“Surround yourself with people you can learn from.”
—George Laughlin, CEO, YEA Networks
Since the early ’90s, George Laughlin has been flying Southwest® for business and leisure. When he’s not spending time with his family, George is creating and producing content for radio, internet, and TV for YEA Networks, a company that syndicates programs like The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show. In his role as CEO, George is involved with Kidd’s Kids, the radio show’s charity, which benefits children with life-altering conditions. Although he spends countless hours in the air, George says his most memorable Southwest flights have been to Orlando, Florida, for the annual Kidd’s Kids Trip to Walt Disney World. For the past 13 years, Southwest has supported this trip by donating a chartered plane and providing airfare for the children and their families. Thanks for your many years of loyalty, George!
Friendly Faces “Southwest gives me flexibility by being prompt and convenient. Plus, from check-in to takeoff, everyone is very friendly, which puts me in a good mood.”
Beach Bungalow “The next place I want to check off my bucket list is Aruba or Belize. My family really wants to stay in one of those bungalows over the water.”
Campus Visits “I’m a big saver, so I like to build up my Rapid Rewards® points. My kids are starting to go off to college, so I’m looking forward to using my points for weekend visits.”
Interested in donating? Visit kiddskids.org/swa during the month of August to support this year’s Kidd’s Kids Trip.
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The following is a guest blog post by Brittany Salazar, the mother of a 2018 Kidd’s Kids participant.
Southwest Airlines and Kidd's Kids are truly making dreams come true! My daughter, Meredith, is a strong and amazing little girl—she has been fighting through her medical journey with remarkable grace and strength. This incredible trip to Disney World could not have come at a better time.
Meredith's story began in November 2017. Overall, she’s had a healthy childhood aside from the occasional visits to the doctor for colds, little viruses, and vaccinations. However, in late November at nine years old, she started to complain about joint pains. I took her to the pediatrician and listed her complaints. The doctor’s initial thought was that she might be stressed or getting bullied at school. We left with guidance to focus on her nutrition. A few days passed and Meredith was growing weaker, so we returned to the doctor’s office. This time a chest x-ray and lab work revealed pneumonia.
Following several more trips to the doctor, a week on the prescription for pneumonia, and additional weight lost, we ended up in the Children's Emergency Room, where we remained for a couple weeks. After going through numerous tests, Meredith was diagnosed with lupus on Christmas morning. During our stay in the hospital, the lupus had affected her brain, kidneys, lungs, heart, skin, and bladder.
She was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and also had lupus nephritis and central nervous system involvement including vasculitis in her brain. Because of Meredith's multiple organ involvement, they chose to be aggressive with her treatments, which included chemotherapy and high dose steroid infusions for eight months to get it in remission. Currently, she is taking more than 20 pills a day to keep everything under control. Right now, we are focusing on managing the disease and avoiding triggers that could cause her lupus to flare again.
Meredith and her six year old sister Kiley have always dreamed of going to Orlando to experience the magic of Disney. When we checked the mail and saw the invitation from Kidd's Kids, we were overwhelmed with emotion and immediately started crying happy tears. Meredith is most excited to make new friends with the other Kidd's Kids families, meet all the Disney characters at the park, and enjoy the rides!
Southwest is honored to fly 51 families to Orlando for a magical five-day all-expense paid trip to Walt Disney World for the 2018 Kidd’s Kids trip. This is the 12th year for Southwest to partner with Kidd’s Kids.
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Today is a magical day at Southwest Airlines. For the 12th consecutive year, Kidd’s Kids and Southwest are teaming up to host a telethon to help fund the Kidd’s Kids Walt Disney World Trip.
One day each fall, the Kidd Kraddick Morning Show dedicates its air time to raising donations for the Kidd’s Kids trip in November. Known as “Kidd’s Kids Day”, this is a large source of their funding. Growing in numbers every year, the listeners of the show donate their money for the cause. On this day, the Kidd Kraddick Morning Show reminisces about past trips, personal stories from children who have attended the trip, and encourages the audience to help change the lives of this year’s Kidd’s Kids.
