Yesterday Southwest inaugurated service to our 100 th city, Havana, Cuba! With commemoration in both U.S. gateway airports, Tampa International and Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International, Employees and Leaders joined Customers in traveling aboard fully booked inaugural flights from both Florida airports to Havana.
Southwest today inaugurated service to our 100th city, Havana, Cuba! With commemoration in both U.S. gateway airports, Tampa International and Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International, Employees and Leaders joined Customers in traveling aboard fully booked inaugural flights from both Florida airports to Havana. TPA-HAV Passengers showed off our 100 destinations by each holding a fan labeled with one of our Southwest cities. Over at FLL, Crew and Customers donned Cuban sombreros and waved Cuban flags as the aircraft departed.
Before a welcoming delegation at Jose Marti International Airport, Gary said, “I’m grateful to the more than 53,000 Southwest Employees and their predecessors across our 45 years of service excellence who built our airline to this moment in history—we now operate flights from 100 cities across nine countries. Our daily nonstop flight from Tampa and twice daily service from Fort Lauderdale bring additional vital links for our Customers who turn to us to connect them with places and people shaping important moments and memories in their lives through unmatched value in air travel.”
Service to Santa Clara, Cuba, our 101st city served, begins this Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016. Service to Varadero, Cuba, began Nov. 13, 2016. By the end of this year, Southwest intends to offer six daily roundtrips between two Florida gateways and three Cuban cities, as the work continues to open the new, five-gate international concourse in Ft Lauderdale next summer.
Follow along as we celebrate this milestone day with the hashtag #Southwest100.
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This morning, Southwest filed an application with the U. S. Department of Transportation to offer the first U.S. carrier nonstop service between Oakland International Airport and both San Jose del Cabo/Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, beginning in February 2017, subject to governmental approvals.
Southwest Vice President Leah Koontz announced the proposed flights to gathered guests and media near our Oakland Ticket Counter. Leah shared that linking the San Francisco Bay Area to these popular Mexican beach resort areas with time-saving itineraries will bring our Customers low-fare and high-value service that is an exciting addition to our growing international portfolio.
Additionally, Director of Aviation for the Port of Oakland shared that The Port is undertaking a major renovation of its Terminal One: a new security checkpoint and international check-in and arrivals area is scheduled to be completed in the second quarter of 2017; a modernization and expansion of the airport’s passenger federal inspection station (FIS) for U.S. Customs & Border Protection services is scheduled to be completed in the third quarter of 2017. Southwest’s continual investment, especially with new medium-haul and long-haul flights has made Oakland International the fastest growing major airport in California in terms of passengers.
While we await DOT approval to offer our fares and flight schedule, we want to be the first to share exciting news—stay tuned to the Southwest blog where we’ll share details as we receive them.
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Southwest Airlines launched the month of love in a big way across Atlanta, showing Customers our Employees’ Heart. More than a thousand Employees and guests joined Gary and many of our Senior Leaders at the College Football Hall of Fame in downtown Atlanta on Friday night to get a preview of a new campaign that’s putting our Heart all over Atlanta. This video recaps the LUV-filled event and features our brand new ads (airing only in the Atlanta market).
Employees check out a wall of helmets on display as Southwest Airlines recognizes it's Atlanta Employees with a celebration at the College Football Hall of Fame. // Stephen M. Keller
"This creative leaves no doubt about who puts the Heart in Hartsfield-Jackson,” said Southwest’s Chief Marketing Officer, Kevin Krone. “Behind Bags Fly Free® (first and second pieces of checked luggage, size and weight limits apply), No Change Fees, and being the Low Fare Leader, our People stand as the smiling guardians of our Brand promise and make Southwest everything we are.”
Our goal here in simple, we want to show that we fly to the top 40 destinations Atlantans want, at flight times that are attractive, delivered by the best People and with unrivaled Value and Customer Service.
