Today, June 18, Southwest celebrates 50 years of giving people the freedom to fly and proudly unveiled Freedom One , a high-flying tribute to our nation, our military, and our Southwest Family of more than 50,000 Employees. Freedom One features the 50 stars and 13 stripes from the flag of the United States of America, and is the first Boeing 737-800 to join our unique paint schemes.*
At an Employee celebration in Houston, Southwest Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly recognized Southwest Employees, who throughout our 50-year history have worked hard to earn Southwest’s place as the #1 Domestic Carrier. When Southwest first began flying in 1971, less than 15% of Americans ever had traveled by air. Southwest and our People democratized the skies with friendly, reliable, and affordable air travel—giving people the freedom to fly.
Among the Employees in attendance at the Rally were Southwest Military Ambassadors and members of the Military Council. Military Ambassadors are Southwest Employees who are veterans and military spouses and serve as a resource for the Company to foster inclusion for veterans and service members. Gary recognized our military men and women for their bravery and service to our country, saying “Freedom is the essence of our country, and giving America the freedom to fly is the essence of our Company. With 50 stars on the flag and 50 years of LUV, we dedicate our anniversary to Freedom.”
After the unveiling, Freedom One departed the Hangar, headed for Dallas. The Pilots and Flight Attendants onboard are Employees who served in the military, and a military veteran dispatched the flight from the Network Operations Control facility in Dallas. As Freedom One approached Love Field, it followed the Federal Aviation Administration’s HERBZ navigational flight path to the airport, recently named in honor of Southwest Founder Herb Kelleher.
Here are a few facts about Freedom One :
Freedom One took 14 days to paint using a crew of 8-10 people working per shift.
It took more than 60 gallons of paint and primer to paint Freedom One, and the aircraft features 15 different paint colors, with the predominant two colors being red and white.
Just like the flag of the United States of America, Freedom One features 50 stars and 13 stripes.
Each star is 39x40 inches, which is approximately the same size as the Heart that as on the belly of each Southwest aircraft.
The United States Department of State Identity and Marking Standards was used in selecting the colors to transpose the flag onto the aircraft (Old Glory Blue, Old Glory Red and White).
Freedom One was painted in Spokane, Washington.
The timelapse video above for Freedom One was created with more than 87,000 still images that were taken during the aircraft painting process by Southwest’s Creative Studio Team.
Freedom One is aircraft W500NR, so be sure to track the plane and post photos using #FreedomOne!
* Other special paint schemes on Southwest Boeing 737-700s include: Arizona One , California One , Colorado One , Florida One , Illinois One , Lone Star One (Texas), Louisiana One, Maryland One , Missouri One , Nevada One , New Mexico One , and Tennessee One.
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Take it all in:
Folly Field Beach (Hilton Head Island) is a perfect spot to spend the day. Take a walk on the beach, or go for a bike ride on 12 miles of wide open, pristine beaches with hardpacked sand, or wade and swim in the clear water. The beach offers plenty of room and space to spread out.
Forsyth Park (Savannah): This 30-acre park and its iconic fountain is one of the most photographed locations in Savannah.
Wormsloe Historic Site (Savannah): The entrance to this historic site and colonial estate is a sandy lane that runs 1.5 miles under a canopy of live oak trees.
One of the best ways to get around town is on a bicycle! Borrow a bike from The Brice, a Kimpton hotel, which is located in the historic district, nearby to museums and other landmarks and attractions.
Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn, a Smithsonian affiliate (Hilton Head Island): This 68-acre property is fun for the whole family. Explore the natural beauty of Hilton Head and learn about the native vegetation, as well as enjoy tours, experiences, and events.
St. John the Baptist Cathedral (Savannah): This French-Gothic cathedral’s double spires reaches over Lafayette Square and the city’s skyline. The exterior is only surpassed by the impressive interior, decorated with Italian marble and stained glass.
Harbour Town Lighthouse (Hilton Head Island) is an iconic landmark that has stood for more than five decades. During your visit, you can tour and climb the lighthouse, as well as check out the gift shop to take home a piece of Hilton Head.
