I finally added some additional photos.
On Monday, Paula posted about the ceremonies that introduced our newest specialty aircraft, Illinois One, to the Southwest fleet. Well, I was there working as a volunteer with our Public Relations folks at the event. Let me tell you, events like this don't happen overnight, and they involved a lot of coordination among all the parties--something made all the more difficult by the distance between Dallas and Chicago. But, after working all day Monday, they pulled this complicated event off without a hitch. The PR Team was far from alone, as our Marketing Department had a large contingent of folks involved with the event and on the ground in Chicago. Other Teams from Corporate Communications assisted, the band made up of SWA Employees kept everyone entertained, and other folks from a wide range of departments also pitched in.
My primary duty at the event was checking Employees in, and I got to meet a big cross-section of our Chicago Employees, including those working in Customer Service, the Ramp, Operations, and Provisioning at Chicago Midway, our Chicago Mechanics, and folks from our Chicago Reservations Center.
For an airplane geek like me, the day was heaven on so many levels. The event was held inside one of our historic hangars at Midway which was built by TWA back when Midway was the world's busiest airport. While the hangar may be historic, it is our Chicago Mechanics workplace, and thanks go to them for allowing the event to be staged in the hangar. I got to see our newest airplane "close up and personal," and I got the opportunity to work with some of my great Coworkers. Heck, I even got to shake hands with Mayor Daley, who is a huge supporter of Southwest Airlines and Midway Airport.
For Illinois One, after being the center of attention, it was off to Dallas for some final installations before entering service, and I followed it about ten hours later. Although they spend their working lives as another aircraft in our usual rotation, the specialty aircraft always cause my heart to skip just a bit faster every time I see one.