Putting People First

As we’ve famously said for decades, our People are the Heartbeat of Southwest. But when we talk about “our People,” we mean more than just our Employees. Of course we love our Employees, and offer them great jobs and benefits—helping to create our amazing Culture. But we also believe that the rest of our Stakeholders—our Customers, communities, and Shareholders—are “our People” too. As such, we seek to always do right by them, living by the Golden Rule and acting with a Servant’s Heart. We remain a Company of our People, with a focus on serving our Customers.

Key Accomplishments


In 2019, Southwest Employees volunteered more than 200,000 hours to help causes and organizations they care about.

We served 134+ million Customers in 2019

Invested more than $450,000 in Hawaii community organizations since 2017.

We’ve always done things a little differently at Southwest, with The Golden Rule at the forefront of our Culture. We take pride in our reputation as the airline with Heart, and that naturally extends to a passion for making a difference in our communities and protecting our resources. We’re committed to being a good corporate citizen because it’s in our DNA and we believe community is more than a place—it’s at the Heart of what brings us together.
—Laurie Barnett, Managing Director Communications
and Outreach
Key Topic


At Southwest, taking care of People always starts with our Employees. We provide them with great jobs and benefits, and a world-famous Culture where they are encouraged to be their authentic self—drawing on their unique perspectives, skills, and experiences in their day-to-day jobs. Over the years, we’ve seen how treating our Employees well does good things for the rest of our business. Because happy, empowered Employees make great ambassadors, and that affects Customers, the world around us, and the success of our business. It’s no wonder we’ve always said Employees are the Heart of Southwest.

$667 million
Record ProfitSharing earned by Employees in 2019.
In July 2019, we launched our
Destination 225º program,
which Southwest believes will help reduce dependency on the open market by allowing us to train future Pilots on how to fly
"The Southwest Way."
2M+ hours
Spent by our Operations Teams in training and on education in 2019.
Key Topic


At Southwest, we take a different approach to Customer Service than most companies. Customers are at the Heart of everything we do, and we view each Customer as a valued, unique individual. When you’re serving real, unique People with individual needs and wants, a one-size-fits-all approach to service just doesn’t work. We empower our Employees to connect with Customers on a personal level, so they can deliver distinctive, personal service. And after 47 consecutive years of profitability, our approach seems to be working. More than 134 million Customers chose to travel with us last year—a testament to the power of warm, personal service and the Southwest Heart.

180k hrs

Frontline Employee Training to learn our Commodity Tracking System, helping our Customers track their belongings.

Ranked No. 1
for Customer Satisfaction
with Airline Travel Websites

by J.D. Power 2019 Website and App Satisfaction study.
Inflight Entertainment
on WiFi-enabled aircraft for Customers to enjoy free movies, live TV, on-demand episodes, messaging, and games.
Key Topic


Our focus on communities is a natural extension of Southwest’s People-centric approach to citizenship. We seek to connect People to what’s important in their lives, and the communities where we live, work, and play are an essential part of what brings us together. We believe that cooperation can advance our impact, so we partner with like-minded People and organizations to promote resilience, civility, and peace in our communities.

Students impacted by our Adopt-A-Pilot program since its 1997 launch.
In 2019, we donated
3,628 tickets through our
Tickets for Time program.

We donate one complimentary, roundtrip ticket for every 40 hours our Employees volunteer with a qualified organization.1111) Each qualified organization is eligible to receive up to six roundtrip tickets per calendar year as part of the Tickets for Time program.
Value of Southwest-provided travel assistance for medical patients in need since 2007.

