Below is a chronicle of the day's events on April 11, 2012: the twin maiden voyages of Southwest's first Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Brooks provided updates from Warrior One, traveling from Chicago to Fort Lauderdale. Whitney led efforts from Baltimore, where the second -800 began its journey, bound for Fort Myers.
What happened next... was a tale of two planes.
737-800 Maiden Voyages: MDW to FLL on Flight #1717, Warrior One (Brooks)
4:30 a.m. CST: My hotel alarm goes off. I'd normally call it a rude awakening, but when you wake up with butterflies, disposition is hard to locate. On this particular flight, we hosted five travel bloggers from around the nation. Our 5:00 a.m. hotel lobby call time came fast, but as it was the main event, there were no frowns.
6:00 a.m. CST: Passengers started to trickle in. Our bloggers took full advantage of the "-800 Premiere" atmosphere created by our MDW Employees, complete with Spirit. Jr. See Chicago's awesome Facebook page here.
6:30 a.m. CST: Our Passengers begin boarding, and receive a Boeing hat (worn by Spirit Jr. above), and a certificate that identifies each person as a participant in the maiden commercial voyage of Warrior One!
7:00 a.m. CST: Just before wheels up in MDW, several of our bloggers admired the new cabin, complete with Evolve and Boeing Sky Interior.
7:30 a.m. CST: Our flight gets into gear. I could go on and on about how much I love this plane, but I'd rather you hear from one of the aviation bloggers, Stephanie Gehman, about her experience. You can find that here, complete with photos.
9:00 a.m. CST: Things get really silly when the inflight giveaways start to happen. Look no further than Rich Matthews' video below, to see how that "shook out." Yes, that is a pun related to the video... Enjoy that ticket, Albert.
11:00 a.m. EST: Yep, we switched time zones when we touched down in beautiful, sunny Fort Lauderdale. We were met with a water cannon salute.
11:45 a.m. EST: To round out a great day, we got the best seat in the house to watch pushback of Warrior One (of course, this picture was taken well before that moment!).
1:00 p.m. EST: After an overwhelming amount of hospitality from our buddies in Fort Lauderdale, we parted ways. But not before devouring a Warrior One cake (which was delicious!).
We'll have many more "new arrivals" this year. By the end of the year, 33 new 737-800s will have been added to the mix!