One of the highlights of my career at Southwest happened 25 years ago today, when I played the role of ring announcer for Malice in Dallas. Instead of taking a dispute over the slogan Just Plane Smart to a courtroom, Herb agreed with Stevens Aviation chairman Kurt Herwald to settle their differences in a wrestling rink. It took place at the Dallas Sportatorium, which although once a fixture in the pro wrestling circuit of the 80s and 90s, had probably never held a louder crowd.
Instead of taking a dispute over the slogan Just Plane Smart to a courtroom, Herb agreed with Stevens Aviation chairman Kurt Herwald to settle their differences in a wrestling rink.
While it was little-noticed outside the aviation community, Southwest Airlines recently celebrated a milestone in the 45-year history of our airline. On Labor Day, September 5, we retired our last five Boeing 737-500s after more than a quarter of a century of service. And, one special aircraft, N525SW, was selected for a unique distinction. After a significant amount of logistical planning across several Departments, the plane spent that Monday recreating the itinerary of the first day of service of our initial 737-500 on March 5, 1990. No detail or symbolism was overlooked, as N525SW operated on Labor Day with not only the same routing, it also carried the identical original flight numbers throughout the day.
At the end of the last flight, N525SW is parked at the gate at Dallas Love Field.
First -500 in assemblyToday, our final 737-500 aircraft will retire from the Southwest fleet. The retirement of the -500 marks a major milestone in Southwest’s fleet modernization plan that includes the accelerated retirement of the Classic fleet. By fall of next year, all 737-300 aircraft will be retired from the fleet making way for an all 737 Next Generation (-700 and -800) and 737 MAX (-7 and -8) fleet!