When I was younger, my mom asked me what I wanted to do when I grow up. Obsessed with aviation, I told her, “I want to sit on planes and get paid!” Even as a mom, she had her serious doubts. Who would pay someone to sit on planes all day? The answer is: Southwest Airlines.
A Dream Job Coming True
More than fifteen years later, that naive little boy’s dream finally comes true. As a WiFi and inflight entertainment intern, one of my main responsibilities is to evaluate WiFi and content performance on Southwest flights by using a variety of routes and aircraft to deduct meaningful insights.
This means that I get to fly anywhere I want to test out movies, TV shows, music, and other pieces of content within the inflight entertainment system.
Unlimited Free Travel Anywhere
One of the best perks of interning at Southwest Airlines is unlimited free travel to all 101 destinations across the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean. The only catch? It’s space available or non-revenue travel, meaning we fly on standby. But with a little bit of creativity and a lot of flexibility, we can pretty much go anywhere we set our hearts to.
Last weekend, my roommates and I set the intern record for most flights taken within one weekend. We flew to Lubbock, Houston, Chicago, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Boston, Indianapolis, Denver, Las Vegas, Sacramento, and Burbank in two and half days. Later in the summer, we have plans to fly to New Orleans, San Francisco, Mexico City, San Juan, and Belize.
Learning About Satellites
As an Information Management and Technology major who has taken IST 233: Introduction to Computer Networking with Professor Dave Molta, many of the basic concepts that I learned from the class comes in handy at my job.
In addition, I’ve also learned more about how satellites play a major role in inflight connectivity. Recently, my manager attended a SpaceX satellite launch in Florida and shared her insights on how airlines, internet service providers, and satellite companies work together to bring WiFi onboard flights and cruise ships.
The Southwest Culture
Perhaps the best part of working at Southwest besides the opportunity to travel anywhere is the incredibly fun, open, and laid back culture.
Every Monday, a department organizes a “deck party,” which is essentially a company-wide afterwork mixer that has free drinks, free food, music, and prizes. Each Monday has a different theme so it’s something that employees look forward to every week.
My favorite part about the culture is its emphasis on having fun. From a passenger experience, Southwest flight attendants are known to be humorous, often cracking up jokes, singing, dancing, and taking a lighthearted approach on an otherwise dull and mundane safety announcement.
This same concept is reflected at headquarters, when people do the best work possible but also never taking themselves too seriously and always having a reason to laugh and smile.