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Flash Forward—Part 8: It’s Finished—Almost: The Continued Progress of Our First 737-800

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At the end of our last installment, our first Boeing 737-800 was being towed into the paint shop.  As this batch of photos from some of our folks who travelled to Renton shows, the painting process is complete.


Like most everything we do, a celebration was in order to show off our latest “baby,” and several of our top Leaders were there for the unveiling.  And like so many of our celebrations, the great folks at Boeing joined by providing this commemorative banner.

Here is N8301J with a gleaming new coat of Canyon Blue.  Just think back to those first photos we received of the fuselage being completed in Wichita and compare the progress.  Now think forward to how many business deals will be sealed, how many families will travel for the holidays, how many kids will go off to college, how many veterans will come home from serving our country, how many relationships will prosper, and how many memorable vacations will be completed as a result of travel on this airplane?

Mike Van de Ven, our Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, spoke to the small gathering that included Brian Hirshman, Senior Vice President Technical Operations,  who was seated on stage with officials from Boeing.  They were there to represent the Southwest Employees from many departments throughout the Company who have been working on the 737-800 program.


After short comments, it was time to tour the airplane.  Although the photo above is a bit dark, it gives you an idea of the various types of mood lighting available with the new Sky Interior.  Someone is checking out one of the new style overhead bins.


All of our Flight Attendants and Provisioning Agents will be interested in this first photo of the completed aft galley, which includes a Southwest first, beverage carts.  Ours are carts with a difference though because they are smaller and more maneuverable than those you may have encountered on other airlines.  If you remember the photos of the galley being installed, you can see the progress in the final version.  The coffee maker even has a pot, ready to brew.  At the lower corners of the photo are the backs of the jumpseats.


Vice President Cabin Services Mike Hafner poses at the nose of the aircraft.  Of interest in this photo (besides Mike’s smile of course) is the 800 identifier on the bottom of the nose.  This will remind our Ramp Agents that a longer -800 is pulling into their gate.


By closing with this photo, we show both the remaining shortterm tasks to be done and the longterm promise of this new versatile aircraft.  In the longterm, the ETOPS (Extended-range Twin-engine Operations) capability will give us the capability to go to new places.  In the shortterm, while the airframe is complete, a lot of hard work remains to make it ready for service.  All of the systems from coffee makers to the engines will have to be run and tested.  Then the WiFi Hotspot will have to be installed.  Those steps aren’t really photogenic, so this will probably be the last Flash Forward.  Stay tuned for coverage on the delivery of our first 737-800.

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Nice pics. Was on my first flight in my life on southwest 2 weeks ago. loved it so much i am taling another Soutwest flight out of Hartford(BDL) to Baltimore(BWI) this weekend. Going on Southwest vacation package to Disney World this coming May.
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Cant wait till the 800 is flying the line! I have always said the day Southwest Flies to Hawaii is the day i will go! MY moto is if Southwest doesnt fly there, i dont go!!!!!!!!! I would rather fly 4 legs to get to the east coast on Southwest in my seat 23 D or F then any non stop other intercontinetal flight carrier! Want to say hi to all the Flight Crews that i usually fly with. Just remember, im the guy always sitting in the back row wether im on my way to the bay area or the east coast!
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I cant wait till this bird hits the line. I hope it comes to Ontario and to a flight that i will be on. I always say if Southwest doesnt fly there im not going threre? I cant wait till they fly this ETOPs bird to Hawaii, cause when they do thats when ill go to the islands! I LOVE SWA, and want to say hi to all the crews that know me when i fly! Im the guy that always sits in 23 Dand F even when there is only 6-12 people on the plane! Im probably the only A lister that goes to the back of the bird when i get my boarding pass even when its buisness select its to the back of the bird!
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I think the -8 is a game changer for WN - So much more versatility and another opportunity to help pull Boeing along in their incredible line of 737 products! This has been the most exciting development in a while! As a line guy, I find it a little amusing that there has to be "800" on the nose. I hope we can see some come by MSY.