As John Conlee sings the lyrics to “Common Man” you hear about a man who likes the laid-back life; someone who prefers his Budweiser to wine and a Chevrolet to a Mercedes Benz. But as I hear the song fill the Ryman Auditorium and see our Leader up on stage strumming his guitar, I think this is anything but “Common.”
Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly performs at the Grand Ole Opry with John Conlee. // Stephen M. Keller
Our Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer, Gary Kelly, was invited to play on stage the the Grand Ole Opry as part of their “I’m with the Band” program. This program features high-profile guests from the world of sports, business, journalism, and entertainment, and invites them to sit in with the band at the Opry for a performance or two. And what a performance it was—to a packed house at the Ryman, which included several Southwest Employees that came out to cheer him on. Joining country legend, John Conlee, the two opened the “Show that Made Country Music Famous” with the hit song “Common Man,” and Gary did not miss a beat! John Conlee’s band was so great, they even loaned Gary their limited-edition Martin guitar commissioned to celebrate the Opry’s 75 th Anniversary in 2000.
Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly performs at the Grand Ole Opry with John Conlee. // Stephen M. Keller
An encore performance with “Rose Colored Glasses” closed out the segment and as the curtain closed, John gave Gary his very own pair of rose colored glasses! Gary was presented a “I’m with the Band” framed poster to commemorate this once-in-a-lifetime experience. He joins the ranks of NBC’s Lester Holt, CBS’s Bob Schieffer and Paul Shaffer of “The Late Show,” who have all participated in the program. Gary is the first CEO given the honor.
For more than 20 years, Southwest Airlines has been a proud partner of the Grand Ole Opry, which has included our annual Southwest Night at the Opry, Grand Ole Opry concert series at the Southwest Porch at Bryant Park and branded Opry gate at the Nashville International Airport, to name a few. We can now add inclusion of “I’m with the Band” program to that list
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Southwest Airlines Employees show love to our Customers throughout their entire travel experience—whether they’re booking a flight at home, in transit at an airport, or flying on one of our planes. But our Hospitality doesn’t stop there. We're dedicated to the cities we serve and strive to be an integral part of those communities. One of the ways we have done so is by partnering with local spaces in various cities to create what we call the Southwest Porch—an inviting gathering place in the community.
In 2009, we first opened the Southwest Porch at Bryant Park in the heart of Manhattan. Recently, we renovated the space, and introduced our bold, new look to the design of the Porch’s menus and umbrellas.
Last Friday, we hosted an official opening event, welcoming guests to the Porch to experience the updated space. Michelle Chamuel, runner-up from season four of The Voice, performed an acoustic set while attendees mingled at the Porch.
Headed to NYC soon? You can take part in a variety of fun activities in the park, including bingo, concerts, movie screenings, and (in the winter) ice skating. We’re proud to share the love on the ground both with our Customers who live in New York City and those just visiting the Big Apple.
We invite you to visit the Southwest Porch at Bryant Park for a taste of our Southwest-style Hospitality. The Porch is open daily; visit Southwest.com/porch for details.
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Cancún, Cabo San Lucas/Los Cabos, Belize City, Puerto Vallarta, San José, Mexico City, Montego Bay, Liberia…
What do these cities have in common? We announced last week that we will serve all of these destinations out of our brand new international terminal in Houston starting in October. Tickets to all of these international routes from Houston are now for sale on southwest.com.
To celebrate our new routes, Southwest turned Hermann Square in front of Houston City Hall into a beach–complete with straw palapa huts, palm trees, and beach balls. Entertainment included a steel drum band, Mexico and Caribbean-themed food trucks, a photo booth, a dance troupe, and live music performed by the band TropicCrew. Representatives from the new international destinations and Southwest Vacations were onsite to provide travel information to party guests. Three lucky winners also walked away with vacation packages to Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, and Aruba!
Gary Kelly, joined by Houston Mayor Annise Parker, kicked off the day’s festivities by announcing Southwest’s newest addition to our route map and 97 th city: Liberia, Costa Rica.
Following the news conference, street teams made up of Houston-based Southwest Airlines Employees and guys dressed in scuba gear took to the streets to invite Houstonians to the beach bash and spread the message of the new schedule and fares. They gave away beach towels, sunglasses, and beach bags – all the items you’ll need for your need for your next Southwest beach vacation.
We closed the evening with City Hall shining bright in Southwest colors. While the sun slowly set on this historic day for Houston and Southwest Airlines, we look forward to launching our first flights from Houston to these new and exciting international destinations on October 15!
