A Glimpse Into Becoming A Flight Attendant At Southwest Airlines


As  a  widely-recognized  great  place  to  work,  Southwest  Airlines  is  fortunate  to  receive  a  high  volume  of  interest  in  Flight  Attendant  positions.  More  than  20,000  candidates  applied  in  2016.  When  the  position  was  finally  posted  again  in  February  2018,  more  than  28,000  external  candidates  applied.    Southwest  Airlines  is  known  for  hiring  for  attitude  and  training  for  skill, but  the  airline  says  it  will  never  put  skill  over  attitude.  They  look  for  People  with  clearly-defined  expectations  the  airline  has  defined  as  Living  and  Working  the  Southwest  Way.    Living  the  Southwest  Way  means  having  a  Warrior  Spirit,  a  Servant’s  Heart,  and  a  Fun-LUVing  Attitude.  Specific  behaviors  are  attributed  to  each  of  those  expectations.  For  Warrior  Spirit,  it’s  striving  to  be  the  best,  displaying  a  sense  of  urgency,  and  never  giving  up.  To  demonstrate  a  Servant’s  Heart,  an  Employee  will  follow  The  Golden  Rule,  treat  others  with  respect,  and  embrace  the  Southwest  Family.  Southwest  Employees  are  known  for  Fun-LUVing  Attitudes,  and  that  includes  being  a  passionate  Team  Player,  not  taking  oneself  too  seriously,  and  celebrating  successes.  Working  the  Southwest  Way  includes  wowing  customers  by  delivering  world-class  Hospitality,  creating  memorable  connections,  and  being  famous  for  friendly  service.  Read  on  to  hear  firsthand  from  Southwest  Airlines  Flight  Attendant  Brian  O’Donoghue  about  the  journey  to  becoming  a  Flight  Attendant  at  the  nation’s  largest  domestic  air  carrier.*

Why a Flight Attendant at Southwest?

My interest in interacting with people in a hands-on environment, traveling, and meeting new people prompted me to apply for a Flight Attendant position. I had some insight into what the job required—my wife, Maria is a Flight Attendant at another airline. And, I’d gotten to know many Flight Attendants through my job as a TSA Agent at the Denver International Airport 

When I made the decision to become a Flight Attendant, I knew Southwest Airlines was the place for me. Quite simply, it is a great place to work and the best in the industry. There’s an enthusiasm, spirit, and a company pride that is unmatched anywhere else. I can honestly say I look forward to going to work every day. 

The application process

The application is a multi-step process. I started by creating a profile at southwest.com/careers. Then, on the day the position would be posted, I sat in front of my computer ready to submit my application the minute it opened. I knew in the past the position attracted enormous interest. 

Upon successfully submitting my application, I was contacted via email by a People Department (HR) Representative. We communicated over a couple of months, and then I had a phone interview. The phone interview went well, and the next step involved a face-to-face interview in Dallas with the Recruiting Team. The face-to-face interview came about eight months after I initially submitted my application.

A few days after my interview in Dallas, I received a call saying that I had been recommended as a candidate and would be invited to training, pending the successful completion of a background check and drug test. This took some time to complete. I received my new hire package shortly after I was notified that I had completed the hiring process. The package contained a lot of valuable information about training, the expectations and requirements to be a successful candidate, and information on material needed to study for testing during training. Some of the study material included airport codes and public announcements that are necessary to memorize. I was ready to begin training!

Training at Southwest Airlines University

I have to admit that I had some nerves as I was leaving for training, but I was also excited. I was heading off to begin a career I had wanted for several years. Over the next four weeks of training, I made lifelong friends and memories. 

The four weeks of training was undoubtedly stressful and challenging, but the feeling of happiness when we graduated is one of the highlights of my life to date. Our Trainers were excellent and pushed us all the way to being the best Flight Attendants in the business. I think of my Trainers as friends, and I am genuinely grateful for everything they did for us. 

My first flight

I had the same nerves ahead of my first flight that I did going into training, but knew I was well prepared. I had a great Crew that was supportive and helpful. The Crew gave me advice and encouragement the entire three days I was with them. Over the past several months, I have flown with some genuinely great people, and the fantastic thing about being a Flight Attendant is you continue to learn every time you go to work. Every flight I learn something new from the Crew who has often been doing it for years before me.  

I feel very fortunate to be where I am. Southwest Airlines is a fantastic company to work for—second to none—and the Flight Attendant position is a great one. I am grateful for the opportunity. It is by far the best job I have ever had. To me, it is more than just a great job–it is a career. I love going to work every day, and I sincerely hope that I am blessed to have many years with Southwest as a Flight Attendant.  ACN

*Ranking based on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s most recent reporting of domestic originating passengers boarded. During peak travel seasons


  1. Awesome! I love southwest. It always offers memorable customer service. They have a great team, and I wanna be part of it. Are they planing to hire again any time soon? I’m constantly checking on their website to make sure I won’t miss it.

  2. LUV this article. I can’t wait to be a part of something so amazing. Here’s to the big picture and thanking Herb and his amazing team for sharing this company with us!

    A SWA hopeful

  3. I can’t wait for Southwest Airlines HR to call me. I put application in February 2018. This will be a dream come true to work for Southwest Airlines as a Flight Attendant. Let go SWA ????????????. Thanks


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