Southwest Airlines is a proud supporter of Women in Aviation International-an organization “dedicated to the encouragement and advancement of women in all aviation career fields and interests.” This year at the annual Women in Aviation International Conference , Southwest was proud to present 5 female students scholarships totaling $33,500 to support their pursuit of careers in aviation. The following was written by Flight Operations scholarship winner, Mackenzie Odom.
Mackenzie Odom receiving SWA Flight Training scholarship at Women in Aviation Conference 2017
My dream is to become the first female Southwest Airlines Pilot from Happy, Texas! Two Pilots from Happy, Texas have worked for Southwest — Captain Tom “Mad Dog” Moudy, who retired in 2003, and Captain Kyle Odom, who happens to be my dad.
Southwest Employees are known for their “Servant Hearts,” and Dallas-based Check Airman Ed Devitt’s “Servant Heart” may very well be the reason I am now pursuing an aviation career.
Mackenzie Odom and her dad before his first trip as a SWA First Officer with TJ LUV stuffed airplane
While at Dallas Love Field in 2012, my dad and I decided to look around the Southwest Flight Operations Training Center. As we walked through the simulator bay, Mr. Devitt offered to run the simulator for us! Although it was a busy day in the Training Center, he made time to give me a life-changing experience and I will be forever grateful. My dad and I “flew” around Dallas in the sim and even landed a few times! I was hooked.
I immediately began researching collegiate aviation programs. A year later, I enrolled as a professional pilot major at Oklahoma State University. Since my Dad is a Southwest Airlines Employee, I have been blessed to be a part of the Southwest family all my life. However, I wanted to experience Southwest’s legendary Culture first-hand. I have spent the last two summers as an intern in Southwest’s Flight Operations—first on the Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) Team and then on the Procedures Development Team. Now that I have had these experiences, I am more convinced than ever that I want to spend my career flying for this amazing Company.
Career Day in Kindergarten
I have my commercial pilot license, and I am working on my Flight Instructor’s certificate. After my graduation from Oklahoma State University (OSU) in May, I hope to work as a Flight Instructor at OSU and then fly for a regional airline. As soon as I have built enough flight time to qualify, I will apply at Southwest.
At this year’s Women in Aviation International Conference, I was grateful to be awarded a Flight Training Scholarship from Southwest Airlines! This scholarship will support me through the end of my flight training at OSU. Southwest has been so good to me. I am grateful for the tremendous support they have shown me and so many other females who pursue careers in aviation. I look forward to making many more memories with SWA’s fun-LUVing family, and, one day very soon, becoming their first female Pilot from Happy, Texas.
Preflighting with Procedures coworkers during summer internship
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Southwest now serves 101 destinations in nine countries, so if you’re looking to get away, there is always somewhere to go and experiences to be had! Nobody knows a location and its hidden gems better than the Employees who live and work there.
—Heard Museum, Desert Botanical Garden, Heritage Square, Phoenix Art Museum, South Mountain Park, North Mountain Preserve and Shaw Butte, Taliesin West, Mystery Castle, Papago Park—
Like Ol' Times
Old Town Scottsdale is a wonderful place for locals and tourists alike. There are wonderful, hard to find local restaurant gems like The House Brasserie, Cafe Monarch, and Virtu. There’s also my favorite Italian restaurant in Phoenix, Italian Grotto, which has been in Scottsdale for 30 years and is run by a bunch of guys from Bronx, New York … like me! But if you’re looking for a wonderful dessert place, head on over to Sugar Bowl. This old-style ice cream shop has been around since the 1950s and has even been featured in the cartoon strip Family Circus, as the cartoon’s creator—Bill Keane—used to bring his kids there! Old Town is a “can’t miss” for food and entertainment!
