Southwest Airlines' Adopt-A-Pilot Lands in Classrooms Across the Country

Southwest Airlines announces the official takeoff of its award-winning, educational and mentoring program, Adopt-A-Pilot®.
Mar 7, 2011 10:00 AM ET

 (3BL Media / theCSRfeed) March 7, 2011 - Southwest Airlines announced the official takeoff of its award-winning, educational and mentoring program, Adopt-A-Pilot®. Each Spring, fifth-grade students in more than 1,400 classes across the country will “adopt” Southwest Airlines Pilots through a program that leads students through science, geography, math, writing, and other core subjects, all based in aviation-related activities. Students also will research careers, reinforce life values, and realize the importance of staying in school.

 “Our pledge to our communities is the inspiration that drives the Adopt-A-Pilot® program. Our Employees empower the participants to learn and understand they can be all they want to be in life through education,” said Linda Rutherford, Southwest Airlines Vice President of Communication and Strategic Outreach. 


Nearly 850 Southwest Pilots are volunteering in this year’s Adopt-A-Pilot® program. During the four-week long curriculum, Pilots volunteer their time in participating classrooms and correspond from the “road” via e-mail and postcards. Classrooms chart their adopted Pilot’s course on an official United States route map and complete lessons related to the Pilot’s monthly flying schedule. To learn more about the program visit our blog, Nuts about Southwest at:  To access downloadable materials, including photos and a video, please visit:

“Our commitment to the cities that we serve goes well beyond the ticket counter.  From the skies to the classrooms, more than 800 Pilots are volunteering this year, serving nearly 1,500 classrooms.  I’m a proud participant, and enjoy the rewards of volunteering,” said Captain Chuck Magill, Southwest Airlines Vice President of Flight Operations. 

Beyond the program’s core mentorship and curriculum-based activities, Adopt-A-Pilot includes many other innovative learning opportunities.

Created in 1997, Adopt-A-Pilot® started as a community outreach program in just 50 classrooms in Southwest’s destination cities, and has grown to reach more than 1,400 classrooms in communities nationwide. To date, the program has been offered to more than 300,000 students nationwide.  Southwest Airlines developed the program in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Education and the Smithsonian Institution of National Air and Space Museum. National leaders such as Gen. Colin Powell, President Bill Clinton, and First Lady Laura Bush have recognized the excellence that the Adopt-A-Pilot program offers students. 

About Southwest Airlines

In its 40th year of service, Southwest Airlines continues to differentiate itself from other low-fare carriers—offering a reliable product with exemplary Customer Service.  Southwest Airlines is the nation's largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded; now serving 69 cities in 35 states.  Beginning March 13, 2011, Southwest will initiate service to Charleston and Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina, and on March 27, 2011, service will begin to Newark Liberty International Airport.  Southwest also is one of the most honored airlines in the world known for its commitment to the triple bottom line of Performance, People, and Planet.  To read more about how Southwest is doing its part to be a good citizen, visit to read the Southwest Airlines One Report™.  Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates more than 3,200 flights a day and has nearly 35,000 Employees systemwide.