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Flashback Fridays--Cupid One

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We have a Valentine’s Day gift (and a late Christmas gift) from the archives for you today—and it ties into the interim livery string of posts I started last week.  Back in 1981, we leased a 737-200 from Trans European Airways (TEA) of Belgium.  Larry Worley and Jimmy Moore, who worked in our Maintenance Department, used the radome to create a “Rudolph One” for Christmas 1981.  To raise money, Santa flew around our system selling calendars for the Salvation Army.  Here we see “Santa” and an attractive Employee who is holding the calendar and waiting to board the aircraft.  (Can anyone out there identify the woman?)

Fast forward a couple of months to Valentine’s Day, 1982, and the same airplane has become “Cupid One,” with a depiction of the chubby matchmaker replacing Rudolph on the radome.  Posing in front of the aircraft is one of our current Flight Attendants, Sharen, who was a Ticket Agent at the time.

Now for the airplane geek stuff:  Notice that the airplane isn’t in the standard Southwest livery.  As close as I can tell, this is the TEA color scheme, and in other pictures on it is depicted wearing the “Southwest” titles on the tail.  As to the specific airplane, none of the photos in our files present a side view showing the registration.  However, several books in my reference library lead me to think that this is “OO-TEM,” which was a 737-2Q8, msn 21735.  If I am correct, it flew with us for almost two years before going on to America West as N133AW, British Midland, and Malev in Hungary (both as EI-BTR).  It returned to the US to finish out its career with Vanguard and AeroUSA as N121NJ.  FAA records show it “deregistered.” For those of you with "eagle eyes," you will notice that the radomes are different in both photos.  In the top one, there is a black glare panel and the bottom is all white.  Neither are the standard TEA radome, but has several photos of it operating during Southwest service with the normal TEA radome.

Update:  the "mystery woman" is Melissa Smith a retired Flight Attendant

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Indeed, it was OO-TEM... As far as the young lass, she looks familar and I think she might have been at HOU. The jetways look "Hobby-ish" compared with the ones at DAL. I'll show the photo to my fellow dispatchers who also are former Hobbyites, and let you know. I think I have pix of EI-BEE and EI-ASH around somewhere, but I'll have to search.. How about something on the "Three Little Pigs?" 😉
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The Flight Attendant in the first pic is Melissa Mandolph Zi.
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After I posed for this photo, they removed me from the plane citing their 'passenger of size' policy. You are on my naughty list now SWA! -Santa
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I flew via Love Field recently and the -200 in Desert Gold is no longer visible from the end of the terminal; where has it gone (and how go the plans for a WN Museum, with the -200 included). Also how do WN-HQ-ers like their new DART service across the street, I think the Burbank LRT stop is closer to LUV than riding the DART Bus to the designated Inwood connecting stop. THX.