Southwest will share its 737 MAX settlement with employees: Why that profoundly affects you

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INSIDER SECRET: You can cancel a Southwest flight up to 10 minutes before departure for free.

Southwest understands something that few employers grasp: Customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction are invariably correlated. If employees view their jobs as dead-end — if they feel like faceless cogs in a joyless machine, with little acknowledgement or incentive to be great — their work is certain to reflect it.

Remember when Southwest was canceling 150 flights per day because of the 737 MAX fiasco? Yeah, that was a scramble for the airline and its employees, who worked overtime to process disgruntled travelers and also took the brunt of their resentment.

Southwest lost hundreds of millions of dollars because of the 737 MAX grounding and is working on a settlement with Boeing. CEO Gary Kelly says he plans to share it with all Southwest employees.

My wife and I loved flying Southwest to visit Mexico a few months ago. (Photo by Joseph Hostetler/Million Mile Secrets.)

Southwest to share 737 MAX settlement with employees

By now you may have read what Kelly has had to say to the Southwest workforce:

We need to know what those monetary and other reimbursements [from Boeing] will look like, and we’re looking at ways to share proceeds, as appropriate, with all of you as we’ve done in the past with profit sharing … I recognize this hasn’t just affected some of you, it has affected all of you.

Southwest is the Mayberry of the airline industry. Not only does Southwest share profits with its employees, but it also has, hands down, the most generous customer policies.

Example: Each traveler can check two bags for free. That can save you up to $140 per person, compared to other airlines like American, which charges $60 for your first bag and $80 for your second bag round-trip. Southwest also allows you to change or cancel your flight up to 10 minutes before scheduled departure with no charge.

I’ve flown on countless Southwest flights and it’s nice to be served by airline personnel who are kind and upbeat and don’t loathe their jobs.

And here’s the mind-blower: If you earn 125,000 qualifying Southwest points in a calendar year, you’ll earn the Southwest Companion Pass, which allows you to bring along a family member or friend (or acquaintance, enemy, nemesis, whomever you like!) for just the cost of taxes and fees. You can bring them as often as you fly Southwest. Depending on how often you travel, the Companion Pass could amount to many thousands of dollars in savings.

Simple math shows that if you opened two of the above credit cards, you would instantly qualify for the Companion Pass after earning the card bonuses. Just note that you can only have one personal card at a time, so you’d have to open one personal card and one small-business card (or two small-business cards).

You can read more about the Southwest Companion Pass here. And subscribe to our newsletter for more travel news and tips.

Joseph Hostetler is a full-time writer for Million Mile Secrets, covering miles and points tips and tricks, as well as helpful travel-related news and deals.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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