River Street (Savannah): As the name says, this is the historic, cobblestoned street that runs along the Savannah riverfront, and features a wonderful architectural façade, shops, and restaurants. The Georgia Queen Savannah Riverboat is anchored here, too.
Grab a bite:
The Olde Pink House (Savannah): Housed in an 18th century historic home, this is arguably one of Savannah’s best restaurants. The Southern-inspired cuisine is enjoyed in historic, fireside rooms, a large ballroom, or even a small piano bar underneath.
Enjoy a drink at Artillery Bar (Savannah). This sophisticated speakeasy is an elegant locale right on Bull Street and in a restored armory with imaginative cocktails and an extensive bourbon list.
Craving a treat? Hilton Head Social Bakery on Hilton Head Island features baked goods and sweet treats. Stop by for a breakfast pastry or enjoy something savory from their lunch menu.
A visit to Hilton Head Island isn’t complete without a delicious seafood meal. Hudson’s Seafood House On The Docks serves shrimp, oysters, and crabs that are sourced by local fishermen—how’s that for fresh!
Service Brewing Co. (Savannah): This veteran-owned craft brewery offers seasonal and year-round beer. Stop in and enjoy a pint of favorites like Compass Rose IPA or the Rally Point Bohemian Style Pilsner.
Inspired to visit Savannah and Hilton Head Island? Visit Southwest.com to explore our flight schedule and to book your next trip now!
A special thanks to Visit Savannah and Hilton Head Island Visitor & Convention Bureau for their recommendations on things to see, do, and eat in Coastal Georgia and the Lowcountry!
Please check local restrictions and safety protocols before planning a trip, and remember to wear a mask.
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Southwest Airlines began seasonal service to Montrose Regional Airport (Telluride) in December 2020, giving Customers the opportunity to enjoy mountain adventures in the Colorado Rockies. From the slopes to shops, Telluride is the perfect destination to visit next.
Snow adventures await in Telluride! Not a skier or snowboarder? You can explore the trails year-round with fat-tire bikes. Pedal over snow and take in the mountain views.
Telluride Outfitters: Take a break from skiing or snowboarding with a snowmobile tour! Telluride Outfitters offers guided tours in places like the Alta Lakes Ghost Town that gives visitors a peek back in time.
Telluride Ski Resort: Your trip to Telluride wouldn’t be complete without a few runs down the mountain. Hit the groomed powder or terrain parks and enjoy the slopes. Not an expert skier? The Resort offers ski lessons for all levels.
Take it all in:
Wagner Custom Skis: This local shop will outfit you with the perfect set of skis to carve on the mountain. They also offer merchandise, ski bags, and apparel to deck you out from head to toe.
Grab a bite:
Need to refresh after skiing and exploring? Enjoy a specialty taco from Taco del Gnar or a sweet treat from Telluride Truffle.
Coffee Cowboy: get your caffeine fix at this local coffee shop, which uses locally roasted beans to brew its delicious coffee.
As happy hour approaches, head to Telluride Brewing Co. to sample a Face Down Brown Ale, or Telluride Distilling Company to savor a handcrafted cocktail.
Cosmopolitan Restaurant: End your day with a meal at Cosmo, which is in downtown Telluride. From salads to seafood, to filets and short ribs, the menu offers a delicious meal to cap off a day of exploring Telluride.
Inspired to visit Telluride? Visit Southwest.com to explore our flight schedule and to book your next trip now!
A special thanks to Visit Telluride for their recommendations on things to see, do, and eat in Telluride!
The locations featured in these videos may or may not be currently open, pending local guidelines. Please check local restrictions and safety protocols before planning a trip, and remember to wear a mask.
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The California Bay Area showcases two cities by the Bay: San Francisco and Oakland. Home to the infamous Silicon Valley and pleasantly warm weather year-round, the Bay Area has something for everyone to enjoy. Read on to learn more about some of the Bay Area’s most exciting attractions.
Get a 360 view of San Francisco at the Coit Tower. Built by one of San Francisco’s most eccentric socialites in 1933, the first floor of Coit Tower is covered in realistic and whimsical murals that depict a deep message from another era.
