I’m nuts about Southwest

Funny, I just got off of a Southwest airline from San Jose to Seattle and found out that Southwest now has a blog. There's more on Memeorandum.

It's a pretty cold blog so far. It's the kind of blog I think most corporations will start out with. Safe. Take no chances. Don't piss anyone off. Don't reveal anything that the PR team isn't comfortable with.

That's OK, I guess. Most Microsoft blogs are just as boring. So can't throw stones when we live in a glass house.

But, I spend a great deal of my life on Southwest planes. Some things that I'd love to see?

Their IT system rocks. Who developed it, how is it built? Was it done in Java, or VB or C#? What does their data center look like?

What are some traveling tips? Here's one: There are two rows of exit row seats. The first row doesn't recline.

Second, if you fly Southwest ALWAYS check in online (you can do that starting 24 hours before your flight). That'll get you into the "A" or "B" group which will almost guarantee you a decent seat and that your carryon luggage will get on board.

Some other things I'd love to know? Is there free WiFi near their counters anywhere? What's the best restaurant in each airport?

Who makes the most reliable luggage?

Some craft definitely have funnier crews than others. Any way to know whether you'll be on one of those flights?

As a geek I like sitting near the front of the plane where I can see the door. They let me use my Tablet PC or cell phone up to the minute that the door closes. I answered several emails this morning using my Verizon card while waiting for everyone else to load onboard.

Others? What are their favorite online travel resources? (Flight trackers, etc).

Where do they go when they want to have fun on a layover?

Anyway, nice to see more companies try to figure out how to engage with the blogs and, yes, I am nuts about Southwest.

They are a no-frills airline, but generally have the lowest prices when we fly (which is why Maryam switched us to them). One thing, though, their service is almost always better than other airlines I fly, especially in baggage handling — my bags on other airlines can take 20 minutes to show up, but not on Southwest.

Southwest takes a bit of time to get used to (they give everyone a boarding card with "A", "B", or "C" on it, and first on gets the best seats, if you're last on often there won't be space for your luggage so it'll have to be checked). Plus they don't have meals or video screens, at least on the short flights I'm usually on.

85 thoughts on “I’m nuts about Southwest

  1. Scoble are you still interested in SWA Technology Dept?
    We are expanding and will be seeking 20-30 Java candidates in the next two to three weeks.

    I have all the details if you are interested.

    The information has not gone out yet, but if you would like the inside scoop before it goes live, just e-mail me at grace.ward@wnco.com and I will make sure you get it.
    It will be posted on southwest.com/careers in the next week or so, but if you want to be on the front end, just let me know.

    Thanks,
    GW – Southwest Airlines – People Dept.

  2. Scoble are you still interested in SWA Technology Dept?
    We are expanding and will be seeking 20-30 Java candidates in the next two to three weeks.

    I have all the details if you are interested.

    The information has not gone out yet, but if you would like the inside scoop before it goes live, just e-mail me at grace.ward@wnco.com and I will make sure you get it.
    It will be posted on southwest.com/careers in the next week or so, but if you want to be on the front end, just let me know.

    Thanks,
    GW – Southwest Airlines – People Dept.

  3. Apply for a job at another airline then. Maybe you should try Southwest (since they have a strong presense in STL, although you’ll have to base where they have the biggest need probably BWI).

  4. Apply for a job at another airline then. Maybe you should try Southwest (since they have a strong presense in STL, although you’ll have to base where they have the biggest need probably BWI).

  5. Help us get our jobs back at American Airlines. AMR is using 9/11 in taking our jobs for good away from us.

  6. Help us get our jobs back at American Airlines. AMR is using 9/11 in taking our jobs for good away from us.

  7. Briggs and Riley makes the best luggage for frequent travelers. They put the wheel and handle gear on the outside, leaving more room inside the bag. Everything is backed with an unconditional warranty.

  8. Briggs and Riley makes the best luggage for frequent travelers. They put the wheel and handle gear on the outside, leaving more room inside the bag. Everything is backed with an unconditional warranty.

  9. “Its core system – SWIFT (home grown) – sits on a TIBCO framework”

    Sort of. TIBCO is important, but SWIFT uses Smartsockets, from Talarian, which Tibco bought.
    Tibco has all but killed off Smartsockets.

    The newer Tibco products are used, just not directly by SWIFT.

    Also, SWIFT is core to the operation, but it’s probably
    more correct to call their Reservations/Departure Control system the “core” of the airline. That runs on
    a TPF mainframe.

  10. “Its core system – SWIFT (home grown) – sits on a TIBCO framework”

    Sort of. TIBCO is important, but SWIFT uses Smartsockets, from Talarian, which Tibco bought.
    Tibco has all but killed off Smartsockets.

    The newer Tibco products are used, just not directly by SWIFT.

    Also, SWIFT is core to the operation, but it’s probably
    more correct to call their Reservations/Departure Control system the “core” of the airline. That runs on
    a TPF mainframe.

  11. “And Scoble, I’m surprised you love a company running IBM.”

    I wouldn’t characterize Southwest as “running IBM”.
    Sure, they have Websphere, but the bulk of the interesting work going on in their IT shop is plain
    old java.

    The Customer facing website is C++/Corba, no hint of IBM anywhere.

    Ding! appears to be running on linux webservers, and
    the client is available both on Microsoft Windows and Macs.

  12. “And Scoble, I’m surprised you love a company running IBM.”

    I wouldn’t characterize Southwest as “running IBM”.
    Sure, they have Websphere, but the bulk of the interesting work going on in their IT shop is plain
    old java.

    The Customer facing website is C++/Corba, no hint of IBM anywhere.

    Ding! appears to be running on linux webservers, and
    the client is available both on Microsoft Windows and Macs.

  13. I wish I’d flown Southwest to San Francisco. I flew American. They lost my bag. Now they say they found it yesterday at 1 p.m.

    The only problem: I was in San Francisco, with my bag, yesterday at 1.

    The real problem: there is nowhere on the website where you can find a customer service phone number. A lady at their HQ told me they took a survey and people preferred to email.

    Who’d they survey? Sure wasn’t customers.

  14. I wish I’d flown Southwest to San Francisco. I flew American. They lost my bag. Now they say they found it yesterday at 1 p.m.

    The only problem: I was in San Francisco, with my bag, yesterday at 1.

    The real problem: there is nowhere on the website where you can find a customer service phone number. A lady at their HQ told me they took a survey and people preferred to email.

    Who’d they survey? Sure wasn’t customers.

  15. Southwest also has a simple, fairly generous frequent flyer program. After you fly a certain # of legs (extra credit on legs that are Internet booked) then they send you some codes good for a trip. Go online and book it. I’ve booked less than 24 hours before a flight with frequent flyer codes, no problem.

    I use SWA a lot because they have a hub in Nashville. Direct flights to Seattle, Oakland, San Jose, etc. And I can’t see that they’re any worse than anybody else on those long flights. No first class, but I won’t pay the difference for first class on the other majors anyway.

  16. Southwest also has a simple, fairly generous frequent flyer program. After you fly a certain # of legs (extra credit on legs that are Internet booked) then they send you some codes good for a trip. Go online and book it. I’ve booked less than 24 hours before a flight with frequent flyer codes, no problem.

    I use SWA a lot because they have a hub in Nashville. Direct flights to Seattle, Oakland, San Jose, etc. And I can’t see that they’re any worse than anybody else on those long flights. No first class, but I won’t pay the difference for first class on the other majors anyway.

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