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Confessions of a Southwest Plane Spotter

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Did you know that of Southwest’s 544 Boeing 737s, 31 of those aircraft are specially dedicated to marketing partnerships such as SeaWorld, charitable organizations like the Ronald McDonald House, our Founders and the States to which we fly? So that means that if you fly Southwest on any given day, your odds are just over five percent that you’ll be boarding one of these special aircraft.

I enjoy a hobby called “Plane spotting.” Plane spotting allows me and thousands of others to combine two things we love: photography and being around airplanes. Plane spotters can often be found along an airport perimeter, or at the end of runways with cameras in hand, equipped with long telephoto lenses. Some of us are happy getting photos of whatever happens to come along. Others travel all over the world, capturing every possible aircraft type from tiny Cessnas to giant wide-body jets. The ultimate score for a plane spotter is to get a “scoop” of a brand new airline paint scheme such as Southwest’s most recent “Illinois One” and be the first to post it online. By capturing one of the first photos of a new specialty aircraft, it ensures great exposure for your photography work.

You never know who might like your photos! Our Cargo division scours web sites like flickr for photos to publish in an annual calendar which is given to thousands of Customers. I’ve been fortunate enough to have some of my photos published by Cargo over the past few years. Maybe you have an action shot of one of our special themed planes or nice sunset photo that you took during your flight. Perhaps you saw some of our Fun-LUVing Employees in a parade, or an airport gate decorated for a holiday. We welcome you to share your Southwest-themed photos with us and the nearly 600 members of the Southwest Airlines flickr Group!