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Q&A: What's in the belly of a Southwest aircraft?


Our Q&A blog series answers common questions about aviation and Southwest Airlines.  Our next question about our Cargo service is answered by Senior Director of Cargo and Charters Wally Devereaux.  Have a question of your own?  Leave us a comment! On any given day, Southwest Airlines moves approximately half a million pounds of Cargo in our red belly war birds that needs to move on an expedited basis.   Typical items include retail electronics like computers, clothing items from your favorite store at the mall, as well as multiple items you might buy from a number of online retailers.  We also carry a significant number of perishable items like frozen seafood, fresh flowers for your local florist, or even live tropical fish from your local pet store.  In fact, one of our busiest cargo lanes is from HOU to BWI where we carry thousands of pounds of live blue crabs from the Gulf of Mexico to Maryland. Finally, many of the commodities we carry improve or even save lives.  In fact, thousands of diagnostic specimens from doctor’s offices and hospitals around the country move on our planes every day.  This can range from a simple blood test, to specialized cancer vaccines created for a specific individual’s treatment.  We also carry hundreds of organs for transplant that literally save lives.  cargo1 As for some of the more unique items we’ve carried in recent years, that list could include drill bits for oil and gas drilling in Midland, to dishwashers from Los Angeles (Yes, dishwashers!), to cash for the Federal Reserve.  But the most unique story I can recall is the time we moved three six foot alligators  named Little Beefer, Simon and Theodore on behalf of the Phoenix Herpetological Society (You may have even seen that story in the news if you live in Phoenix) from Phoenix to Tampa.  The alligators were actually rescued by the Department of Game and Fish from owners who kept them illegally, and were in need of transportation to their new home, an alligator sanctuary in Citra, Florida.  That’s when Southwest Airlines, and our brave Ramp agents in particular, stepped in to save the day! From the clothes on your back, to your computer, to gators on a plane, and yes, even your dishwasher, we’ve moved ‘em all on Southwest Airlines!