Putting People First

2017 was quite a year at Southwest. We launched the biggest technology initiative in Company history, which will allow us to better serve Customers for years to come. We stood alongside each other and the communities we serve through a rapid succession of powerful, destructive hurricanes. And we continued to build on our enriching workplace that honors Employees’ diverse points of view. Through it all, we never lost sight of those at the Heart of our airline—our People.

Key Accomplishments


We trained more than 20,000 Southwest Employees for readiness on our new reservation system, Amadeus Altéa.

We served a record 130M+ Customers in 2017
46 flights

We operated 46 no-charge evacuation and humanitarian flights to help communities during Hurricanes Harvey, Maria, and Irma.

Key Topic


Southwest is dedicated to providing the highest quality Customer Service, delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We believe that this commitment begins with our treatment of our Employees—when you treat your Employees well, your Customers feel the difference.

We’re committed to providing our Employees with a nurturing work environment where they can learn and develop, creating an inclusive Culture that honors each Employee’s unique point of view, and sharing our continued success with the People we rely on.

Sharing Our Profits
Sharing Our Profits
Employees earned $543 million in profitsharing for 2017.
Investing in Our People
Investing in Our People
In 2017, our Operations teams spent 2,072,936 hours in training & education.
Key Topic


Customers are at the Heart of everything we do at Southwest. Our People-first philosophy lets us serve our Customers in a way that’s more hospitable, more human, and more enjoyable. It lets us value individual Customers and treat them in a way that’s genuine, friendly, and compassionate.

We’ve been in the business of caring for our Customers for decades and so far our strategy has worked well for both our Customers and our business. A record 130+ million Customers chose to travel with us in 2017—helping us reach our 45th consecutive year of profitability.

<15 min.
Average response time to Customer inquiries via social media
Following the tragic events in Las Vegas in October 2017, we worked with partner Musicians on Call to send musicians to visit with and lift the spirits of recovering victims in the Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center.
Nearly 3,000
Inbound social Customers' posts per day in 2017, on average
Key Topic


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. By giving back to the communities that we serve, partnering with local charities and initiatives, and taking advantage of opportunities to make an impact on the lives of People, we demonstrate our Heart by making the connections that empower communities to thrive.

Donated to American
Red Cross following Hurricane Harvey
Our belief in the power of civility and respect are evident in our strong commitment to People, our support for communities, and our care for the environment.
$4 million
Value of travel assistance3232) Each roundtrip plane ticket is valued at $400. for patients in need in 2017

Looking Forward11) The 2017 Southwest Airlines One Report contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Specific forward-looking statements include, without limitation, statements related to (i) the Company’s Vision; (ii) the Company’s network and growth plans, strategies, opportunities, and expectations; (iii) the Company’s financial position, outlook, goals, targets, strategies, plans, expectations, and projected results of operations, including specific factors expected to impact the Company’s results of operations; (iv) the Company’s plans and expectations with respect to its new reservation system and other technology initiatives, and the Company’s related multi-faceted financial and operational expectations and opportunities; (v) the Company’s capacity plans and expectations; (vi) the Company’s fleet plans, strategies, and expectations, including its fleet modernization initiatives, and the Company’s related financial and operational expectations; (vii) the Company’s operational initiatives and related plans and expectations, including with respect to its technology initiatives; (viii) the Company’s expectations related to its management of risk associated with changing jet fuel prices; (ix) the Company’s expectations and goals with respect to returning value to Shareholders; and (x) the Company’s other initiatives, including construction, safety, and environmental initiatives, and related plans and expectations. These statements involve risks, uncertainties, assumptions, and other factors that are difficult to predict and that could cause actual results to vary materially from those expressed in or indicated by them. Factors include, among others, (i) changes in demand for the Company's services and other changes in consumer behavior; (ii) the impact of a continually changing business environment, economic conditions, fuel prices, actions of competitors (including without limitation pricing, product, scheduling, capacity, and network decisions, and consolidation and alliance activities), and other factors beyond the Company’s control, on the Company's business decisions, plans, strategies, and results; (iii) the impact of governmental regulations and other governmental actions related to the Company's operations; (iv) the Company’s dependence on third parties, in particular with respect to its fleet and technology plans; (v) the Company's ability to timely and effectively implement, transition, and maintain the necessary information technology systems and infrastructure to support its operations and initiatives; (vi) the Company’s ability to timely and effectively prioritize its initiatives and related expenditures; (vii) the impact of labor matters on the Company’s business decisions, plans, strategies, and costs; (viii) changes in aircraft fuel prices, the impact of hedge accounting, and any changes to the Company’s fuel hedging strategies and positions; and (ix) other factors, as described in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the detailed factors discussed under the heading "Risk Factors" in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2017.

