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Southwest Airlines Spices Up the Skies with a Familiar Fintastic Promotion

Southwest Airlines, traditionally a favorite among passengers, has faced some turbulent weather recently. From labor disputes to customer service challenges, the airline’s reputation has taken a hit. But in an intriguing plot twist, Southwest has revived a fan-favorite promotion that’s sure to lighten the mood and make a splash with passengers.

The past year has been anything but smooth sailing for Southwest (LUV). Its public perception nosedived during a holiday season debacle that left passengers stranded, and internal issues have further rocked the boat. Contentious contract negotiations are ongoing with both pilots and flight attendants, which have turned increasingly acrimonious.

Adding to the woes, the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA), the union representing pilots, has requested a break from federal mediation with the airline – a move seen as a precursor to a potential strike, a situation that could further impact the airline.

In an open letter shared by SWAPA earlier this year, they succinctly pointed the finger at the cause of the turbulence: Leadership – or rather, the lack of it.

As the airline grapples with these labor challenges, it is also hard at work rectifying issues that led to last December’s customer service meltdown. It’s allocated a whopping $1.3 billion towards new technology, staff, and equipment. The initial outcomes seem promising, with the airline boasting an almost perfect 4th of July holiday season, although one stellar holiday can’t fully mend the fallout from the Christmas fiasco.

In the midst of these trials and tribulations, Southwest has found time for a little fun and nostalgia. Enter the return of the annual “Shark Week” promotion, a joint venture with Warner Bros.

This may seem like an odd collaboration, but Southwest Airlines and Warner Bros. Discovery have been running this promotion for a decade. “Shark Week” is a week-long event on the Discovery Channel, featuring a deluge of shark-related content. This year’s festivities will be hosted by none other than Aquaman star, Jason Momoa.

Southwest is bringing the Shark Week excitement to select airports and on-board its flights. The promotion was kickstarted on July 20 with marine biologist and Shark Week presenter, Dr. Craig O’Connell, a.k.a. “The Shark Doctor,” hosting a trivia game at LaGuardia Airport, complete with prizes.

Passengers boarding select flights to Dallas and from Atlanta received Shark Week fin hats, another trivia game opportunity, and a taste of the Shark Week buzz.

Moreover, Southwest Airlines is offering exclusive in-flight access to Shark Week programming. “The Haunting of Shark Tower,” will be available to Southwest passengers before its network premiere on July 28.

Other popular Shark Week episodes have also been available for passengers nearly three weeks prior to the official Shark Week 2023 kick-off. And with free live TV offered on its flights, passengers can enjoy the full “Shark Week” from July 23 to July 29.

Despite the headwinds Southwest is currently facing, the return of the popular Shark Week promotion is a shrewd move to boost customer sentiment and serve up a bit of fun amidst an otherwise challenging climate. As the airline works to resolve its issues and regain its reputation, initiatives like these could go a long way in helping it recover its cruising altitude.

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