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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Welcome to the “Friendly Skies” Again

For the better part of my working life, I functioned in entrepreneurial mode, holding several jobs at one time. Oftentimes, I was practicing the art of multi-tasking before it was actually given a name and became de rigueur.

In one of my previous incarnations, I maintained my own retail business, worked in broadcasting and held full time in-flight management duties with a major airline.

Spending more than a decade dedicated to the business of flying (with one major and a couple of up-start minors) allowed me to travel, study, and develop my artistic passions for which I will always be grateful.

Finally the time came, when I felt I could clip my wings and venture into full time creative territory and actually have a life. I found that holding only two jobs was really quite liberating!

However, I’ve always maintained an interest in the “friendly” and more recently, not-so-friendly skies. I have watched over the years, how changes in the industry, some enforced by economics and some for safety reasons, led to a depersonalization and lack of joy in the whole experience of in-flight travel.

These days, you can count yourself lucky not to be strip-searched and charged for a bag of peanuts or even the toilet, and one airline even recognizes it.

Yes, Southwest Airlines is one bright spot in the industry - these folks have the right idea about how to get passengers to return.

As a little airline that started back in 1971 and struggled against all odds, it’s in-flight personnel are (IMHO) some of the best in the industry and it is a legacy that was begun with the airlines founder, Herbert D. Kelleher. It was Kelleher and his outgoing personality that created a unique corporate culture that aimed for stress reduction by allowing employees to be themselves and have fun – from their onboard “toilet paper races” to their YouTube sensation, the “Rapping Flight Attendant.

Do any of you have a favorite Southwest Airlines story to share?


BarryGillogly said...

Someday I'll try Southwest. I wonder how they say bye-bye as you leave the plane?

Gordon~ said...

I have never flown Southwest but, for years, have heard nothing but good things about them. The Greenville-Spartenburg Airport is presently negotiating with Southwest to be added to their route.
I hope it happens.
Barry....they say BBFN as you leave the plane. :-)

Paula Slade said...

Barry, I think Gordon has the right answer!

Gordon, I hope Southwest does make to the Greenville-Spartenburg Airport, and I have to tell you I laughed so hard when I read your answer! Hee-hee - that's a hoot! :D

TallTchr said...

I've had funny flight attendants, but the reason I prefer SW is what I haven't had: HORROR STORIES!!! Like the time United announced my flight had been canceled and told me to walk to another terminal for a "reserved seat" on American, only to find they'd issued me a stand-by ticket for which I was twentieth in line. I went back to United and learned my original flight was reinstated and they'd given my seat to someone else. I wound up cancelling my trip altogether and have never even looked at a United timetable since.

Paula Slade said...

Tall Tchr, that is without doubt a classic United horror story! I don't blame you one bit!