My Dad has been a Pilot at Southwest Airlines for a while now, he is a Captain (which means he’s the head hancho). So, over the years I have seen Southwest grow, and respond to disasters, and call it a come back. I must say, I have also personally put my frequent flyer miles in. You could say I’m a “professional” traveler if you will. From college in New York and then living in Florida and coming home to Reno, I’ve done my fair share of flying. This is what I’ve witnessed over the years that makes Southwest such a niche airline, and what truly makes them so LUVable.
- Excellent customer service
- The culture
- Their team members go above and beyond
Excellent Customer Service
Everywhere you go, every step of the process when it comes to air travel, you are greeted with a smile. Southwest team members genuinely enjoy their jobs and the relationships they make with each other, and with their guests.
Their HR department is called, “The People Department” because that’s truly what it is. To be a member of the Southwest team you need to fit the mold – and not the stuck up, hoity-toity mold most people think about when they think of airlines.
Southwest looks for three things when they are hiring someone, not for skills, but for their attributes: a warrior spirit (a desire to excel, act with courage, persevere and innovate); a servant’s heart (the ability to put others first, treat everyone with respect and proactively serve customers); and a fun-loving attitude (passion, joy and an aversion to taking oneself too seriously.)
Southwest’s culture is what has made the airline so hard to replicate and to compete with. Southwest Airlines started as a small commuter plane for business men, and the flight attendant uniforms used to reflect that 😉
Herb is known for being an outgoing, enthusiastic man who treats his employees like family. Now, THAT is a work environment I would like to be a part of! He is out at the Reno Air Races every year, fraternizing and hanging out with anyone and everyone who would like to. Because of the way he is, he hired people like that – whom he knew could provide the amazing service, with a smile, that he was looking for.
Southwest Airlines views engagement as a two-way street and because of this, they get – WOW – more engaged employees. Imagine that…
Their Team Members Go Above and Beyond
So, not only does Southwest Airlines look for the right people to hire, creating additional engagement and a fun, LUVing culture, their people, also go above and beyond what one would call “expected”.
I took this video a couple years ago, and this is exactly why Southwest has the reputation they do.
Southwest team members go above and beyond on a daily basis. Several years ago, in times of economic hardship, team members voted and decided to give part of their salaries back to the company so Southwest wouldn’t have to lay off junior employees, like so many other airlines chose to.
Here’s a personal story for you too to explain further:
My Dad was flying a trip and the flights were delayed because of the weather. He saw a woman crying by the counter and approached her. Turns out, she had just buried her one sister, accidental death, and her other sister was getting married in Lake Tahoe later that day. But, she wasn’t going to be able to make her shuttle, from the Reno/Tahoe Airport to Lake Tahoe, because of the flight delays, and the rest of the shuttle seats had been booked for the time she needed… So, Dad called us. Adam was working so he couldn’t pick her up (Adam’s the driver in our family), but I was off, so I headed on down to the airport to pick her up and take her up to Tahoe.
We made it to her sister’s hotel with 45 minutes to spare before the wedding, and she was so thankful. All we asked was that she pay it forward ❤
THAT is the above and beyond that Southwest Airline’s team members do every day, and yet they don’t seek appreciation for it – they just do it because they are the above and beyond kind of people.
Let’s get REAL about why we LUV what we love.
Let’s get uncomfortable and give appreciation where it is due.