Photos of the Week: Back to Paradise

Aaron Nee's “Spirit of the Islands”

By BlueSkyStaff

Published September 1, 2023

Read Time: 2 mins


Back to school season usually means colder weather is on the way, but Alaska Airlines is still prepared for a tropical getaway.

As a ramp worker for American Airlines, Steve Erickson sees a lot of unique aircrafts. But none stand out quite like this colorful Boeing 737-800. The aircraft pays tribute to Hawaii by promoting some of its most distinct features.

The unique design is thanks to Honolulu resident Aaron Nee. In 2013, he won Alaska Airlines’ “Paint-the-Plane” contest, which invited students across the Aloha State to submit livery designs; Hawaii residents then voted for their favorite. Nee was only 17 years old when he won the contest. Ten years later, people all over the world still see his design flying high.

Nee’s design is aptly named “Spirit of the Islands.” From the Hawaiian state flower near the plane’s wing to the palm trees extending up its tail, his design encapsulates Hawaii’s natural beauty and culture.

Pittsburgh residents might be familiar with the plane too—Alaska Airlines will celebrate its fifth anniversary of service at PIT on Sept. 6. We’re excited to continuing offering our passengers more getaways from Western Pennsylvania on special planes like these.

In San Francisco, Joanie George captured her own version of paradise. After dropping off her daughter at college, George jetted off into the sunset on a United aircraft. Golden hour sunlight reflects on the wing’s tip, where United’s staple navy blue and orange meet, while the last of the day’s sunshine peaks through the clouds.

Thanks, Steve and Joanie!

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.

Sunset hits a United flight departing from San Francisco. (Submitted by Joanie George)

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