County in Florida where we live and the youngest being 18 and going into the police academy in the fall of 2007. Now I am looking into becoming a flight attendant once again after all these years. Please if you would email me I have some questions. I have thought about all the web sites that offer classes but I would like to know is that really needed. I am a people person and have always worked with people. I have worked in retail and moved onto the medical field. What is the best way to get hired. I fly Southwest all the time to go see my family in Providence and love the airline. I think the flight attendants are the best. Is it best to just put yourself out there on the line and be funny and easy going right from the start. Or more business like.. Again, please email as soon as possible so I can get started with a new life for myself. Thank you for your time Sandy Nadeau
Hi Ms. Carol, I would LUV to talk to you about the group infomation sessions. I was suppose to go to one yesterday, but I was unable to attend because I couldn't get anyone to work in my place. Would not showing up count against me? I am a college grad with tons of customer service experience, plus I LUV TO TRAVEL! :-) I want to make Southwest my final career destination. Thank you for your time. Brian
Carol I read your story all the time. I am also going thru midlife crisis I guess, but I've been on 2 interviews and the one wasn't sure I wanted anyway, the second one I was hired, went to training and flunked out after 1and a 1/2 weeks. I have interview with swa tomorrow, do they have group interviews or 1 on 1?
max
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Great Story
Dalton
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Carol, I love your blog, and I too am "Nuts about Southwest"!!!! I have wanted to be a flight attendant for years now, and am very eager to pursue my career. I only want to fly for Southwest, and in my mind its the only option! I am a freshman in college, and I can't wait to graduate and start my life in the sky! I would love to talk with you via email, I have so many questions! When you get the time, I would love to talk with you! Thanks, Dalton
deniz
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hello Ä
Hi my names Rachael and I've wanted to be a flight atttendant for ages. I have currently succeded in getting an interview with an airline. I;ve made it through the group interview the writing part, the one on one interview and i've done the medical and security checks they've rang my references but I just don't know whether i Have the job or not I'm stressing out do you have any information that could help my crisis? Thanks
Regina
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Applyed to southwest air for a flight attendent position, that was over month ago still haven't heard anything. Any advice. Help
Tanya3
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what does the agility test consist of.
Carole- I'm happy to help answer the questions you receive on how to become a flight attendant. I've been assisting "wanna-be's" for over 10 years now at no charge to anyone. Feel free to give my e-mail out to anyone. Tim Kirkwood, Author THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT JOB FINDER & CAREER GUIDE
i went to my GI but i wasn't one of the few people they held back for one on ones. connie said "if we didn't call your name, don't be discouraged, and be sure to hold on to everything we asked you to bring". i still feel discouraged! i heard from an fa that if you're not one of the few they held back that you probably won't be called for a one on one. i bought new shoes just for my interview...unfortunately along w/the new shoes came new blisters and i ended up walking like a pirate. do they have a "no pirate" policy?? is that where i went wrong? i miss flying...
Hello Hello, I am a 9 year FA with AA and have thought about joining SWA for a few years now. My mother who is also an AA FA is having to retire this year after being off the line since 2003 after having numerous brain surgeries. This family set back relocated me to Orlando a few years ago. It has been a GREAT move and nice to be closer to all my family. I LOVE MY JOB but not fond of knowing that I will be a commuter forever with no end in sight. If anyone has a little info on bases that are usually given to new hires and what kind of lock in periods follow I would LUV to hear from you. Is MCO considered a senior base? I commute on ya'll all the time and would love to part of the SWA family. Thanks for ANY bits of info. Have fun and fly safe!!!! ----Cali email--- metters75@hotmail.com
Great info! Can you tell me more about flight attendant school. Where are they offerded in Texas? San Antonio? How many people go through the program? How many people fail?
I have wanted to be a flight attendant for quite sometime now. I finally applied to SWA a month ago and have been invited to a group infomation session on 6/23. Can you tell me what to expect. Do's and don't do's. Also what does the agility test consists of? Thanks for your help.
Carole, Good morning and good afternoon, and most of all Hello. I have been a flight attendant with another airline for the last year, I too was going through midlife crisis at the age of 42. After making it through the hardest thing in my life (training), my kids were a breeze compaired to training..haha I have decided to move on with a bigger airline and Southwest was my first choice (and the fact that i can show off my legs-but first i have to tan them..haha) and i have been invited to and interview with southwest on the 23rd of June. yes yes yes..I ran across your blog and after reading it, i became so much more relaxed about going to my interview with southwest. I feel that i have a pretty good sense of humor and i love to laugh, my kids tell me that i need to act my age, (and i think to myself, ya right) and then i reply with, you can be as young as you want to be, does not matter the age.. Anyway, i am writing to see if there are any tips you can give me before i go into my interview. I will owe you a lunch of your choice (at McDonalds) haha just kidding. Anything you can give me would be very helpful.. thank you for taken the time to read my blog to you,. Theresa Horton
Reggie walker, Hello my name is Terie, I see that you have a interview date the same day as mine. I would love to chat with you if you should get this blog before Saturday. If we don't chat i will be looking for you in the interview just so that i can say hello and nice to meet ya. Terie
i flew for nwa for 10 years, applied for swa, got a group interview, and didn't get held back for the one on one interview. got my rejection letter today.
