Alaska Airlines Salmon-Thirty-Salmon livery takes 'flying fish' to new heights...
A Boeing 737 sporting the original 'Salmon-Thirty-Salmon' livery of Alaska Airlines. Photo Alaska Airlines
One of the strangest aircraft liveries yet is the 120-ft long Alaskan pink salmon that was painted on the fuselage os a Beoing 737-400 in 2008 by Alaska Airlines. The fishy fuselage was crated in partnership with the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute and is oficially called - with an inexcusable pun on the type of plane it adorns (namely a Boeing 737), the 'Salmon-Thirty-Salmon'.
It was reprised on a newer aircraft too in 2012, when a slightly bigger plane was painted. This version includes salmon pink lettering on the word 'Alaska' on a fish that is 129 feet long, on a 737-100%. It also has a scaly flourish showing fish scales on the winglets.
Fish scales painted onto the winglets of the 737-100% - the upwards flick of the outer wing is 2.4 metres tall. Photo Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlines carries nearly 12,500 tons of seafood annually, which represents about half of all Alaskan exports. The fish heads from its home state to markets across the USA, Canada and Mexico. Of course the key when handling perishables is speed, no disruptions, and a consistent temperature throughout the journey.
Side view of the salmon fuselage on the 737-100%. Photo Alaska Airlines
A short video showing how the giant salmon was painted onto the side of the plane
How can Alaska Airlines work for you?
Getting to Alaska: Alaska Airlines flies to ten Alaskan destinations from it's hometown hub at Anchroage's Ted Stevens International Airport.
The frequent flyer club: Alaska Airlines isn't a member of an alliance, but does have codeshare agreements with a number of carriers. Its frequent flyer programme is called Mileage Plan.
A few facts: Alaska Airlines can trace its history back to 1932, when Linious "Mac" McGee painted 'McGee Airways' on the side of his Anchorage-based seaplane. By the mid 30s it had merged with Star Air Service to become the largest airline in the state, with 22 aircraft. Aquisitions continued, until the Boeing 727 joined the fleet in the mid-60s. The airline capitalised on the US deregulation of commercial aviation in 1979, and deftly moved to a more low cost model in the 90s.
Alaska Airlines route map. Photo Alaska Airlines
The company has 156 planes - all Boeing 737's - and an average fleet age of nine years. Today the airline flies throughout Alaska, and across much of the western USA - with hubs in Anchorage, Los Angeles, Seattle and Portland. It also flies to the Hawaiian Islands, Florida, the north east, Mexico and Cuba.
In December 2016 Alaska Airlines made a bold aquisition of Virgin America, and has announced that the Virgin brand will disappear in favour of Alaskan, probably by 2019. Virgin America had 64 aircraft and flew to 24 destinations in the US at the time of the take over.
One more thing...Livery-wise, Alaska Airlines already has a distinctive paint job, in the form of a stylised Alaskan portrait on the tailplane of each of its planes. It represents the company's roots and is the face of an Eskimo - incidentally the more usual term for the indigenous people in Alaska, as against Inuit used elsewhere.
Alaska Airlines regular livery with an Eskimo face on the tailfin. Photo Alaska Airlines
For further information see Alaska Airlines