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 are important 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 Culture. Our Culture is often imitated but never duplicated, and every Employee plays a role in promoting and preserving it. We provide our People with great jobs and benefits, and a world-famous Culture where they’re encouraged to be their authentic selves—drawing 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.

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.
  • Voluntary benefits, including company-provided life, optional life, accidental death and dismemberment insurance, and short-term and long-term disability.
  • Financial benefits including retirement through a 401(k) 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.

Employee Recruitment, Training, and Retention

We “hire for attitude and train for skill.” 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 at every step. We’re often recognized as a great place to work, including being a great employer for women, veterans, diversity, and recent college graduates.

Collective Bargaining and Freedom of Association

As of December 31, 2021, approximately 82% of our workforce was represented by labor unions. 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 also 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.


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. Employees are expected 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, our Customers a safe travel experience, and in turn, position Southwest Airlines for success.

Hospitality chart

Customer Service and Satisfaction

We believe empowered Employees make great ambassadors, and that 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, as we’ve earned the #1 ranking 25 times during the last 32 years. We’re proud of our outstanding Customer Service and one-of-a-kind Hospitality.


Community Outreach

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 Community Outreach

Relevant Societal Topics

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

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, which as outlined in our Human Rights Policy Statement, includes conducting business in a way that protects and promotes human rights. Designed to align with international standards, our approach to human rights includes 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 review, evaluate, and propose responses to current social topics raised, as well as consider 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 are informed by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), and aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Southwest Airlines Careers

Employees are the Heart of Southwest Airlines. Throughout our 50-year history, we’ve committed to providing our Employees with great jobs and benefits, a world-famous Culture, and an environment where they feel comfortable bringing their whole authentic selves to work. Empowered Employees make great ambassadors that help attract tomorrow’s talent to our Southwest Family. It’s all about a career with Heart and Purpose.