An awe5ome adventure.

Time flies when you’re democratizing the skies. Since 1971, Southwest’s purpose has been to connect People to what’s important in their lives and give them the freedom to fly through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel. Join us as we look back on 50 years of upholding that purpose, and visit this page often to find out how you can be a part of our year-long celebration.

Latest updates:

Latest updates:

Heart in Action

Join us in sharing One Million Acts of Kindness.

Shop the Boxercraft Fuzzy Fleece Pullover for $45 on the SouthWest store Shop the Boxercraft Fuzzy Fleece Pullover for $45 on the SouthWest store
New items in our shop

Check out the latest swag commemorating our 50th anniversary.

50 years. One heart.

Moments in time.

1967 – 1971

Herb & Rollin: The Birth of Southwest Airlines®.

When two transplanted Yankees, bonded in the belief that air travel could be more affordable and more democratic, met at St. Anthony’s in San Antonio, they hatched a plan to revolutionize the industry with nothing but a few stiff drinks, a cocktail napkin and one outrageous idea that ticked off existing airlines.

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1971

Courting Success: Early Southwest Legal Battles.

After rivals tied up Southwest in a host of legal battles, Herb Kelleher jumped on a plane to Austin, Texas, in 1971 and crashed a party, hoping to plead his case to a few Texas Supreme Court justices. The next day, wearing the same suit, he made a persuasive argument before the Texas Supreme Court.

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1972 – Present

Fare Play: $13 Bottles of Booze and The Two-Tier Fare System

On an otherwise ordinary morning in February 1973, Southwest President Lamar Muse was paging through one of the local Texas papers. And that’s when he saw it: a full-page ad from Braniff Airlines, a particularly bitter rival that had previously waged a prolonged legal fight to keep Southwest from taking flight.

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1990’s

Tickets, Please: Southwest in the Internet Age

In the spring of 1994, three of Southwest’s largest competitors—Delta, United, and Continental—launched a coordinated surprise attack on their rival, hoping to muscle it out of the skies.

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2005

Parks’ Place: The Last Flight of Rosa Parks

When Rosa Parks, one of the soft-spoken champions of the Civil Rights movement, passed away on October 24, 2005, the nation, as a whole, seemed to rise in her honor.

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2007

Creating a Culture of Employee Appreciation and Recognition

Overhauling a corporate culture is difficult. Thankfully, that wasn’t necessary when Tonda Ferguson joined Southwest in 1982 as Manager of Employee Communications.

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2020

Air Care: Southwest’s Medical Transportation Grant Program

Sometimes getting urgent medical care requires more than an ambulance ride to the local hospital. When a little girl in Florida named Wrenn was diagnosed at birth with a potentially deadly condition, reaching treatment several states away was a matter of life and death.

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2021

Heroes of the Heart

Southwest is exceedingly proud of our Customer-facing Employees who often get well-deserved attention and accolades, but so many Employees work tirelessly behind the scenes.

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Be on the lookout for more of Southwest’s iconic stories.


Check back for more moments that will be added throughout our 50th year!

The Heart of our People.

The Heart of our People.

Our Heart is to take care of People because we are more than an airline, we’re your neighbor.

Since 2008 we’ve contributed…

1.5 million hours of volunteer work by our Employees.

Over $222 million dollars toward local communities.

Nearly 480 thousand flights for those in need.

In honor of our 50th year, we’re inviting our Customers, communities, partners, and friends to join us in the call to put Hearts in Action and spark kindness and compassion around the world. Stay tuned for how you can join, and click below to learn more about our current Community Programs.

Learn about our community efforts

Source: Southwest Airlines One Report.

Our Founder’s Philosophy.

Our Founder’s Philosophy.

Herb Kelleher, Founder of Southwest Airlines.
More quotes from Herb Herb’s legendary Laugh

#Southwest50

Celebrate 50 years with us by sharing your stories and photos using #Southwest50.

Celebrate with us!

Showcase your Heart with stylish swag commemorating our 50th.

Shop 50th merchandise
50

Our memorable runway looks.

Our planes have been instantly recognizable for decades. Take a look at some of our high-flying fashions from the past.

Feeling inspired?

Make your own history with us! Book your next adventure today at Southwest.com.

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