More than 60 Southwest Employee Volunteers are manning the phones to process donations and all the money raised on Kidd’s Kids Day directly funds the annual Kidd’s Kids Trip. This year, we are sending 58 children with life-threatening and life-altering conditions with their families on the all-expense paid trip of a lifetime to Walt Disney World® in Orlando.
You can be a part of the magic too! Please call us at 1-888-SWA-KIDZ (1- 888-792-5439) between 6:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. CDT TODAY to donate. You will be supporting the trip of a lifetime for these special children for years to come—every donation counts!
At Southwest, we pride ourselves on having a big Heart and collaborating with the Kidd’s Kids wish-granting organization allows us to share our passion with very deserving families. Within minutes of sharing the telethon volunteer opportunity with our Employees, all the positions were filled!
In addition to hosting the telethon, Southwest donates the charter aircraft from Dallas and the airline’s Flight Crews volunteer their time to provide complimentary roundtrip air service to Orlando for the nearly 300-person traveling party coming from various points around the nation.
During the five-day trip, these special kids and their families enjoy all the amenities Walt Disney World® can offer. The annual trip is completely free for the families and Kidd’s Kids covers all of the expenses including hotel, park passes, meals, transportation, spending money, and souvenirs.
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“If you’re doing something you don’t want to do, go do something else—right now.”
—Will Pemble, CEO, Goalboss.me
Although Will Pemble doesn’t call himself a businessman, his success says otherwise. An entrepreneur for more than 25 years, Will built and sold the web hosting site web.com. But despite being an internet pioneer, he insists there’s no substitute for connecting face-to-face. Thankfully, Southwest makes it easy for Will to meet clients and, more importantly, to see his wife and kids at the end of the day. He believes life is about having fun, which explains the 180-foot roller coaster he built with his son in his San Francisco backyard. Will’s enthusiasm for combining work and play is tough to match, but our Employees are up for the challenge!
Photo by Drew Kelly Aim High “As an executive coach, I help people achieve goals. I’m launching Goal Boss, a web and mobile app that helps organizations—not just execs—develop their goals.”
Fair Share “Only do what only you can do, and learn to delegate. Get help from the people on your team to get the results you need.”
One of a Kind “Every person who works for Southwest is a member of a team. They bring their individual sense of play, personality, talents, and skill to the experience.”
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"It shouldn’t feel like a job. If you’re not enjoying it, you shouldn’t do it.”
—Bob Lee, Concession Vendor
It’s going to take more than an 1,100-mile commute to stop Bob Lee from getting to his dream job. While living in New York, Bob worked as both an FDNY firefighter and a part-time vendor at Citi Field. After 9/11, he retired to Oak Grove, Missouri, but the move didn’t keep him from his favorite pastime. Although it makes for an unusual start to his workday, the cross-country commute to Citi Field is no obstacle for Bob, who’s been selling snacks and programs for more than 40 years. He simply heads to the Kansas City International Airport and jumps on a Southwest Airlines flight to LaGuardia Airport, leaving him less than two miles from the Mets’ ballpark. Convenient and affordable flights allow Bob to live and work exactly where he wants.
Pinch Hit “Without Southwest, I would have given up traveling back to New York. The direct flight has made visiting a lot easier.”
Major League “I always stop for New York pizza—it’s the first thing I do. It’s just not the same in the Midwest.”
Double Play “During the World Series last year, I worked with both the Mets and Royals, so I flew back and forth between Kauffman Stadium and Citi Field. It required a lot of flights, but I earned a lot of points!”
On Deck “I’ve wanted to go to Yellowstone National Park since I was in grammar school, but I’ve never been able to make it.”
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Southwest is known for breaking the mold and this week was no different. We recently reworked our space inside Milwaukee’s Discovery World and we wanted to throw a truly unique celebration. Instead of a traditional ribbon cutting, Southwest partnered with Discovery World, and the city’s mayor to host the museum’s first-ever paper airplane fly-by.
