This guest post from Illinois high schooler Hannah Munson originally appeared in the July 2014 edition of our onboard magazine, Spirit. Southwest Airlines has proudly supported the Congressional Art Competition for 13 consecutive years. In 2014, 370 congressional offices participated in the Congressional Art Competition. Southwest donated complimentary airfare to more than 350 students to travel to Washington, D.C. to see their award-winning artwork hang in the Capitol. Additionally, Southwest Airlines donated airfare for guardian guests to accompany the students to the Capitol, totaling more than 700 roundtrip ticket donations. Winning students who live in cities without convenient service to D.C. or the surrounding area were awarded alternate grand prizes. Hannah Munson created her winning work (above) with pencil.
For as long as I can remember, I have doodled and drawn in my notebooks. I enjoyed it but never considered myself an “artist.” That changed a few years ago, thanks to my high school art teacher. She encouraged me to challenge myself artistically and helped me see the potential in my art. Later, she continued to cheer me on and asked me to submit my work for consideration in the Congressional Art Competition, a nationwide event sponsored by the Alexandria, Virginia–based Congressional Institute. High school students from participating districts across the country enter for the chance to have their artwork placed within our nation’s Capitol for an entire year.
I had entered contests before, but winning this one would come with a bonus: two roundtrip tickets to Washington, D.C. (courtesy of Southwest Airlines), to attend the national reception and view the winning artwork on display in the Capitol. In 2013, Southwest supported a record 369 district competitions in this way.
Alongside many other talented artists, I submitted my work. I was elated and proud that my piece titled “A Hero’s Stolen Heart” was selected as my district’s first-place winner and would hang on the walls of our nation’s most treasured building.
Traveling to the national capital to represent the 16th Congressional District of Illinois at the competition was an exciting experience unlike anything I’d ever done. My dad and I attended the reception together and enjoyed all that Washington, D.C., has to offer. The experiences of visiting the city for the first time; meeting my congressman, Rep. Adam Kinzinger; and seeing my work displayed in the Cannon Tunnel, which connects the Cannon House Office Building to the Capitol, were all amazing.
Winning the Congressional Art Competition was a turning point for me: It solidified my desire and confidence to pursue my passion for the arts. My goal is to use my creative talents to help others through art therapy.
On behalf of aspiring artists everywhere, thank you to all who support the Congressional Art Competition. Because of you, my future—like my canvas—is open to endless possibilities!
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Did you know that approximately 20 percent of total ticket costs go toward federal taxes? Did you also know that airlines are required by the Department of Transportation (DOT) to advertise the full price including our fare and all taxes?
The DOT rule enables the government’s increased taxes to effectively go unnoticed by those who pay them. Air fare looks deceptively higher than it really is due to the federal taxes that are buried within. As such, air travel appear less competitively priced than other forms of transportation, including buses, rail, and even rental cars that are able to advertise fares without taxes embedded.
Simply put, this regulation is not pro-consumer, it is pro-government.
Recently the Transparent Airfare Act was introduced and has passed out of the House Transportation & Infrastructure committee. Airlines 4 America (A4A), our industry trade association, has created an online tool to help show support for the Transparent Airfare Act.
Take a moment to visit http://www.airfaretransparency.com/ and ask Congress to support transparent airfares allowing consumers to see how much of their ticket price is actually going towards federal taxes!
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Southwest Airlines and Dallas have a long and spirited Love story. Through good times and some tough times over the last 43 years, Southwest has shown a strong commitment to our hometown, Dallas. With the departure of the Wright Amendment just around the corner, we have some exciting times ahead!
Southwest wants to show Dallas even more LUV by adding 12 new, nonstop cities for a total of 20 additional nonstops from Love Field. We need your support to make this happen! Visit www.LUVingDAL.com to learn more and find out how you can help!
So, what’s Love got to do with it, exactly? Everything. Let’s take a closer look at our LUV story with Love Field and Dallas:
Through a partnership with the City of Dallas, Southwest has been instrumental in transforming Love Field into a world class airport.
Southwest Airlines is headquartered in Dallas and is one of Dallas County's largest taxpayers, paying $16 million in annual property taxes.
In 2013, Southwest donated more than $970,000 (in cash and ticket donations) impacting a total of 428 Dallas-area organizations.
