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Thu, Feb 12, 2009

Southwest Adorns Plane With Portrait Of Swimsuit Model

'SI One' Coming To A Runway Near You

On Wednesday, Southwest Airlines unveiled its latest special-livery aircraft... and she's a real looker.

The Dallas-based low-cost carrier flew the aircraft -- dubbed "SI One," for reasons soon to become clear -- into New York's LaGuardia Airport, where Southwest is expected to begin service sometime this year. But that's not what was noteworthy about the visit.

Rather, it was the nature of the new livery... a supersized graphic of Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli, wearing a bikini similar to the one she sports on the cover of this year's Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Refaeli herself rode onboard "her" plane to LGA, albeit this time dressed more appropriately for the chilly New York winter.

Believe it or not, the idea of an aircraft adorned with a scantily-clad woman isn't new. Similarly-bedecked aircraft have flown for various European airlines, though N922WN is the first aircraft with this kind of livery to fly in the US.

It's not without some irony a plane like this is flying for Southwest. While the carrier makes much of its "fun" image, in practice Southwest has recently displayed a rather conservative attitude when dealing with women flying on its planes in somewhat revealing clothing.

The Dallas Morning News helpfully points out that, unlike Kyla Ebbert, Refaeli first came to fame on the pages of a magazine... then rode onboard a Southwest plane. Ebbert parlayed her unpleasant 2007 experience onboard a Southwest flight into a magazine spread of her own.

In Playboy.

FMI: www.southwest.com

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