Summer is traditionally prime time for shark geeks, with the global (and often over-the-top) TV sensation Shark Week, the obligatory shark catch story, and, of course, the annual summer foolhardy shark/human encounter.
Now, Houstonians who delight in toothy, oceanic predators — and travel — can jump aboard a new Shark Week-themed plane. In celebration of the juggernaut’s 30th anniversary, Southwest Airlines has unveiled five shark-themed aircraft, which will operate in the airline’s 99 destinations and more than 4,000 daily flights.
On July 9, a bull shark jet launched from Houston Hobby, while a great white shark jet and hammerhead shark jet launched from Southwest’s home base of Dallas Love Field. The flying fish fleet also boasts a tiger shark aircraft, launched from Chicago, and a mako shark aircraft, launched from Phoenix.
Southwest allows fans to track the jets via special shark icons on FlightAware.com, using their tail numbers: Great White Shark (N470WN), Hammerhead Shark (N705SW), Mako Shark (N961WN), Tiger Shark (N553WN), and Bull Shark (N947WN).
In addition to the jets, thrill seekers can enter the Dare to Dive sweepstakes from July 1-31 for a chance to win a five-day, all-inclusive great white shark cage diving trip. Southwest and Discovery will send a winner and a guest round trip to San Diego, California, with transportation to Guadalupe Island, Mexico, to experience white shark diving firsthand. The excursion will take the winner and a guest from Southern California to Guadalupe Island aboard the same boat featured in Shark Week's Great White Abyss, pre-premiering onboard Southwest flights on July 11.
And for those who think the Shark Week hysteria has, well, jumped the shark, the shark jets will only be in the air until August 31.