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With the flowers in bloom and Bryant Park as the backdrop, the Southwest Porch provided the perfect setting for a little wine and relaxation in the middle of Manhattan. Together, with our friends at Sutter Home, we brought a taste of the Napa Valley to New York City, offering our Porch patrons complimentary wine tasting for the afternoon.
The event also highlighted our partnership with Live In The Vineyard – a four day music, food and wine festival held in the foothills of California’s famed wine country, Napa Valley. During the festival attendees can experience private wine tastings, tours, exquisite foods and intimate concerts. Southwest Airlines will be sending a lucky winner and their guest to experience Napa Valley and Live In The Vineyard first-hand!
If you were not able to attend our event at the Southwest Porch at Bryant Park, you still have the chance to win this once-in-a-lifetime experience by entering our ‘Big Apple to the Bay,’ sweepstakes. For more information and to enter, click here. To find out about upcoming events at the Southwest Porch, check out our landing page.
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Drew Schofield Live at 35®!
Earlier this summer, in one of our Nuts About Southwest blog posts, we announced a contest to give an aspiring musician the chance to “Take the Stage in Nashville.” The winner received the exclusive opportunity to perform not only Live at 35® on a flight into Nashville, but also onstage at Nashville’s Musicians Corner concert.
We had many great and talented artists enter this contest, making it a tough decision for our panel of judges! Our judges selected one very talented and deserving artist: Drew Schofield, a resident of Denver.
On Friday, September 6, Drew came onboard the flight from Denver to Nashville, surprising and delighting our Customers with a concert at 35,000 feet! Among those in the audience were his wife, Chelsea, and eight-month-old son, Austin. Performing “Canvas” and “Audrey’s Song,” in addition to his winning submission that he wrote especially for the contest, Drew proved to be quite the Inflight Entertainment hit!
Drew with Flight Attendants Katie Fry, Candace Dickson, and Linda Ward.
Hope you enjoy the video, which illustrates Drew’s journey from start to finish.
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Nashville is called “Music City,” and rightfully so. You can’t stroll far down Broadway without hearing music wafting through the air. It’s the town that produced such musical legends as Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn, and George Jones and home to the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. And now, you have the opportunity to leave your own musical mark on Nashville!
In our “Take the Stage” Contest, Southwest Airlines is partnering with Musicians Corner and giving one lucky and talented person the chance to travel to Nashville to perform an acoustic set on the Musicians Corner Stage in front of a live audience at the Fall Season Kick Off Celebration. The celebration will be held on Saturday, September, 7, 2013, in Nashville’s Centennial Park. Not only that, but the winner will have the exclusive opportunity to perform during their flight to Nashville in one the coolest performance venues of all—a Southwest plane at 35,000 feet!
To enter, showcase your talent in a :30 second or less video and upload the video to YouTube. Then tweet @SouthwestAir using #TakeTheStage no later than 5:00 p.m. CT on Friday, August 23, 2013. A panel of judges, consisting of Nashville music industry professionals will review all entries and select the winner. The winner will be notified no later than Monday, August 26, 2013.
“Take the Stage in Nashville” Contest-
In partnership with Musicians Corner
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING.
VOID IN PUERTO RICO AND WHERE PROHIBITED.
1. How to Enter the Contest
a. Southwest Airlines “Take the Stage in Nashville” ("Contest") will begin on or around 10:00 a.m. CT on Tuesday, July 30, 2013 and will end on or around 5 p.m. CT on Friday, August 23, 2013.
b. To participate in the Contest, you may enter via the following method:
Upload a creative music video on YouTube and share the link on Twitter mentioning @SouthwestAir and #TakeTheStage for the chance to perform music live at Musicians Corner (Centennial Park, Nashville) on Saturday, September 7, 2013. Winner will also have the opportunity to perform live on a Southwest flight on Friday, September 6, 2013. All entries submitted will not be acknowledged or returned. By entering, Entrant grants Sponsor an irrevocable, perpetual, royalty-free, freely transferable license to use the video for all purposes, in any and all media, whether now known or hereafter devised. Videos must not be copied. Entries may not violate any third party rights nor use any third-party intellectual property such as logos or background signs, music, or lyrics. Entrants acknowledge and agree that their entry does not violate any rights of privacy or publicity and that they have the written permission of those appearing in their video to submit their image. Entries must not disparage; contain material that is inappropriate, indecent, or vulgar; or promote bigotry, racism, hatred or discrimination based on race, gender, religion, sexual orientation. Use of any device to automate entry is prohibited. Proof of submission of an entry shall not be deemed proof of receipt by Southwest. Southwest Airlines computer is the official time keeping device for the contest. Southwest is not responsible for entries not received due to difficulty accessing the internet, service outage or delays, computer difficulties or other technological glitches. By entering this Contest, you agree to abide by these Official Rules.
c. One entry per person is permitted. Any person found using multiple email addresses to enter will be found to be ineligible.