Milwaukee Station Employees and Chicago-based Adopt-A-Pilots made the short drive north to help dozens of kids with their paper airplanes including teaching them about the physics of flight. Then, after a short news conference, the kids, Pilots, and executives took to the “sky” and launched their planes to officially “cut the ribbon” on the new exhibit space.
The space underwent a remodel this year to become consistent with our bold new look, as well as adding new interactive experiences. The main attraction might just be our flight simulator which gives kids of all ages the ability to take an airplane for a quick flight.
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Our Customers love music and we love our Customers. So naturally, we wanted to connect them to one of the coolest music events we could find—Willie Nelson’s 2016 Luck Reunion.
Headlined by Willie Nelson, the Luck Reunion is an event that attracts musicians, artisans, and chefs to celebrate music at Willie Nelson’s Ranch in Luck, Texas. This year’s reunion takes place Friday, March 18, and will host more than 35 bands on three stages, unique vendors, local pop-ups, and hand selected food trucks.
We are excited to welcome talented artists onboard, including Jack Ingram and Green River Ordinance, as they fly from their music cities to perform at this awesome event in the Lone Star State, but we wanted to take a step further. We are helping our Customers get access to the highly-coveted event tickets!
Here are the ways YOU can snag tickets to the Luck Reunion:
Follow us on Instagram: Due to the exclusivity of the festival, tickets are only available to purchase with a special code. Luckily, we created a unique code for you to use to purchase tickets. Make sure you check out our Instagram account, @SouthwestAir, tomorrow (Wednesday, March 16) for a ticket purchase code.
Rob Baird left 50 tickets to the Luck Reunion in special Lyft cars around Austin. Is it your Lucky Day? Photo by Ashlee Duncan/Southwest Airlines
Catch a Lyft in Austin: Singer/songwriter Rob Baird left 50 pairs of Luck Reunion tickets in Southwest and Luck Reunion-branded Lyft cars, so hail a Lyft car in Austin, TX, this Thursday, March 17, and you could receive a pair of tickets! Also, Lyft is making sure our Customers get to and from the event safely, so check out https://www.lyft.com/invited/LYFTTOLUCK to catch a ride out to the ranch.
Can’t make it to attend the Luck Reunion? Follow @luckreunion on Instagram and Twitter, and visit Facebook.com/LuckTexasReunion to see photos and videos of the event!
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I toss my bag in the overhead compartment, slide my coat beneath the seat in front of me, and slowly relax into my seat to enjoy the flight. As I tap my phone into airplane mode, I realize the aircraft has WiFi—score! But wait, where did I put my wallet? Is it in my bag that’s stowed away? Did my friend ever hand it back to me after dinner? The last thing I want to do is dig around my purse to find it.
Thankfully, I realized, Southwest Airlines offers Pay with Amazon to make onboard purchases stress-free. With the Customer Experience top-of-mind, Southwest Airlines is offering Customers an innovative way to purchase products while in the air. Now, Customers accessing the onboard Entertainment Portal, powered by Global Eagle Entertainment, can purchase WiFi, Messaging, and Movies using Pay with Amazon. The new payment platform offers Customers the security of using their Amazon account to make a purchase. When asked for payment, Customers who choose the Pay with Amazon option will be directed to log in with their Amazon account credentials to complete their purchase.
It may have taken me two attempts to remember my Amazon Payments log-in and password, but it was a whole lot easier than throwing the contents of my purse all over the Passenger next to me!
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I didn’t think code names existed outside of the FBI or James Bond movies. Turns out, I was wrong because sometimes there are projects so big and exciting they become worthy of the label: TOP-SECRET. Inevitably, there comes a day when the secret mission comes to light, and today is that day.
This hush-hush operation was anything but quiet as Southwest Airlines celebrated more than 30 years of service in the state of Tennessee with the unveiling of the airline’s newest specialty aircraft—Tennessee One. The Boeing 737-700 aircraft is emblazoned with an artist’s rendition of the Tennessee State flag. It joins 10 other 737s in the Southwest fleet* that carry unique, state-themed paint schemes.
