Southwest Airlines.

Essay by venny_m October 2005

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While flying home to Texas last summer with Southwest Airlines, I had the most fun and unique experience with an airline that I could ever remember. It all started out quite oddly enough in the lobby just before takeoff. As I was checking in at the ticket counter, the representative asked me if I wanted to play a game that could get me free round trip tickets. "Sure, who wouldn't," I exclaimed. As she gave me my boarding pass she said, "Great, how many holes do you have in your socks?" Initially caught off guard, I responded, "Excuse me!" "The free tickets are being given to the customer who has the most holes in their socks," she explained with a perky smile. It was just my luck that I was wearing sandals. I told her, "Too bad your not checking underwear, because I'm sure I could be in the running for some free tickets with that sort of game."

The remainder of the flight was filled with jokes and gags yet quality service from the pilot to the flight attendants. I can remember our flight attendant, dressed in a T-shirt, shorts and tennis shoes along with the rest of the staff, enhanced the safety announcements with the remark: "There may be fifty ways to leave your lover, but there are only six ways to leave this aircraft." Having fun is obviously a big part of Southwest Airlines formula to success. It all starts from the top with their childish yet brilliant boss Herb Kelleher. Kelleher, the company's CEO, is the "nut" behind these shenanigans. This chain-smoking, Wild Turkey-drinking Texas transplant from New Jersey has: * Dressed for employee celebrations as Roy Orbison, Elvis, a medieval knight and a teapot; * Passed out the peanuts himself on board his...