Alaska's "More to Love" livery is worn by three aircraft in its fleet, including this Airbus A321neo. (Photo submitted by Casper Wood)

Photos of the Week: Friendly Skies

Finding a parking space. Hauling luggage. Getting through security.

Sometimes the commercial air travel process can be a little draining. Parts of it are simply not fun. (Safety is always a serious matter, for example.)

But we endure all that to fly, for a couple of reasons.

The first is practical: there is no way on Earth to get somewhere faster than flying there. Whether a regional jet is taking you on a quick 100-mile hop or a huge airliner is transporting you to the other side of the globe, nothing beats an airplane.

The second reason is emotional—flying is fun.

You start with the excitement of knowing you’ll be somewhere completely different in a (relatively) short amount of time, and then there’s the rush of acceleration on the runway before the lift into the sky that takes you above the clouds.

Airlines know they provide a service unlike any other, and part of that is the inherent pleasure of looking down at the world from 30,000 feet. It’s just good business to lean into that feeling.

One way of doing that is painting your planes in an appealing way that amplifies that sense of enjoyment and fun. Alaska Airlines has quite a few special liveries, including its “More to Love” paint scheme created to celebrate the merger with Virgin America five years ago.

Casper Wood spotted it recently and sent us a photo of the brilliantly colored aircraft just before it landed.

On the other hand, you don’t always need to paint the entire plane to bring a smile to someone’s face. The details matter, too.

When Spirit redesigned its entire fleet in 2014, introducing the now-signature yellow livery, designers also tucked a friendly greeting onto the winglets of each aircraft visible only from the cabin.

So when Stephanie Lewand landed at PIT after a recent trip to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., she was welcomed by a rainbow—and a “Howdy” from Spirit.

Thanks, Casper and Stephanie!

Our readers continue to pass along shots of unique aircraft, international airports, historical events, gorgeous views and even family vacation photos for this feature. We love them! Keep them coming—you can click here for submission guidelines.

On Spirit’s Airbus fleet, passengers are welcomed by a friendly “Howdy” on the inside of the plane’s winglet. (Photo by Stephanie Lewand)

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