  • Hawaii Service
    Our planned service to Hawaii will allow us to serve an even more diverse set of Customers and communities.
  • Louisiana One
    We are thrilled to welcome Louisiana One as our 12th state-themed aircraft in Southwest’s specialty fleet! On the heels of New Orleans’ tri-centennial celebration, Southwest thanks our Employees and loyal Customers for 39 years of dedicated service with a state-dedicated Boeing 737-700 emblazoned with an artist’s rendition of the Louisiana State flag.
  • Innovation Station
    Southwest’s continuous improvement, innovation, and data science Teams help us strive to never rest on our laurels. Stay tuned for exciting enhancements for both Customers and Employees!

People Data Table

Five Year Summary
Active, full-time equivalent Employees at yearend1414) Active, full-time equivalent Employees as of Dec. 31 for specified calendar year.56,11053,53649,58346,27844,831
Employees By Gender
Active, full-time equivalent Employees at yearend1414) Active, full-time equivalent Employees as of Dec. 31 for specified calendar year., by gender58 % Male
42 % Female
57 % Male
43 % Female
New Hires during the reporting period, by age and gender: under 30 years old1,223 Male
940 Female
New Hires during the reporting period, by age and gender: 30-50 years old1,831 Male
996 Female
New Hires during the reporting period, by age and gender: over 50 years old405 Male
448 Female
Employees By Division3131) Flight includes Cabin Service Support, Inflight, and Flight Operations. Ground, Customer, and Fleet Services includes Provisioning, Customer Services, Ground Operations, and Operations Coordination Center.

42 %

41 %

42 %

43 %

42 %

5 %

6 %

6 %

6 %

6 %
Ground, Customer, and Fleet Services20,175

36 %

36 %

35 %

34 %

35 %
Administrative (Technology, Management, Finance, Marketing, Clerical Personnel)9,414

17 %

17 %

17 %

17 %

17 %
Active and inactive Employees who participate in benefits programMore than 59,800More than 56,300More than 52,000More than 49,000More than 48,000
Employee benefit programs excluding 401(k) and ProfitSharing plans and share-based compensation (accrued)3535) Includes Southwest’s contributions to Employee health and welfare plans, workers’ compensation insurance, and employer payroll taxes.More than $1.1 billionMore than $1 billionMore than $950 millionMore than $880 millionMore than $830 million
401(k) savings plan participation93 %92 %92 %93 %Nearly 89%
ProfitSharing Plan participationAll eligible EmployeesAll eligible EmployeesAll eligible EmployeesAll eligible EmployeesAll eligible Employees
Company contributions to 401(k) and ProfitSharing plansMore than
$1 billion
More than $936 millionMore than $945 millionNearly $644 millionNearly $500 million
Pilot hours582,535457,563476,272546,867193,644
Flight Attendant hours354,942443,295241,900474,973115,900
Maintenance hours140,068147,312148,281154,723145,069
Customer Support & Services hours255,106175,447214,745128,84557,769
Ground Operations hours740,285730,088656,365693,687911,358
Safety & Security hours (all Employees)More than 660,000More than 811,000More than 800,000More than 820,000More than 580,000
External Customer commendationsMore than 107,000More than 105,000More than 89,000More than 75,000Nearly
Ratio of external Customer commendations to personnel rudeness complaints8:16:14:14:1Nearly 5:1
American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI)8080787881
U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Customer Satisfaction rating (consumer complaints per 100,000 enplanements)0.470.470.520.500.34
Percentage of reported flight operations arriving ontime78.780.879.773.076.7
Number of mishandled bags reported per 1,000 Passengers2.832.983.314.063.72
Passengers denied boarding per 10,000 Passengers0.530.991.081.031.06
Donation requests received systemwide17,03215,23714,99515,04617,941
Tickets donated50,58653,29138,93643,18844,019
Total monetary donations$ 13,390,938$ 3,280,307$ 3,258,761$ 2,748,305$ 2,034,431
Total corporate monetary, in-kind, and ticket donations$ 37,043,294$ 25,324,794$ 19,571,177$ 20,128,153$ 18,951,092
Monies raised through official Southwest fundraising efforts$ 500,000$ 675,000$ 675,000$ 640,000$ 700,000
Employee volunteer hoursMore than 180,000Nearly
More than 145,000More than 144,000More than 144,000
Value of Employee volunteer hours3434) Based on Independent Sector’s estimated value of a volunteer hour as of Dec. 31, 2017. For more information, visit: http://www.independentsector.org/resource/the-value-of-volunteer-time/More than
$ 4,300,000
More than
$ 3,500,000
$ 3,500,000
More than
$ 3,300,000
More than
$ 3,200,000
Social Management Approach
Employees represented by unionsApproximately 83 %Approximately 83 %Approximately 83 %Approximately 83%Approximately 83 %
Employee human rights training hours More than 39,000More than 51,000More than 22,000More than 54,000More than 20,000
Employees trained on human rights40.4 %44.4 %36.1 %46.4 %6.7 %
Employees and business associates who acknowledged the Code of EthicsMore than 63,000More than 59,000More than 53,500More than 50,800More than 46,500

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