Another important landmark of the Bay Area is Lake Merritt in Oakland. Lake Merritt is the oldest designated wildlife refuge in the United States. Established in 1870, the Lake offers endless bird and animal sightings along its three-mile heart-shaped shoreline.
After a healthy break from the city life, dive right back in with a visit to San Francisco’s Chinatown. One of the largest and oldest Chinatowns in North America, the area consistently holds cultural festivals throughout the year to keep you and the family entertained.
Grab a Bite
After all that sightseeing, cozy up to a glass of wine at The Fat Lady in Oakland. Known as one of Oakland’s finest lunch and dinner houses, this former brothel has all its original ambiance – without the scandal.
Match the savory bites found at The Fat Lady with the sweet treats of James and the Giant Cupcake in Oakland. James and the Giant Cupcake offers you the chance to feel good about every bite because of the locally sourced and sustainable ingredients used to make each cake.
Take it All In
Fisherman’s Wharf is a must-see during your next trip to the Bay Area. Located in San Francisco, this wharf is laden with shopping, dining, and activities for everyone in your family.
If you haven’t satisfied your shopping itch yet, then head to Jack London Square in Oakland. Named after Jack London and owned by the Port of Oakland, it is the home of many stores, restaurants, and hotels. Enjoy the farmer’s market each Sunday morning or tour the USS Potomac at the Bay Ferry Dock.
But before you leave the Bay Area, you should head to Marshall’s Beach in San Francisco to watch the sunset in one of the Bay Area’s most secluded beaches.
Next time you head to the Bay Area, be sure to check out some of the locations above to have the experience of a lifetime!
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O’ahu is home to Honolulu, Hawaii’s capital, making it a central location for islanders and travelers alike. Coined as the gathering place, O’ahu has naturally brought people together for fun, business, and to enjoy nature.
Also called the Rainbow State for their frequent appearances on the island, O'ahu boasts some of the most famous beaches in the world. Waikiki, Ala Moana, and North Shore beaches all have something unique to offer for each adventure seeker. North Shore is known for their big waves, attracting surfers from all over the world, and Waikiki lines the shore of Honolulu, drawing visitors while in the city. Join the fun and book your trip to the beautiful island of O’ahu!
Waimea Bay – Located on North Shore beach, making it great place to have fun in the water like bodyboarding, surfing, snorkeling, swimming, and fishing. Waimea Bay also has beautiful cliffs. Be sure to check out the beach conditions before you head out to know what the waves are going to be like for the day.
Diamond Head State Park – Hawaii’s best-known landmark holds historical, cultural, natural, and recreational importance to Hawaii. It was formed more than 150,000 years ago after a huge volcanic eruption and eventually became the Diamond Head that exists on the eastern edge of Waikiki. It’s a must-see for every trip and will wow anyone who sets eyes on it.
Banzai Pipeline – Here lives another surfer’s paradise. This beach boasts perfect rolling waves and beautiful sunsets. Watch surfers take on unimaginable waves during the winter and go snorkeling to see the reef in the summer when the waves die down
Take It All In
Waikiki Beach – This beach is lined with luxury resorts and high end shopping, dining, and entertainment. Historically, it was where the royals of the island would play. With views at every angle, enjoy the beach and the liveliness around it. Visit Waikiki to experience what generations of Hawaiians have enjoyed.
Ala Moana Beach – Beautiful beaches are not hard to come by in Hawaii, but finding a beach that suits you is important for picking the day’s excursions. Ala Moana Beach has plenty of trees, picnic tables, and tennis courts to enjoy. This is great beach for someone who wants to picnic and lounge around for a couple hours.
Grab a Bite
The Royal Hawaiian Resort, a Luxury Collection Resort – This is a luxury resort on Waikiki beach that was the vacation destination of royals back when it was originally built in 1927. Since then, visitors from around the world have traveled to visit the resort in Waikiki. The menus at the restaurant use locally-sourced ingredients, like fresh fish and tropical fruits, and each dish is beautifully-presented. While you enjoy your meal, you can watch hula dancers and fire spinners perform. Come join the luau!