Southwest Airlines Chairman, President and CEO Gary Kelly talks with Employees at a Company celebration at the College Football Hall of Fame. // Stephen M. Keller
Southwest has donated nearly $2.9 million dollars to area community organizations since touching down in Atlanta. Southwest is the official airline of both the Atlanta Falcons and the College Football Hall of Fame, presenting sponsor of the Georgia Aquarium, and a partner of Piedmont Park Conservancy, Atlanta’s most visited green space. In addition to being named one of Atlanta's "Best Places to Work," Southwest is also a strong supporter of UNCF, the Atlanta Business League, and many other community and business organizations.
Be sure to check out our social communities today and read the news release on swamedia.com that are pointing Customers headed to and from Atlanta to a news-making fare sale.
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We’re excited to make it official today by filing to fly from our new international facility at Houston (Hobby) to four destinations in Mexico plus Costa Rica, and a new country for Southwest Airlines—Belize! The service to six destinations in three countries would begin in October 2015, subject to government approval: Cancun; Mexico City; Puerto Vallarta, and San Jose del Cabo/Los Cabos, Mexico; San Jose, Costa Rica; and Belize City, Belize.
Shortly after our legal team filed the paperwork with the U.S. Department of Transportation, Southwest's CEO Gary Kelly shared the news before a gathering of airline industry leaders, media, and financial analysts in New York: “Service to Mexico will be the cornerstone of our international operation at Hobby and the four cities we are announcing today provide exciting travel and business options for consumers. Adding Belize to the Southwest network and growing our Costa Rica service continues our expansion to international destinations where our People and consumer-friendly policies can deliver as no other airline can.”
These new flights will be possible after construction wraps up on a $156 million five-gate international concourse now taking shape at Hobby to increase capacity for all airport functions and add a Federal Inspections Services (FIS) facility for processing arriving international passengers. At the same time, the City of Houston is preparing for the new facility by improving surrounding infrastructure including a new parking facility, central utility plant, and roadway improvements throughout the Houston Hobby Airport district.
More than 3,200 Southwest Employees are based in Houston, an original Southwest city that now supports the fifth busiest operation in our network of more than 90 airports across six countries, with approximately 150 departures a day from Houston (Hobby).
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Branson's finest turned out for a star-studded welcome party for Southwest Airlines. Amid the celebrities, cheers, and balloons was an unrivaled fondness for the LUV carrier. Service begins March 9, 2013 with nonstop routes to Chicago Midway, Dallas Love Field, Houston Hobby, and Saturday service to Orlando. Get booking now, at southwest.com!
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One of the great things about airports is people watching. Even if you're not into airplanes or the air travel experience, you're bound to see something or someone memorable on a trip to a busy terminal like Milwaukee's Mitchell International.
And when you throw in the hometown fans' love of— alright, let's call it an obsession with— baseball and the Milwaukee Brewers, one group that showed up Tuesday afternoon to pinch hit for Southwest Employees didn't stand a chance of sliding in under the radar.
It's the first time Southwest, Official Airline of the Milwaukee Brewers, has brought our beloved and successful Trading Places experience to Brewtown. For Yovani Gallardo and Jonathan Lucroy, it's also a first — having a hand in running the largest domestic airline in the country. “Let’s begin pre-boarding for people who need extra time to get down the jetway,” said Jonathan Lucroy at the mic of Gate D52. Just more than 12 hours earlier, he and teammate Gallardo were wrapping up extra innings at Miller Park. Gallardo and Lucroy had the insider, Southwest experience, doing what our Milwaukee Employees do so safely and predictably every day – bringing in an aircraft, off-loading baggage and cargo while Customers deplane above. Then, inside 25 minutes, reverse the whole process and get the outbound flight in the air, ontime. Of course, it’s not every day that you have a Major League ballplayer take your boarding pass or help push a plane off the gate. Bernie the Brewer™ threw in his support and the The Famous Racing Sausages™ also cheered on the 25-minute turn. “I almost didn’t know what to think,” Southwest Customer Pat Pulaski said with a giant grin as he walked down the jet bridge. “On Southwest you know you’re going to get good service and a low fare, but you’re never quite sure what fun is going to happen. This is the best surprise ever!” Southwest flight 2146 to Tampa Bay pushed on-time. Nice job, guys! Now, imagine doing that successfully, 3,400 times each day across the Country. Our Pros make that look easy even on the toughest of days. "I'm going to ask them if they'd like to come back and work the ramp in January," said Doug Rutledge, Southwest's Milwaukee Station Leader, "and we'll go wrap up this homestand against the Giants. That sound fair? Ha!" For more photos of Trading Places: The Milwaukee Brewers and Southwest Airlines, please visit swamedia.com
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LAS-Based Captain Brad Burgmann loves Friday the 13th. No lie. And the date seems to love him, too.
