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On great, big airplane: woman in teeny-weeny bikini

The Baltimore Sun

The ever-popular Sports Illustrated swimsuit (or should I say teeny bikini) edition is on newsstands now. It's one of the top-selling magazines, so what business wouldn't want a little of that success to rub off on it? That may explain why Southwest Airlines decided earlier this month to paint the fuselage of one of its 737 jets with a bikini-clad image of this year's cover model, Bar Refaeli .

The airline dubbed the plane SI One and said Southwest would play host to the model by flying her to promotional gigs around the country.

It's not unusual for Southwest to dress up its jets with images. A few years ago, it painted one in the colors of Maryland's state flag as a sign of its growing success at BWI Airport. The jets also have featured hearts and basketballs and even Shamu the whale - and he's certainly not a looker. I know airlines are having a rough time filling their seats, and publicity stunts do help. But didn't Southwest wag its finger last year at a female passenger who was a little underdressed? And now it has a bikini flying at 35,000 feet between New York and Las Vegas.

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