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Chapter 32. Recognition, Rewards, Fun: T... > The Best Reward I Ever Received

The Best Reward I Ever Received

Of all the rewarding experiences I had during my time at Southwest, this one stands out as the best. A few years ago, we had a near disaster at the company. A pilot who was attempting to land at the airport in Burbank, California, discovered that part of his landing gear would not come down. After several attempts to fix the problem, it was decided that he would make an emergency landing at Ontario International Airport (the one in southern California, not Canada), since it was less congested and had better runways. The company began the process of emergency planning that we had practiced many times. It was about 5:00 in the afternoon, and I was being interviewed by a reporter for Fast Company magazine, so I was clueless as to what had been going on. When the reporter left my office, my assistant was acting really strange. I told her I was going to take the reporter on a tour of the building. Her response was, "No, you have an emergency meeting and he has to leave."

Our executive team and top operations group gathered in our dispatch area, where they could talk with the pilots and discuss the landing procedure. After what seemed to be an excruciatingly long period of discussion and preparations, our pilots landed the plane smoothly on two gears. Except for maybe a sprained ankle or two from evacuating the plane via the emergency slide, no one was injured.


  

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