Southwest Airlines

  www.southwest.com
  www.southwest.com
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Southwest Airlines Reviews

Updated August 10, 2014
Updated August 10, 2014
450 Reviews
4.0
450 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Southwest Airlines Chairman, President & CEO Gary C. Kelly
Gary C. Kelly
381 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Good health benefits, great 401k matching, good flight benefits if you can use them (in 42 reviews)

  • Great benefits - health care, flight benefits, 401K matching, etc (in 35 reviews)


Cons
  • The station where I worked was always understaffed so a lot of mandatory overtime (in 22 reviews)

  • The benefits include free (space available travel) and relatively low pay (in 11 reviews)

More Highlights

26 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 3 people found this helpful  

    The company and culture that was once described in text books and literature no longer exists.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Dallas, TX
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Dallas, TX

    I have been working at Southwest Airlines full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    The culture can be enjoyable if you're liked by the right people. There seems to be an "in crowd" in every department. If your part of the "in crowd" you will be able to enjoy the culture, reap the benefits of celebrations, community events, and so on. If you work hard and are part of the right crowd, leaders will go out of their way to appreciate you. However, you won't get a promotion unless someone in the "in crowd" really favors you or you put in long years. It's a good ole boy company and isn't changing.

    Southwest is a great place to start if you aren't pursuing higher education. Many leaders only have a high school education and few with bachelor degrees. I believe the reason for that is many of the leaders started years ago and the good ole boy system worked for them. I believe Southwest tends to promote those without degrees so that they can keep salaries lower for their leaders that never attended college and their leaders stay with the company for long periods of time because no other company will want them without the degree. This keeps Southwest Airlines costs lower and keeps turn-over down as well. Southwest does however have a very good 401K match.

    Cons

    The leadership lacks higher education so don't expect them to value your higher education. The lack of educated leaders is the most frustrating part about working at Southwest. I expect my boss to understand concepts and data that I present to them. I actually expect my boss to not only understand the difficult concepts, I expect them to be able to teach me something I don't already know. Every leader I have come in contact with has difficulty with advanced concepts, but they also do not possess degrees beyond high school education. Why be innovative if the leaders can't either comprehend or entertain your ideas? As a result, I never felt challenged.

    The pay was quite a bit lower than the nation-wide average for my job. Recently, I was offered positions at three other companies that paid between $20,000-$25,000 a year more than what I was making. I started off as a intern at Southwest and was offered a job with them. I stayed for three years and wanted to stay longer, but the company was underpaying me and couldn't challenge me. In fact, my Manager accidentally left a piece of paper in my cube with the salaries of everyone in my department. Some of the worst performers were making ridiculously good money and some of the best performers were making terrible money. The employees making the best money had been with the company 15 plus years and those making terrible money were newer employees. Talent and hard work was not rewarded.

    When I turned in my two weeks notice, all of the leaders and fellow employees that were singing my praises turned ice cold. I realized that I had been accepted into the "in crowd" at some point and was possibly being groomed for a promotion years down the road. Once I turned in my notice, I felt how it was to no longer be in that crowd. Rumors started up about me, leaders and co-workers became icy or gave me the silent treatment. Leaders who once praised my stellar work started to act like it was shoddy. I lost a lot of people who I assumed were "friends". Turnover is really low at Southwest and it's considered almost offensive if you leave.

    The last complaint I have with the company is headquarters disconnect with employees out in the field. I worked at headquarters and it was easy for me to see. The department I worked in should have been dispersed out into the field, but instead it was headquartered. This department lived in their own world and had little to no insight on the day-to-day happenings at the stations, yet it created all the rules the stations needed to follow. I truly believe in 5-7 years Southwest will go through bankruptcy due to several factors. I think they are putting band-aids on some issues that need desperate repair. The quarterly earnings might be doing good now, but the band-aids won't hold things together forever. I believe Southwest is headed for bankruptcy mostly because of the disconnect between management and the union, the isolation of headquarters, the lack of good quality leaders, and talent that continuously leaves because of reasons mentioned above. So sad.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Go back to school. If that's impossible, do whatever you can to pay people with education well and retain them. These people are going to be the ones who save the company. They have new, fresh ideas, are motivated, and work hard. Don't be scared to promote these people.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    At one time great...but not anymore.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Operations Agent
    Current Employee - Operations Agent

    I have been working at Southwest Airlines full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Can trade hours/shifts as much as you want; flexibility to travel for free if there are any open seats; can relocate to other departments or stations

    Cons

    Leadership is terrible...improperly trained or off the street (supervisors); corporate leadership is cheap trying not to give raises & short staffing the company in many departments & stations. Employees are overworked especially if they have junior seniority. Work/life balance is terrible...you literally don't have a life because you are always working. Scheduled hours don't mean anything because right when you think you're about to leave & go home...you have been "mandoed" to work more hours or a whole shift which puts you into a double now...spending anywhere from 17-21 hours at work without leaving. Oh yeah....and you think you have two days off....NOPE! You always get mandoed to work on your first day off so now you only get one day off a week. And if you refuse the mando...the company wants to terminate you so that they can most likely in the future replace you with cheaper labor.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get some training....understand your employees and the fact that everyone here has a life. Stop the overworking! People can't be expected to be at work all the time when they have lives outside...especially for those with family, kids, and pets.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Not a great experience in Technology...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Southwest Airlines as a contractor

    Pros

    Most departments have very nice people, willing to work with you and help you be successful in your role.

