Live From Dallas 6/5/12
While yesterday was our FLY class, an orientation to the company, today was our Inflight orientation day and, in typical Southwest style we were again greeted by a gauntlet of smiling, welcoming faces, most of whom were wearing Southwest uniforms. It was like walking down a line of uniform runway models that I’m sure made all of us anxious for the day we will put one on! On our tables were little tents with messages, I assume from the training staff. The one in front of me said, “You are loved”. As if I didn’t already know that after what we have seen so far!
One by one these smiling faces were introduced to us. Those in uniform will be responsible for our training, while those in “civies” handle all of the departmental functions that affect our daily work lives. It will take us a while to get them all straight and remember their names, but their message was exactly what we have been hearing all week – “Welcome aboard” and “How can we help?” While Mike Hafner encouraged us to “Be who you are”, Sonya Lacore expressed how she has been “Wowed by you (AirTran people)”, and Paula Gaudet shared that, although she had been to many new-hire classes, our class had a “…total different vibe.” I believe that vibe is a sense of enthusiasm mixed with a healthy dose of gratitude for the future that we see ahead of us.
Mike Van de Ven cautioned us that, in our position, we can “…never have a bad day.” While acknowledging that we can each make a difference here at Southwest and that the addition of the AirTran family to Southwest will “stretch the brand of Southwest Airlines to places it has never been before.” But my favorite line, and please forgive me for not remembering who said it, when one person said that, although he may not show it, “I am freaking out with joy!” How can you not be excited to be part of all of this!
Once we had been introduced to our inflight training team, they treated us to a cheer – and we cheered right back! Then balloon were released from the ceiling and tubes of candy were tossed around the room. We whooped and hollered and smacked the balloons around – then we got down to business. I have to say that when I opened the tube of candy I wondered if they had chosen it because it tasted good or because of its name – Laffy Taffy – because every presentation, whether Drug and Alcohol Policy, Uniform regulations, or CISM (study your packet and you will learn all about that!), always has some humor in it. Even during a presentation that should be the most boring, mundane topic we find ourselves laughing. I think we are getting it – everything is easier if you can laugh!
This afternoon we began amassing the items that really make you feel like a Southwest flight attendant. We took our pictures for our ID’s and we were given our manuals. Tomorrow we start to get down to the “work” part of this. Somehow, I believe they will make even that fun. We were told that this is like “the longest running recurrent of your life.” There would have been a time when I would have dreaded that. But now, I am actually looking forward to it!
Dragging back to the hotel at the end of the day, I usually just want to crawl in bed. But tonight, they had a gathering in the ballroom to fill us in on the amenities of the hotel. You might not be interested in that but I would encourage you to go. If you know a little Texas trivia, it just might win you a prize!