Southwest Employees over 7,700 local Employees in the Dallas area. Last year, these Southwest Warriors contributed nearly 30,000 volunteer hours within the region.
Southwest wants to grow our service at Dallas Love Field and add additional low fare options for North Texas Consumers. We are asking the Dallas City Council to grant us permission to use two additional gates at Dallas Love Field. These gates are available as a result of the U.S. Justice Department requiring American Airlines to give up the two gates it has under lease at DAL as a condition of its merger with US Airways.
With these two gates, Southwest is proposing to add 20 flights to 12 new nonstop destinations, and will provide one-stop or connecting flights to dozens of other communities. Learn more about these gates and how you can help by visiting www.LUVingDAL.com.
Please help us respectfully request that these two City-owned gates be granted to the airline that can produce the greatest benefit for Dallas taxpayers, businesses, and consumers: Dallas-born, Dallas-based, Dallas-invested Southwest Airlines.
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KC to DC: More Competition, Lower Fares, Larger Planes and a Lot of LUV
Southwest Airlines wants to show you the way to DCA! But, we need your help saving our MCI-DCA nonstop!
On March 25, Southwest Airlines will file an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to continue operating the only daily, low-fare, large-jet nonstop service between Kansas City International Airport (MCI) and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). We need your help to keep this flight, which could go to another airline and another market.
How can you help?
Please join the growing list of travelers who support our application by adding your name to the online petition at www.kctodc.com! The petition process is short and simple (less than two minutes!) and will send a loud and unified message to the DOT. Help us respectfully urge the DOT to approve Southwest's application to serve the KCI-DCA market on a permanent basis.
After Frontier Airlines ceased nonstop MCI-DCA service in January 2014, Southwest stepped in, per DOT’s approval, to assume this important flight. Specifically, DOT granted Southwest temporary use of two “slot exemptions” at DCA, until it could begin a formal proceeding to reallocate these slot exemptions permanently. Without Southwest’s entry into this market, MCI-DCA consumers would have been left with monopoly, small-plane service (i.e., three regional jet flights by US Airways).
It is significant that Southwest's one daily nonstop flight – operated with a 143-seat Boeing 737—represents nearly 50 percent of the daily seats along this nonstop route, which underscores how underserved the MCI-DCA market would be if Southwest is unable to retain this flight.
The MCI-DCA market is of the size and importance where a low-fare option is particularly critical for local consumers. Moreover, as MCI's largest airline, Southwest provides important one-stop and connecting options for DCA-bound Passengers from other parts of the United States.
Let’s us show you the way to DCA with More Competition, Lower Fares, Larger Planes and a Whole Lot of LUV! Take action now!
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Southwest is engaged in a new effort to acquire slots and add flights at Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) and we need your help to make it happen! On Wednesday, December 5 th , Southwest filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for slot exemptions that would allow Southwest to offer nonstop service between Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) and William P. Hobby Airport (HOU). The proposed service is possible due to Spirit Airlines’ discontinued use of the slot exemptions, which are available for use inside Washington National's traditional 1,250 mile service perimeter.
Southwest’s application points out that current average fares for nonstop service between Houston and Washington National are more than 60 percent higher than Southwest's average nonstop fare between Houston and Baltimore/Washington International (BWI), a similar distance. Southwest projects that its proposed HOU-DCA service would attract tens of thousands of new Passengers and save consumers millions of dollars annually.
Our 41-year history of improving competition, lowering average ticket prices, and stimulating travel in the markets we enter speaks for itself, but we still need YOUR help to get the slot approved! As part of the effort to bring a low fare alternative between HOU and DCA, we are asking Customers to take action at www.Southwest.com/HOU-DCA . Visitors to www.southwest.com/HOU-DCA can receive additional information and sign a petition in support of Southwest's proposed service.
Visit www.southwest.com/HOU-DCA to join the growing list of travelers who support Southwest Airline’s application to the DOT!
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In an overwhelming 16-1 vote, the Houston City Council voted this morning in favor of Southwest's proposal for international expansion at Houston Hobby. Gary and more than 60 Southwest Warriors were in attendance for today's historic vote.
