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Eat Your Livery

blusk
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If you are like me (and hopefully, for your sake, you aren't!), your mother was always telling you "Eat your liver; it will give you the iron you need." Gee Mom, I thought, why can't I just eat a pail of rusty nails because they would taste better. Well, an airplane's color scheme is called a livery. For our first 30 years, we kept the same basic livery (thank goodness, he finally tied "livery" into this), and I admit that we got a few disparaging letters about our choice of colors. Then, to celebrate our 30th Anniversary in 2001, we introduced our new standard Canyon Blue livery. From that point on, all new aircraft, except for our "one-off" (the Anglophiles among you are probably gobsmacked that I used a British phrase) specialty aircraft, have been delivered in the Canyon Blue livery, and we began a gradual campaign to repaint our existing aircraft in the new colors. That process has come a long way, and it is rare to see an aircraft in the original colors. However, one of the things that sets Southwest apart from the "other guys" is our sense of history and our continuity of Corporate Culture. We wanted a way for our aircraft to illustrate that, and we will be keeping three aircraft in the original livery. Why three? This trio will represent our original three cities, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, and we are calling this "new" old livery the SOUTHWEST Classic. All three aircraft will be 737-700s, and N714CB and N792SW will be two of the aircraft. (The "CB" in N714CB's registration refers to our President and Culture "Guardian," Colleen Barrett. N792SW was the last aircraft delivered new in the old livery.) The other Classic aircraft (N711HK) has a name attached to it, The Herbert D. Kelleher, and it marks the third airplane to have carried the name of our Cofounder and Executive Chairman. You probably have seen some of our specialty liveries, and they always are a hit with aviation buffs, and the two newest specialty airplanes are Maryland One that features the colorful, and a bit unusual Maryland flag, Maryland Oneand Slam Dunk One that celebrates our partnership with the National Basketball Association. Slam Dunk One featutes an incredibly three-dimensional basketball painted on the fuselage. slam_dunk_one.jpegAll of our liveries come from the wonderfully creative folks at our advertising agency, GSD&M. Most of us never know when the next specialty aircraft will be delivered, but I promise to let everyone know the details when they are public.
35 Comments
joe-mdw-plane-d
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Might have to slap a Pistons sticker on slam dunk one this year.
John18
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What is the scheduled completion date to have all of Southwest planes painted in the new livery? That way, we'll know when we see a special classic edition.
blusk
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Hi John, Thanks for the question. About 75 percent of the fleet has been repainted, and the number is growing daily. I think all should be in the new (and Classic livery) fairly soon. Once I get the date, I will post it. Brian
Jack12
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I know you guys like to paint state flags on planes which leads me to my question: when is Illinois and/or Missouri getting theirs done? Considering Chicago-Midway is one of your biggest and oldest destinations I would have thought Illinois would have got theirs before Maryland. By the way, I like the three "original" liveries freely moving about the country...
Chuck1
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Those of us in the Sunshine State would love a "Florida One" aircraft. SWA has become Florida's largest intrastate carrier, and has surpassed the competition in the large markets of Tampa and Orlando as those airport's largest carrier, respectively. The question is this: does a state specialty plane have to be the state flag? Our flag is quite boring, and some creativity might be fun with a Florida-themed aircraft...like making the plane look like a giant alligator, much like the popular Shamu planes (although you'll probably get some critisism from the FSU Seminole fans!). Thoughts...?
LCM
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I flew aboard "Slam Dunk One" when it was just a couple of months old and still had the "new plane smell" - another great experience flying SWA. I'm sad I have a new job that does not require frequent travel because I won't get to see my favorite airline employees as often. But I'll be aboard when I can and want to thank you for continued great service and interesting things like new planes and this blog.
