Warning! This Southwest Airlines Review may leave you feeling green with envy. Read more now to see what you are missing out on!
Have you ever been around a group of people who look like they are having fun… and you want to know why? In this Southwest Airlines article, we will find out why the staff at Southwest Airlines look like they know a secret! Southwest has figured out the ingredient to making Southwest staff and passengers alike feel valued. You cannot make people ‘act happy,’ it needs to be a culture.
As a traveler, a Southwest flight is the only airline where I have actually enjoyed the pre-take-off safety briefing… who knew that the whistle was for attracting the passenger’s attention in 5B? And during the landing roll, even the cabin crew help slow that baby down with simple yet calming words of “Whoa neddy!.”
If you are the sort of person that likes to mix serious bits with fun, and you are not an ‘airline snob’ (see definition later!), then this Southwest Airlines review may leave you looking over the fence curiously!
Where are Southwest airlines based1?
Every airline in the world has a headquarters, then a series of ‘operating bases’ which is a rolling hub style of operation, with Southwest preferring a point-to-point model. The purpose of operating bases is to centralize and streamline the crew and aircraft to service surrounding cities. Southwest Airlines has its headquarters in Dallas, Texas, with ten operating bases in addition to HQ.
The ten bases span across the continental USA and on the list are, Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Las Vegas, LA, Oakland, Orlando, and Phoenix flying to 121 destinations under the care of 60,000 staff, including pilots, flight attendants, ground crew and more.
Having this geographical footprint allows Southwest the flexibility on destinations (direct flights and connecting flights), frequency, and easier management for the crewing department, including coverage for mid-duty crew sickness across the country.
Where do Southwest airlines fly?
When we look at the route map for Southwest flights2, there is an impressive line-up of destinations from its simple intrastate beginnings. Over the years, the network has evolved to reach over a hundred destinations in total with 42 states of the US lucky enough to receive the love from Southwest with their presence leaving the remaining states perhaps feeling a bit left out!
Southwest Airlines tout its success in their point-to-point model rather than referring to these airports where many planes transit through as ‘hubs!’ The major connecting airports that span the US are Atlanta, Baltimore/Washington, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Nashville, Oakland, Phoenix, and St Louis. Come on Southwest! They are hubs!
Do they fly internationally?
Whilst Southwest Airlines routes are predominantly within continental USA, they do have by definition ‘international destinations,’ but with a caveat. When you think about an international flight, you think far, and in a big aircraft, however back to the definition of an international flight which is across a country’s border.
As there are many countries that flank the USA, they are not far away as the limitation is the range the fleet of aircraft has, which is at best around 6.5 hours maximum. Just because Southwest’s international route map does not venture too far from US soil, the destinations are still exotic!
San Juan, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean sound like the beginning of many international adventures for passengers and crew alike!
Is Southwest airlines a good airline to work for?
In a Southwest Airlines Review, of course looking behind the scenes at whether they are a good airline to work for needs tackling. Figuring this out for any airline forces us to unpack the other things that are important to pilots when it comes to choosing their airline. As the salaries of Southwest pilots is the next question, we will leave that factor out.
Here is what remains that pilots gossip about:
Rostering – is it any good? Southwest 7 out of 10. Flexible options are available.
Catering – do they get provided any? Doubt it and who wants it anyway!
Days off – OMG DO NOT get pilots started on this! Southwest 6 out of 10. No pilot thinks they ever get enough!
Profit sharing – Southwest was first airline to introduce this. 10 out of 10!
Job security – Yep. It is reported that Southwest has never laid off staff. 10 out of 10.
Perks for staff – Yes, and the airline seeks to put people first.
Fun factor – No matter what is going on am I having fun? Southwest 10 out of 10.
If you like to enjoy your day at work, have a bit of fun when the time is right, and are not an airline snob (Def: Airline Snob – we made that up but what we mean is that you will only work for the majors or not at all = snob!) then Southwest could be your choice. This is backed by Southwest making it to the Glassdoors list3 of best places to work for the tenth year in a row.