2. Eligibility Restrictions
a. The contest is open to all legal residents of the 48 contiguous United States and the District of Columbia who are 18 years of age or older and the age of majority in their place of residence as of July 30, 2013. Void in Puerto Rico and where prohibited or restricted by law. The contest is open to legal residents of the United States and is offered only in the United States. Employees of Southwest Airlines, AirTran Airways, and the members of their immediate families (spouse and parents, children and siblings and their spouses) and individuals living in the same households of such employees are ineligible to enter or win. The contest is subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Only one winner per household is permitted in any Contest administered by Southwest.
c. Entrants are required to provide truthful information and Southwest will reject and delete any entry that it discovers to be false or fraudulent. Southwest Airlines will disqualify any entry from individuals who do not meet the eligibility requirements, and Southwest Airlines will also delete any entry received from persons under the age of 13 in compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
a. One (1) grand prize to consist of the opportunity for one (1) artist, accompanied by one (1) guest to travel on Southwest Airlines to Nashville on September 6, 2013. Winner will play their music live on the Southwest flight. Winner will play their original music on the Main Stage at Musicians Corner on Saturday, September 7, 2013, time TBD. Prize package also includes 3-night double occupancy hotel accommodation, $300 in car rental certificates (pending winner meets car rental company age requirements) and a $500 performance stipend, courtesy of Musicians Corner. No prize substitutions, cash equivalent, or transfer of prizes permitted except at the sole discretion of the Sponsor. Prize subject to availability and the Sponsor reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to award a prize of greater or equal value if the advertised prize is unavailable. Sponsor will provide winner and their guest roundtrip tickets (subject to Southwest terms and conditions) on a Southwest Airlines flight originating from the nearest airport to winner’s residence serviced by Southwest Airlines for travel on September 6, 2013 to Nashville International Airport (BNA). Winner will also be featured as a "Daily Discovery" artist on AmericanSongwriter.com. Total approximate value of prize is $2,050.00. Winner must have valid government ID. All other transportation or other related expenses are the responsibility of the winner. Prize must be accepted as awarded.
b. In the event that a prize or prize certificate is mailed to the winner, it will be with the prior written consent of the winner and therefore, winner assumes the risk of its loss. Sponsor is not responsible for the safe arrival of a prize or prize certificate.
4. Selection of Winners
Decisions of judges with respect to the Contest are final. This is a contest of skill. Your chances of winning depend on how well your entry reflects the judging criteria, as compared to the other entries in the contest. Songs and lyrics submitted must be original works by the Entrant. The judges will be judging on the following qualities:
Creativity and Originality: 30%
Southwest and Musicians Corner Appeal: 30%
Rules: 20% Read and complied with the official rules.
a. The top video submission will be selected by a panel of judges on or around Monday, August 26, 2013. You need not be present to win.
b. Potential winner notification will be made by Sponsor via email. Potential winner must execute and return any required affidavit of eligibility and/or liability/publicity release in which they agree to hold Sponsor and its parent, subsidiary and affiliated corporations, and the officers, shareholders, directors, employees, agents and representatives harmless against any and all claims or liability arising directly or indirectly from use of the prize or participation in the Contest. Affidavits will be mailed or emailed based on the potential winner’s preference beginning August 26, 2013. Affidavits must be executed and returned within seven (7) days or prize will be forfeited and an alternate winner may be chosen. If a potential winner cannot be contacted, fails to sign and return the required affidavit of eligibility and liability/publicity release within the required time period, or if a prize or prize notification is returned as undeliverable, potential winner forfeits prize. Upon timely completion of required affidavits and release, winners should expect to receive their prizes in the mail by Monday, September 2, 2013.
a. Payments of all federal, state and local taxes are solely the responsibility of the winner. Winner may be required to sign an IRS Form W-9 or the equivalent.
b. By participating in the contest, the winner agrees to have their name, voice, or likeness used in any advertising or broadcasting material relating to this contest without additional financial or other compensation unless prohibited by law, and, where legal, to sign a publicity release confirming such consent prior to acceptance of the prize.