Bezalel
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As a proud citizen of the great state of Maryland (born and bred) I would like to congratulate everyone at Southwest for choosing to honor Maryland's beautiful flag on one of its planes. We all know, here in the old line state, how special our flag is - more special because of the great state that it represents. Now, thanks to Southwest, the rest of the country will have more of an opportunity to see our unique flag. Southwest has always been the best airline in my book. Even so, you've just gone up a couple notches.
Jean_Diaz
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I started flying for the very first time in my life in Sept 2004 - going from Norfolk, VA to Baltimore, MD and back weekly for months. After the first flight (and I was fearful), I became a staunch SWA supporter and now love to fly ... only SWA, of course! The SW employees - in the air and on the ground - are the friendliest, funniest, most caring and respectful group of people ever. Kudos to you all! jhd
blusk
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Wow, glad everyone is enjoying their plates of livery! I'll try to answer some of the questions here. Travis and Chuck, since we serve 32 states and have only done Flaghsip Series of Texas, Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Maryland, there are still lots of other states to cover. We may indeed get around to some of your suggestions, but keep in mind that these special liveries are expensive to create (it takes GSD&M, our ad agency about 30-45 days for this process), paint (usually two days more in the paint shop), and maintain (that's a lot of special touch-up paint). Because of that, we have been somewhat slow in rolling out the state-themed aircraft. My guess is that we will have more of these aircraft, but its only my guess because any new design is a carefully guarded secret. Chuck, we have always used the state flag, and it probably has to do with just the rivalry you mention. The state flag is a universal symbol of each state, but if you start using team mascots or symbols that don't apply to just part of the state, you risk antagonizing the rest of the state.
Kevin18
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Like everyone else, I love the special theme liveries, and I'd like to put in a plug for one for Louisiana. New Orleans was the first city outside Texas to get Southwest service, and it was (prior to Hurricane Katrina) the largest carrier at the New Orleans airport. With the devastation we took in the floods after Katrina, having a "Louisiana One" plane would serve as a great symbol that Southwest is committed to serving this area. We also just celebrated the 200th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase a few years back, and we're coming up in a few years on the 200th anniversary of our statehood, so those are two additional good reasons to honor us. I know it's not your decision at all, but if these comments made it up the chain to the folks who make those decisions, I'd appreciate it.
Helen_Dowell
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Southwest has always been and continues to be the best airline in my book. I love the planes but the Southwest employees are fantastic. They are professional, friendly and fun to fly with. They always make the trip enjoyable. Southwest is always my first choice!
bruce_boswell
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The Maryland Flag has strong historical associations with the founders of the Maryland colony. Roots that go back way before the founding of our country. In our fast paced world I congratulate SW for keeping us connected to people, places and our culture. Can I suggest that the Maryland plane do a low flyover of the Inner Harbor at some special event such as the 4th of July Fly On
DR__DAVID_NOEL
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Well done, Brian. Have you, Colleen, Herb, et al, considered specific acknowledgement categories for long term, true blue, loyal to a fault customers? For example, a special ack for people who were Rapid Reward customers before Herb hatched the 25th anniversary celebration and chaos? Or something for those who have been a companion pass holder for 5 or 10 consecutive years? Or some membership category for abundant participation for 15 or 20 years? Your support of all of us customers is very much appreciated and award winning, and we all luv ya ta pieces. It just seems that special awards and support for committed (no pun intended) customers might be worth examining. All the Best, David
blusk
