I'm a big fan of Airline, the A&E TV series about Southwest Airlines. The transparent look at Southwest and its customers that Airline provides can be funny, touching and even surprising. For example, in a recent episode I saw for the first time, a Southwest ticket counter worker strongly stood up for herself after a customer began using obscenities. I was surprised that the exchange was included in the episode because of how it could be interpreted by the audience, which made me wonder about what controls Southwest has on the content and what scenes end up on the editing room floor. In a 2004 USA Today interview with the series producer, he addressed that question:
"They (Southwest Airlines) clearly need to see the shows before they air to make sure we're getting facts right. I'm no expert on ticketing structures or the intricacies of FAA policy. (But) they have no editorial say... (Southwest president) Colleen Barrett only agreed to take part if it was real. They're proud of their airline and had the courage to step up to the plate and expose themselves."
That's transparency and I love it - we're able to see real customer experiences with Southwest, both good and bad. It's that balance that makes it feel real rather than just a showcase for the airline. Some think the show is boring or just about drunk passengers, which there indeed seem to be a lot of, but I admire Airline for its transparent look at a company.
Also, apparently some of the crew, like Yolanda from LAX, have become minor celebrities because of the show. As long as she doesn't appear on Battle of the Network Reality Stars or The Surreal Life, Airline should be OK.