Old Town Scottsdale cowboy sign in historic shopping district Scottsdale Arizona
The Scenic Route
West Fork Trail is one of the most beautiful hikes on Earth. Not that I'm a huge hiker, it's just that this area is so scenic ... I love to share it with visitors. The West Fork Trail is in Oak Creek Canyon, near Sedona, Arizona—an easy two-hour drive north of Phoenix. The trail is an easy hike that crosses a stream at least 13 times as it winds through this wooded canyon. The canyon is surrounded by beautiful red rocks and red cliffs. The trail is dog friendly too. Our dogs absolutely love playing in the water. To quench your thirst after the hike, there are tons of outdoor breweries and wine bars a few miles down the road in Sedona.
Oak Creek Canyon along the West Fork trail, Arizona
Floating Down the River
Two places that my entire family really enjoys here in Phoenix are Lake Pleasant and the Salt River. The biggest misconception about our desert is the lack of water, but Phoenix actually has four major lakes with plenty of water sports to enjoy. Living on the north side of Phoenix, we frequent Lake Pleasant nearly every week during the summer. It has two large marinas and two restaurants where you can dock your boat. It has house boat rentals, jet skis, fishing guides, and booze cruises on a nightly basis. Lake Pleasant also has a biology and ecology center for our local elementary schools to explore.
Lake Pleasant, Arizona
Another fantastic summer tradition is floating down the Salt River on tubes. All you do is take in the sun, enjoy the cool water, and float for several hours with family and friends down the river. It’s always a great time and is very relaxing. Those are just a couple of fantastic summer gems we have here in beautiful Phoenix.
Copyright : William Merrill
Copyright : Samuel Spicer
Copyright : Roger Siljander
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Score! Revamped Customer pre-travel emails are here! We’ve been working hard to make enhancements to all of the emails we send leading up to your flight, and we’re now set to push them live for you and all our Customers to see.
Here’s what’s making us most excited:
Built to be mobile-friendly: Read and interact with these important pre-travel emails while you’re on the go. No more squinting and zooming in!
Optimized content: Each email will contain only the information you need to know based on how far out your trip is.
Confirmation numbers now in the subject line: You’ll be able to easily locate and group your trips in your inbox, helping you stay organized.
In the coming year we will continue to roll out even more enhancements to our pre-travel emails. We hope this latest round of updates will make your next trip with Southwest that much better!
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This month, we had the great honor of carrying an incredible man onboard our aircraft. WWII Tuskegee Airman Pilot Colonel Charles McGee, 97, flew with Southwest Airlines from Baltimore to Las Vegas before continuing on to Honolulu to speak at the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor.
Col. McGee fought in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam and holds the record for the highest three-war total of fighter combat missions of any pilot in the United States Air Force history. Col. McGee began his military service as one of the Tuskegee Airmen in the 332 nd Fighter Group.
Jacqueline Johnson-Robertson, Southwest Airlines Customer Service Supervisor in Baltimore shared her experience of meeting Col. McGee:
It was a pleasure for us to assist Col. McGee. I met Col. McGee when he was dropping his bag in the baggage drop off area. He walked up to the CSAs with his bag already tagged, license out, boarding pass in hand and ready to proceed to his gate. I said, “Mr. McGee we have been waiting for you,” and he started smiling. That is when an announcement was made at the ticket counter recognizing Col. McGee for his service to our country. He was saluted by the all the Customers and Employees and received a lot of handshakes. Col. McGee was very sharp and spry, but what most stood out to me was how sweet and humble he was.
BWI Employees meet Col. McGee
The Tuskegee Airmen were pioneers who fought racial prejudices to fly and fight for their country during WWII. Col. McGee’s career in the U.S. Army Air Corps and U.S. Air Force spanned 30 years and 3 wars, where he flew 409 aerial combat missions. During his military career, Col. McGee was awarded the Legion of Merit with Cluster, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Bronze Star and the Air Medal (twenty-five times).
It’s no surprise that 400 guests were at the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor to pay tribute to Col. McGee and all of the Tuskegee Airmen. Thank you, Col. McGee, for your heroic military service and for all you’ve done and continue to do to promote equality.
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