The Southwest Airlines' Innovation Team is excited to announce the Day of Travel iOS mobile app, a pilot program designed to make your travel day a breeze by providing you with timely information regarding your Southwest trips.
How does the Day of Travel App Help You?
The app will begin prepping you for travel 48 hours in advance and will suggest times to leave for the airport based on your specifically tailored travel preferences. Other features of the Day of Travel app include:
Point-to-point, interactive maps to navigate you to the airport based on your day of travel preferences
Timely notifications, airport conditions (including estimated TSA wait times) and interactive terminal maps with gate information and points of interest
Information regarding your destination such as weather and travel guides
Ready to Join?
Our Innovation team is looking for individuals to join throughout the beta testing period; approved users will have the opportunity to experience the newest features, and share feedback on the application.
We are looking for people who travel Southwest Airlines from Dallas or Denver, have a Rapid Rewards number, use an iPhone (required), and love trying out new technology!
The app will allow you to review information and updates throughout your journey. We will also ask for your thoughts and feedback. Visit southwestairinnovation.com to sign up as a beta test user!
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It’s May, and we are celebrating one of the most fiesta-focused holidays of the year this month … no, not Cinco de Mayo, it’s Otto de Mayo! Our Canine Companions pup in training, Otto, turned one year old on May 2, so what better time than now to check in on his progress as a service dog in training.
At one year old, Otto has learned over 30 basic commands to prepare him for the more difficult service commands he will learn in advanced training next year. Otto has also been exposed to a wide variety of environmental and social atmospheres to help him acclimate to following commands in even the most distracting of environments. Otto has visited restaurants, retail stores, grocery stores, Southwest meetings and functions, outdoor social environments, parks, and countless other new places with all kinds of new faces, sights, and smells—the sign of a truly well-traveled pup!
Otto has been a staple of the Customer Services Team at Southwest Headquarters Campus (HDQ), and he’s developing quite the social network of friends at Southwest and Canine Companions alike. The legend of Otto is ever-expanding and some of his favorite human friends from Customer Services, CR Advocacy, and the Executive Assistant Teams at Southwest, including a surprise guest appearance from his puppy raiser mom, Crystin, gathered together to throw him the ultimate surprise dog birthday.
Complete with party hats, peanut butter cups for Otto, and doggie bags for the human attendees, Otto’s First Birthday PAWty was a blast! After Otto’s birthday paw-ty, we (me, Otto, my fiancée Crystin, and the Customer Services Team) spent the afternoon celebrating again by serving lunch at the Canine Companions Kinkeade Campus in Irving to the Teams in training to receive their service dogs that week.
Each quarter, the Canine Companions campus hosts Team Trainings to match graduating service dogs with those in need, completely free of charge. These Teams spend two weeks working together to identify specific needs and matching that to each dog’s best skillset.
Canine Companions relies on the volunteerism of those outside the organization; not only to raise and train puppies, but also to serve lunches during these Team Training weeks. If you or your Team are looking for additional volunteer opportunities with an established Southwest partner, serving lunch during Canine Companions Team Training may be a great chance to interact with this wonderful organization and meet some incredibly special people along the way. You can get more information from the Canine Companions website, www.cci.org, or simply reach out to Cory Coons for additional information.
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The following blog was barked out by Otto to his raiser, Cory Coons.
Hi! My name is Otto, and I am a nine month old yellow lab. I’ve been living in Texas and coming to this really cool building called 'Southwest Airlines Headquarters' that is surrounded by huge, flying birds along with my ‘foster dad’ Cory for a little over six months now. He said the other humans around this place would love to hear about what I’m doing, so I’m happy to relay my story to everyone!
I was born in California, but after only a couple of months, I was sent off to a place called Texas where my new raiser, Cory, picked me up and took me to a new place. Cory and his fiancée say I’m only with them for a relatively short time and that I’ll end up doing some really great things in my life, but it’s up to them to prepare me for my future and they’ll do their best to make me feel right at home until then.
Texas is awesome! Every day, I go with Cory to ‘work’ at a place called Southwest Airlines. It’s a really cool place with lots of friendly humans who always seem to be as excited I am when we see each other. The head-patting and belly-scratching opportunities are everywhere, but Cory is pretty strict in letting these humans touch without asking because he says I’m ‘working’ too!
Every morning, before work, Cory puts my yellow ‘service vest’ on me and tells me that since I’m going with him, I have to be ready to ‘work’ as well. I’m not sure exactly what this yellow thing is, but I know I have to be on my best behavior and follow Cory’s commands when I wear it—he says it’s training me to be a good boy, that it will help me be ready when I grow up to serve someone special.
Cory and Otto
Training is fun! Each day, Cory and I work on different commands that he’s taught me. He says I’ve mastered about 25 right now, but there are still a few things I have to learn. When I have my vest on at work, I get to go pretty much everywhere with Cory. I’ve been all over the southwest Campus to things called ‘meetings,’ ‘Culture Centers,’ ‘TOPS’, and ‘Departments.' I meet a ton of People every day and get to work on my manners and introducing myself when Cory says, “Shake.”
People are the best! I LOVE people and I’m pretty sure they like me back. I’ve made so many new friends, it seems like I always hear my name when Cory and I are on the move. I meet everyone with the same enthusiasm, but Cory told me that I met a really special human named Dr. Cunningham recently.
