Southwest Is Celebrating Its 50th Anniversary With Tons of Giveaways All Month Long

You could win a companion pass and take a friend on vacation for free all next year.

Southwest Airlines is celebrating its 50th birthday and you're invited to the festivities.

In honor of 50 years since its inaugural flight on June 18th, Southwest has declared the day as "Wanna Get Away Day" a national holiday that has even been registered with the National Day Calendar. The milestone anniversary celebrations will last the entire month of June but will hit their peak on the newly-minted holiday with a few surprises in store.

Southwest Airlines plane
Courtesy of SouthWest Airlines

From June 1 through 18, travelers will be able to win bonus points (the airline is giving away a total of 50 million), Southwest gift cards and the airline's highly-coveted companion passes. You can enter the sweepstakes on the Southwest website and each day is a new opportunity to win a prize.

"It's our 50th Anniversary and we are ready to celebrate and thank our customers," Bill Tierney, the airline's vice president of marketing said in a statement provided to Travel + Leisure. "In true Southwest Spirit, we are turning our 50th Anniversary into Wanna Get Away Day, allowing customers the opportunity to celebrate our 50-year history of Heart, low-fares, legendary Hospitality, and flexible policies by giving them opportunities to turn 'Wanna get away' into 'Gonna' get away."

The "Wanna Get Away" phrase comes from a 1996 marketing campaign meant to highlight the airline's expansion and has since become an integral part of the airline's branding.

The festivities will continue at airports across the country. Southwest is planning giveaways in more than 40 different airports and pop-up photo opportunities will appear at 24 different airport gate areas. And come June 18, Southwest's in-flight crews will surprise passengers with commemorative swag.

The Southwest online store is also getting in on the anniversary, with exclusive products like a Retro Hostess Build-A-Bear (wearing the early flight attendant uniforms), a retro silk scarf, birthday t-shirts and pins and more that will be available to purchase later this month.

Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or at

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles