#FBF Top 10 Southwest Airlines floats from years past

SWA Float 1999

This year, our partners at Southwest Airlines are celebrating their BIG 5-0! To celebrate, we thought it would be fun to take a stroll down memory lane and highlight some of our favorites. Check them out below!

1991 Year of the Ram

SWA Float 1991 1
FUN FACT: The Southwest Airlines float honored the birth of Bai Yun, a baby panda born in China which later was loaned in 1996 to the San Diego Zoo in a cultural exchange that helped bring pandas back from the brink of extinction.

1997 Year of the Ox

SWA Float 1997
Float Description from 1997 – The Southwest Airlines float is a cutaway of the interior of the Southwest Airlines passenger plane, but everyone on the plane, including the attendants (in Southwest uniforms) and pilot and co-pilot, are pandas. They’re all heading to San Diego to check out the new Panda arrivals at the zoo. (See above Fun Fact)

1999 Year of the Rabbit

SWA Float 1999
Float Description from 1999 – A fleet of miniature planes, designed as replicas of T.J. Luv, Southwest Airlines’ mascot, glide into town for the New Year’s celebration. Southwest Airlines’ entry is entitled “Freedom Fleet.” At the back of the float, a classic Chinese arch is ornamented with hanging lanterns. On the front, this year’s representative, the Rabbit, pilots his plane into the New Year.

2000 Year of the Dragon

SWA Float 2000
Float Description from 2000 – Southwest Airlines salutes “The Year of the Dragon.” An enormous traditional dragon swings his immense head from side to side as he glides down the street. Blasts of white smoke escape from between his rows of glittering teeth. Strings of shimmering lanterns hang between festive poles, draped with ribbons and topped with tiny replicas of Southwest Airlines’ mascot, TJ Luv.

2001 Year of the Snake

SWA Float 2001
Float Description from 2001 – Southwest Airlines sends its wishes for a prosperous New Year winding down the street with this 50’ long articulated snake. He greets the crowd, his tongue hissing, moving his head up and down and side to side. Lanterns on glossy red poles and strings of tiny lanterns shed light on the group.

2008 Year of the Rat

SWA Float 2008
Float Description from 2008 – “Let Luv Take You Places in CA” Southwest Airlines prepared to take off to celebrate the Year of the Rat. A very happy replica of Southwest’s mascot, Spirit, carries energetic employees, waving in the New Year. Sparking lanterns, colorful luggage, and beautiful fresh flower arrangements made of anthurium, ginger, heliconia, and carnations surround the plane.

2010 Year of the Tiger

SWA Float 2010
Float Description from 2010 – “Good Fortune Has Arrived” The Money God has obviously saved a bundle by taking advantage of Southwest’s “Bags Fly Free” policy. Lucky for us, he’s arranged with a suitcase full of savings and good fortune for everyone. On the front of the float, a budding pilot readies for takeoff astride an enchanting phoenix, whose body, according to Chinese legend, symbolizes the five human qualities: its head, virtue; the wings, duty; the back, integrity; the breast, humanity; and the stomach, reliability.

2011 Year of the Rabbit

SWA Float 2011
Float Description from 2011 – “New Year Extravaganza” To celebrate its 40th Birthday, Southwest Airlines is putting on an extravaganza on their Chinese New Year Parade float. On one of the most lavish Parade floats ever, Southwest presents all things Lunar New Year including dozens of intricately carved New Year figurines, countless popping firecrackers, pinwheels, fans, a myriad of lucky symbols and blossoms, lions, dragons, and even an adorable pair of Lunar New
Year children pleased with their generous laisee. A luscious feast for the eye, this float is guaranteed to bring you and yours a very Happy New Year.

2016 Year of the Monkey

SWA Float 2016 1
Float Description from 2016 – “Happy New Year” In the great hospitality tradition of Southwest Airlines, this float features the ultimate Chinese New Year
hostess – a wonderful grandmother – welcoming everyone to Chinatown to share in the Chinese New Year festivities and usher in the Year of the Monkey. Especially welcome are all those who have traveled far to reunite with family and friends at this special time of year. The float is resplendent in auspicious symbols of the New year such as fish symbolizing bounty; gold coins and red envelopes (laisee) symbolizing prosperity; and peaches, good health, and long life. The three Chinese wise men Fook, Look, and Sow, representing happiness, prosperity, and longevity, ride a festive ferris wheel of good fortune in the center of a beautifully decorated traditional Chinese fan.

2019 Year of the Pig

SWA Float 2019
Float Description from 2019 – “Happy New Year” Southwest Airlines welcomes the New Year with this year’s honored lunar animal, the Pig, starring on an
elaborately painted scroll surrounded by a wall of auspicious peonies, red lanterns, and golden clouds. The Year of the Pig promises abundance and goodwill. Those born in the Year of the Pig are said to be gallant, sturdy, and courageous but also self-indulgent and extravagant. With their abundance of charisma and popularity, Pigs make great politicians and performers. Considered the most significant of holidays the Lunar New Year brings together family, friends, home, and food with hopes for future prosperity, happiness, and good health.