Three Southwest Employees stand together

Diversity, Equity,
and Inclusion

Since our inception, Southwest Airlines® has had a passion for putting People first. From our revolutionary beginning, through unparalleled growth and great success, we have always focused on People.

As Southwest® continues to evolve, we dedicate ourselves again to The Golden Rule–to behave respectfully and to work in ways that reflect and embrace how People want to be treated.

We are committed to providing our Southwest Family a work environment where they can be themselves and be recognized for the unique perspectives they each bring forward. Diversity, equity, and inclusion aren’t just buzzwords–they’re woven into the way we run our business, and they’re reflected in our world-famous Culture.

Our Commitment to Inclusion

In September 2020, Southwest Airlines set the following company goals to strengthen and improve our efforts in creating more diverse, equitable, and inclusive opportunities, candidate pipelines, and to champion an inclusive environment and experience for all Employees:

  • Hiring & Development Practices: Evolving hiring and development practices to support diversity goals, including posting all open Leadership positions (Supervisor to Vice President).
  • Senior Leadership Diversity: Measuring progress in increasing diversity in Senior Leadership.
  • Senior Management Committee Diversity: Doubling the percentage of racial diversity and increasing gender diversity of our Senior Management Committee by 2025.
  • Community Partners: Engaging a breadth of community partners to leverage the Company’s relationships as it sources diverse talent.

CEO Gary Kelly's Message on the 2020 One Report

The Southwest One Report

At Southwest Airlines, it’s always been about Heart. It’s about connecting People and championing communities, because distance shouldn’t keep us from being neighbors. Whether in the air or on the ground, we believe community is more than a placeit’s at the Heart of what brings us together.

To read more about how Southwest is doing its part to be a good citizen, read our One Report.

Team, value, and respect

Southwest Airlines recognizes, respects, and values differences. By fostering a Culture that embraces and utilizes our diversity, we create competitive advantages in Teamwork and innovation that contribute to our overall success.

Inclusion is part of how our Company will become the most loved, most efficient, and most profitable airline in the world. When we show up to work each day, we bring more than 56,000 different thoughts, backgrounds, and experiences with us.
The Importance of Team, Value, and Respect

Community stories

Adopt-A-Pilot Captain Atif Fareed teaches a class
Adopt-A-Pilot Captain Atif Fareed
Captain Atif Fareed inspires the next generation through lessons in aviation for Adopt-A-Pilot.
The video shares about Southwest's Resilient Communities Impact Program
Employees put their Hearts in action
Whether in the air or on the ground, we believe community is more than a place - it’s at the Heart of what brings us together.  
Flight Attendant Wendy Krausbeck paints on a canvas
Flight Attendant follows her passion
Flight Attendant Wendy Krausbeck lives in Brooklyn, New York where she connects to her passion for painting.
First Officer Beth Polcari stands at the airport
From Rapid Rewards® to the flight deck
First Officer Beth Polcari started in Rapid Rewards and is now a proud Southwest Airlines Pilot.
A Southwest Employee and two Customers sign together
LUV Mail: A common language
Tammy Myers retired from the Texas School for the Deaf before joining Southwest. Now, she still loves to sign to Customers onboard.
Representative Eric Aiken interacts with a Customer on the phone
Visually empowered
Eric Aiken is a current Source of Support Representative who started his career with Customer Support and Services in the Georgia Center. Eric shares insight into his journey of being part of the first Visually Impaired Program (VIP) Team at Southwest Airlines. 
Image of Southwest's Diversity Council group

Diversity Council

The Southwest Airlines Diversity Council–comprised of a diverse group of Employees with various job roles, in locations across the country, and with varying levels of experience–was founded more than 10 years ago. It serves as an asset, dedicated to a mission that promotes a work environment that appreciates different backgrounds, experiences, and traditions, while also fostering inclusion, and leveraging diversity to enhance performance and shape Company strategy.

Hiring pipelines and programs

With a focus on bringing diverse talent to Southwest Airlines, Talent Acquisition has developed hiring pipelines and programs that can help fuel
careers for People from a variety of backgrounds. ​​​​​​​


Southwest Airlines Emerging Leader Development Program (ELDP) is an 18-month job rotational program that helps early-career professionals jumpstart a successful, challenging, and rewarding career at Southwest Airlines.

Campus Reach

The Campus Reach program identifies and engages future Southwest Employees at an early age, hopefully inspiring an interest in a career in aviation.

Destination 225°

On a compass rose, 225° is the southwest heading, and Destination 225° was developed to lead aspiring pilots to Southwest Airlines.


We have a huge Heart for our military. Our colors may be red, yellow, and blue, but our support is for the red, white, and blue.

"At Southwest Airlines, we strive to foster an environment where we recognize and value the unique talents and perspectives of each of our Employees. It is our goal to appreciate each Employee in a meaningful way and ensure they can reach their full potential while contributing to the success of Southwest Airlines."

Image of Ellen Torbert

Ellen Torbert

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Advisor

"Our greatest asset has always been our People—our Southwest Family. YOU are what makes Southwest a Company that is admired around the world. Your collective and diverse talents, backgrounds, and perspectives are what lead to innovative ideas and the competitive edge that sets us apart."​​​​​​​


Gary Kelly

Executive Chairman