As always, June is a-jostle with corporations revealing their Pride-themed initiatives, but one US airline has gone a little further than the usual rainbow-decked Instagram post.
Alaska Airlines debuted its Pride plane on Tuesday, truly nailing its colors to the mast – or decals to the fuselage.
The Airbus A320’s new livery has “Fly with Pride” written on the side and the design features brightly colored silhouettes of planes and stripes on the main body and engines.
The design choice, says Alaska Airlines on Twitter, is “iconic rainbow stripes & inclusive colors such as brown, black, light blue, white & pink to represent BIPOC & Transgender communities. Without those groups of people & their activism, we would not have Pride today.”
Accompanying “Fly with Pride” pins are available for $4 on the company’s online store. The airline is also celebrating via its in-flight entertainment, with its Pride Month movie and TV selection including classics such as “Milk” and “Cabaret” and series “Pose” and “Little Fires Everywhere.”
The airline tells CNN Travel that it began the design process for the plane back in April, and it will be flying with their network for a whole year – not just Pride Month.
“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time a US airline has introduced a Pride-inspired plane,” says the Alaska Airlines spokesperson.
The “One Mile at a Time” blog notes that the A320, registration N854VA, must have had its makeover turned around pretty quickly, as it was operating a full schedule to June 12 and then was in the hangar for just two days.
Decals are a faster, less expensive way of decorating an aircraft than the more traditional stencil-and-paint technique.
While painting a regular passenger plane costs somewhere in the region of $150,000 to $300,000, using decals – essentially massive stickers, produced to industry specifications – can cut costs, and makes a refresh quicker too.
“One Mile at a Time” also points out that you can keep abreast of the plane’s day-of adventures via FlightRadar24. As of writing, it’s in Portland, having previously shown off its new livery along the US West Coast in Seattle, San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Santa Ana and across the Canadian border to Ontario.
Virgin Atlantic hosted a Pride flight in 2018, fronted by Broadway star Tituss Burgess and staffed entirely by LGBT pilots and cabin crew. JetBlue followed suit in 2019 by naming a plane “Shantay Blue Stay,” in honor of a partnership with “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
Back in 2016, Iceland’s Wow Air (R.I.P.) used the registration code “GAY” on an A330 to show its support for LGBT communities, while Australia’s Qantas also gave an A330 a colorful makeover in 2017, writing the airline’s name in rainbow colors and adding a Pride flag to the kangaroo logo on its tail.