“It’s more than just a paycheck. A career at Southwest Airlines includes several benefits and perks, from our legendary Culture to travel privileges for Employees and their eligible dependents. Southwest® offers an excellent benefits package, including a generous dollar-for-dollar Company match in the 401(k) Plan, subject to vesting requirements and certain compensation limits, as well as a ProfitSharing Plan.”careers.southwestair.com/benefits
How much do Southwest pilots get paid?
On the scale of pilots’ pay, Southwest are towards the top of the low-cost carrier model airline and fair compared to the majors in the USA. Pilot pay models vary depending upon how hard you want to work as some pilots prefer to be home more and do the minimum rostered whereas other pilots go for the grab for cash and seek extra flying. A junior entry-level First Officer starts on around USD$55K with a senior Southwest Captain on guaranteed minimum hours can achieve USD$200K+.
What planes do Southwest airlines use?
Most likely patriotically, Southwest has stuck with their nation’s manufacturer, Boeing with a fleet of Boeing 737s4 of varying models including their recent order of B737 Max making them the largest Boeing 737 purchaser. A nice marketing move for a largely US airline to provide jobs for US citizens. The Boeing 737 is a workhorse, with their callsign ‘Southwest’ and their striking red, yellow, and blue livery, combined with a fleet size of over 700.
Advantages of flying for Southwest airlines
· Multiple bases for pilots with the commuting ability
· It is fun!
· Employee perks such as insurances offerings
· Profit share (dollar for dollar match on 401K … bottom line extra pay incentive)
· Large enough to have good promotion opportunities
· Free staff travel
· Flexible work schedule
· Good safety record
Disadvantages of flying for Southwest airlines
· They are not a major airline compared to other airlines, such as American.
· Only get to have Boeing 737 bragging rights
· Not suitable for airline snobs (see above!)
FAQs about Southwest airlines:
How many crashes has Southwest had?
Such a morbid question but understandable when it comes to protecting your family. Southwest has been rated in the top 20 of the world’s safest airlines. This rating has a few criteria:
1. It has not experienced a fatal crash within the last 10 years
2. It has not experienced multiple serious pilot-related incidents
3. It is not on the naughty list in Europe or the United States.
How reliable are Southwest airlines?
Until recently, Southwest was considered very reliable. As a consequence of the pandemic when many airlines were being cautious, Southwest expanded their flights however it is reported that the infrastructure did not expand in ratio. Sorry to say that Southwest has many cancellations and struggles to catch up on delays. But they are safe and cheap!
How long has Southwest airlines been around?
Impressively, Southwest has been around since 1966, taking it to the aviation industry by initially only operating within Texas to remain exempt from various regulations. Beginning as Air Southwest Co, in 1975 rebranding Southwest Airlines, eventually expanding across the USA.
Like many airlines, a Southwest airlines flight can get passengers things like, early bird check in, bags fly free, a smooth boarding process, priority boarding, reward programs, complimentary drinks, low fares, college student discounts and more, especially as frequent travelers. But noting this review is about a career with Southwest, do not beat yourself up if this Southwest Airlines Review has left you re-evaluating what you wanted out of your flying career!
We have learned what an airline snob is, not in a negative way just some words to make you consider how you want to feel with all the hours you spend at work. There are a lot of good things going on at Southwest and although every airline has its challenging times, if the bottom-line culture is looking after your staff, whether pilot, flight attendant or other airline staff, and the consequence shows up as your customers feeling the happy vibe from being around your staff, and experiencing positive Southwest customer service, then you have got yourself a winner. Flying Southwest could be a good choice for you!
What are your thoughts? Would you fly Southwest? Do you love Southwest? Or do you have a reason to avoid Southwest airlines? Let us know in the comments below!
- ‘Southwest Airlines’, Wikipedia. Accessed online at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southwest_Airlines on November 14, 2022.
- ‘Southwest Airlines® Route Map’, Southwest. Accessed online at https://www.southwest.com/route-map/ on November 14, 2022.
- ‘Best Places to work 2022’, Glassdoor. Accessed online at https://www.glassdoor.com/Award/Best-Places-to-Work-LST_KQ0,19.htm on November 14, 2022.