Looking Forward1515) The 2019 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 financial position, outlook, plans, strategies, goals, targets, and projected results of operations, including factors and assumptions underlying the Company’s projections; (iii) the Company’s operational initiatives and related plans and expectations, including with respect to technology and fleet initiatives; (iv) the Company’s other initiatives, including hiring, diversity, Rapid Rewards, safety, fuel, and environmental and sustainability initiatives and related plans and expectations; (v) the Company’s network plans, expectations, and opportunities; (vi) the Company’s expectations with respect to fuel efficiency, including factors and assumptions underlying the Company’s expectations; (vii) the Company's plans, expectations, and priorities in connection with the return of the MAX to service; and (viii) the Company’s fleet 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) the impact of fears or actual outbreaks of disease or pandemics, changes in consumer behavior, economic conditions, governmental actions, extreme or severe weather and natural disasters, fears of terrorism or war, actions of competitors, fuel prices, consumer perception, and other factors beyond the Company's control, on consumer behavior and the Company's results of operations and business decisions, plans, strategies, and results; (ii) the Company's dependence on Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration with respect to the timing of the return of the 737 MAX to service and any related changes to the Company's operational and financial assumptions and decisions; (iii) the Company’s dependence on other third parties, and the impact on the Company’s operations and results of operations of any third party delays or non-performance; (iv) 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; (v) the Company’s ability to timely and effectively prioritize its initiatives and related expenditures; (vi) the impact of labor matters on the Company’s business decisions, plans, and strategies; and (vii) 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 December 31, 2019, and in the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended March 31, 2020.

  • Human
    Trafficking Training
    In 2019, we reiterated our commitment to combating human trafficking. One of our first steps was to educate Employees on how to better understand what human trafficking is and how to take action. We look forward to providing our Employees additional resources and training on this subject.
  • 50 Years.
    One Heart!
    We will be celebrating our 50th anniversary in 2021. We can’t wait to recognize this milestone with our Employees, Customers,
    and Communities!
  • Deepen
    Community Outreach
    We will continue to collaborate with various nonprofits and organizations to strengthen our community impact around the globe. These partnerships will align with our core focus areas of strategic giving and support.

People Data Table

Five Year Summary
Active, full-time equivalent Employees at yearend1616) Active, full-time equivalent Employees as of Dec. 31 for specific calendar year.60,76758,80356,11053,53649,583
Employees By Gender
Active, full-time equivalent Employees at yearend, by gender1717) Active, full-time equivalent Employees as of Dec. 31 for specific calendar year.57 % Male
43 % Female
57 % Male
43 % Female
58 % Male
42 % Female
57 % Male
43 % Female
New Hires during the reporting period, by age and gender: under 30 years old1,093 Male
787 Female
1,450 Male
1,038 Female
1,223 Male
940 Female
New Hires during the reporting period, by age and gender: 30-50 years old1,530 Male
1,014 Female
1,871 Male
1,092 Female
1,831 Male
996 Female
New Hires during the reporting period, by age and gender: over 50 years old379 Male
422 Female
444 Male
439 Female
405 Male
448 Female
Employees By Division1818) Flight includes Cabin Service Support, Inflight, and Flight Operations. Ground, Customer, and Fleet Services includes Provisioning, Customer Services, Ground Operations, and Operations Coordination Center.

43 %

42 %

42 %

41 %

42 %

5 %

5 %

5 %

6 %

6 %
Ground, Customer, and Fleet Services21,013

35 %

36 %

36 %

36 %

35 %
Administrative (Technology, Management, Finance, Marketing, Clerical Personnel)10,657

