Southwest Hiring Overview For 2023

Founded 1967

Type Public

Headquarters Dallas, TX

Size Large Corporation

Industry Airline

If you’re looking to make your career soar, then the airline industry may be a good place for you to look for a job. We know what you’re thinking: Does Southwest Airlines hire felons?

Southwest Airlines is a major airline with thousands of flights. For anyone interested in the airline business or working at an airport, this article will help you with every step of applying, from the application to the interview. We’ll address the following questions, and more:

  • Does Southwest Airlines hire people with misdemeanors?
  • Do they have special programs for hiring felons?
  • Is it possible to get a job at Southwest with a felony?
  • Does Southwest Airlines do background checks?
  • Will my felony disqualify me?

Former felons have a hard time finding work, in general, but the airline industry in particular may be a tough nut to crack. How do we know? Our team directly contacted Southwest Airlines to ask them about their hiring policies for former offenders, and we’ve done a ton of research about the company to get a real feel for working for them.

This is something we’ve done more than 1,000 times across the US, so we really know what we’re talking about when it comes to the national job market and the odds former felons have of landing a job.

Why do we care? Our team has many former felons on it, as well as professionals who have worked closely with former felons for years, which means we understand the obstacles you face on the job hunt. We’re here to help! Now we’ll get to all the questions and answers about getting a job with this airline.

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Does Southwest hire felons?

Confirmed felon employer

a large, blue Southwest jet

Official company hiring policy for felons

While we haven’t managed to get in touch wtih a person at Southwest to talk about their hiring policy, we did pull this off their website:

“You should apply to whatever job you feel you are both interested in and qualified to perform. Southwest performs individual assessments in accordance with federal, state, and local law, considering all relevant factors. These can include, but are not limited to, the severity of the event, when the event occurred, age of applicant at the time of the event, the relevance of the event to the job being applied for, rehabilitation efforts, and work history since the event.”

Has Southwest hired felons in the past?

Based on our independent research, it appears that some former felons have been able to find work at Southwest. However, until the company confirms our information it’s difficult to say how or why the company makes its hiring decisions.

Does Southwest hire people with misdemeanors?

We don’t know whether or not they will hire people with misdemeanors on their record.

However, the company may have hired former felons in the past and places willing to hire candidates with felonies on their records will also hire people who have misdemeanors.

Will Southwest Airlines hire you with pending charges?

Southwest Airlines didn’t provide a formal response to our questions. However, their careers website does state that they accept all applications and “performs individual assessments.” This would indicate that people with pending charges would also be accepted and considered.


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What are the chances of Southwest hiring a felon?

Is Southwest Airlines on the Ban the Box list?

Ban the Box works to remove obstacles for former felons in the hiring process. Specifically, the movement asks employers to take questions about criminal records off their job applications.

There is also the Fair Chance Business Pledge. Businesses that take this pledge promise not to discriminate against former felons during the hiring process.

Unfortunately, Southwest Airlines does not participate in either movement. Though we never like to see this, it also isn’t the end of the world. The majority of businesses are not involved in these promises, though many are still willing to hire former felons (like Southwest seems to be).

Does Southwest Airlines have special programs for hiring felons?

From what we can see, Southwest Airlines does not do anything of this nature.

What are the odds someone with a felony will get hired?

Uncertain likelihood of hiring felons

So, what’s the verdict? Does Southwest Airlines hire felons? From what we know, the chances seem uncertain.

While it may be possible to get a job at Southwest Airlines with a felony, we don’t know enough about the company’s hiring policies to say anything for certain.

The good news is that the company seems to have hired former felons in the past. However, without knowing more we cannot upgrade the odds of getting hired.

How to get hired at Southwest with a felony

What are some entry-level jobs?

From ticket takers to baggage handlers, there are lots of positions available for people with customer service or manual labor experience.

There are also higher-paying jobs for people with specialty experience. For instance, they also have positions for flight attendants and pilots.

Like most airlines, Southwest operates around the clock. That means that there will be day and night shifts virtually every day of the year.

Tips to get hired here with a felony

It starts with a killer application. The key is always to highlight relevant previous experience that might qualify you for the job.

To guarantee that you’re sending out the best application possible, consider getting a second pair of eyes to review your resume. If no one in your life is qualified to do this, a career center would be happy to help.

A good application will (hopefully) result in an interview. As with any interview, it’s a good idea to present yourself in the most professional way you can. This means wearing nice clothes, covering your tattoos and piercings, and demonstrating confidence the moment you step through the door.

Your objective in the interview should be to make a good impression, and consistently demonstrate why you’re a good fit for the job. To do this as effectively as possible, consider going over common interview questions with a friend. Practice talking about previous experience in a way that sounds natural.

If you’re worried about your record keeping you from getting the job, you may even find it worthwhile to bring up the time you spent in prison so you can frame it in a positive light. For example, if you worked a job in jail that gave you experience relevant to the position you’re applying for, it will be useful to mention it.

It’s easy to get nervous about an interview, but remember: They want to talk to you because they think you’re a good candidate. Prove them right!

Does Southwest do background checks?

Southwest Airlines will do background checks on their candidates. This can, of course, have a big impact on a former felon’s chances of getting hired.

However, each state does their background checks a little bit differently. 

For example, if you live in one of these places, Southwest will only see things on your record that happened within the last seven years:

  • California
  • Colorado*
  • Kansas*
  • Maryland*
  • Massachusetts
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire*
  • New York*
  • Texas*
  • Washington*

Perhaps even better, there are also some states that won’t look at not guilty verdicts. If you live in one of these states, Southwest will only see crimes that you were convicted of:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana (limited check)
  • Kentucky
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • New York

Unfortunately, though, there are also lots of states that look at everything. If you live in one of these states, the company will see everything, including things that you were found not guilty of:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • DC
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Idaho
  • Indiana (extensive check)
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Company ratings

We also spent a little bit of time looking at what it’s like to work at Southwest. To do this, we went to to see what former and current employees had to say.

We found that the company has an impressive 4.3 out of 5 stars as their rating. The highest rating is 4.4 for culture and values. The lowest rating is 3.8 for work-life balance.

What felonies Southwest Airlines will not hire

We didn’t get an official answer from Southwest Airlines on this, so we’re not sure. The next section will cover the charges we think most likely to impact you, based on what we know about the company.

What felony convictions might have a hard time getting hired here?

Because there are so many different types of careers at Southwest, there are also many different types of felonies that they may not take kindly to.

For instance, since they have many customer service positions, the company may be hesitant to hire people with violent or sexual offenses.

They also have jobs where you work with other people’s possessions (specifically baggage handlers), so they may not take kindly to theft convictions.

And since some positions may use heavy machinery, drug and alcohol charges could also be disqualifying.

Does Southwest Airlines hire sex offenders?

We can’t say for sure. Southwest Airlines did not answer this question, their website does not include anything about this, and online reports are inconclusive.

Does Southwest drug test?

It looks like they do.

Have you applied for a job or worked here? Share your experiences!

Did our guide help you figure out how to get hired at Southwest ? If you have experience with Southwest, we need to hear from you. The more you are able to tell us, the better we can make our article!

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