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It’s one of the best kept secrets at Southwest—what will Gary and Team dress up as for Halloween? Lips have been sealed tight and the anticipation has been building, and it’s finally time for his grand reveal! Here’s a hint… Gary’s character: “Have I gone mad?” Alice Kingsley: “I'm afraid so. You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are.” You guessed it… Gary Kelly, our CEO, President, and Chairman of the Board, is none other than the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland! See the video to catch a glimpse at the transformation!
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Over the last few weeks, you’ve gotten a glimpse of Southwest’s short film featuring 12-year-old Emily from Trenton, MO who has big dreams to become a professional ballet dancer. She never imagined that a Southwest Airlines Pilot would play a huge role in taking her dream on the dance floor to 30,000 feet. Today, you’ll learn about the final ingredient of making this little girl’s dream come true in our world premiere of Southwest’s short film, "The Voyage of a Dream." Southwest First Officer Gary has volunteered for our Adopt-A-Pilot program where more than 42,000 fifth-grade students in nearly 1,500 classrooms adopt a Southwest Pilot to lead them through science, math, and other core subjects based on aviation-related activities. This is where Gary met Emily—in her fifth-grade classroom. Gary asked his fifth grade class in Trenton, MO to write an essay on what they aspire to be when they grow up. He takes this essay assignment one step further for all of his students and makes an announcement on his flights asking if anyone would like to be a mentor to an aspiring child.
On a recent flight, he shared Emily’s essay and dream of one day becoming a professional ballet dancer with a plane full of Southwest Customers. When Gary asked if anyone would like to mentor this little girl, NYC Ballet Gala Co-Chairman Andrea rang her Flight Attendant call button. Although Andrea has traveled a lot in her life, she’s never experienced a Pilot doing what Gary did. She became the final ingredient in making Emily’s dream come true with an invitation to learn from the NYC Ballet Principal Dancers and even go backstage to meet them before the spotlight was on their pique turns and jetés across the stage.
Check out this short film and follow Emily’s voyage of a dream and why it’s so important to help kids dream big dreams.
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Bright lights, tutus, and pink satin pointe shoes. Those are the ingredients that make up a big dream for 12-year-old Emily from Trenton, MO. Over the last two weeks, you’ve heard from Emily and her desire to become a professional ballet dancer. You also met Southwest Airlines Pilot, Gary, who has helped kids dream big dreams for more than a decade through our Adopt-A-Pilot program. Stay tuned to Southwest’s Facebook page next Tuesday, September 18, where we’ll host the world premiere of Southwest’s short film and you can find out our Pilot’s role in taking Emily’s dream on the dance floor to 30,000 feet. What are you dreaming about? Tell us your dream story by commenting below.
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Last week, you met 12-year-old Emily from Trenton, MO who has big dreams to become a professional ballet dancer. She never imagined that a Southwest Airlines Pilot would play a huge role in taking her dream on the dance floor to 30,000 feet.
Emily met First Officer Gary through Southwest’s Adopt-A-Pilot program—an education initiative where more than 42,000 fifth-grade students in nearly 1,500 classrooms adopt a Southwest Pilot to lead them through science, math, and other core subjects based on aviation-related activities. When Gary is in the classroom, he helps his students dream big dreams, because if he doesn’t, they might never have that big dream, or they might keep it hidden because they’re afraid someone might tell them they’re not good enough to do it.
Stay tuned to the Nuts blog next Monday, September 10, where you’ll get another glimpse of Southwest’s short film, which will make its world premiere on our Facebook page on Tuesday, September 18.
What are you dreaming about? Tell us your dream story by commenting below.
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Since Emily was five years old, her life dream involved bright lights, a tutu, and slipping into pink satin pointe shoes. Now 12 years old, this little girl never imagined that a Southwest Airlines Pilot would play a big part in helping her realize her dream to be a professional ballet dancer. Her eyes are set on New York—about a two-hour plane ride from her small-town home in Trenton, MO, but to Emily, New York feels about a million miles away. Meet Emily, and stop by the NUTS About Southwest blog next Tuesday, September 4, where you’ll get a glimpse of Southwest’s short film and how a Southwest Pilot in our Adopt-A-Pilot program took her dream on the dance floor to 30,000 feet. Today is National Dream Day. What are you dreaming about? Tell us your dream story by commenting below.
