Skip to main content

Southwest Airlines Community

The Eagle Has Landed

Not applicable

We receive tons of requests and suggestions each year for ”specialty” aircraft, which is what we call any aircraft not painted in our traditional Canyon Blue livery. In fact, just last week, my friend Dave Cynkin suggested we wrap an aircraft with the faces of bloggers and fly it to Las Vegas for this year's BlogWorld Expo. I praised his creativity - I love people who think big - but let him know it was an unlikely proposition.

In addition to the time and effort required, each of the ”specialty” aircraft in our fleet is carefully designed to honor a long-standing and significant relationship with the state, organization, or...er...whale...it represents. And, today, our CEO, Gary Kelly, and founder, Herb Kelleher, were at Chicago Midway Airport to honor just such a relationship. Say hello to the newest member of our fleet... Illinois One.

This brand new Boeing 737-700 unveiled today at Chicago Midway Airport features a rendering of the Illinois state flag and required 26 people at the Boeing Company working three shifts over the course of six days to paint. More than 93 gallons of paint and 10 different colors make up Illinois One. Check out the aircraft being built and painted in this video.

Illinois One joins twelve other ”specialty” aircraft in our fleet that carry unique paint schemes: Arizona One, California One, Lone Star One (Texas), Nevada One, New Mexico One, Maryland One, three Shamu aircraft (SeaWorld), Silver One (celebrating Southwest's 25th anniversary), Triple Crown One (recognizing Southwest's top rankings for ontime performance, baggage handling, and Customer satisfaction), and Slam Dunk One (tribute to our NBA partnership). That count actually comes to thirteen if you include the ”Classic” paint scheme which will remain on three of our aircraft - N711HK, N714CB, and N792SW.

Illinois One honors a relationship built over 23 years. Since we launched service in 1985, Chicago has grown to become one of our largest operations with 227 daily nonstop departures to 47 cities.  In addition to our airport operations at Midway, we have a Pilot Base, an Inflight Base, a District Marketing Office, a Maintenance Facility, a Provisioning Base, a Reservations Center, and a People Department Office there.   More than 3,700 of our Employees now call Chicago home.

The Eagle has landed at Chicago Midway.  I hope you have the chance to see it landing at an airport near you.  Welcome to the family, Illinois One!

 