c. Southwest Airlines is not responsible for lost, stolen, mangled, miss-delivered, postage due, illegible, incomplete or late entries, telephone service outages, delays, busy signals, equipment malfunctions and any other technological difficulties that may prevent an individual from entering or claiming a prize.
d. Southwest Airlines, in is sole discretion, reserves the right to disqualify any person tampering with the entry process, the operation of Southwest Airlines website or is otherwise in violation of the rules. It further reserves the right to cancel, terminate or modify the contest if it is not capable of completion as planned, including infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention or technical failures of any sort.
e. Sponsor reserves the right to make changes in the rules of the Contest, including the substitution of a prize of greater or equivalent value, which will become effective upon announcement.
f. Failure to comply with the Contest rules may result in a contestant’s disqualification solely at the discretion of the Sponsor.
g. The Sponsor is not responsible for typographical or other errors in the printing, the offering or the administration of the Contest, or in the announcement of a prize.
h. Copies of the written Contest rules and a list of the winner (when complete) are available during regular business hours at Southwest Airlines, Customer Engagement and Partnership Marketing, P.O. Box 36611, Dallas, TX 75235-1611. For a winners list, send a self-addressed return envelope, after August 23, 2013. All requests must be received by August 31, 2013.
Sponsor is Southwest Airlines Co., Customer Engagement and Partnership Marketing, P.O. Box 36611, Dallas, TX 75235-1611.
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It's spring—time to shed those winter layers and head out into the sunshine! What better place to spend time outside than at a Southwest Porch? Southwest has created outdoor spaces in three of our cities: New York City, Dallas, and most recently, Atlanta. The Porches provide a comfortable, relaxing place for both locals and tourists alike to enjoy, sometimes in the midst of a bustling city. Not only that, our Southwest Porches host events such as concerts, executive chats, game nights, and more for the public to enjoy. We felt it only appropriate to hold an Opening Event at each of our Porches to celebrate not only being open to the public, but also for the season! On April 5, the Southwest Porch at Park Tavern in Atlanta threw open its screen door and enjoyed some Sweet Tea … that is the cool sounds and musical stylings of Ed Roland and the Sweet Tea Project. More than 150 people enjoyed this free concert, along with raffle prizes and discounted drinks under the stars in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park. This is but the first of many events that will take place on the Southwest Porch. Next up, is a Mother’s Day’s Brunch on May 12. If you’re in Atlanta, you can treat Mom to awesome food at an amazing place! The Southwest Porch at Strauss Square is nestled in the heart of the Dallas Arts District. Situated behind the Winspear Opera House, the Southwest Porch at Strauss Square is open for every performance at Strauss Square and during special events at the Winspear Opera House. In addition to comfortable lounge seating with a great view, the Southwest Porch at Strauss Square offers free ping pong, free WiFi, unique outdoor cuisine from Wolfgang Puck’s onsite grill, specialty cocktails created by Wolfgang Puck, and a signature Southwest Brew, Franconian Wheat, created by Franconia Brewing Company of McKinney, TX. Already this spring, the Performing Arts Center has held performances from artists such as Pat Benatar and Big Bad Voo Doo Daddy. Tickets for all events can be found here: http://www.attpac.org/. There will be many more events to come at The Southwest Porch at Bryant Park—we have a full lineup this year, which includes a different Southwest Airlines city featured each month! Next time you travel to the Big Apple, we hope you’ll stop by!
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Are you a Business Traveler that is tired of paying bag fees? Done with blackout dates? Fed up with change fees? Then we invite you to take the Southwest Airlines Business Travel Challenge, literally! If you’ve seen our new commercials, then you’re familiar with our obstacle course themed challenges that put Southwest Customers up against “those other guys.” In true Southwest fashion, we highlight our products and policies (No bag fees and No blackout dates, to name a few!) in a FUN way, all the while driving home the fact that “Business Travelers Win with Southwest Airlines!” We’ve taken this challenge to the streets, giving our Customers a chance to experience the challenge for themselves. Contestants fight their way through the “Bag Fee Barrage” and “Change Fee Fiasco,” trying not to get knocked off the platform by those unwanted fees, until their reach Southwest, where it’s smoothing sailing to the finish line. Contestants have a chance to win Southwest Airlines tickets and fare savers if they make it through to the end. The challenge made its debut at the State Fair of Texas and will hit the road, visiting Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles in the coming weeks. If you reside or visit one of these cities, keep your eye out for updates on times and locations on the Southwest Airlines Facebook page
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Dads in the New York area got a jumpstart on Father’s Day festivities yesterday as we invited them out to the Southwest Porch at Bryant Park for some friendly competition. We asked these proud papas to put their “Dad” skills to the test in the “Father’s Day Relay.” The obstacle course, which included some nail-hammering and tie-tying (among other things), challenged Dads at an assortment of activities right in the middle of Manhattan! First-place-finishers won gift cards courtesy of SkyMall, and one lucky winner walked away with roundtrip tickets on Southwest Airlines! The Southwest Porch also provided a great venue for these Dads to relax in the sunshine while watching coverage of the U.S. Open or practicing their own golf game at our putting green. This fun event was just our way to show some appreciation to Dads out there for all the wonderful things they do. A big “Thank You” to all those that joined us and on this day dedicated to Dads. Southwest wishes you Pops out there a very happy day!