Cory, Otto, and Dr. Cunningham
Cory said that Dr. Cunningham sits on the Board of Directors (I love to sit too!), and he’s the human responsible for getting me to Texas with Cory. Cory said that Dr. Cunningham loves the organization I will be working for when I grow up, he even says it’s on my service vest and that this group is near and dear to him, Southwest Airlines, and Cory because they help people who need assistance—I love helping too!
I’m getting bigger and bigger, and Cory says that we have a lot of exciting things coming up soon. Remember those huge flying birds I mentioned? Cory says that I’m getting ready for my first trip with one! He said that in order to get me ready to meet one, I’m going back to TOPS to meet someone named ‘Poolie’ so I can practice getting on and off on eof these birds that he calls a ‘plane’. Sounds exciting! I’ve gotten to visit some other places called ‘restaurants,’ ‘stores,’ and ‘public places.’ Since I’ve done such a great job with my training at these places, Cory says I’ll get to go with him and his fiancée more and more in the future.
Well, I’m getting pretty tired since it’s time for my next puppy-nap (my second-favorite activity to playtime). Cory says that as I keep growing and learning, you all will be excited to hear from me again, so I’ll tell him some more stories for you a little later this year. Until then, feel free to say hi when you see me around, but if I have my yellow service vest on, we both have to be on our best behavior!
Southwest partners with Canine Companions for Independence to allow service dogs in training to fly as if they are already fully-trained service animals. This partnership allows Canine Companions’ puppy raisers to train their dogs on socialization and familiarization with the airport, and it helps Southwest Employees develop into experts when it comes to delivering Hospitality to Passengers who require a service animal.
To learn more about puppies like Otto and his organization, Canine Companions for Independence, visit <cci.org>, or email his puppy raiser, Cory Coons.
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Thank you all for the support! We are happy to be a part of the Canine Companions Family now, and @smspupraiser I just love seeing that picture of Puppy Otto with his sister--he was so SMALL! @puppyraiserjen, I am so glad that Newton was able to fly with us, and it looks like he made himself right at home! Great to hear how accommodating the staff were on your first flight with Newton--as well as with @Crisgerard on your flight.
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As many of you may already know, Southwest Airlines has developed a unique partnership with a nationwide non-profit organization that provides service animals free of charge to those in need. Southwest has given Canine Companions for Independence the opportunity for all of their service dogs in training to fly with us as if they are fully-trained service animals—allowing Canine Companions volunteer puppy raisers a chance to fly without a pet fee. Thanks to our Frontline Employees the partnership has been an incredible success.
After researching Canine Companions for a blog post earlier this year, my interest in getting involved with an organization that my Employer also supported started to grow. In March, I was invited to attend a tour of Canine Companions’ newest regional facility, the Kinkeade Campus, in Irving (about 10 minutes from SWA HDQ)—where I completely fell in love with the organization and knew I had to get more involved.
As a non-profit organization, Canine Companions relies almost entirely on volunteerism from supporters. Volunteering for Canine Companions takes on many different forms, from monetary donations, to time spent at puppy spa sessions (bath time!) at a regional campus, puppy raising, breeding, and beyond. I felt called to immerse myself in Canine Companions, so I decided to make the ‘sacrifice’ of raising one of their puppies from eight weeks old to two years old.
Volunteering as a puppy raiser is an enormous commitment, as you devote almost two years to developing a growing service animal, teaching it basic obedience and service commands, socializing it in preparation for being a service animal, and generally spend 24/7/365 with a dog that is not your ‘pet’. It also required a lot of buy-in from my significant other and family, my Department and Executive Leaders, and essentially the entire HDQ and TOPS staff (as the pup is expected to come to work and be socialized in workplace environments as well). So, after the initial decision, multiple sign-offs from everyone we’d encounter, and an intensive application process with Canine Companions, we welcomed Otto to the (Southwest) family!
Having an infant/toddler puppy at work is certainly a privilege, but I assure you it’s not always fun and games. While at work and donning the Canine Companions service vest, Otto is considered a ‘working dog’ and is expected to follow basic behavioral and social rules while on the Southwest campus. We spend time learning about new environments (Carpet! Elevators! Stairs! Meetings! People everywhere!) and practicing commands in distracting environments. Otto has mastered sit, down, shake, wait, stand, let’s go, and hurry (which mean go to the toilet on command, outside). He must also have appropriate play behavior during our structured play time each day, and of course napping—his #1 skill right now.
Having a service animal in training at work hasn’t just been a win for Canine Companions, but it’s also help set Southwest up for success in the work place. We will be better prepared for an Employee with a service animal working at HDQ and TOPS; Employees will already be familiar on how to interact with a working service dog and relief areas will have already been established.
Although having Otto present at work each day may be a one-time opportunity, there are Employees across the network who also are involved with Canine Companions, including volunteer puppy raisers in workgroups like Tech Ops and Flight Ops! You don’t have to be a puppy raiser to get involved either, there are opportunities at each region across the network (for Texas’ South Central Region, consider North Texas Giving Day or DogFest Walk ‘N Roll—Team Otto).Just visit cci.org to find your nearest region and find out about opportunities for you to get involved.
I hope you enjoyed this post; the first in a quarterly series about Otto’s time at Southwest. Stay tuned for future installments of the “Otto-biography”—including some written by Otto himself!
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