Meet Captain Ruben F. and his son, First Officer Ruben

Captain Ruben F. was a Southwest Pilot for almost 31 years. Throughout his inspiring career, he shared his passion with many young aviators through the Adopt-A-Pilot program and on his trips. He even mentored his family to pursue a career in the skies too. He’s joined at Southwest Airlines by his brother, Captain Chris S.; cousin, First Officer Chuck J.; and—most recently—his son, First Officer Ruben F. Captain Ruben shared many of his flights before retirement with his family, including his last flight from Omaha, Neb., to Chicago with his son serving in his right-hand seat, as his First Officer.

– My name is Ruben Flowers, and I’ve been a Pilot at Southwest Airlines for almost 31 years. I’ve found a Family in our People, and that feeling sparked a career’s worth of dreams and a legacy in my family.

There was a pivotal moment in my childhood when I realized this was my dream. A pilot asked me if I wanted to visit the cockpit. As I sat in the seat, it all set in. From there, my first step to flying began with my career as a flight instructor while in college. Soon after graduation, I transitioned to become a Chicago (Midway)-based pilot for another carrier. It wasn’t long before I made my way to Southwest Airlines.

For my more than 30 wonderful years at the Company, I’ve shared my journey and passion with my family. There are seven pilots in my family now, three who are right here with me at Southwest. My brother joined right behind me, and my cousin followed after. When they joined Southwest, I thought, “What’s going on here?” I didn’t expect the domino effect my career would have on my family, but I feel blessed.

The most recent addition to Southwest is my son, Ruben. Ruben rode in the car to drop me off at the airport for trips growing up. He’d always tell me, “Don’t push the wrong button,” as our inside joke. Ruben tagged along with me to the training center in Dallas growing up to learn more about our operation, experience the simulators, and spend time at the airport, which felt like a second home to him. He flew in simulators with me before he even had a driver’s license.

To see him as a Pilot at our Company is an awesome feeling. And to experience some of his first flights as a Southwest Pilot with him is a feeling that’s hard to put into words. There was a very special flight we shared where my brother rode in the cockpit jumpseat, my son served as the First Officer, and I was the Captain. To look over and see your loved ones sitting right next to you is a great feeling. It feels like my son was five years old and running around days ago, and now he’s reading me the flight checklist!

My daughter and youngest son are also pilots, and I hope they find their way to Southwest Airlines. From the moment you walk into the airport, everyone with a Southwest badge is Family. We come together for one goal—to get People to their destinations safely and to their loved ones. It’s a big Southwest Family, and we do all we can for our People.

At Southwest, your career can take flight—and with Flight Operations, the sky is only the beginning.
Learn more about our First Officer opportunities at swa.is/flyingwithHeart​​​​​​​

Image: © Southwest

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