Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Southwest Airlines

You know, there are some things in this life that I would just never get to see or do without a handful of strategically placed relatives in just the right careers.  We spent the afternoon touring the Southwest Airlines headquarters today thanks to my pilot brother-in-law, Bret, who was in town for his semi-annual training.  

I had no idea this place was so cool.  

We spent just long enough in the corporate office to see the lobby and to have lunch in the amazing cafeteria.  I didn't get a picture of it because I was busy eating, but holy crap! this place was so seriously employee friendly, I considered for just a second starting a new career.  

Here's the view from where we sat:
Downtown Dallas on one side.
And the Love Field runway on the other.  

Unfortunately there were only a few planes taking off today because of inclement weather, and I couldn't get all my camera settings ready in time to catch them.  But how cool would that be to get to watch planes take off everyday while you eat lunch!?

We also got an impromptu tour of the dispatch area.  Bret found a super nice man who offered to give us a tour of the area and took so much time to explain everything including highlights from his 33 years at Southwest.  SO interesting!  (That's where I'd want to launch my second career!  Think 43 is too late to be an airport storm chaser/dispatcher??)  They wouldn't let me take any pictures in there so you'll just have to imagine dim lights, and a handful of cubicles with tons of giant computers monitoring weather radar and flight paths.  Amazing!

After the short tour of corporate, we walked over to the training center with Bret.

Also very cool!  We watched flight classes in progress, water evacuation training, and flight simulators in motion!

And this was my favorite part of the whole day...

These goofy little rubber chickens are hanging from all eight of the flight simulators.  Wanna know why?  Well, when the original sims were put in, they kept breaking down.  So someone had the great idea to hang the chickens there for good luck, to ward off evil spirits, and to keep everything in good working order.  

CHICKENS = no problems with the sims

Sometime later, a subsequent head simulator guy thought the chickens were dumb and asked that they be removed. And guess what!

NO chickens = tons of problems with the sims

The chickens were replaced and remain there to this day.  And there have been no major flight simulator problems since.  

Moral of the story:  DO NOT mess with the powerful mojo of the rubber chicken.

I LOVED hanging out at Southwest today.  Everyone was so nice to us and we had SO much fun.  Craig's parents were sufficiently impressed with Bret's knowledge and expertise, and they were so happy to have coordinated their trip to DAL with his training schedule.  

It's been a great week with the Grs.  

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