Our People

People are, and always have been, the heartbeat of Southwest Airlines®, and we work to advance and connect them to the things that matter most in their lives. Our focus on People includes Employees, Customers, communities, and a perspective on relevant societal topics.


Culture and Employee Experience

Southwest® is known for our legendary Hospitality and world-famous where People come first. We care for our People and communities, and our People care for each other.

Our Culture is woven into all aspects of our business, from how we treat each other to how we provide Hospitality to our Customers. All Employees are responsible for preserving and invigorating our Culture, regardless of tenure, which strengthens our Culture of caring. It’s a source of pride among Employees and at the Heart of who we are. Employees are encouraged to be authentically themselves and draw on their unique perspectives, skills, and experiences in their day-to-day jobs. Employees are treated with the same concern, respect, and caring attitude within our organization that they are expected to share externally with every Southwest Customer.

Southwest® is known for our legendary Hospitality and world-famous Culture where People come first.This philosophy has defined us from day one as a reflection of the life and Leadership of our President Emeritus Colleen Barrett, the original architect of Southwest’s Culture. Her influence continues today. Learn more at the Colleen C. Barrett Institute for Cultural Excellence and Customer Service.

Freedom One Dal

Employee Benefits

Our Employees are the Heart of Southwest. The Golden Rule is at the forefront of our Culture, because treating our Employees well does good things for the rest of our business. Full-time and part-time Employee benefits include:

  • Health coverage, including medical, prescription, dental, vision, and an Employee Assistance Program for mental health care.
  • Company-provided life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment insurance as well as optional life and other voluntary benefits.
  • Short-term disability for Noncontract Employees and Employees whose collective bargaining agreement (CBA) so provides, loss of license disability for Pilots, and conventional long-term disability for all other Employees.
  • Financial benefits include retirement through a 401(k) Plan, including Company match Employee Stock Purchase plan, and ProfitSharing Plan.
  • Paid time off, including vacations, personal time, sick time, disability, and for Noncontract Employees, holidays and parental leave.

Collective Bargaining and Freedom of Association

As of December 31, 2022, labor unions represented approximately 83% of our workforce. Our approach to collective bargaining focuses on partnering with Leaders and Unions to negotiate labor agreements that achieve positive outcomes for our People and Southwest while fostering relationships founded on honesty, civility, and understanding. Our Annual Report on Form 10-K contains more information on the various unions representing our Employees.

Careers with Heart

At Southwest, we empower Employees to create their own career; one that fits the goals—and lifestyle—they want. We’re committed to quality training and development that drives progress and change, better retention, and sets Employees up for success. Attracting prospective Candidates to Southwest and retaining our current People is at the forefront of everything we do. We strive to offer Candidates the best hiring experience we can, and part of that focus means transparency and Hospitality at every step. Often we’re recognized as a great place to work, including being a great employer for women, veterans, diversity, and recent college graduates.

Employees are the Heart of Southwest. Throughout our more than 50-year history, we’re committed to providing our Employees with great jobs and benefits, a world-famous Culture, and an environment where they feel comfortable bringing their authentic selves to work. It’s all about a career with Heart and Purpose. We continue to look for opportunities to reflect the communities we serve and welcome applicants with diverse thoughts, backgrounds, and experiences. Apply for a career by you, for you on Southwest Careers.


Safety and Operational Philosophy

Southwest Airlines’ Operational Philosophy defines key principles and expectations for Frontline Employees. Most importantly, and without compromise, we put Safety first. We expect Employees to follow Company policies and procedures designed to enable operations at an acceptable level of risk for Southwest in compliance with regulatory requirements. Next, and only after operating safely, we balance being low-cost and reliable, all delivered with world-class Hospitality. The Operational Philosophy provides a framework to offer Employees a safe work environment and our Customers a safe travel experience, which positions Southwest Airlines for success.

Hospitality chart

Customer Service and Satisfaction

We believe empowered Employees make great ambassadors, which affects Customers, the world around us, and the success of our business. Since the Department of Transportation began tracking Customer Service metrics, Southwest has consistently been among the top-ranked carriers in this category—we’ve earned the #1 ranking 26 times during the past 33 years. We’re proud of our outstanding Customer Service and one-of-a-kind Hospitality.


Corporate Responsibility

To advance Southwest’s Citizenship efforts, we focus on three principles: loving People, building resilience, and living responsibly. We bring those principles to life by investing in partnerships and programs that drive economic, social, and environmental impact. Through our investments and initiatives, we generate value for our business, our Customers, and our communities.

We put our Heart in action by mobilizing our Employees to do well by doing good, developing programs to meet the needs of our diverse communities, and engaging with business, civic and community leaders to be a globally-trusted citizen fostering authentic relationships that empower communities. Whether in the air or on the ground, we believe community is more than a place—it’s at the Heart of what brings us together.

Read more on Corporate Responsibility

Relevant Societal Topics

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI)

We’re known for putting People first, which includes recognizing, respecting, and valuing differences. By fostering a Culture that embraces and utilizes our diversity, we create competitive, yet equitable, advantages that contribute to our overall success. We’re dedicated to advancing DEI, including our efforts to cultivate a workforce and Leadership Team that reflects the diversity of the communities we serve.

Read more on our approach to DEI

Human Rights

We’re committed to doing the right thing to protect and promote human rights in every aspect of our business as outlined in our Human Rights Policy Statement. Our approach to human rights is designed to align with international standards, including the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights, the International Bill of Human Rights, and the International Labor Organization (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.

Read our Human Rights Policy Statement

Social Topics Committee

Established in 2015, the Social Topics Committee is a cross-functional executive forum that reviews, evaluates, and proposes responses to current social topics raised and considers areas to take proactive actions and alignment.

Heart Livery

The Southwest Airlines One Report

Explore our annual corporate social responsibility report, the Southwest Airlines One Report. This integrated Citizenship report covers significant social, economic, and environmental stories, as well as data tables, and reporting frameworks, all through the lens of corporate Citizenship. Our disclosures have been prepared in reference to the following standards: the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) framework, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) standards, and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).