Penguins Take Flight
Who says penguins can’t fly?! Some penguins do indeed fly, on an airplane at least. Pete and Penny are two such penguins that have been spotted from time-to-time traveling on Southwest Airlines. In fact, Pete and Penny have been through Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport several times on their way from one place to another.
Pete and Penny are penguins from SeaWorld. Since the late 1980s, all three SeaWorld parks and Southwest Airlines have worked together to transport penguins across the country several times a year. Pete and/or Penny travel to promote upcoming SeaWorld events, make media appearances and appear for education and conservation outreach opportunities.
What is unique about the penguins’ travel is that they actually fly with everyday passengers in the cabin of the plane. SeaWorld trainers are with the penguins at all times and they work with Southwest to receive approval for animal travel. Southwest then works with the flight attendants, pilots and airport employees to let them know when the animals are traveling and what they can expect.
Pete and Penny have to follow the same safety rules as all passengers including electronic devices off and seats not in the reclined position during take off and landing. In fact, each SeaWorld animal that travels is required to have a dedicated seat for his or her crate. And, if the penguins don’t need a nap, the trainer will allow Pete and Penny to take a strut down the airplane’s aisle (when the seatbelt sign is off of course) while the trainer provides some insight about the penguins for the passengers.
Passengers are delighted to see Pete and/or Penny on their flights and it is always a pleasant surprise to see them.
“Our customers love it,” said Southwest’s Michelle Agnew. “It is something unique and different. We often hear our customers say “only on Southwest.”
Above to the right, see a picture from a promotional event for SeaWorld’s new Shamu show, One Ocean and Southwest’s 40th anniversary.
See Pete in action with a video from a passenger and read a blog post from Nuts about Southwest. Click here
Published: May 31, 2011