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Howdy, David, Many thanks for the kind words! Sssh on the 25th Anniversary chaos, though. There are still folks around here nursing their ulcers from that "party." We are extremely proud of our longtime Rapid Rewards Members, especially those who live on our airplanes like you do! I honestly don't know if anything like you suggest is in the works, and like our new liveries, if I found out they would probably have to shoot me. Your suggestion is gonna get heard though because some of my fellow bloggers are in our Marketing group (even a few with 25th Anniversary ulcers). I can tell you that our goal with Rapid Rewards is to reward (well duh!) those who give us their frequent patronage, but to do it in a way that won't make a firsttime Customer who honors us with his or her patronage feel less important. Our goal is to make every Customer feel special whether it is their first or 1,000th time to fly with us. That's why you won't hear our Operations Agents singling out those who hold "super magnum high exalted" levels. But, it certainly doesn't rule out a recognition of longtime Members, of whom we are very proud. Sorry if I seem like I am dancing around the issue, but the most important thing is that your suggestion here will be read. And hey, I LUV puns, and my Coworkers think I should be committed! Brian
Nona_Rogers
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I second Kevin's suggestion for a Louisiana One. What a huge morale booster for the Employees as well as our loyal Customers. We are still a city, and a people, on the mend and every little bit helps. I would personally like to thank all of our Customers who returned to fly our LUV jets when we reopened the New Orleans Station. We shared tears and laughter, hugs and yes, even anger those first few months after the "thing". Your support made very difficult and trying times managable. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! Nona Rogers - Customer Service Supervisor/MSY
dbarkl
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I have seen the photos of Maryland One. My neighbor, who is a native "Terrapin", thought it was beautiful too. Now, if you'd just bring it to Charlotte..... Our "hometown" airline is repainting three Airbuses in the original PSA, Piedmont, and Alleghney livery. Someone has already written a letter to the editor questioning why they aren't painting one in the original USAir livery. Think they'd like to forget who really started the mess???? Since you've already announced you are not opening any more cities in 2006, are you going to continue your policy of "connecting the dots"? There are lots of dots out there that don't have SW service that are very overpriced, like PIT-Washington, DC or for the matter PIT-anywhere SW doesn't go. Just received my stockholder's annual report today. So, at the end of 2006, we will have 478 737's. In 2007, when number 500 arrives, you should do something special. Keep up the good work!
Drew1
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Barkley, With regard to new cities, Gary Kelly stated on the 1Q 2006 earnings call that one more new city is slated for announcement later this year. I'm with you in hoping that it is CLT!
EIron
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Are there any plans for Southwest to expand internationally? I use Southwest for all my flying if they fly there. The flights are always on-time and many times even arrive early. The staff is genuinely happy unlike many other airlines that act as though they hate their jobs. The flight attendants are always alot of fun, and you can tell they truly enjoy what they do, which makes for a much superior flying experience. I do wish that there was somehere in Maine (for example Bangor) i am from Canada and normally now I fly into Manchster even though its a bit of a drive aftwerwards. I would be soooo excited if Southwest starting moving into the International marke. I'd then never have to use any other airlines ever again!!
Chuck1
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Louisiana One should definately be considered. Or just a "Spirit of New Orleans" would be great. Can any of you history buffs out there explain the uniqeness of the Maryland state flag? What do all of the different patterns represent? Funny- right after I posted this morning, I get to work and what's the first thing I see? Yep- the red, white, yellow and black of MD1. Some Customers stare and stare...some gawk...some take pictures. It definately catches the eye! And by the way- I wasn't ripping our Florida flag...it's just a big red "X" on a white background and the state seal is in the middle (I think the red cross is the cross of St. Mark...or St. Andrew... Alabama has the exact same flag as Florida minus the state seal).
Don_Kessinger
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LOUISIANA ONE!! I had not even cosidered it and was really pulling for ILLINI ONE, but what a statement to make to the people and the country. Let LA One roll out soon! Real soon. just my thoughts.
blusk
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Hey Chuck the 3rd, The Maryland flag is divided into quadrants that represent the founders or early families of the state--not sure which, mayber some Marylanders know. The upper left and lower right quadrants represent the gold and black colors of the Calvert family crest, and the upper right and lower left quadrants represent the red and white colors of the Crossland family crest. Brian
Drew1
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Elron, According to Gary Kelly's comments on the 1Q 2006 earnings call, Southwest expects to fly international via the ATA codeshare no later than early 2009. There are no immediate plans to fly international on Southwest's own planes, but it remains a possibility.
