Southwest Airlines unveils special Boeing 737 for Shark Week

Sharks on a plane? Southwest Airlines is teaming up with the Discovery Channel to celebrate Shark Week.

Sharks on a plane? Southwest Airlines is teaming up with the Discovery Channel to celebrate Shark Week.  (Southwest Airlines)

Southwest Airlines will celebrate Shark Week this year with a special shark-themed plane. 

The Discovery Channel’s annual Shark Week, which has been popular since it first began in 1988, will get an extra bit of promotion this year with a special Shark Week-themed livery on one of Southwest's Boeing 737s. The plane has a typical Southwest color scheme, but the tail features the Shark Week logo with the outlines of several sharks circling it. 

The shark plane will be flying until the end of August. Because of the partnership between Discovery and Southwest, fliers who take the plane will be treated to a preview of some of the shows that will be broadcast by the cable network during Shark Week, which will be between June 26 and July 3.

There is a special tie-in for Southwest this year. Some of the programs aired during the week will focus on sharks living in Central America, specifically Costa Rica. The airline has just launched a new service to the country, which is now one of its main Latin American destinations. Southwest currently flies to San Jose and also to the resort town of Liberia from several U.S. cities. One of the shows that Southwest fliers will get to preview this month is Jungle Shark, which follows bull sharks living in Costa Rica. 

Southwest is also running a contest on Twitter. People who fly on the shark plane are encouraged to share their experiences on @SouthwestAir and @SharkWeek. If they use the hashtag #SharksTakeFlight, they could win Shark Week-related prizes. 

Southwest and Discovery are also sending a lucky family of four on a free trip to Puerto Vallarta, where they will get to spend a $1,000 Visa gift card on aquatic adventures.

Southwest’s Chief Communication Officer,  Linda Rutherford, explained the idea behind pairing her airline with the annual Discovery Channel event. “Now more than ever, brands have to be creative and unique in their approach to reach new customers. Partnering with Discovery’s Shark Week allows Southwest to connect with our customers in a fun and memorable way.  Only on Southwest can you enjoy this Shark Week experience, and that’s what it’s all about.” 

This is not the first time that the low cost carrier has teamed up with the Discovery Channel. In 2014, Southwest offered Shark Week programs as part of its in-flight entertainment. It also awarded a free vacation that included a shark-swimming experience. 

Southwest has flown other wildlife themed liveries in the past. Its killer whale plane was a hit with fliers. This plane was much more noticeable than the Shark Week one because the entire body was painted to look like an orca. 

The Shark Week Boeing 737-700 will be flying through August 31. The plane will reportedly be used for flights around the country, so passengers in different cities could end up flying on it.