A Texas airline originally created to serve local travel needs, Southwest Airlines now boasts a fleet of approximately 600 planes and serves millions of customers a year by offering nearly 100 destinations in over 40 states. As one of the leading airlines in the country, the organization frequently looks for exemplary associates to help meet the ever-increasing demands of the transportation industry.
Facts About Working at Southwest Airlines
Minimum Age to Work at Southwest Airlines: 18 years old (How old do you have to be to work at Southwest Airlines?)
Southwest Airlines Hours of Operation: Hours vary by job title and airport
Available Positions at Southwest Airlines: Customer Service Representative, Airline Administrative Support, Flight Attendant, Pilot, Ticket Agent, Ramp Agent, Security Officer, Air Traffic Controller, Baggage Handler, Cabin Crew Member, Maintenance Technician, Aircraft Mechanic, Sales Representative, Facilities Technician, Reservations Clerk, Inspector
Southwest Airlines Job Opportunities
Known for carrying more domestic passengers than any other United States airline, Southwest Airlines must employ in excess of 40,000 associates to maintain operations. Though the airline prefers potential associates possess well-rounded job histories, many workers obtain entry-level work with the company with little-to-no experience in the industry. The airline offers opportunities meeting broad arrays of interests and desired career paths, such as customer service, operations, maintenance, and management.
Southwest screens for associates who view customer service and safety as top priorities, and the airline hopes to provide employees with all of the tools necessary to fulfill the company motto, “If It matters to you, it matters to us.” Employees encounter great training programs not only for required job duties but also for career advancement. Associates also enjoy extensive employee benefits, flexible scheduling, and opportunities to earn extra income via overtime.
Southwest Airlines Positions and Salary Information
As mentioned above, Southwest accepts applications for a litany of job types and titles. The company also offers internships to university students looking to join the ranks of corporate management or become airplane mechanics. Applicants must stand 18 years of age and possess high school diplomas or the equivalent to apply for entry-level positions. The following outlines popular job titles the airline offers along with corresponding pay scales:
Airport Operations – Job titles in airport operations include ramp agents, operations agents, customer service agents, and provisioning agents. Ramp agents tend to outdoor duties such as loading luggage and directing airplanes safely and punctually. Operations agents greet customers upon boarding and ensure a balanced aircraft before takeoff. Customer service agents work at check-in counters, give out tickets, check bags, and assist passengers with other pre- or post-flight concerns. Provisioning agents ensure planes have all the necessary resources for flight attendants to provide the best inflight services possible. Associates working in airport operations typically earn hourly wages around $10.00 starting out. However, experienced employees garner more than $20.00 per hour in some cases, depending on job title and tenure.
Flight Attendant – Southwest flight attendants often make cabin preparations, issue safety instructions before takeoff, provide inflight snack and beverage services, and assist with other passenger needs. The airline encourages flight attendants to interact with customers in fun and personable ways while maintaining professionalism and promoting safety at all times. A flight attendant should possess the ability to lift over 50 pounds and to frequently kneel, bend, reach, or squat. To qualify for work as a flight attendant, candidates must be at least 18 years old by the time of hiring. Additionally, prospective employees must submit to medical exams, drug tests, and background checks before the final hiring decision. Flight attendants generally make hourly wages between $20.00 and $30.00, depending on experience. Annual salary options top out around $60,000.
Aircraft Maintenance – Entry-level positions in aircraft maintenance include appearance technician and stock clerks. Appearance technicians routinely wash planes after flights, removing dirt and other residue left from hydraulic landing gear fluid. Stock clerks maintain inventory of aircraft parts and other equipment necessary for airplane maintenance. Entry-level aircraft maintenance employees garner hourly pay between $10.00 and $15.00.
Customer Representative – Southwest customer representatives work in call centers and resolve customer issues by providing support over the phone. The airline specifically trains associates to deal with any possible scenario, and customer representatives must possess a well-rounded understanding of company values when dealing with clients. As a representative of Southwest, a customer service agent must act in a polite and friendly manner at all times. Customer representatives generally make $10.00 to $15.00 per hour.
Tips For Applying
Southwest encourages aspiring workers to create user profiles and upload resumes via online career portals whether job vacancies exist or not. Workers may create profiles by linking social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google+. Additionally, job seekers may upload resumes directly from computers or Google Drive and Dropbox accounts. Finally, workers may also opt to complete an online application form by filling out employment information one step at a time as directed on the company website.
The airline typically reaches out to eligible candidates via email or telephone within a month of receiving applications. Applicants who do not hear from hiring managers may choose to follow up by phone or email; however, recruiters may not be able to respond to follow-up inquiries due to the large volumes of applications the airline receives. Applicants should complete applications accurately and professionally to increase the chances of a callback.
Benefits of Working at Southwest Airlines
Truly a caring employer, Southwest Airlines provides associates with generous employee benefits packages. The airline offers associates future planning and financial benefits, healthcare, educational opportunities, and additional activities to create fun and motivating work atmospheres. Future planning and financial offerings include company-matched 401 (k) retirement plans, profit sharing, and stock purchasing programs. Healthcare details comprise of medical, dental, vision, and life insurance along with long-term disability insurance, adoption reimbursement, and generous spending accounts. On top of great job training programs, the airline offers employees leadership and public speaking for professional and personal development. The company shows appreciation for employees by putting on annual events such as chili cook-offs, spirit parties, and Halloween celebrations, as well. Many entry-level associates also enjoy flexible scheduling and opportunities to earn overtime by picking up shifts. Finally, employees obtain free traveling opportunities with the airline and paid time off.
Additional Information on Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines takes note of hardworking employees and chooses an associate each month to feature as ‘Star of the Month’ on the company website. The feature includes a write-up about the employee and public recognition of his/her service to the airline. Recipients of the reward often receive special prizes, such as tickets to a Blue Man Group concert or other fun events.