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This Memorial Day, as with others, we invite Servicemen and Servicewomen to enjoy a free adult beverage of choice, and to board directly following our Business Select Passengers. Throughout the year, Southwest hosts Honor Flights all across the nation. These flights carry military veterans to war memorials in Washington, D.C., and provide an unrivaled send-off and return. Military heroes are greeted with an audience of hundreds, cheering, waving flags, and displaying a much-owed respect for those who have sacrificed their lives, those present for the voyage, and for those who will enter the Armed Forces to protect our Freedom. In celebration of Armed Forces Day, The Palazzo/Venetian Las Vegas and Southwest Airlines joined with the Armed Forces Foundation and Omaha Steaks to salute our nation’s wounded veterans with a weekend of world-class entertainment, dining and relaxation in Las Vegas from May from 16th to 19th. You can read a personal account from Harry "Butch" Brown, who is the father of Airline Reporter David Parker Brown. The following account is from Southwest's own Stephanie Schaller: Earlier this month, Southwest had the opportunity to “Salute Our Troops” from San Antonio Military Medical Center with a celebratory Vegas getaway for dozens of Wounded Warriors and their guests to enjoy a break from hospitals and doctor visits. When I sat on my Southwest Airlines flight back to Dallas after this amazing event, I had a moment to reflect on the truly humbling trip I just experienced. As you’ll see in this video, I met an amazing group of men and women who serve our country and Protect our Freedom, and I will never forget their sacrifices or their stories. During one of the nights on the trip, we had a group dinner on the Palazzo® Las Vegas patio sponsored by Omaha Steaks where these brave men and women shared their stories with me and debated which branch is better. As a daughter of a Marine and a granddaughter to two Sailors, I tried my best to represent both branches, but was outnumbered by the soldiers (Army) in the group! I really enjoyed playing electronic roulette with one of the heroes and now my new friend Josh, who shared with me his "strategy" he learned the last time he was in Vegas. It worked by the way, as we both won and I plan on using it for the future! I was even able to take my $20 and turn it into $40! Thanks, Josh! Another hero, James, and the rest of us enjoyed dancing our hearts out at LAVO and showing the club the best way to "Party Like a Rockstar!" James shared with me that he hadn’t had that much fun in a long time! Even though I couldn’t pick a favorite, I think these experiences combined are what made this trip so special and meaningful to me. I’d be lying if I said the stories these heroes shared with me didn’t change my life and offer new perspective about things that are worth fighting for—our Freedoms. Now, since some things that happen in Vegas usually need to stay there, here are a few stories from my new hero friends. Specialist James, U.S. Army Even though we had very little sleep the entire trip, it was nice to feel appreciated. The VIP experience at the club, enjoying the musical influence of the Blue Man Group, and having a little last minute luck ($$$) right before we left are just some of the activities that come to mind during my trip to Vegas. It was also nice to be able to experience this with my brother and fellow Solider. Getting off the plane was extremely overwhelming because I didn’t realize how much people cared; not all cities have military support like this! Thank you to everyone who made this trip possible. I can’t wait to go back! Specialist Josh, U.S. Army Even though I am not in an ideal situation right now of being in the hospital, it was nice to get away to the city that never sleeps and act our age! We were able to get away and cut loose. Not to mention I tried every kind of food there--now that’s a buffet! They even shut down the pool, which gave us time to relax, be away from the crowd, and enjoy each other’s company. I am very flattered by the amount of people who came out to show their support at the airport and when we arrived at the Palazzo Hotel; I almost didn’t want to get off the bus! I was able to bring a friend from my old unit in Germany who was there since there is always something to do! Even though I had been to Vegas a few times previously, this by far was the best, so thanks to everyone who helped coordinate this.
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On Thursday March 1, 2012, Southwest and AirTran announced that the FAA approved a Single Operating Certificate (SOC) for the two companies, a major milestone on the journey to full integration. In celebration, here is a short video showing some of the hard work that it took to get to this point.
