Southwest Airlines

Serving Up Southwest Airlines’ Characteristic Brand of Humor

  1. January 4th, 2019  | 

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Published in Branding, Customer Service

Announcement as airplane is pushing back from the gate: “Hello ladies and gentlemen and welcome aboard. This is Southwest flight ABC with nonstop service to Dallas Love Field. So if Dallas is not on your itinerary today, it is now!”

“This will be a completely full flight. You’re not picking out living room furniture, so get a move on. If you see an empty seat, take it, it’s yours.”

“In the unlikely event that this flight turns into a cruise, your seat may be used as a flotation device, which you can take with our compliments.”

“You paid for these corny jokes, so you’re going to get ’em!”

“There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only 6 ways out of this airplane.”

“If you don’t like our service or the flight gets too long, we have 6 emergency exits.”

“Welcome aboard. To operate your seat belt, insert the metal tab into the buckle, and pull tight. It works just like every other seat belt and if you don’t know how to operate one, you probably shouldn’t be out in public unsupervised. In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask, pull it over your face, and try to breathe. If you have a small child traveling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are traveling with two small children, decide now which one you love more.”

“In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will descend from the ceiling. To activate, please deposit your quarter.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, please fasten your seat belts. The captain would like to try something new today.”

“We’ll be cruising at an altitude of 35 feet [pause as passengers look around questioningly]. Just kidding to see if you were listening. That’s 35,000 feet.”

“Flight attendants will be coming through the cabin to make sure your seat belt is fastened and that it matches your outfit.”

“Please make sure that your seat backs and tray tables are raised to their full, upright, and most uncomfortable position.”

“Contrary to popular belief, the seat-back pocket is not a trash can, so please give your trash to a flight attendant.”

“Please make sure that your carry-on bags are kicked, pushed, shoved, or crammed underneath the seat in front of you.”

“Take out and review the safety information card in the seat-back pocket in front of you . . . or to learn a little Spanish on our way to Ft. Lauderdale.”

“For those of you who paid attention, thank you. For those of you who didn’t, good luck.”

“We’re beginning our descent. We know that many of you just got your drinks and are still enjoying them. You’ll need to stop enjoying them and start drinking them because flight attendants are coming through the cabin to pick up any remaining cups, cans, and glasses.”

“If you plan to leave something behind, please make sure it’s something we want.”

As the airplane pulls into the gate: “Those of you standing have an excellent view of the ‘Fasten Seat Belts’ sign. So please remain seated until we’ve come to a stop at the gate.”

“This is the captain speaking: We’re waiting for another aircraft to push from the gate. When that happens, we’ll proceed to the gate. When we’ve come to a stop, I’ll turn off the fasten seat belt sign, and you will then be able to stand up, grab your bags, and not go anywhere.”

“We’d like to thank you for flying Southwest Airlines. On behalf of the flight deck we’d also like to extend a very special and very happy 101st birthday to a gentleman seated near the front of the aircraft [scattered applause]. So, if you happen to see the captain on the way out, mind his walker, shake his hand, and wish him well with another 100 years working here at Southwest Airlines.”

Sung to the tune of “Auld Lang Syne”: “May other airlines be forgot/ And never brought to mind/’Cause Southwest gotcha here tonight/ And we gotcha here on time.”

About the Author: Greg Bustin advises some of the world’s most admired companies and leaders, and he’s dedicated a career to working with CEOs and the leadership teams of hundreds of companies in a range of industries. He’s facilitated more than 250 strategic planning sessions, he’s delivered more than 600 keynotes and workshops on every continent except Antarctica, and he coaches leaders who are inspired to take their career to the next level. His fourth leadership book— Accountability: The Key to Driving a High-Performance Culture (McGraw-Hill) —is a Soundview Executive Best Business Book.

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