Southwest Airlines is celebrating its 40th anniversary. (March 16, 2010)

Southwest Airlines is celebrating its 40th anniversary. (March 16, 2010) Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Southwest Airlines has been attracting quite a bit of attention this week. It's having a sweet sale, peddling flights for just $40 to commemorate its 40th anniversary. And if that wasn't enough,  AirTran, which recently was taken over by Southwest, is offering similar fares, so chances are pretty good you'll snag one.  “This is the first time that I can remember in my 30 years of tracking airfares that I have seen airfares from over 100 U.S. cities as low as $40 one-way,” says Tom Parsons, CEO of

That fare applies to flights of less than 450 miles. Those between 451 and 1,250 cost $80, and flights more than 1,251 miles can be had for a mere $120.

That would make for a nice and tidy blog post: "Hey guys, here's a great sale. Go snag your cheap seats." Clean. Easy.

But as so often is the case in life and airplanes, clean and easy is hard to come by. Case in point:

A March 25th skeleton has just come out of the Southwest closet, and it isn't pretty. Apparently, a pilot embarked on an anti-women, anti-gay rant while manning his plane, and the tirade was inadvertently broadcast over an air traffic control frequency, according to KPRC, an NBC affiliate in Houston. The airline reportedly suspended the pilot, but reinstated him after he underwent diversity training.

But where did his hostility come from? Apparently the pilot was frustrated because he felt none of the recent hires were up to his dating standards. That's why flight attendants are hired, right? To date pilots?

Meanwhile, Southwest topped the best airlines list in the June 2011 American Customer Satisfaction Index, which was released yesterday.

Anyway, if you want to nab a $40 fare, you can find the Crazy 40th Anniversary Sale here.


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