After the vote, Gary graciously thanked Houston Mayor Annise Parker and members of council for their support. He also thanked members of the Houston community who rallied behind our cause to Free Hobby! "This is a monumental moment for Southwest Airlines and the City of Houston," said Gary. "There is still work to do, but today we are one step closer to increased competition and lower fares for Houston's international travelers." Also, thanks to everyone who visited freehobbyairport.com to sign the petition or e-mail their council members in support of bringing competition and low fares to international destinations like Mexico, the Caribbean, and cities in central and South America. Houston, we have a solution, Hobby has been freed!
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Today was an exciting milestone in our efforts to FREE HOBBY! This morning, our HOU and HC Employees took City Hall by storm as we delivered crates filled with pages upon pages that included the names of our Free Hobby petition advocates. Local Employees made personal visits to City Council Members to deliver the crates showcasing our groundswell of support. In total we had 33,682 supporters from Houston and across the country who voiced their support of international service from Houston's Hobby Airport. Council Members were amazed at the vast amount of support from both the local voices and across the country. Additionally, each City Council Member received a Free Hobby shirt with signatures from our local Employees. Below, Southwest Supporter and Houston Councilman Burks sports his Free Hobby shirt with a group of HC and HOU Employees. A huge thank you to all who signed the petition! You are a part of Free Hobby history and helped us make a huge impact today. Up next in our fight is a vote by City Hall, currently scheduled for this afternoon. Stay tuned!
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The battle rages on in our fight to Free Hobby! Yesterday was a great day in our efforts to make Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) an international airport and the momentum continues to build. On Tuesday, May 8, the City of Houston held a joint committee meeting to hear from Southwest, United, and other speakers such as the Houston City Attorney. Southwest’s Chairman, President and CEO, Gary Kelly testified on behalf of Southwest Airlines. Through his testimony Gary brought to life the benefits Houstonians and international travelers would enjoy with the addition of International service from Hobby. Gary spoke to our 40-year history of low fares and economic stimulation. His testimony was impactful, historically-based, and effective as he made the case that the time is now to relieve international travelers from the burden of limited options and high fares. “Houston deserves more. Houston deserves better”, Gary stated. Houston City Leaders vocally expressed their appreciation that our Commander in Chief took time out of his busy schedule to present on behalf of Southwest. To view the documents that we presented to the Houston City Council and Gary's testimony, visit the resources tab at freehobbyairport.com. Always our greatest strength, our local Employees showed up in full force to show their support (seen above). The front of the City Council chamber was packed with energetic Southwest Employees who donned their Free Hobby T-shirts and buttons. Gary’s testimony was so impactful that it compelled yet another city councilmember to voice his support for our efforts at Hobby. To see a full list of our supporters visit the Our Supporters tab on www.freehobbyairport.com. But the battle isn’t won yet! We must continue to show Houston City Council Members the support both locally and nationally behind our efforts to FREE HOBBY. Join the over 24,000 supporters who are passionate about lowering fares and keeping competition alive by allowing international service at Hobby. Click the tabs under “take action” to sign our online petition and show your support. It only takes a moment. This is a monumental step in our efforts to fly internationally and we need all of our supporters to make it happen! Together, our voice is strong and sends a compelling message to vote with, for and by THE PEOPLE!