17 %

17 %

17 %

17 %

17 %
Active and inactive Employees who participate in benefits programMore than 64,800More than 62,800More than 58,900More than 56,300More than 52,000
Employee benefit programs excluding 401(k) and ProfitSharing plans and share-based compensation (accrued)1919) Includes Southwest’s contributions to Employee health and welfare plans, workers’ compensation insurance, and employer payroll taxes.More than
$ 1.3 billion
More than
$ 1.2 billion
More than
$ 1.1 billion
More than
$ 1.0 billion
More than
$ 950 million
401(k) savings plan participation91 %91 %91 %92 %92 %
ProfitSharing Plan participationAll eligible EmployeesAll eligible EmployeesAll eligible EmployeesAll eligible EmployeesAll eligible Employees
Company contributions to 401(k) and ProfitSharing plans$ 1.2 billion$ 1.0 billion$ 1.0 billion$ 937 million$ 945 million
Pilot hours482,473543,360582,535457,563476,272
Flight Attendant hours427,705442,807354,942443,295241,900
Maintenance hours165,630166,324140,068147,312148,281
Customer Support and Services hours134,783181,670255,106175,447214,745
Ground Operations hours887,627737,256740,285730,088656,365
Safety and Security hours (all Employees)More than 780,000More than 820,000More than 660,000More than 811,000More than 800,000
External Customer commendationsMore than 88,000More than 96,000More than 107,000More than 105,000More than 89,000
Ratio of external Customer commendations to personnel complaints2020) Southwest revised its reporting methodology to “Ratio of external Customer commendations to personnel complaints” from “Ratio of external Customer commendation to personnel rudeness complaints.” For comparison purposes, Ratio of external Customer commendations to personnel complaints metrics for years 2015 to 2018, reflect the new reporting methodology.3:13:14:13:12:1
American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI)7980808078
U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Customer Satisfaction rating (consumer complaints per 100,000 enplanements)2121) U.S. Department of Transportation. (2020, February). Air Travel Consumer Report (ATCR): A Product of the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings, Aviation Consumer Protection Division. Washington, D.C. https://www.transportation.gov/individuals/aviation-consumer-protection/february-2020-air-travel-consumer-report. The DOT ranks all U.S. carriers based on the lowest ratio of complaints filed with the DOT per 100,000 passengers enplaned. Southwest earned 1st place in the DOT’s 2019 ATCR. A Marketing Carrier is an airline that advertises under a common brand name, sells reservations, manages frequent flyer programs, and is ultimately responsible for the airline’s consumer policies. Operating Carriers handle the flight operations for the respective Marketing Carriers they serve—Operating Carriers are not responsible for policies, procedures, and advertising associated with the Marketing Carrier’s brand. 0.330.360.470.470.52
Percentage of reported flight operations arriving ontime80.279.278.780.879.7
Number of mishandled bags reported per 1,000 enplaned bags2222) In accordance with DOT guidelines, Southwest revised its mishandled bag reporting to “Number of mishandled bags reported per 1,000 bags enplaned.” For comparison purposes, mishandled bag metrics have been provided for 2018 and 2017, to reflect the new reporting methodology. 4.404.684.50NRNR
Passengers denied boarding per 10,000 Passengers0.190.150.530.991.08
Donation requests received systemwide18,45617,24317,03215,23714,995
Tickets donated45,30150,06050,58653,29138,936
Total monetary donations$ 5,843,946$ 4,581,579$ 13,390,938$ 3,280,307$ 3,258,761
Total corporate monetary, in-kind, and ticket donations$ 24,306,076$ 25,235,753$ 37,043,294$ 25,324,794$ 19,571,177
Monies raised through official Southwest fundraising efforts$ 800,000$ 950,000$ 500,000$ 675,000$ 675,000
Employee volunteer hoursMore than 200,000Nearly 190,000More than 180,000Nearly 150,000More than 145,000
Value of Employee volunteer hours2323) Independent Sector. (2019, April 11). Independent Sector Releases New Value of Volunteer Time of $25.43 Per Hour. https://independentsector.org/ news-post/new-value-volunteer-time-2019/More than
$ 5,800,000
More than
$ 4,800,000
More than
$ 4,300,000
More than
$ 3,500,000
$ 3,500,000
Social Management Approach
Employees represented by unionsApproximately 83 %Approximately 83 %Approximately 83 %Approximately 83 %Approximately 83 %
Employee human rights training hours More than 53,500More than 44,000More than 39,000More than 51,000More than 22,000
Employees trained on human rights48.9 %43.9 %40.4 %44.4 %36.1 %
Employees and business associates who acknowledged the Code of EthicsMore than 64,000More than 64,000More than 63,000More than 59,000More than 53,500