I’m leaving tomorrow for a short hop on Southwest Airlines (LUV:NYSE) over to Dallas. Wednesday is Media Day at Southwest — and the airline always makes it worth our while to come over and visit. They give full access to top management folks at the airline and sometimes they even make us play flight attendants, pilots, baggage handlers, and gate agents.
That has been a few years ago.
But the airline actually had members of the press load and unload a 737 one year. Willing employees played passengers, and members of the media drew pieces of paper that had employee job functions on them. Whatever you pulled, that was your job. We had a short session with actual employees, who told us what we had to do and how to do it — and then we had to load and unload an aircraft. Quickly.
And yes, those employees who were playing passengers were one tough crowd, I tell you.
Me? I picked the alpha flight attendant. This meant I got to clean up the cabin, I got to make the PA announcements, and I got to bump butts with Jim Wimberly, former Southwest COO, who was doing his best to get in my way as he played “provisioning agent,” loading cans of soda into “my” galley.
That was a pretty cool deal. I think most of us who went through the drill that year did get a much better appreciation of the infamous Southwest “20-minute turn.”