On his pre-flight PA this morning before a flight from New Orleans to Dallas, Burgmann took the mic with a smile in his voice to let our Customers know they were on the right flight to find some luck on this particular Friday.
This Southwest Warrior was born on a Friday the 13th (of October) and has been hitting milestones on the dreaded day ever since:
He got his first job sacking groceries in his Colorado hometown on a Friday the 13th in 1983; Three years later, he piloted his first solo flight on Friday the 13th; And his first promotion happened <wait for it> on the same day.
It's a uniquely Western thing, by the way, this thought about Fridays the 13th forging an unlucky combination. The Spaniards and Greeks generally believe Tuesdays that fall on the 13th day of a month to be the most unfortunate. Many Italians believe Fridays the 17th to bring the most misfortune. Captain Brad, keep flying against the trend of perception and, by the way, congrats on your 13th year with the Company! Do you have a lucky 13 story to share? Let us know below. Good luck!
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It was all for the hometown fans—both those who cheer from their stadium seats and those who fill up our flights as loyal Customers. To surprise and delight both Employees and Customers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the Atlanta Falcons swooped in and traded places with some of our pros at ATL's gate C-16 Tuesday morning. This is the first time the successful and popular program launched by Southwest Airlines and its sports marketing partners has crossed into AirTran's airspace. Quarterback Matt Ryan led his teammates, cheerleaders, and Freddie the Falcon in turning out AirTran's 717, Falcon One, with some excellent Customer Service of their own. From the ticket counter, to the gate, to an onboard welcome and departure, the Falcons shared their smiles and personalities alongside our all-star Atlanta Employees. They spent some time on the ramp and in the Ground Operations tower learning the ins and outs of the many jobs that make their Official Airline the Low Fare Leader in Atlanta. Ryan might throw long, but he pushed the flight on time, and those Customers arrived early in Philadelphia.
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In this momentous year of reflection and celebration for anyone who holds LUV for Southwest, advertisers had their say, too, recently inducting our Chairman Emeritus into the American Advertising Federation's Hall of Fame. Forty years after Southwest's first ads beckoned our first Customers, Herb Kelleher entered the Hall of Fame with seven other legendary advertisers, including Bill Cosby, at a ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York. No surprise, Herb took a bottle of Wild Turkey whiskey to the podium as he accepted the honor with a humility and humor-filled speech that brought down the house: "Aside from being the spitting image of Jon Hamm, the star of (television's hit show set in a New York advertising firm in the 1960s) Mad Men, I have wondered why I'm up here? A question, by the way, that all of the other honorees this evening have asked me. I suspect it might be because Southwest has long been a passionate devotee of the power of advertising—we would be long dead without it…" "We've been a pioneer in breaking through clutter with fun ads, utilizing our own, wonderful Employees being themselves. We've also made sure that our ads never over-promise and that they positively reinforce our somewhat irreverent Culture. Our truly superb and exceptionally able Employees see and hear them, too." A short video produced by the creative genius at GSD&M, Southwest's agency for more than thirty years, showcased some of the most memorable "Herb ads" in the Southwest vault. Roy Spence (the "S" in GSD&M) nominated and introduced Herb as a business visionary, a tenacious competitor and a commanding general in the fight to democratize the skies. "Our advertising is successful because it's true, it's reflective of our Company's pillars of having fun while taking our Customer Service very seriously, and because those things have been consistently true through decades of Southwest history," Herb said in an interview just before the ceremony. "Advertising put Southwest on the map." Gary and other Officers and Employees who worked alongside Herb to build Southwest’s strong Brand through the years were on hand for the big night. Congratulations, again, Herb!