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It’s hard to believe that the holiday season is upon us! What better way to kick off the season than to open an ice rink right in the heart of Atlanta! The Centennial Olympic Park Ice Rink presented by Southwest Airlines will open this Saturday, November 19 th and is the first major sponsorship for Southwest Airlines in Atlanta. To celebrate its opening, the first 50 visitors on Saturday will skate for free, courtesy of Southwest! We’ll also have a fun photo opportunity for all visitors to take part in! You can get an idea of what the rink will look like in the above picture. Not only does the ice rink offer a unique metropolitan backdrop, guests will enjoy covered observation seating, theatrical lighting on the fresh ice, and holiday music. To add, we’ll be out at the rink every Saturday (excluding 12/24) through the end of the year with opportunities to win free roundtrip tickets and other fun and surprising activities. Stay tuned for details on those events. The ice rink is open daily through January 29, 2012. If you find yourself in Atlanta, skate on over to Centennial Park! Hope to see you there! And remember, this rink is only the beginning for Southwest! We begin service to Atlanta on February 12, 2012!
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As you may have read in a previous blog post, or even seen live and in action, our Bag Cops are hitting up cities across the country, spreading the word that Bag Fees are wrong! Having made stops in Philadelphia, Baltimore/Washington, DC, Chicago, and Houston, the Bag Cops are warning the public about other airlines’ fees and making it known that Bags Fly Free on Southwest! They’ve even surprised a few folks along the way with free Southwest Airlines’ roundtrip tickets! Folks wondered if we would also be able to include a link for the Facebook "More LUV" tab to direct readers to our Bag Cop videos? The answer is yes; take a look. And there’s still more to come! Be on the lookout as our Bag Cops descend on Phoenix, Los Angeles, and San Francisco during the next couple weeks.
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Here at Southwest Airlines, if there’s one thing we LUV, it’s celebrating the Holidays! So, to help us celebrate, the world-famous Radio City Rockettes ‘kicked-off’ the busy Holiday travel week at Dallas Love Field. The precision dance company known for their eye-high kicks and fancy costumes, spent some time at Love Field Monday as they visited with Customers and Employees, posed for photos, even demonstrated a kick or two! Our Customers were in for a surprise when boarding their flights only to find a Radio City Rockette welcoming them onboard! What a great way to spread some Holiday cheer! The Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring The Rockettes is touring in several cities nationwide now through December 31.
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If there’s one thing our Chicago and Minneapolis/St. Paul Employees have in common, it’s that they both know how to celebrate new Southwest service! At the same time our first Customers were boarding the first MDW bound flight from MSP, we were celebrating the first MSP bound flight from MDW! Adorned with Viking Helmets, Southwest Employees Amy Marhoefer and Tracy Huck led the crowd in a count-down, 3, 2, 1…, before cutting the ribbon and leading our Customers onboard flight #2196 bound for Minneapolis/St. Paul. Our Pilots even traded their Pilot hat for a Viking Helmet to celebrate the inaugural flight! Throughout the day, we had FUN, Southwest Style, with our Customers. We tested their Minnesota knowledge and engaged in a little friendly competition with a "Viking-Hat-Ring-Toss" game. I'm pretty sure this was the first time our Customers tossed rings on a Viking Hat in the boarding lane! Of course, many fabulous prizes were given away to the lucky winners! Although our airport celebration came to an end, the excitement for our new MSP service is still going strong. We continue to give our Customers the freedom to fly to the great cities of Chicago and Minneapolis/St. Paul (and 63 others) by offering Low Fares and great Customer Service!
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