To celebrate the reveal, Southwest wanted to connect Tennessee Customers and Employees to what is important to them—music. So in true Music City fashion, country artists, A Thousand Horses and Maren Morris, took the stage this morning to kick off the festivities in Nashville. The live music performances didn’t stop there, though; Employees and special guests boarded the red and blue aircraft and the music took to the air with a surprise Live at 35® inflight performance by country music artists Chris Young and Cassadee Pope.
The flight arrived to Memphis with a water arch salute and a fanfare welcome by Memphis Employees, airport leadership, community members, and local and state officials. And sticking with the theme of the day, there was another special performance featuring Memphis favorite, Ghost Town Blues Band.
A day full of surprises, excitement, and connecting people to what is important to them is what we love to do! Southwest is thankful for Tennessee’s Employees and Customers for three decades of loyalty and we look forward to many more!
* Southwest fleet: Arizona One, California One, Colorado One, Florida One, Illinois One, Lone Star One (Texas), Maryland One, Missouri One, Nevada One, New Mexico One, and Tennessee One.
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The Southwest Rink at Skyline Park was anything but cold this winter! Despite freezing temperatures, eager children and adults alike visited the rink to take a spin on the ice and warm up. The rink’s sixth season came to a close on Monday, but not without leaving a mark in the record books.
Since opening Thanksgiving Week, the rink welcomed more than 56,000 skaters—beating last year’s record by 15 percent and making it the largest attendance in its history.
Here are a few more milestones to celebrate:
Rink visitors were encouraged to bring a book to donate to Children’s Hospital Colorado in exchange for free skate rentals. The Southwest rink collected 88 donated books this season.
Love was in the air! 10 couples said, “YES” and got engaged at the Southwest Rink.
The Rink has welcomed more than 268,000 skaters since opening six years ago.
One of the highlights of the season was painting the rink orange and blue to cheer on the home team for the Big Game. Hundreds of football fans gathered to watch former running back Reggie Rivers and the Montbello High School Drumline pump up the crowd. The event brought the Denver community together and Southwest was thrilled to be a part of it.
As the cheers quiet and winter boots get packed away, the rink says goodbye to one the most memorable seasons. However, we are already excited to bring the Denver community a home for warm memories in the midst of a cold winter again next season.
For more information about the Southwest Rink at Skyline Park, please visit Southwestrink.com.
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The Big Game may not be until Sunday, but we were itching for some football and weren’t going to let the freezing Denver temperatures stand in our way. So, in the spirit of orange and blue, the Southwest Rink at Skyline Park was lined, painted, and transformed into a football field … on ice.
With the help of CBS4 News Anchor Jim Benemann and former running back Reggie Rivers, the Denver-based Employees hosted a pep rally for the Big Game that excited children and adults alike. The Montbello High School Drumline kicked-off the afternoon with a performance accompanied by the Montbello cheerleaders. Attendees played the Southwest Ice Challenge to win fun prizes and one lucky winner snagged a touchdown-celebration worthy prize, a pair of Southwest Airline tickets!
Denver City Councilman Brooks, Denver City Councilwoman Gilmore, Downtown Denver Partnership Board Chair Rob Cohen, and Southwest Airlines Denver Station Assistant Manager Michele Benze also bore the chilly weather to show the Denver Community they are rooting for the hometown team. The blue and orange wasn’t limited to the ice; the Southwest Rink at Skyline Park was lit-up with the hometown team colors and the fans sporting their favorite team’s colors were given free skate rental.
After the festivities concluded and ice skating resumed, the Mile-High Community was eager to cheer on their team this weekend, which was made a little easier thanks to Southwest Airlines. On Feb. 5, 2016, Southwest Airlines added three additional nonstop flights, with a total of six nonstop flights available that day from Denver to San Francisco (SFO) for fans that will be traveling to cheer on their team. Southwest is also making sure fans get home with three additional nonstop flights on Feb. 8, 2016, from San Francisco (SFO) to Denver.
For more information about the Southwest Rink at Skyline Park: southwestrink.com.
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