37 Comments
Not applicable
Wow! Illinois one looks fantastic! In addition to being a State flag, it looks pretty darn patriotic if you ask me.
Not applicable
And your customers in Illinois are proud, too. You have made flying fun and affordable. I tend to evangelize about SWA to my friends and professional colleagues. I have even taught a few about the "The Zen of SWA Boarding." I have logged many miles on SWA (in fact, I head to FLL tomorrow evening) I even traveled with a client who was running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 during the campaign. SWA was the sound fiscal choice. I look forward to flying Illinois One - I wonder how long it will take. Thanks for taking such good care of me. Have fun, Kevin
New Arrival
What's the registration number for Illinois One N9??WN?
Not applicable
Oooo...good question, Scott. It's N918WN.
Not applicable
What a great addition. I love to see the specialty plane fly in and out. People have no idea what they are. Needless to say I inform them. I have flown SWA since they started service out of PHL. I have been lucky enough to fly on Maryland one, and have pictures of 4 more. I always have my camera ready for pics. My goal is to fly on all of them some time in my life, esp the one decorated with the kids art work. I just LUV SWA, they have given me,more opportunities then I could have dreamed of. Thank you SWA
Not applicable
Looks much better in the daylight! Someone erased the night shots that were online for awhile. Oh no here comes the suits again! I have to go now. The Blogmaster is in Mdw for this event. :-) Joe!
Not applicable
She's certainly an American Beauty!!! Congratulations!
Not applicable
That's neat! Yea! Perhaps you could paint an Oklahoma One. :) Thought for the day: Why are they called Sun Chips when they don't look like the sun? SWA LUV! 🙂
Not applicable
Congratulations on the amazing new craft. But, here's my idea... allow passengers to customize their own jet. Much like capitalone card builder.
Not applicable
The plane is beautiful. Is Southwest updating the insides of your planes as well. Are you planning to give each seat a TV screen anytime soon. I couldn't find anyplace on your site that describes the plane interiors. I just think travelers are interested in this today. I've flown SWA for years and years. Have always enjoyed it. I hope you stay on the front lines of the industry so you will be flying many more years!
Not applicable
Wow, really LUV the livery! (side thought: it would be cool if you had a special paint scheme for the armed forced, but then obviously, you couldn't name it air force one or marine one) :oP
Not applicable
Illinois One might just be the best looking specialty paint job in the entire SWA fleet. I can't wait to see it at an airport soon!
Not applicable
Leah, Your request is right up there with mine for a Michigan one on the list of low priority specialty planes. :-) Enjoying "Life in a Northern Town" Joe!
Not applicable
This is the baddest bird in the fleet! VERY cool design. California One, take notice. The Eagle has landed! Great job. Anyone know which specialty plane uses the MOST paint...and how mnay gallons/how much added weight? I'd guess Maryland One, NBA, and Illinois have the biggest "canvas".
Not applicable
I would be nice to see more state planes
Not applicable
Cool job with the Illinois One. My favorite is still the Lone Star One because Colleen Barrett sent an autographed model Lone Star One to me. Anyway, do you see service to Cincinnati on your radar? Any substance is only as strong as its weakest point. If Delta/Northwest intends to sustain all its hubs, then its hub at Cincinnati will be weak. Cincinnati is sandwiched between Atlanta (373 miles away) and Detroit (229 miles away).
Not applicable
I love the new plane. I hope I get it when I fly to Chicago from Nashville visiting my family. So what is the next project on the horizon??? Maybe a Nashville or Tennessee One???
Not applicable
Just wondering how much more it costs to operate a paint scheme as opposed to the normal scheme. I know that unpainted aircraft are cheaper to fly due to the weight of the paint required. Any idea as to the increase in costs for you, especially since prices will rise due to fuel costs, etc.
Not applicable
Paula, Thanks for this great blog thread! I've long been impressed with Boeing's experience, engineering and design skills and expertise at building aircraft, but I had NEVER realized they could build a 737 so DARN FAST! See what happens when people are paid by the job instead of by the hour? :) Joe, you said that our fearless leader was in town for the unveiling, and it looks like Paula was there with her high-speed camera as well...so I'm just curious -- do they travel in a special Southwest jet named "Blog One"? Kim External Blog Boy whose heart still swells with pride when he sees Lone Star One 🙂
Not applicable
Great new addition to the WN family! But I have to admit, seeing a "Tennessee One" would be a even better. Especially considering how much the city of Nashville and the state of Tennessee has supported WN at their Nashville Focus City.
Not applicable
I got in to work this evening. One of my coworkers asked me if I had my camera, letting me know that our newest beautiful bird was here. I had to run out and check it out. IT IS BEAUTIFUL! I think it's the prettiest/coolest paint in our fleet, and I'm a Texas gal, and proud of our Lone Star...but this bird is beautiful! I had to walk all around it and check it out. It's amazing! GREAT JOB!!!
Not applicable
Kim, It is like air force one. Any plane that our fearless blog leader is on is considered "Blog One" Happy Birthday to me! Joe! :-)
Not applicable
good question, dsinhou...I'll see what I can find out...
Not applicable
Dsinhou, Thanks for a great question. here's what I found out. As you stated, an unpainted aircraft does carry less weight and uses slightly less fuel than a painted aircraft. Interestingly, however, I was told that those cost savings are typically offset by the cost of keeping an unpainted aircraft in a "presentable state." Unpainted fuselages have to be polished and buffed much more frequently than aircraft need painting. And, the cabins of painted aircraft tend to be cooler than those of bare metal aircraft (which is why most airlines began painting the tops of the cabins after World War II, I hear). While I can't give you any hard numbers, all things considered, the cost difference between operating an aircraft with our regular paint scheme versus the paint scheme on our specialty aircraft is minimal.
Not applicable
Paula why does the video show a 737-800 being built and not Illinois One (737-700)? Its very obvious by the dual-overwing exits. Watch the video closely. Why claim that that's Illinois One being built? Illinois One shows up only at the end for the painting. Kinda reminds me of the movie "The Hunt For Red October". OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science & Industry) has the USS Blueback (?) docked in the Willamette River. On the tour they say that that submarine was the sub used for the "breach" sequence when the sub jumps out of the water. Turns out it wasn't THAT sub, but that sub's sister-ship. Truthiness...even Southwest is in on it!
Not applicable
I love it. Except you only named a handful of aricraft with the classic paint job. It seems like those are the only ones I fly on. Is there any way to know or plan a flight on a themed plane?
Not applicable
was this aircraft one of tyhe ex-Ford aircraft?
Not applicable
Good eye, Matt D. You're correct. Boeing used stock footage for the beginning of the video, but that's clearly our bird being painted in the second half.
New Arrival
I was looking for the delivery flight in the usual place (Boeing Field) going to either Phoenix or Love Field, little did I know it would leave Boeing from "MWH" for "MDW" on the 14th. Will MDW continue receiving deliveries from Boeing or was this a special situation just for "Illinois One"?
Not applicable
Scott, If they continue that trend of debuting the specialty planes in the area being promoted, then someday you might look forward to a sixty-second delivery flight for the future Washington One! Joe, Your explanation makes perfect sense to me. Now, do you suppose that any plane Paula is on is similarly referred to in FAA radio traffic as "Blog Two"? Oh, and by the way, that naming protocol surrounding Brian does not just extend to aircraft. When he drives to work each day, he is easily recognized on the roads of Dallas by the splashy paint job that boldly proclaims "Blog One" on his 1976 AMC Pacer... Kim External Blog Boy 🙂
Not applicable
Kim, I always thought Brian had a gremlin. :-) Joe!
Not applicable
Joe, Nahhh, Pacers have larger back seats for those Automated Candy Corn Dispensing Machines that are MUST HAVE equipment for any of Brian's vehicles... Besides, he likes cranking up his eight-track player and listening to Bohemian Rhapsody when he is stuck in traffic in Big D. Kim EBB 🙂
Not applicable
I wonder how Paula can read our exchanges Kim, and not hurt herself laughing? Brian is not feeling well. I think he got over excited with his new camera and it ate him! He is now stuck inside it with the pictures he took! Joe! :-p
New Arrival
Hey Joe ... I've read all your and Kim's exchanges, and I'm having no trouble controlling myself ;-). Have good weekend. B
Not applicable
This video is awsome... But I agree with the Previous comment, it is not a 700 being built.... According to the FAA, it should be a -700. FAA Records states for a/c N918WN: Serial Number 29843 Model 737-7H4 Also note in video at time stamp 67:344 above bag bay shows as being 948. Anyway you look at it Southwest... JOB WELL DONE!
Not applicable
Illinois One looks great! How ever I think that the next Plane that Southwest Needs is "U.S.A. 1" They have one for all the states woth hubs except Denver but what about the U.S. The Plane should have a giant American Flag on it.
New Arrival
Don't know if this is the best place to ask but here goes, With the accident at Sea World and the cancellation of the orca shows at at least two SeaWorld facilities were the three Shamu aircraft taken out of service for today only or for an undetermined time frame?