Southwest Airlines Due To Transfer Herb Retro Livery To A Boeing 737 MAX

Southwest Airlines’ eye-catching tribute to its founder, Herb Kelleher, the retro desert gold-painted livery on a Boeing 737-700 will transition to a MAX 8 plane. Colleen C. Barrett, President of Southwest between 2001 and 2008 and the first female President of a major airline, is also scoring a new tribute aircraft.

Southwest is retiring both retro desert gold-painted Boeing 737-700s

Southwest has two planes featuring their old school desert gold paint job. They are N711HK and N714CB, both 737-700s delivered to Southwest in 1998. N711HK is Herb’s tribute plane. Herb Kelleher was the Founder, Chairman, President, and CEO of Southwest. He stepped down as President and CEO in 2001 but retained the Chairman’s role. Mr Kelleher retired from that last role seven years later. He died in 2019.


“I’m pleased to share that we will be reintroducing, on a brand-new MAX 8 aircraft, the Hebert D. Kelleher (N871HK), in classic desert gold, as a tribute to our beloved founder and the classic livery on a single airplane,” reads a recent all-points Southwest staff memo.

Going forward, our desert gold livery will be a special feature of only the Herbert D. Kelleher plane as we will be retiring the classic dedication special livery.

“We expect to introduce these new aircraft to our fleet in the summer. There will be a brief period when you won’t see the desert gold livery around the system after the retirement of N711HK and N714CB, but keep an eye out for more communication in the coming months when Herb’s MAX 8 takes flight.”

Colleen Barrett’s tribute aircraft gets an upgrade

Colleen Barrett’s existing tribute aircraft isn’t as distinctive. N266WN has special stylized heart decals under the cockpit windows in honor of their second President. But it looks like that will change soon.

“We’ll also honor Colleen and cement a lasting tribute to our canyon blue spirit livery, with Heroine of the Heart (N872CB),” the memo added. “We also expect, for a short period of time, to have two Heroine of the Heart aircraft in our fleet as well introduce the new aircraft dedicated to Colleen and wait for N266WN to be repainted in the standard heart livery later this year.”


Colleen Barrett photographed alongside the Heroine of the Heart logo that was applied to the 737-700 dedicated to her. Photo: Southwest Airlines

Southwest’s specially liveried aircraft

Like many airlines, Southwest occasionally wheels out aircraft sporting special livery. Last year, Southwest marked the 50th Anniversary of its first flight by unveiling a Boeing 737-800 emblazoned with a stylized flag of the United States of America.

Called Freedom One, N500WR was the first Boeing 737-800 to join Southwest’s stable of distinctly liveried planes. Other special paint schemes on Southwest Boeing 737-700s include: Arizona OneCalifornia OneColorado OneFlorida OneIllinois OneLone Star One (Texas), Louisiana One, Maryland OneMissouri OneNevada OneNew Mexico Oneand Tennessee One.

With over 700 Boeing 737s in its fleet, Southwest Airlines is the world’s biggest operator of the aircraft type. They’ve also made a big investment in the MAX, with nearly 400 MAX 7s and 8s due to the airline. As Southwest gradually updates its fleet (the current average aircraft age at the airline is just over 13 years), the special liveries will gradually also transition over to the MAXs. Herb Kelleher is part of Southwest folklore, so it’s probably appropriate he’s head of the queue.

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