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During the beginning of 2011, my Southwest Co-hearts Ana Schwager, Anabell Odisho, and I all found out we would be first-time aunts! One by one, we each found out we would be welcoming nieces into the world. We were beyond thrilled! Ana was the first of the group to become an aunt. In early April, Ana and her family traveled from Nashville to welcome Ella Kate! Much like her Aunt Ana, Ella Kate immediately showed her originality and Southwest enthusiasm, making her grand debut at exactly 7:37 p.m.—a true Southwest baby. Next to don the title of “aunt” was Anabell. Anabell and I were traveling to an event in San Antonio, when she got the news that her niece was on her way. She quickly diverted her plans and hopped on the next LUV jet from San Antonio to San Diego. Auntie Bell was able to get there in time and welcome her sweet niece, Sophie Eliza, on June 18, 2011. Sophie shares a birthday with her mom and with Southwest Airlines, and not just any birthday—Southwest’s 40th! With all of these special Southwest babies being born, I desperately wanted to have a fun story to tell about my own niece’s arrival. I hinted to my sister that it might be exciting if the baby was born at 7:37 or had some other interesting SWA “spin” to her arrival. Not surprisingly, she was less enthusiastic about the suggestions as I was. When the time came to meet our new little bundle of joy, my parents and I hopped on a red-bellied jet from Dallas to Denver. I was able to be there with my sister and help welcomed Charlotte Elizabeth into the world. Overwhelmed with LUV and gratitude for this precious and perfect addition to our family, I had completely forgotten about my hopes for a SWA aspect to her arrival. A few weeks after I returned to Dallas, my sister sent me Charlotte’s newborn pictures. They were all precious (I might be slightly biased), but one in particular caught my eye. (Kim Jones Photography) I was thrilled when I saw the perfectly shaped heart that had been hiding on the bottom of her tiny foot! As it turns out, our Charlotte had a little Southwest LUV in her after all. On behalf of Ella Kate, Sophie, and Charlotte, thank you, Southwest Airlines for giving three doting aunts the freedom to fly to see these special little girls. And if they stay on the track they are on now, who knows, you might see them working together on a LUV jet in 2035. Ella Kate Sophie Charlotte
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A few weeks ago, we saw a blog post from our Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer, Gary Kelly, about the Stop Air Tax Campaign. Many of you have responded by visiting www.southwest-outreach.com/stopairtaxnow and telling Congress that deficit reduction should not happen on the backs of the U.S. airline industry and our Customers. The momentum is building, and we need everyone’s help to make sure our voice is heard on Capitol Hill! Take action by visiting www.southwest-outreach.com/stopairtaxnow.
Take a look at the facts: Recently, the White House sent a proposal to Congress that recommends two significant tax increases on our industry, a mandatory departure tax and an increased security tax. The proposed tax increases will greatly impact our industry and cost the airlines $3.5 billion annually and $36 billion over the next ten years. The increase in taxes is a cost our airline, our passengers, and our industry simply cannot absorb without having devastating effects on our business and the overall U.S. economy.
The Administration is recommending a mandatory $100 charge for every departure in controlled airspace, which will cost the airline industry $11 billion over the next ten years. Additionally, the new tax recommendations would DOUBLE the passenger security tax to $5.00 per one-way trip, and TRIPLE the tax by 2017 to $7.50. This proposed “SECURITY TAX” will cost the industry $25 billion alone, and $15 billion will go toward the federal deficit reduction rather than investing in airport or federal security. No other form of transportation bears the cost of federal security, including trains, ground transit, cruise lines, or maritime. Take action now at www.Southwest-Outreach.com/StopAirTaxNow and make your voice heard!
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Yesterday, Herb, Gary, Ron and several Leaders from the Austin Station were present at the Texas Capitol while the House unanimously passed a resolution by the dean of the House, Rep. Tom Craddick , R-Midland. The Resolution honored Southwest for our 40 years of service. The Resolution cites that on June 18, 1971, Southwest began commercial flights with three Boeing 737s and fewer than 70 Employees. It also mentions many of the amazing Customer Satisfaction rankings our wonderful 35,000 Southwest Employees have received! Please take a minute to read the full resolution below. Gary Kelly with Texas State Rep. Dawnna Dukes (District 46) After the reading by the House, Herb thanked the Texas Legislature and the Texas Supreme Court for all its support of Southwest Airlines since our inception many years ago. There were plenty of battles that took place to keep Southwest in the air and we persevered with the help of many from across the state of Texas. Honorable Joe Straus and Texas State Rep. Tom Craddick (District 82) with Founder Herb Kelleher, Chairman, President & CEO Gary Kelly and EVP Corporate Services Ron Ricks Upon closing, Gary and his wife Carol, Ron and his wife Eileen, and Herb chatted with members of the House and thanked them for this special honor. Check out the pictures of the event. CONCURRENT RESOLUTION
WHEREAS, Southwest Airlines is celebrating its 40 th anniversary on June 18, 2011, providing a welcome opportunity to celebrate the success of this signature Texas company and its cofounder, Herb Kelleher; and
