I know it may seem like I rag on Southwest Airlines a lot but the truth of the matter is I rag on all the airlines when they deserve it. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of negative news about the airlines out there and I’m not sure if it’s because media outlets tend to find, focus on or share the disturbing stuff because it’s what sells advertising or if the negative stuff is easier to capture.

Regardless, Southwest is a fantastic airline with some of the most exceptional, caring and happiest employees in the U.S. airline industry. One example can be found in the video below that was posted to Instagram with the caption: “Thanks @southwestair for this memory. We will remember it always!”

The video (below) was posted and recorded by Valeri Jones who was sitting next to her unsuspecting friend, Jyrl Oldham, on their way to Hawaii. The Boeing 737 captain said over the PA system: “I would like to add a special welcome to a special guest on today’s flight. We have a passenger who is headed to Hawaii with us today to celebrate her victory over late-stage breast cancer.”

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It appears Valeri had set this up with the flight crew and Jyrl had no idea what was going on. When the captain said there was a special guest on-board, Jyrl immediately popped up to look around to see who he was talking about before realizing it was her.

The plane erupted in applause so the captain paused before finishing and was clearly touched as he said: “You got me early on that one.”

He then continues with, “She fought valiantly and is now cancer free. Please join me in giving her, Jryl Oldham, a round of applause.”

The plane erupted in applause again and Jryl and everyone else got choked up. Myself included, just from watching the video.

The captain finished with: “Here, in today’s environment, it just makes it special that we can share that human bond to take care of each other. Everybody’s a big family out there. Welcome aboard, congratulations.”

I wish everyone would follow this pilot’s advice and take care of each other and treat them like family. Kudos to Southwest and Jryl!

What makes this even more special is that it appears this wasn’t a one-off as one commenter (@heartbreakr) on Valeri’s post wrote: “Southwest is amazing! They did the same for my daughter. Congrats on your battle with cancer! So happy for you!”

Let me know in the comments if Southwest ever did anything special for you for any occasion.


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A post shared by Valeri Jones (@valeriwinnjones)

5 Comments On "Watch: Finally! A Feel-Good Story Aboard Southwest Airlines When Pilot Surprises Passenger"
  1. Marcia Wilson|

    When Mom was alive I flew between NC and STL at least ten days each month. One month I flew home on my birthday in order to spend time with my husband and kids. A flught attendant found out, brought me a drink and a cake fashioned by supplies they had. Think TP and candles. Then she got on the intercom and asked the passengers to join her in singing to me. That made a tough situation bearable for sure.

  2. Marielle Rodriguez|

    Southwest is amazing!! Past September 19th on our way back home I took my daughter to meet the pilot and look at the cockpit in one of the stops. The pilot was so kind and so nice!!! He was showing her everything, what it does and even asking her if she got questions, and he was answering everything. We took pictures and videos really nice!! We got another stop before we got home, and my daughter was looking for him already because they made a last minute change on gates so we have to change plane but she saw him when she got off and she told him: are you coming too? He answered right behind you, I will be taking you home. Eventually when we landed home (Milwaukee) when we were heading out of the plane my daughter went straight to the cabin to see him one more time and she even took a selfie with him! The entire crew was amazing and of course the pilot awesome! I sent an email to southwest with the pictures and everything.

  3. Alice|

    SWA is First Class in my book Always!
    They won me over when my husband and I were flying from DAL to NYC to celebrate our 25th, on the day. Unbeknownst to us, Gate/ticket agents overheard us wishing each other a Happy Anniversary, as well as our plans for dining, entertainment, etc. To our surprise, we were called to board first, so we could sit together. Inflight, the Captain announced over intercom they had a very special couple on board celebrating our Silver of 25 years. He joked that I, as a wife, had to be amazing and made of tolerance, patience & steel for putting up with my man that long.
    Everyone laughed, applaud and we were presented with a bottle of bubbly to pop open and celebrate at our hotel.
    I will never forget their kind service and generosity in celebrating us!

  4. Mo Serang|

    As a long time Bank of America Executive I had many options to fly any airlines, but I always chose SWA because of the friendliness of its staff. The employees were always smiling and having a great time. I was so intrigued by this behavior that I wanted to work for this LUV airline. I succeeded to work for SWA for 15 years while I continued my Bank position. I happily retired from SWA in 2017, but still miss the people and all the fun we had working for the greatest Airlines on the planet. I recently also retired from BofA (after 47 years), but my time with SWA will be a memory I will never forget.
    Thank you Southwest for all you do for your Employees, Communities and your Customers. It is greatly appreciated.
    MO $$$

  5. Felicita Gonzalez Mendez|

    My family and I loveeee S W Airlines!! They are the best!!!!!!God bless each and everyone of the crew.

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