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Midway Airport

Southwest takes off with new jet

Southwest takes off with new jet

After two years of comfort-testing its new jets on human bodies of all shapes and sizes, Southwest Airlines was ready to let 153 of its most important bodies — paying customers — aboard Wednesday morning at BWI Marshall Airport.

The maiden flight of the Boeing 737-800 series jet touched off a noisy celebration for the folks bound for Fort Myers, Fla. The ground crew was giddy with excitement at 7 a.m. as it laid out a spread of doughnuts and coffee for the first passengers, most of whom had no clue they were making Southwest history.

"I'm afraid of new things. Has this flown before?" asked retiree Gale Holland of Chestertown, on her way to visit her...