Love is in the Air at Southwest Airlines
Why do they call Southwest Airlines the LUV airline? Let us count the reasons.
LUV relationships frequently blossom at Southwest Airlines. In fact, more than 1,600 of Southwest's 26,900 Employees are married to each other. In other words, both spouses of approximately 820 married couples work together at Southwest Airlines. Some of the Employee couples met at the office, while others found each other outside of the Company and are working together now as a result of Employees loving their jobs and encouraging spouses to apply.
"It speaks very well of Southwest that Employees would want their family members to work here," says Libby Sartain, Southwest's vice president of people, the Company's human resources department. "Our Employees feel very comfortable in our family atmosphere."
The LUV airline feels its Employees are its best recruiters and are likely to have family members who share their spirit and work ethic. The carrier employs countless siblings, cousins, parents, and other in-laws. In fact, at one time, seven members of the same family were working for the airline.
Southwest has a simple policy for the employment of relatives. Its only restrictions are to stipulate the children of corporate officers (vice president level or above) are not eligible for employment and relatives cannot supervise one another. This policy is listed in Southwest's "Guidelines for Leaders," an empowerment tool that helps the airline's leaders make decisions benefiting all Southwest Employees.
Southwest's love fest began in 1971 when the carrier announced service from Dallas Love Field. Since Dallas was the carrier's first departure city, and the airline had an innate heartfelt affection for its Customers, the love theme was quick to catch on. Southwest immediately requested LUV as its New York Stock Exchange ticker symbol and forever changed the airline's spelling of the word love. The carrier sold tickets to ride in its "LUV seats" and instead of peanuts and soft drinks, it served "LUV bites" and "LUV potions."
For the third consecutive year, the annual National Airline Quality Rating named Southwest Airlines as its top major U.S. airline. The study, conducted by the W. Frank Barton School of Business at Wichita State University and the University of Nebraska at Omaha Aviation Institute, rates the airlines in such areas as baggage handling, Customer Service, safety, financial viability, and frequent-flyer programs. Southwest also took the top spot in similar surveys conducted by FORTUNE and Money magazines. A little LUV goes a long way.
Editors Note: If you are interested in interviewing a local Southwest couple, please contact Kristin Nelson in Public Relations, (214) 792-6013.
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