|Southwest Airlines employees (L to R) Captain Armin Irvani, Rose Dunn, Joshua Pumphrey and Julia Bell in the new TLC series On the Fly.|
Throughout the economic downturn, Southwest Airlines emerged as one of the most resilient airlines, overcoming previous downturns in large part thanks to its low cost structure and strategic long-term planning. Also contributing to its success are years of building relationships with customers via its blog and social media feed.
Now, On the Fly, a new 13-part reality series on TLC, airing Thursdays starting May 24, shares an insider's view of Southwest—at the gates, in the air and behind the scenes—revealing the hectic, unexpected and over-the-top happenings with customers and employees.
If this concept for a television pilot sounds familiar, it's because this is the second time Southwest has been the center of a reality show. In 2004, Southwest let the A&E channel shoot a well-received reality TV show called Airline about its interaction with employees and passengers (warts and all), building on the company's tradition of openness and a commitment to customer service.
For On the Fly, TLC considered a few other airlines but chose Southwest because it has “a really compelling corporate culture [and] it’s known for its customer service and it was willing to be transparent about its business,” TLC spokesman Dustin Smith told The Dallas Morning News.
What started as a commitment to communication and transparency has evolved into a second on-air opportunity for Southwest—a brand that is obviously very good at more than just getting you from point A to point B.
Follow Bill Miltenberg: @bmiltenberg