Fanboy name calling be damned, I love Southwest Airlines. Spending a few hours with them today is serving to reinforce that fact. Unless I have no other option, I’m committed to travel by air with them alone. I really love having my flights actually fly. There have been too many times that I’ve been stranded by other airlines, and when that happens to me, SWA is frequently the hero that finds a way to get me to my desired destination.
But that’s not what has made Southwest part of my brand identity. (Nor is it the bonus Bloody Mary that was just handed to me by the flight attendant.) The reason that i love them is this: free SkyMall catalogs! God bless Southwest for giving me a whole catalog dedicated to things that I don’t need. I mean, just look at this:
Really? Someone is going to see that and think *Oh my gosh, that is exactly what I’ve been looking for to (a.) keep me from losing my phone (b.) finally get that job with the FBI (c.) hold my corsage at prom!*
Awesomeness aside, SkyMall isn’t the reason either. My connection with Southwest started long ago in South Texas.
From the time I was 10 until I was 15, Southwest was my gateway to my dad. Every other weekend I would jump on a plane in Harlingen or San Antonio and fly to Dallas to visit him. Life had broken apart my family and placed hundreds of miles between us, but in just a couple of hours we would be together because of the magic of this little airborne carpool known as Southwest Airlines. After a few months of this travel routine, I became friends with the folks that worked the weekend shift at the gate. They knew me and took great care to make sure that I boarded early and got to where I needed to go. Gate to gate they were my surrogate parents. (Remember the good old days when you could go to the gate to meet your relatives/friends when they landed? I miss that.)
Friday nights and Sunday afternoons were spent with Southwest. As I grew older the trips to Dallas to see dad became less frequent. We grew apart in the way that teenagers and parents do. Soon it was just a trip every month or so. Then it became a Southwest free roadtrip in my beloved GMC Jimmy, but to this day whenever I walk into one of these orange and blue cabins I feel at home and excited for what awaits me at my destination. It’s silly to connect with a brand in such a way, but I can’t help it, it’s my reality. My name is Bryan Jones, and I am a Southwest Airlines fanboy.
I’m out of words now…
(A note of disclosure that I’m honored to add: This year Southwest has become a social engagement client of mine. My views about these folks have long been biased due to them being a part of my family, but you should know that I’m paid to help them shine, so take my words with a grain of salt.)