10 Best: Southwest Specialty Planes from Coast to Coast

  • Shamu One in flight

    Seaworld's Shamu One

    In 1988, a giant killer whale swam through the skies over Texas. With Shamu One, Southwest Airlines launched a line of specialty planes (originally to promote SeaWorld) that would have eager travelers gazing out airport windows hoping they too could fly Shamu. The first Shamu plane was such a success, the company built two more; Shamu One, Two and Three still fly a variety of Southwest routes today.

    Photo courtesy of LWY

  • Colorado One

    Colorado's Colorado One

    In August 2012, Southwest sent Colorado One on it's maiden voyage through the sky, making it the newest specialty plane in the fleet. With 17 recognized historic districts, seven professional sports teams and half a dozen microbreweries to tour, it's no wonder the Mile High City is Southwest's fifth largest (and fastest growing) base of operations.

    Photo courtesy of Southwest Airlines

  • Lone Star One

    Texas's Lone Star One

    In a fitting tribute to the Lone Star State, the Lone Star One was released on November 7, 1990, on the anniversary of the signing of the declaration to take up arms against Mexico in 1835. Texas may not be its own nation anymore, but with its own styles of country music, Mexican cuisine and southern drawl, you'll sometimes feel like you're in a whole other country. Watch for the Lone Star One flying out of Dallas.

    Photo courtesy of Southwest Airlines

  • Maryland One

    Maryland's Maryland One

    Over on the East Coast, Baltimore travelers might see an artist's rendition of the Maryland flag taking to the skies in the form of Maryland One. Once a coastal shipbuilding town, Baltimore has reinvented itself into a modern city while maintaining a close tie to its roots. Catch a baseball game at historic Camden Yards, or if you're visiting in early October, attend the international Fell's Point Fun Festival.

    Photo courtesy of Southwest Airlines

  • Florida One

    Florida's Florida One

    Florida may be in the southeast, but Southwest still carries around 20 percent of the state's air traffic, and if you're flying in or out of the seven Southwest-serviced airports in the state, you just might ride on Florida One. If the winter blues are getting you down, an escape to the Sunshine State could be just what you need.

    Photo courtesy of Southwest Airlines

  • California One

    California's California One

    Whether you're planning to relax on the beaches of La Jolla, spot celebrities in Hollywood or indulge in seafood in San Francisco, Southwest probably flies there. The California One, released in 1998, is emblazoned with the state's bear and star painted across its body.

    Photo courtesy of Dylan Ashe

  • Arizona One

    Arizona's Arizona One

    Thanks to the Arizona state flag, Southwest didn't even have to stray far from its original color scheme when painting the Arizona One. Luxury resorts, southwestern cuisine, hundreds of world class golf courses and year round sunshine await in the Valley of the Sun, the perfect place for a short escape from the cool weather of fall and winter.

    Photo courtesy of gTarded

  • New Mexico One

    New Mexico's New Mexico One

    Right next door to Arizona, you'll find an oft overlooked southwestern state with a lot more to offer than a yellow plane with the flag's Zia pueblo symbol shining brightly. From Albuquerque, you'll enjoy easy access to inexpensive and uncrowded skiing in the winter, hiking in the summer, hot air ballooning in the autumn and casino entertainment in the area's American Indian reservations all year long.

    Photo courtesy of Bill Abbott

  • Nevada One

    Nevada's Nevada One

    "Battle Born" might sound like a strange motto for Nevada, but the state was admitted to the Union in the heat of the Civil War. Nevada One pays tribute to the desert state while shuttling eager passengers --some looking to hit the jackpot and others leaving broke-- to and from Las Vegas. Who knows? Maybe flying on Nevada One will be your lucky charm in Sin City.

    Photo courtesy of g Tarded

  • Illinois One

    Illinois's Illinois One

    The Windy City is the second biggest destination for Southwest Airlines, and the 747 known as Illinois One is perhaps the most patriotic-looking in the airline's specialty plane fleet. From the ground, you'll look like you're flying a great bald eagle across he sky. Back on the ground in Chicago, you'll experience a modern city that is quintessentially America, complete with a historic ballpark (Wrigley Field), classic architecture (Sears Tower), a lively nightlife and world-famous deep dish pizza.

    Photo courtesy of Southwest Airlines

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