I can’t believe it’s been a year since the amazing Southwest tour that was set up for Jack Henry for his 4th birthday. Well, this past week, he turned five and when I asked him what he wanted the theme of his birthday party to be, without hesitation he enthusiastically chimed, “Southwest Airlines!” His SWA-themed birthday party was the Sunday before last, and if the pictures are any indication, Jack Henry’s LUV for Southwest continues!
The invitations were homemade Southwest boarding passes, and Southwest Employee John Bogle at LAX once again came through (he was our tour guide last year) with real ticket sleeves for the invites. The party was at The Museum of Flying in Santa Monica, and I customized our party area with fun computer-created Southwest signs.
We had a Southwest Food and Beverage sign at the food station, and for snacks we had Captain’s Chips (potato chips), and small bags of Pilot Peanuts and Rising Raisins, with a customized sticker that read “Nuts About Southwest.”
For the main course we served SWA Pilot Pizza (Jack’s favorite food). We washed it down with bottles of SWA Jet Fuel (just water!).
Finally, the piece de resistance was the birthday cake fashioned as a Southwest LUV jet!
As guests arrived, Captain Jack Henry and his best Flight Attendant (none other than moi, merely dressed the part, of course) welcomed them onboard. The entertainment included flying a “flight path,” three at a time, in cardboard box Southwest planes that I made, followed by a ride in the museum’s jet simulator. At the end of it all, the birthday-goers graduated flight school and received their Southwest captain hats.
A cute sidenote about the box planes: after assembling the first one, but before it was painted, I was so excited to show Jack. When he looked at it, he simply said, “Mom, Southwest doesn’t have any propeller planes.”
Feeling a bit taken aback by this comment because I was expecting an enthusiastic, “Wow this is cool, Mom!”, I said, “Well Jack, I’m sure on some small commuter flights they fly propeller planes.”
Jack responded, “No mom, Southwest doesn’t have any prop planes, they just use 737 jets.”
Feeling challenged, I went to Google image a Southwest propeller plane to show Jack that they did, in fact, exist. Turns out, as you may well know, my soon-to-be-five-year-old was right!
In the end, I told him the box planes were trainer planes for Southwest Pilots, which he agreed to and happily joined me in painting them.
Before everyone left, they went to a makeshift Baggage Claim and found their cardboard suitcase (I wish I had the talent to make those, but they were purchased on Etsy), complete with Southwest Crew luggage tags.
Inside were all sorts of goodies, but above all, it was the memories of another successful Southwest birthday party that will stick with me most. Jack still says he’s going to be a Southwest Pilot when he grows up, largely due to the wonderful tour that was arranged for his birthday last year.
Editor’s Note: From all of us here at Southwest: Happy 5th Birthday, Jack Henry!