    Cons

    Contractors are treated as 2d class citizens, there is a lack of leadership in the mid-level ranks due to a mass exodus under the previous CIO, new managers are inexperienced and get away with poor decisions that impact the organization. Technology is seen as the "weakest link" in the Southwest chain--many production issues caused by a total lack of quality from requirements definition through to delivery.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Start listening to your credible leaders. If a manager is known to abuse their position, show them the door. Start understanding that in the current jobs market, Southwest has to compete for great talent so culture and environment are important to people who often spend more time at work than in their homes. Lucky for Technology, the rest of the company is amazing and for a while at least, will make up for their failings.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Crazy and unstructured

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Southwest Airlines as a contractor for more than a year

    Pros

    The work in the technology area is very interesting with complex problems and projects. The infrastructure is being upgraded but over the tools are poor.

    Cons

    While they say this is a consensus based organization I think that leads to bullying in the meeting room when trying to make a decisions.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Enforce guidelines and make a decision once in a while

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 5 people found this helpful  

    Don't believe the hype

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer  in  Dallas, TX
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Dallas, TX

    I have been working at Southwest Airlines full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    Good health benefits, great 401k matching, good flight benefits if you can use them. Salary is OK but below average.

    Cons

    Southwest Airlines is becoming Outsource Airlines, at least for the Technology area at headquarters. Leadership is poor and they are putting the final nails in the coffin of the SWA culture. They only pay lip service to supporting their employees. Perks have disappeared rapidly over the late couple years. They ask for feedback and when it is all negative, they inform you that they are telling you to do it and not asking (so why ask for feedback in the first place). They say they are moving to industry standards but only cherry pick the part of "standards" they want to enforce and ignore the other factors that go along with it that makes it work for other companies. SWA is fast becoming an industry follower and not a leader. The principals in the book about SWA, "Nuts!", is being thrown out the window and it's not for the better.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Try actually listening to your employees and stop letting the bean counters run the company.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great benefits, poor support.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Ground Operations Supervisor  in  Baltimore, MD
    Former Employee - Ground Operations Supervisor in Baltimore, MD

    I worked at Southwest Airlines full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Top pay in the industry, liberal vacation, free flights nationwide, vast income potential in large stations.

    Cons

    Absolutely no support for employees who attempt to make something of themselves and step out of the union into management positions. Asinine and silly responsibilities, as well as continual degradation from management staff.
    Supervisor briefings daily, that resulted in threats from management on a near daily basis at my station. Watched a large number of colleagues get terminated to make room for the Airtran merger. When Southwest says they never lay off, they're being honest. They fully take advantage of non-Union employees however.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Bring back the Southwest culture I've heard so much about. Support your leaders, and give feedback.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    Losing the luv

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Dallas, TX
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Dallas, TX

    I have been working at Southwest Airlines full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Great benefits. Good people to be around and work with.

    Cons

    Has become too focused on bottom line and losing sight of taking care of customers and employees. Culture is rapidly changing to be like every other corporation.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Remember what the company was founded upon and made it successful - don't try to fix what's not broke.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    long term employees - know the real deal-

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Captain  in  Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Captain in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at Southwest Airlines full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    right now- due to good labor contracts -which were fought for- money/benefits are good.

    Cons

    too many managers -vice presidents- directors. lots of labor contracts expiring over the next 2 years and the current negotiations with the ground workers are dragging out for almost 2 years which is never a good sign. stop telling us the job is "fun"....guess what it's not any longer-especially out on the line- the days are long and hectic. Don't ask workers-who work very long days often to be given -forced overtime- to do volunteer work on their day off so the company image can benefit. it's a good time to be senior at this company.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    from the long term workers: years prior to the current CEO and all his buddies: workers were trusted to make decisions and were backed up- that's gone. Never ever have an independent thought-even if it's a good idea- someone up top might feel threatened. the current king of spreadsheets-CEO -has surrounded himself with "yes" men who all tell him how great his ideas are. there's a real feeling among workers that upper management is completely clueless.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    Culture has changed

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Technology  in  Dallas, TX
    Former Employee - Technology in Dallas, TX

    I worked at Southwest Airlines as a contractor for more than a year

    Pros

    Great technologies to work with. Good people on the team.

    Cons

    Management is taking the soul out of Southwest. They care only about the bottom line, and things like employee happiness and compensation are at an all time low. Contractors are treated like 2nd class citizens.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Remember your culture. A deck party doesn't make a great job, but showing that you care about your employees every single day will bring the culture back. Do not alienate your workforce.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 2 people found this helpful  

    Was there a long time and became more of a tool day by day, month by month.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Corporate Recruiter/Trainer/Customer Service Superisor  in  Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Corporate Recruiter/Trainer/Customer Service Superisor in Chicago, IL

    I worked at Southwest Airlines full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    travel benefits
    culture that was people friendly

    Cons

    becoming large like any big company began to loose treating people with individuality and became more and more focused on the bottom line. Not a bad thing but when you do it in lue of employees your ruin the focus and dis avow history.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    stop hiring management that has not experience with the airline business and the culture of the company. Yes I know I am old school. And, change management is a process not a punch down take it or leave it approach. Most all airlines have died that way by the way.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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