Does Anyone NOT Want to Work for Southwest?

Last week, Southwest received 10,000 applications for 750 new flight attendant jobs. Could Southwest’s secret be the lure of travel?

“As expected, we had tremendous interest in the Flight Attendant position. We are no longer accepting resumes for Flight Attendants.”

That was the message posted on Southwest’s website last week, less than three hours after the company began accepting applications for 750 new flight attendant jobs. In that short time, Southwest was inundated with 10,000 resumes.

What’s Southwest’s secret?

A company spokesman disclosed to Bloomberg News that newly hired Southwest flight attendants earn just over $24 an hour. And Southwest’s website makes much of the job’s free-flight benefits, the 401(K) plan, and health insurance.

Not bad for an entry-level position, especially in an economy that remains weak. And Southwest by all accounts is a lively, upbeat place to work. But still, 10,000 applicants for 750 positions?

At least in part, the lure must be travel itself. It’s sexy. It’s aspirational. Or at least it must seem so from the outside looking in.

The challenge for Southwest will be keeping its new hires motivated and engaged, after the initial globetrotting glow wears off. And if there’s any doubt that it will, those perky new flight attendants have only to check in with Southwest’s Rapid Rewards A-list members. Frequent flyers know just what a dispiriting grind travel can actually be.

Reader Reality Check

Is working as a Southwest flight attendant your dream job?

This article originally appeared on

By Tim Winship

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

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