After 22 years as a f/a with UNITED, it was time to call it quits! Literally. I was soo burned out with management crap and pay cuts going to the greedy bastards at the top.... I left. With no regrets,except for the fact that I had NO plan. That was Mar 19, 2006. Time away has been good for me. I MISS FLYING! I became to hate the job because I hated what UAL had become. So I'm crossing my fingers and say'n my prayers that SouthWest calls me. I applied six weeks ago and can't wait to get back into the sky! Wish me luck.. David in Chicago
My story is similar, I was a flight attendant for a number of years, not just with United, but others which include,Tower air, Carnival airlines , Winair, and then United, the last airline I worked for. Fear of losing my job when United filed for chapter 11 , and my domicle closing in PHL, I decided to call it quits, my current place of residance is West Palm Beach Florida, I'm currently employed in sales at a local Bestbuy store, I think about flying at least once a day and miss it , I will be moving to Orlando because Southwest has a large flight attendant domicle there, I will also be seeking employment once again to fly the friendly skys, David good luck and i'll see you at Southwest. Mike H
I am looking for someone to explain to me why I want to make a career change at age 51. I have been working in th operating room for twenty-nine years as a surgical techinician.and need a change. I have a Twenty year old and she has moved on with her life now I have emptyness syndrome I need a change and want to become a Flight attendent can you help. If so please e-mail de Thank you Barbara
I will loved to be a Flight Attendant
noli
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Hi my nae is nolleisha and i was wondering if anyone knew how long it took before someone contacted you about a job. I recieved a letter from southwest to go to a group interview session which was on Sep 20th. they told us that they would contact us through e-mail, but i havent heard anything yet. I was also wonder, even if u dont get invited back to a second interview, do they stilllet u know. It would be helpful if smeone had the answer to this. Thank You.
I have been talking and thinking about applying at Southwest as a Flight Attendant for two years. Once I finally made up my mind that this is definitely what I want to do--Southwest stopped accepting resumes! I have bookmarked Southwest and visit Southwest Careers at least once a week and I am still waiting (somewhat patiently) for resumes to be accepted once again. I have an aquaintance who is a SW flight attendant, she offered to submit a recommendation for me once resumes are being accepted again. Another aqaintance of mine got a referral from a friend (SW flight attendant) of hers and was catapulted to the head of the pack. She was able to get an interview without submitting an on-line resume, and is now waiting to hear whether or not she is going to flight school. I was soooo excited when I talked to her--I was sure that my flight attendant aquaintance could give me a referral as well. I called and asked her if she could--she went on-line and checked out the criteria for a referral and informed me (much to my disappointment) that because our relationship is more "aquaintance" rather than a "personal life-long friendship" she was unable to answer the questions because she didn't know me well enough. I totally understand--but I am soooo sad! I will be 50 this summer--my fourth and last child is leaving for college. I have worked for a non-profit for 8 years in Development and I love my job--but I am ready for something new and different. I love to travel and I get my energy from people. I am outgoing, attractive, well groomed and perfect for the job. Please if someone reads this that can give me some advice on how I can submit my resume or get an interview I would really appreciate it. You won't be sorry. Thanks for reading my post!
