This blog was authored by Nicole Brandon, Southwest Flight Attendant.
This year, my daughter Khloe, my husband Paul, and I joined a new family—the Kidd’s Kids family—when we were selected to go on the annual Kidd’s Kids trip to the Walt Disney World® in Orlando. If you aren’t familiar with this organization, Kidd’s Kids, founded by the late radio personality Kidd Kraddick, strives to make a difference in the lives of children and their families and sends them on the trip of a lifetime to the Happiest Place on Earth.
How did we become a member of the Kidd’s Kids family? This past summer, representatives from the Kidd’s Kids organization surprised us after I finished a trip with the news that we had been selected as a family to go on the Kidd’s Kids trip. This was amazing, especially following our daughter Khloe’s leukemia diagnosis in December 2018.
Since finding out that we were going to go on the Kidd’s Kids trip, we counted down the days until departure. We were so excited to have something to look forward to! The Kidd’s Kids trip was a welcome distraction from the doctor visits and medical treatments that have now become a part of our life. We also received such an outpouring of love from fellow co-Hearts and even strangers on social media when our story was posted to Southwest social channels.
The Kidd’s Kids send-off day finally arrived and it was the best celebration! The hangar at Burbank Partners near Love Field was filled with Southwest and Kidd’s Kids volunteers, the Kidd Kraddick Morning Show cast members, and other families who were going on the Kidd’s Kids trip. In total, there were 39 families with 40 Kidd’s Kids who were headed to Orlando on the chartered flight. It was the best send-off, and Khloe, Paul, and I felt celebrated and loved. The Morning Show cast called Khloe’s name and we were cheered down a red carpet as we boarded the flight. We took our seats toward the back of the aircraft and we were on our way!
This trip was one of the most memorable experiences we’ve ever had. While we have been to Disney before, it was especially meaningful to go this year. Without this trip, we would probably not have taken a family vacation due to medical costs and treatments, but thanks to the donations of Kidd Kraddick Morning Show listeners and Southwest Employees, we were able to leave our worries behind and take a trip together as a family. It was the best experience and we are so grateful.
We’ve been a part of the Southwest Family for more than 20 years since I’m a Dallas-based Flight Attendant. I’ve felt the love and support from my Cohearts as we’ve gone through one of the toughest times we’ve had to face as a family. Now, we have the support of the Kidd’s Kids family and we can’t thank Southwest enough for this connection. Before this trip, I had always wanted to volunteer to be on the Crew for the Kidd’s Kids trip. Now that we’ve had this experience, we’ll be paying it forward and helping send another group of families on this once-in-a-lifetime Kidd’s Kids trip.
... View more
The islands of Hawaii offer beautiful sights, a rich culture, and a variety of experiences. Maui, an island that is part of the Hawaii archipelago, shows off its unique flair in many fashions. Maui has the most miles of accessible beach than any other Hawaiian island, with sands of red, black, and white, and is home to the largest dormant volcano in the world.
With plenty of ways to explore, you’ll never run out of things to do. Hawaiian culture is inspired by the landscape that surrounds it, so take a look at how you can see and experience what makes Hawaii and its culture so special.
Old Lahaina Luau - Experience the most authentic Hawaiian luau hosted nightly at the Old Lahaina Luau. E komo mai, come, and be immersed in all its beauty and charm through great food, skillful dancing, and sincere hospitality.
Sail Trilogy Snorkel Cruise – Hawaii has plenty of sights to offer, but below the ocean surface the sights only get grander. Dive and see honu (Hawaiian sea turtles) and schools of exotic fish, all while being treated to local food and drinks. The crystal clear water of Honolua Bay and Maui’s marine life is sure to take you to a whole new world.
Maui Pineapple Tour – Have you ever wondered how pineapples grow? On a tree? In a bush? Learn more about the fruit, and enjoy tastings of the sweet, juicy Maui pineapple. If you’re a spirits fan, you can even add in a tour of a distillery that uses Hawaiian fruits and spring water
Maverick Helicopter – Enjoy a bird’s eye view of the island of Maui, the flora and fauna that covers the island, and the blue water that surrounds it. This exhilarating adventure provides a unique view of the island’s volcano, waterfalls, and rainforests.
Take It All In
Road to Hana – This famous and beautiful road has beauty and possibility for unplanned excursions around every corner. Stops include towns, surfing lookouts, trails through tall trees, opportunities to see waterfalls, the Garden of Eden Arboretum, and dozens of other adventures waiting at each mile marker.
Waianapanapa State Park – Located off Hana highway, this is home to one of Hawaii’s volcanic-sand beaches. The black sand, white waves, caves, and arches are all part of this unique park. Plenty of folklore and history makes for a special place to camp, fish, hike, and sightsee.
Grab a Bite
Da Kitchen – This island-style food is not only amazing, but also makes for an Instagram-worthy post. Da Kitchen was established in 1998 and has continued to elevate their food while keeping with the same local and traditional favorites. They have been featured on several food shows and this award-winning restaurant keeps locals and visitors alike coming back for more. So get out, and enjoy the local flavors!
A special thanks to the Maui Visitors Bureau!
