Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2014: 360,327
2013: 330,818

Video: Southwest Airlines Paints a Boeing 737

After watching this video my first thought was, “holy cow that is a lot of blue.”

When I first saw the leaked photos of the new Southwest Airlines’ livery I was not a fan. After seeing full photos of the new livery, it has started to grow on me, but I wouldn’t say that I am excited about it.

If Southwest wanted to keep their full low-fare personality, I think I could get behind the new livery a bit more. But with going after more business travelers, the design says more “party,” than “all business.”

Although I do have to say that I am quite fond of their new heart logo — one might even say that I LUV it  (it seems like Southwest is a fan too).

Maybe the excitement will come when I see on of these newly painted birds in person. Has it started growing on you?

Southwest Unveils New Livery in Dallas

The first Boeing 737 in Southwest's new livery - Photo: Mal Muir

The first Boeing 737 (Heart One – N8642E) in Southwest’s new livery – Photo: Mal Muir

On a sunny Texas Monday morning, Southwest gathered hundreds of its employees, along with media from all over the country, to reveal a mystery that had been partially hinted at in previous days. Hints, rumors, and gossip pointed to a new livery and new branding, with huge feedback from not only passengers but Southwest staff wanting to make their feelings known.

But as everyone gathered in the hangar, it was almost a party-like atmosphere. CEO Gary Kelly got into the spirit and was among the staff, greeting folks and posing for photos.

More than just the planes are being updated - Photo: Mal Muir

More than just the planes are being updated – Photo: Mal Muir

When Kelly took the stage, he told the crowd how proud they should be. The airline employees have worked hard over the last 12 months for this special moment. “The one constant thing in the company is heart,” he said.

This gave a giant hint into what was to come. As the lights went down, a video played showing a transformation. The old livery shed its skin to a blank canvas. The new heart branding then slowly appeared onto the 737 on screen. Soon after, the doors opened, and there was the 737 in a new livery was waiting outside.

Continue reading Southwest Unveils New Livery in Dallas

LEAKED — New Southwest and Frontier Airlines’ Liveries?

Are these the new liveries of Frontier and Southwest?

Are these the new liveries of Frontier and Southwest?

Today might go down as “Airline Livery Leak Day.” It appears that the new liveries of both Frontier and Southwest Airlines have leaked on the internet today, which shows that it is hard to hide things from social media.

Southwest Airlines has a media event set up at their headquarters for this Monday and Tuesday, where they have been promoting a big announcement. Similarly, Frontier Airlines has scheduled a media event for Tuesday morning, giving big hints of a livery update. But it appears that the big surprise for both might have been ruined.

The Frontier Airlines’ image shows an evolution of their livery with a retro “F,” but keeping the familiar animals on the tail. Whereas the Southwest livery maintains the same colors, but is more revolutionary in its design.

Continue reading LEAKED — New Southwest and Frontier Airlines’ Liveries?

New Recycling Programs in the Aviation Industry

Turning Leather Seat covers into Soccer balls.  Part of Southwest's new LUV Seat program - Photo: Southwest Airlines

Turning leather seat covers into soccer balls; part of Southwest’s new LUV Seat program – Photo: Southwest Airlines

When you think about recycling in the aviation industry, most folks think of the aircraft that are scrapped and recycled.  Some airlines will recycle the cans and cups onboard that get used, but that seems to be the exception rather than the rule.  However, what about something on a different scale?  Two programs have been launched this year that take different approaches to using up leftover materials and recycling them into something useful – something that will help people, not just the company’s bottom line.

In July of this year, Southwest Airlines launched their “LUV Seat” program, or as the motto puts it “Repurpose with a Purpose”.  Labeled more as “re-purposing” than “recycling”, the program is designed to take the leftover leather from Southwest seat refurbishments and turn them into usable goods.

The first of those materials is heading to Africa, where seat leather will be turned into soccer balls, shoes, and other items.  They don’t call it “recycling” – they call it “up-cycling”.  Turning unwanted items into higher value products.

Continue reading New Recycling Programs in the Aviation Industry

Checking out Southwest’s Culture-Centric HQ


Large models illustrating Southwest's special liveries hang in the atrium of the companies HQ

Large models illustrating Southwest’s special liveries hang in the atrium of the company’s HQ

For years I have connected at Dallas Love Field and peered across the aircraft operations area, staring at the home of Southwest Airlines, hoping to one day visit LUV HQ. In the effort of transparency, I’ve made little attempt to conceal my preference for the airline, and we’ll discuss why I think that they’re the best in a bit. But here’s a hint: It’s the culture.

I have a hand-full of friends who work for Southwest and follow a bunch of their employees on Instagram who occasionally post photos from the inside. My desire for a visit intensified when I became aware that the company had recently opened a large addition to their Dallas footprint, just across the street from their long-standing centralized DAL-based HQ. The building, affectionately known as TOPS (for Training and Operations Support), drastically expands the company’s capabilities and makes room for employees of the largest domestic airline to spread their wings.

Southwest Airlines tail at Oshkosh 2010

Southwest Airlines tail – Photo: David Parker Brown

After 12 years in corporate America, I have become a self-described boring, stodgy, business-type guy. I think that’s one of the reasons I am so attracted to Southwest’s culture.  Because, it’s tough to not have a fun time around people who clearly enjoy their careers and are vested in the mission of their company.

On a recent late-night flight, an attendant came over the intercom to tell us they were turning down the lights and that we were welcome to turn on our overhead lighting. “If you want, push the button with a picture of a light bulb on it.” She continued, “However, pushing the button with the picture of a flight attendant on it will not turn on the flight attendant.”

It was late, we were all tired, and I think it’s fair to say the cabin had let their guard down. This unexpected bit of humor solicited a chuckle from me and a large portion of my 737-trekking peers. It’s these small, unexpected, fun experiences after a long draining day of meetings, charts, and presentations that I have come to rely upon as a part of my decompression ritual.

Continue reading Checking out Southwest’s Culture-Centric HQ