WHEREAS, In the mid-1960s, businessman Rollin W. King conceived of a new kind of airline that could fly passengers inexpensively and quickly across short distances; in a meeting with his lawyer, Herb Kelleher, at the St. Anthony Club in San Antonio, he used a napkin to illustrate his idea, drawing a triangle with points labeled San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas; this simple sketch would go on to become a symbol of the infant company ’s ethos and to form the basis of its initial route map; and
WHEREAS, Southwest Airlines was chartered as a Texas corporation, and on June 18, 1971, the company began commercial flights with three Boeing 737 airliners and fewer than 70 employees; since then, thanks in large part to the dynamic leadership of Mr. Kelleher, who served as the company ’s chairman, president, and CEO from 1982 until 2001, Southwest has become one of the most respected names in the industry; now under the direction of Gary Kelly, nearly 35,000 employees schedule, maintain, and fly more than 500 Boeing 737s between 72 cities in 37 states; the airline operates 3,400 flights a day, making it the largest U.S. carrier of domestic passengers as of September 2010; moreover, the airline has turned a profit for 38 years in a row; and
WHEREAS, Southwest has regularly earned top rankings in safety from the International Airline Passengers Association, and it has consistently received the lowest ratio of customer complaints per passenger boarded of all major U.S. airlines according to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation; and
WHEREAS, This impressive record of customer satisfaction is no doubt linked to Southwest ’s approach to employee relations; in 1973, the company initiated the first profit-sharing program in the U.S. airline industry, and it has never laid off or furloughed a single employee; among its many honors, Southwest is often recognized as one of the best places in the country to work; in addition, it was recently named the "greenest airline" by the nonprofit group Climate Counts, and it has been repeatedly ranked as one of the most admired companies in the world by Fortune magazine; and
WHEREAS, Over the last four decades, the percentage of American adults who have flown on a commercial airliner has risen from 15 to 85 percent, a result that is often referred to as the "Southwest Effect," and on the occasion of this special anniversary, Mr. Kelleher, Mr. Kelly, and the employees of Southwest may indeed take great pride in their enormous contributions to the mobility of Americans and to the culture as a whole; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the 82nd Legislature of the State of Texas, 1st Called Session, hereby commemorate the 40th anniversary of Southwest Airlines and extend to Herb Kelleher, Gary Kelly, and the entire Southwest family sincere best wishes for continued success; and, be it further RESOLVED, That an official copy of this resolution be prepared for Southwest Airlines as an expression of high regard by the Texas House of Representatives and Senate.
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This Sunday is Flag Day. It is an easy holiday to overlook, but we need to stop and reflect on what our flag stands for. Bernard J. Cigrand, a 19-year-old elementary school teacher, placed a ten-inch, 38-star flag in a bottle on his desk and asked his students to write an essay on the flag and its significance. This observance was in commemoration of Congress adopting the Stars and Stripes as the flag of the United States on June 14, 1777. Cigrand spent many years trying to bring about national recognition to this historic day for our flag, especially within our schools. His tireless efforts were rewarded on June 14th, 1916 as President Wilson issued a proclamation calling for a nationwide observance of Flag Day. Like many young students before me, I began my school day by pledging allegiance to the U.S. flag. Every morning, after the school announcements, I would place my right hand over my heart, look up to the familiar Stars and Stripes and repeat the words that came so natural to me. “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America …” As a daughter of a veteran, I grew up in a very patriotic home, and while I have always had respect for the flag, it wasn’t until more recently that our flag took on a real meaning to me. A few summers ago, I had the privilege of living and working in our nation's capital. I worked in the Rayburn House Office Building, lived across the street from the Supreme Court, and was immersed in patriotism. During this time, I came to see the meaning behind our flag and the human thread that holds it together. I saw it as I watched an elderly man tracing his friend’s name on the Vietnam Wall. It was multiplied on my visit to Arlington National Park and amplified at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I felt it at the Iwo Jima memorial as I shook the hand of an old “gunny sergeant” who was amongst the Marines who stormed the beaches and launched that famous flag atop the hill. The flag came to life as I strolled through many of the museums along the national mall. You can see it in the faces of the Apollo 11 Crew and The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk. As I walked the halls of the National Portrait Gallery, the flag was personified in paintings of past presidents who served as the cornerstone and leaders of our great land. The character and spirit of our flag is shown in the works of Thomas Edison, Eli Whitney, and Henry Ford as they blazed the path for engineering and innovation. Old Glory has become much more than a schoolroom routine. Today, when I look at our flag I am filled with pride for the history behind it and the principles for which it stands. Our sacred flag of red, white and blue is just cloth, it can be reproduced but countless unique individuals have become the thread that has woven our country into the land of the free and the home of the brave “… with liberty and justice for all.”
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