Crazy love is in the air

Southwest Airlines is consistently ranked among the top companies in its field and flies the third most passengers of any carrier in North America.

Why the popularity? For one thing, they've been known as a no-frills, low-cost airline with a freedom-loving spirit—accentuated in ads like “You are now free to move around the country.”

They may soon become even better known as the airline that loves its customers—thanks to their updated heart logo (featured on the belly of its repainted airline fleet). They’ve got it going on with the love thing—their home base is Dallas Love Field and their stock exchange ticker symbol is “LUV.” The rejuvenation of their heart logo and love motif may combine into their best branding job yet. (“Without a heart, it’s just a machine.”)

But most people I know like Southwest because of the wacky playfulness of the employees. This is a company with a rock & roll vibe, displaying the R&R team success qualities I rave about. Their workforce is joyful, creative, spontaneous, rebellious, unpredictable, and little crazy (except for the pilots, we hope). Flight attendants have even been known to pop out of overhead bins. As they like to say, "Take the competition seriously but not yourself.”

In a post five years ago we featured a video in which a flight attendant delivered the standard safety announcement in rap form. A few months ago that same announcement was given a different spin. If you don’t have time to watch the video below, here are some highlights:

    As you know this is a no-smoking, no-whining, no-complaining flight…If we do make you that nervous in the next hour and a half you’re more than welcome to step outside…Just do what we say and no body gets hurt…To activate the flow of oxygen simply insert 75 cents for the first minute…Seriously if there’s anything at all we can do to make your flight more enjoyable please tell us—just as soon as we land in Salt Lake City.

The humor of SW’s flight staff can get even edgier as reported here and here.

    "If you smoke in this airplane, the FAA will fine you $2,000 [pause] and at those prices, you might as well fly Delta!"
    During the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal: "Please place your seatback, tray table, and intern in the full upright and locked position."
    Prompted by his mother, a young boy asked a flight attendant, "If big dogs have baby dogs and big cats have baby cats, why don't big planes have baby planes?" The stewardess replied, "Did your mother tell you to ask me?" When the boy said yes, she responded, "Well, then, tell your mother that there are no baby planes because Southwest always pulls out on time. Your mother can explain that to you.”

Of course Southwest couldn’t get away with this if they weren’t known to be cautious, conservative, and reliable in other ways. They have one of the best safety records, the fewest consumer complaints, and the longest stretch of profitability (41 consecutive years!) in the business. They’ve been consistently named in the top 12 of “The World’s Most Admired Companies” in Fortune from 2006 through 2014 and placed among the “50 Best Places to Work” by employees themselves at Glassdoor.com from 2010 through 2014.

THAT'S crazy.


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7 Comments

  1. Talking to Best Beloved the other day about how sad it makes me to see so many smart, motivated wonderful people dragging themselves off every single day to spend it doing things they hate.

    Herb K has shown up in 82.7% of the business books I've read, and I didn't like the other 17.3% very much anyway.

    Someone should fill a book with transcriptions of this stuff and call it "The Best of Southwest Before We Even Get Off the Ground."

    1. It's not an either/or. I routinely add sections to my posts (it encourages readers to check back). And, as I've told you before, you are undoubtedly losing your mind.

    1. Good point—and article. I read in an accompanying story that Southwest is beginning to deal with some labor issues, which haven't been a major concern in the past. We'll have to keep an eye on that.

      I just read that in explaining the rebranding effort Southwest rejected a new tagline: “We’re 43 years old, we’re from Dallas, it’s time for a facelift.”

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