Southwest shows its LUV to Denver with free pedicab rides and a downtown cafe

With 144 daily nonstop flights to 42 destinations, Denver (Colorado) is the fifth largest airport in terms of departures for Southwest Airlines (airline code: LUV). According to the airline’s CEO Gary Keller, Denver is “very important to Southwest as it is the fastest-expanding market in Southwest’s 40-year history.” Since Southwest’s competitors in Denver — United and Frontier — are distracted with either merger or restructuring activities, Dallas-based Southwest is taking its chance to establish itself as Denver’s new hometown carrier. 

In July 2010, Southwest launched a Denver-specific advertising campaign professing its dedication to the market with a tagline of, “Say Yes, Denver!”. The ads starred the airline’s local Denver employees which asked the public, “Denver, will you fly us?” To further back its commitment to Denver, Southwest is aligning itself with the city by supporting a host of community organizations, as well as a series of free ‘brand butler’ services, such as free pedicab rides. Says the airline, “At Southwest Airlines, we make it our mission to become engaged and involved in the communities that we serve in a meaningful and relevant way”. 

The Southwest Porch
This summer, Southwest sponsored concerts and movies (including free cupcakes) in Downtown Denver’s Skyline Park, and from July to December 2010 offers free pedicab rides to and from events across the city. In September 2010, Southwest also opened ‘The Southwest Porch at Skyline Park’ at the base of Denver’s historic Daniels and Fisher Tower. The Southwest Porch is an year-round outdoor lounge where Denverites can relax and enjoy pizza and drinks from local suppliers.

Commenting on the opening of the porch, Southwest said,  “[We] know we are an airline, so what’s up with opening up a Porch? Well, if you know Southwest, then you know that we are much more than just an airline. We are an integral part of the communities that we serve. We make it our mission to engage the local communities we serve by partnering with organizations and finding ways to improve the quality of life where our employees and our customers work and live. We thought a Southwest Porch would be a natural extension of our commitment to the community in a lively and fun way.” 

On a similar note, Southwest in June 2009 opened ‘The Southwest Porch at Bryant Park’ in New York to celebrate its inaugural service into the city’s LaGuardia Airport. The 175-seat open-air venue features on-porch swings and rocking chairs, power outlets and free WiFi. During the summer the porch serves sandwiches, small plates of food, and drinks like Southwest Summer Ale. During the winter season the Bryant Park porch offers a winter menu, outdoor heaters, a fire pit, and so-called ‘slankets’ (blankets with sleeves). 

The Southwest Rink
Last but not least, in November 2010 Southwest will also open ‘The Southwest Rink at Skyline Park’ in downtown Denver, which will be located nearby the Southwest Porch. The skating rink will be free to the public with the option to bring skates or rent a pair at a minimal cost. Refreshments will be available at the Southwest Porch as part of a special winter menu. 

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