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When Carol Desoto walked off one of our BWI to MKE flights en route to her parent’s 60th wedding anniversary weekend on October 29, she didn’t quite know what had hit her. Sure, she had heard from the Flight Attendants on the inbound flight that Milwaukee’s first-ever "Eight Millionth Passenger" was going to be recognized in a big way. But the TV cameras, the lights, the balloons, and two Southwest tickets she was handed for simply walking into the record books by buying a low-fare and flying her favorite airline, it was something to behold. It’s been fun to watch so many Coworkers at Southwest also get their first taste of Milwaukee in the year since our first flights landed and took off from General Mitchell International Airport, November 1, 2009. I was just like them, having imagined one thing and then found something totally different. Not better, not worse—just different. The bones of heavy industry are still everywhere, framing decades of economic success with impressive monuments to old world architecture. The locals know, however, what everyone else soon feels—energy that is so new, so unbridled. And for Southwest, on the cusp of a new chapter in our history, that promise is equally limitless. The energy around the airport this week was a lot like that great weekend in which we introduced our Brand and SOUTHWEST SPIRIT to Wisconsin with a tailgate watching party that they’re still talking about! Besides recognizing the milestone eight millionth Customer (appropriately, she was aboard one of our flights that’s helped generated so much traffic for the airport), our Culture team did their best to make sure everyone felt the LUV. They served food to our Employees and treated them to free chair massages and commemorative photos of the anniversary. For Customers moving on and off our flights, we had coffee, bagels, and cookies—and a few chair massages, too. It’s been a great week to look back on how our Employees constantly deliver with great Customer Service everyday at MKE. Congratulations to you all on a great, first year. First down and many more to go!
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There's a different blue glow in the pre-dawn sky over Texas this morning. It's the diamond light of productivity from internet-connected laptops and smart phones aboard Southwest Airlines flight 1 between Dallas Love Field and Houston Hobby Airport. I started this blog from my middle seat at 33-thousand feet with both my MacBook and iPhone tethered to the internet as we speed toward the Texas Gulf Coast. "This is cool!" I heard Gary Tsatch say as he enabled wi-fi connectivity on his iPhone. All the while, he remained in 'airplane mode' while firmly planted in his comfy aisle seat. ( Cellular technology is not compatible with the internet service offered by Row 44, Southwest Airlines' partner in this first-of-its-kind offering of satellite-based internet service on a major US airline. ) Tsatch, who commutes three or four times monthly to manage databases for clients across Texas and Oklahoma, was pleased to learn he was experiencing another first in the sky. "I was onboard the first 727 from DFW to LAX with Airphone technology back in the 1980s," said Tastch. Other US airlines which have recently begun offering wi-fi service on select routes and limited aircraft rely on those same land-based towers to get connected. As we passed through 10-thousand feet elevation, most of us sitting on the aircraft quickly grabbed our technology of choice to take advantage of the new wi-fi offering. The system was working overtime to keep up but as soon as it kicked in so did we and..there was no looking back for the Customers onboard. I managed several e-mail replies and letters during the 44 minute flight. "Anytime I can knock out e-mails and take care of things if I have a few minutes of downtime, it saves interruptions later," Tsatch conferred with a colleague in the seat in front of him, who was also online. Southwest Airlines is testing the service pending FCC approval and is currently offering it to Customers free of charge on one 737-700 aircraft. By early March, four of Southwest Airlines' aircraft will be internet-capable.
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