Here's some tips for your interviews: The interviewing process for the position of flight attendant is like no other interview you've ever had. Instead of a sedate interview of your past, held in the Human Resources office of a corporation, you may find yourself singing and dancing in front of a crowd of people! Because of this, successful applicants prepare for interviews with their airlines of choice by attending interviews with airlines they have no intention of working for, just for practice. That way, they're better prepared for any question or situation an interviewer might throw at them. You can also gain valuable information by utilizing the resources listed in the "Career Resources" section in the back of the Flight Attendant Job Finder & Career Guide. Knowledge is a good thing, and there is no such thing as enough interview knowledge. During the interviewing process, most airlines will start with a group interview or "cattle call". A large hall will be rented and groups of applicants will be given an overview of the airline and job requirements. You are usually asked to fill out an application at that time, so you will want to have your resume information with you. One of the surest ways to be bumped from an interview is to say, "Can I get back to you on these dates? I don't have that information with me." Or, the airline may have mailed you an application to your home. If this is the case, it should be completely and neatly filled out before you arrive at the interview. As we mentioned in the previous chapter of the Flight Attendant Job Finder & Career Guide, it is even recommended to make a photocopy of the application, so you can practice filling it out, then putting that information on the original copy as neatly as possible. You should also make a photocopy of the finished application, and bring it with you to the interview. Following the "cattle call", small groups of applicants may be taken before a panel of interviewers. Further interviews may be given at that time or applicants may be notified of follow-up interviews by phone or mail. The second and third interviews may consist of groups of applicants meeting with a panel of interviewers, a single applicant meeting with a panel, or a one-on-one interview. Usually you will be sent a pass to travel on your prospective airline to interview in their training city. These are "on-line" passes, and are good only on that airline's routes. If you don't live near a city your airline flies to, you will have to pay your own way to get to the closest city where the airline operates. So what makes these interviews so different? The fact is, the interviewers already know your personal history - it's on your application, which has been pre-screened prior to your arrival. What the interviewers want to find out about you is your character: How do you handle stress? How do you conduct yourself when faced with a difficult passenger situation? How well do you work as a team player? How do you take direction? Are your social graces sufficient to fulfill the requirements of the job? These are the most important criteria toward which the focus of the interview will be shifted. Therefore, the interviewers are not necessarily going to ask you about your last job. They're going to put you in situations and see how you get yourself out of them. For instance, in your group of applicants, you may be asked to stand up on a stage and sing the company's slogan, or invent a new one. They may give you an object, perhaps a pen or paper clip, and instruct you to "sell" it to the rest of the group. Many will give you in-flight problem situations, for role-playing, and evaluate how you handle them. Many of these scenarios will have no "right" or "wrong" solution, and the interviewers do not expect you to know their specific corporate policies. They want to see how well you "think on your feet" and apply common sense to your solutions. Airlines love to throw hard questions at you, to see how you react. Some examples of these are: "You have such beautiful long hair. Would you cut your hair short to get this job?" "This job will require you to move to New York (or Des Moines, Walla Walla, Timbuktu...). Will this create a strain on your relationship with your boy/girlfriend?" "You are going to have to work every holiday for the next three years, before you even have the possibility of getting one off. Are you prepared for this?" "Why do you want to be a flight attendant?" Please don't answer this question with the standard answer of "...because I love people and I love to fly!" Interviewers hear that response hundreds of times a day. A more correct answer would be one that demonstrates what you have to offer your prospective airline. This is where your homework will come into play. Mention the new city that the airline is flying to, or the new nomination for CEO, etc. If you chose them for the chance to utilize your language skills, let them know that. Everyone at the interview wants to be a Flight Attendant. The airline wants to know why they should choose you over the other applicants. What skills will you bring to the airline to improve its standing in the marketplace? The pressure will be on you to perform, as there are no right or wrong responses. If you list a foreign language on your application, someone will test you, so you had better know more than "Buenos DÃ
I also applied to be a flight attendant at airlink and I'm going for my third interview on friday and I'm so nervous, I dont know what to expect.
Hello, my name is Kim and I am a 19 year-old college student that has always dreamed of being a flight attendant and traveling. I have alot of experience in guest service from working as a server at Olive Garden and working at Disneyland (Haunted Mansion, Pirates) as a Attractions Hostess (Ride Operator) and Guest Control for shows and special events. I have also worked in Merchandise (Main Street Emporium) and Attractions (Jungle Cruise) at Walt Disney World. What are my chances of getting hired as a flight attendant with my current experience, age, etc? I appreciate any and all feedback. Thanks!
sonia
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i am a recently hired FA with SWA and can tell you from first hand experience that the excerpt from THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT JOB FINDER & CAREER GUIDE by Tim Kirkwood is dead on and EXCELLENT advice for anyone seeking this amazing job. Looking back over my journey to where i am now , i can attest that it was such an awesome, stressful, soul searching adventure that i wouln't trade for the world. it was sooooo worth it!!!! i LUV my job.
kayla
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I am interested in becoming a flight attendant. i am graduating high school this year and am living in virginia beach, VA. I am willing to relocate to Baltimore, MA for training. I was wondering the age requirements and if i need a college degree? Do i need to live in Baltimore or can i reside in VA? PLEASE HELP!!! The website has no info!!
I desperately want to become a SW flight attendant. Any idea when they might be hiring? I keep check the web site daily.
Marvin
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Hi! Everyone, My name is Marvin, I am so happy to annonce that I am so excited of being a part of SWA family, I have just recently recieved an invite to a SWA training, nervous, about the training really. I don't know what the training is about. I strongly feel that I want to study now and be ready before I actually go to the training. When you want something so bad that you want to be on top at all times. I believe that reaching for your goals are not enough in getting where you need to be, but wanting it more than anything is the actual key to success. By saying so, I can't wait to meet everyone in the Airline family.