Steve_Stovall
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I was at the Mayfest party and one of the mechanics was kind enough to give us a tour of the new hanger. N711HK is there and we all wondered why a 700 series was painted in the old livery. Now I know. Thanks! And, great party, DAL-MX!!!
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[...] On May 30, Southwest kicked off our 35th Anniversary celebration in a big way with a new special aircraft. In conjunction with America’s Second Harvest, we unveiled the Spread the LUV aircraft to publicize our drive to gather jars of peanut butter for food banks all across our system. Peanut butter is a lot tastier than liver, so this is a livery that I find “very edible.” Our President, Colleen Barrett explained to the crowd of Employees and the media why peanut butter is so important: “Peanut butter, with its high protein content, has long been one of the staples most needed by food banks. It only makes sense that the airline that made the peanut famous would be the one that Spreads the LUV with peanut butter.” [...]
Scott5
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Got a chance to see "Slam Dunk One" and "Lone Star One" departing Sacramento on the 15th and "Lone Star One" and "Nevada One" departing Oakland on the 16th. It's great to see the special liverys doing the California routes this week.
Scott5
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On this day that SWA makes its major Love Field schedule announcement it is fitting that Boeing released another 737 into your fleet that arrives at Love.
Scott5
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Yesterday was my 40th birthday, thank you for sending Shamu I (334) to Sacramento as Flight 289. It was great to see your first special plane come in. It must be really cool for a child who has gone to Sea World and is waiting for their plane to pull to the gate and looky here a plane that looks like Shamu.
Scott5
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Not only does Shamu visit Sacramento on my birthday but Boeing delivers to PHX as well. When Shamu was landing in Sacramento your brand new bird was already 40 some minutes out to Boeing Field. Someday I'll ride in that bird just don't know when yet. Maybe on Dec 8th from Las Vegas to Sacramento.
Scott5
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Today I saw this post of a photo of N271LV (the second 737-700 acquired from Ford) taken Nov 20th in Houston, but I was expecting it to be caught in canyon blue. Is 271 currently working with this color scheme? When will be canyon blue? Or do you have something else in mind? http://www1.airliners.net/open.file/1144656/M/ See you on 1909 on the 4th.
blusk
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Hey Scott, N271LV will be in the white livery until sometime the first part of the year. At that point, both Ford airplanes will receive standard Southwest interiors (right now, they only seat 128 as opposed to 137 because the rear lavatory is in front of the aft service door) and winglets. N271LV will also get the standard livery. Brian
Scott5
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This photographer thinks that because there is both colors on the engine cover (I know that is a different name for it but I don't know what it is) that will so be repainted in Canyon Blue. Is the photographer right or just a glaring MX boo-boo? http://www.airliners.net/open.file/1156263/L/
Scott5
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The plane that is.
Bill_Hufnagel
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I was very excited this past Saturday, Jan 20th. I finally saw Slam Dunk One for the first time here in Indy, and with this, I had now seen all of the special paint schemes here in Indy. I love the special planes, and along with my youngest son, we spend many a Sunday throughout the year sitting at IND just hoping to see one of them come into our airport. Maybe someday our state will get a special plane, but if not, watching for the others will continue. Keep up the good work SW, we love your airline.
Ellen_Morrison
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Our family arrived at SeaTac last week from Baltimore and were greeted by the site of Maryland One heading to the runway. We loved it! The kids got to fly in Shamu when they were younger, and they loved that, too. We had four completely sold-out flights between Baltimore and Seattle, and each one was great. Congratulations on a job well done.
momcavy
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I was watching planes land and take off from Albany, NY today and saw your Nevada plane. In the two years that my daughter has been flying Southwest back and forth between Albany and Sacramento to visit her boyfriend, I had never seen a plane in other than the usual Southwest colors. I just wanted to tell you it looks great! Nice job. I look forward to seeing some of the other special paint job planes in and out of Albany, too. A New York plane (maybe dedicated to the 9/11 victims) would be great, if there isn't already one like that out there.