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This is the final part of a video series on Lee Toland Krieger and Will McCormack, makers of the Sundance film “Celeste and Jesse Forever.” The cast includes Rashida Jones (also co-writer), Andy Samberg and Elijah Wood. This year, Southwest Airlines partnered with the Sundance Film Festival to fly selected filmmakers to screen their work in other cities during the festival. In the conclusion, Lee Toland Krieger and Will McCormack cap off their travels with the East Coast premiere of “Celeste and Jesse Forever” at Boston’s Coolidge Corner Theatre. The duo also talks about the gratification of selling a film after years of trying to make it, and also their hopes for the film’s future. Thanks to Lee, Will, and the folks at Sundance for allowing us to capture this behind-the-scenes piece. Enjoy.
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This is part two of a video series on Lee Toland Krieger and Will McCormack, makers of the Sundance film “Celeste and Jesse Forever.” The cast includes Rashida Jones (also co-writer), Andy Samberg and Elijah Wood. This year, Southwest Airlines partnered with the Sundance Film Festival to fly selected filmmakers to screen their work in other cities during the festival. In part two, Lee Toland Krieger and Will McCormack travel from Salt Lake City to Boston Logan Airport on their way to the East Coast premiere. The duo also talks about selling their film “Celeste and Jesse Forever” to Sony Pictures Classics.
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This is part one of a video series on Lee Toland Krieger and Will McCormack, makers of the Sundance film “Celeste and Jesse Forever.” The cast includes Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, Elijah Wood, and Will McCormack. McCormack and Jones co-wrote the film's script. This year, Southwest Airlines partnered with the Sundance Film Festival to fly selected filmmakers to screen their work in other cities during the festival. To document what this is like, I spent a few days with filmmakers Lee and Will on their journey from the snowy scene at Sundance to Boston’s Coolidge Corner Theatre. Despite the buzz surrounding their film, both were incredibly down to earth.
With that said, I introduce to you Lee and Will, in part one of our three-part video series.
And one last note: I’d like to thank them for letting me stick a camera in their face for three days.
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Not too long ago, I flew up to San Francisco to hear a tale of heroism. On one unassuming morning, Ramp Agent Will Pierce covered a few flights with new Ramp Agents for the Training Coordinator who was running a bit late. Several flights in, Ramp Agent Douglas Wong suffered cardiac arrest while stacking bags in the bin. Pierce, who had taken an online CPR class only the weekend before, sprung into action, giving crucial chest compressions to Douglas. Minutes later, Ramp Supervisor Juan Milo, a former U.S. Marine, joined the scene, taking over CPR and handing out clear life-saving commands. Pierce then rushed upstairs to the plane to get the attention of the Flight Crew so they could bring down the defibrillator and restart Wong’s heart. What truly struck me when meeting Pierce and Milo was their humility. They didn’t want to be thought of as heroes; they were just concerned that their friend would be alright. Thanks for watching the video—I hope it captures their story.
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I remember visiting the airport as a child. It was a magical place where these shimmering, winged behemoths lived. You could look out of the terminal windows and look upon the row after row of metal birds and wonder “What city did they come from, where are they going, what exciting adventure are these passengers whisking off to?” Beside each plane, a myriad of baggage carts, provisioning trucks and fuel tankers took part in a mystical dance ensuring that every flight could fly out on schedule. As I grew older, the novelty wore off. The airport changed from something wonderful to, well, an airport. A place where we worry about being on schedule and going through TSA lines. A place where we’re usually so distracted by the task at hand, that we forget to stop and look out the window every once in a while. I hope this piece will make you think like a kid again and rekindle some of that airport magic. Thanks to Austin-based band Mother Falcon for providing the music. Their music can be found at www.motherfalconmusic.com, they're also on iTunes.
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In true Frankenstein fashion, we called Gary's costume for Halloween 2011 an "experiment gone wrong." But watch this video, and you'll see that a lot of hard work went into making Gary... scary.
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Rangers players "subbed" for Southwest Airlines Operations Agents and Ramp Agents to marshal in a Southwest Airlines 737, unload baggage from the aircraft, and greet passengers as they arrived at Dallas Love Field, and mingled with travelers at the terminal.
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