Southwest unveils new ‘freedom’ livery, gives workers 50,000 points for 50th anniversary

Jun 18, 2021

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Southwest unveiled a new aircraft livery on Friday as it celebrated its 50th anniversary. The carrier also said it would dole out 50,000 Rapid Rewards frequent flyer points to its workforce of more than 55,000 people.

The livery, dubbed “Freedom One,” is meant as a nod to members and veterans of the armed forces, including nearly 8,000 Southwest employees.

The American-flag design on the Boeing 737-800 — Southwest’s first -800 with a special livery — was meant to evoke the idea of “freedom” to align with the anniversary date, the airline said, linking “freedom” with 50 years of the “freedom to travel.”

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Southwest Airlines unveils its latest specialty aircraft.
Southwest Airlines shows off its new Freedom One special livery, which coincides with 50th anniversary. (Photo courtesy of Southwest Airlines/ Stephen M. Keller)

 

“The word ‘freedom’ has significant meaning to the People and history of Southwest Airlines,” Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said. “We simply couldn’t fulfill our purpose if not for the sacrifices and dedication of our military men and women.

Freedom One features the 13 stripes and 50 stars of the American flag — another link to the 50th anniversary, the airline said.

Five decades: Southwest Airlines, which gave us everything from hot pants to ‘Wanna Get Away’ fares, turns 50 today

As part of the unveiling and celebration, which occurred at an employee party and rally in Houston, each employee at Southwest was given 50,000 Rapid Rewards points.

Southwest Airlines shows off its new Freedom One special livery.
Southwest Airlines shows off its new Freedom One special livery, which coincides with 50th anniversary. (Photo courtesy of Southwest Airlines/ Stephen M. Keller)

“Southwest revolutionized the travel industry since our very first flight on June 18, 1971—a time when less than 15% of Americans ever had traveled by air,” Kelly said. “The people of Southwest democratized the skies with friendly, reliable, and affordable air travel, and what better way to honor you, our employees, on our 50th Anniversary than by offering a gift of 50,000 Rapid Rewards points.”

Following the employee event, Freedom One will depart Houston for Dallas Love Field (DAL), a tribute to Southwest’s first flight (which actually went in the opposite direction). The flight is slated to fly a new approach into DAL named HERBZ, for Southwest co-founder Herb Kelleher.

TPG will be aboard the flight, so stay tuned for more from Southwest’s 50th!

Southwest Airlines unveils its latest specialty aircraft.
Southwest Airlines unveils its latest specialty aircraft livery, Freedom One, to mark its 50th anniversary.

Featured image courtesy of Southwest Airlines/Stephen M. Keller

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