My daughter, Stacey Kristen Corcoran Wilson, age 26, a graduate of Belmont University in Nashville (who worked, briefly, for Taylor Swift’s 13M organization and traveled Australia for a year) just completed 5 weeks of training and graduated from Southwest Airlines—5 weeks of 5:30 a.m. to 5:30 pm. days. Apparently, Southwest invited around 1,000 wannabee stewardesses to come and train in Dallas their TOPS headquarters, putting the up at the downtown Sheraton. Only 700 of those are expected to make it through and (eventually) be hired.
Stewardesses are not paid during their time training, although they do get a lump sum payment of $1200 at the end of the 5 weeks’ of training, if they make it through. Unfortunately, not all do.
The RN who flunked First Aid. The 62-year-old divorced guy who made it all the way to the day their uniforms arrived (they have to buy their own uniforms) and then did not get 90% on a test and was sent home. The degreed older man who stormed out muttering during a test. Many were called, but few were chosen.
At the end, trainers with names like Margo, Ken, Becky, Alan, Alfonso, Renee stood by as host Andrea Bradford read off the names of 78 graduates of the 285th Southwest graduating class, turning them loose to fly for Southwest—thought to be the best domestic airline to work for. (Please excuse the preposition at the end there.)
Why is Southwest the “best.” I could go on about the “warrior spirit,” the “winning smile” or other things mentioned during the hour-long ceremony that began at 3:00 p.m., but the truth is they pay the best and have the most lenient policies in regards to letting relatives (i.e., Stacey’s father and me) fly free (“No Revenue,” it’s called) as well as many other very user-friendly employee policies that are as favorable as the fact that Southwest lets you take 2 bags without extra charges.
I now must learn to pack light, which will be a struggle, but I’m so excited for the daughter, who is off to see the world. I think back to her high school graduation, when I posted a picture of her wearing wings and a crown (and a darling ballerina outfit) and holding a wand and suggested that she now spread her wings and see the world.
And she has. As Andrea Bradford said, “Represent us well. Congratulations. Well done, and welcome aboard.”