LORELAI: Dean, now that you’re done with that, will you build me a plane? One that looks like Shamu?
Shamu is the name given to various killer whales (orcas) at Seaworld parks. The first Shamu was captured in 1965 and died in 1971. Her name means “friend of Namu” – Namu was a male orca captured in 1965, named after a fishing port in British Columbia, Canada, close to his site of capture. The whales named Shamu were always the “star” of the killer whale show.
In 1988, Southwest Airlines designed a plane called Shamu One, a Boeing 737 painted to look like a killer whale, to promote travel to Seaworld in Texas.
Southwest Airlines ended their relationship with Seaworld in 2014, after the release of the 2013 documentary Black Fish focused on the mistreatment of orcas in captivity. In 2016, Seaworld discontinued its orca breeding program.