... View more
As Southwest Airlines celebrates the one-year anniversary of the Great American Eclipse, we look back on an experience that our Customer, Photographer Jon Carmichael, had onboard one of our special eclipse flights from Portland to St. Louis on August 21, 2017. With his amazing Southwest Crew going above and beyond to help him capture his dream photograph, this memorable flight was etched in Jon’s memory for a lifetime.
... View more
Meet Elinor Otto, "America’s Longest Working Rosie the Riveter." Elinor began building aircraft in 1942 during WWII and continued working as a riveter until she retired from Boeing’s Long Beach factory at the age of 95. WWII was transformational in terms of opening the doors to greater advancement for women in the workplace and symbolized by the iconic image of "Rosie the Riveter" with her famous arm salute and the message, "We Can Do It!"ligning with Spirit of 45 Day that honors America’s WWII generation, Southwest recently welcomed the 97-year-old quintessential "Rosie" onboard for a special trip. Elinor flew from Los Angeles to New York City where she announced a national initiative honoring the women who worked alongside her during WWII.
Elinor’s presence at the airport and onboard did not go unnoticed, and she was welcomed with open arms in each Station she visited. Employees waved colorful posters, dressed in "Rosie the Riveter" ensembles, and introduced Elinor’s accomplishments inflight and in the decorated terminals. Customers got into the spirit by writing her notes of gratitude and by cheering her on as she traveled. Upon landing home at LAX, Southwest Employees showed Elinor around the Ramp, the Hangar, and other Southwest facilities where she felt very much at home.
We are honored to share this experience with Elinor, and we thank her for blazing trails in the aviation field for women and more!
... View more
This time last week Captain Lou Freeman was making his final descent on a career of 36 years of legendary service to Southwest Airlines. Captain Lou Freeman is more than just a retired Pilot; he is a trailblazer, hero, a mentor, a friend, a leader, a husband, and a father.
Captain Freeman was the first African-American Chief Pilot for any major U.S. airline and has been a huge advocate for encouraging diverse youth to pursue careers in aviation. He was one of Southwest’s original Adopt-A-Pilots where he spent time volunteering in the 5th grade classroom. He has also mentored and encouraged his fellow Employees to reach their dreams within Southwest Airlines. Captain Freeman is not just a Leader in our industry but within the Community as well. A regular volunteer for Southwest’s Continuing the Legacy in Aviation program, Lou has had the honor of giving back alongside the Tuskegee Airmen in an effort to show the participants that hard work and dedication can help them overcome barriers to achieve their dreams. Captain Freeman was chosen to fly Rosa Parks’ remains to her final resting place and he describes it as one of the greatest honors in his life.
We are so thankful for Captain Freeman’s dedication to and passion for Southwest Airlines. Captain Freeman has overcome barriers and made history throughout his life and has done so with grace and humility. Southwest is honored to have been a part of his journey. Even though he has retired, we know his legacy will live on as he continues to inspire others through his words of wisdom and encouragement. Thank you, Lou, for sharing this very special day with us! We LUV you!
... View more
On June 12, 2016, a senseless act of violence occurred at Pulse night club in Orlando, FL. Several Southwest Airlines Employees were there at the time, including Orlando Customer Service Agent Angelique Caro, who was shot twice. One year later, Southwest's Orlando Employees held a memorial at the Station, for the lives lost. Angelique continues to recover from her injuries, but I had a chance to sit down with her in this video. Team MCO—we’re all Orlando Strong, and we’re thinking of you.
... View more
What started as a Facebook post from DCA Ramp Agent Will Santiago, asking his Fellow Southwest Employees to share photos so he could show his young daughter that awesome women work on the Ramp, turned into an entire day in Baltimore meeting women in aviation. Thanks to everyone at BWI for helping make this day possible and to the women across Southwest Airlines for inspiring the next generation.
Check out Lilly's Day at BWI:
... View more
Captain Lou Freeman was Southwest's first African American Pilot, and the first black Chief Pilot at any major U.S. carrier. But he doesn't see himself as a history-maker, just a Pilot who loves to put smiles on people's faces. That's his legacy.
... View more
It could be argued that the Broadway musical Hamilton is one of the most exciting, if not magical, shows to debut in New York’s famed Theater District within the last decade. Though, that is only if you were lucky enough to snag a coveted ticket. Luck befell upon a group of talented young artists known as the Get Lit Players. With an invitation from Tony-Award winning actor Daveed Diggs, we provided airfare for the Get Lit Players from Los Angeles to New York for one unforgettable experience. Based in Los Angeles, California, Get Lit – Words Unite is empowering a new generation of poets through the merging of classic and spoken word poetry. For many of the Get Lit Players, a future under the bright lights of Broadway is a dream. It was a dream realized for Daveed, who served as a Get Lit mentor for current mentor Marquesha Babers. After overcoming a life of hardship, Marquesha travelled with her fellow Get Lit Players to see Daveed perform in Hamilton and to show that one’s art, poetry in this case, can be the gas for one’s future. Meet the Get Lit Players and hear Marquesha’s inspiring story!
... View more