Photo: Stephen M. Keller

SAN DIEGO — The Discovery Channel’s infamous “Shark Week” is just around the corner, and they’ve once again partnered with Southwest Airlines to celebrate the decades-old tradition at 30,000 feet.

Southwest’s N944WN, a 737-700 that was recently adorned in a special Shark Week livery, took to the skies Monday for a very special celebration –  it was fin-tastic.

Flight 2191 departed San Diego Airport just after 11 a.m. local time, bound for the airline’s headquarters, Dallas Love Field, but the party began even before boarding. Music played as Shark Week mascot Chompie Jr. made his way through the gate area to snap photos with passengers. Shark selfie anyone?

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Shark week trivia and dance-offs were among the activities that took place at Gate 2 inside San Diego Airport. And as passengers boarded, Chompie Jr. handed each one a special Shark Week swag bag with all kinds of goodies, not the least of which was the classic shark fin hat.

The two-and-a-half-hour Shark Week flight was all kinds of fun, with an enthusiastic crew, Southwest team members and travelers who had no idea that their flight might just feel a little bit more like a deep sea dive.

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During the flight, passengers played more trivia and had the chance to watch a few episodes from last year’s Shark Week. Throughout the summer, all passengers on board WiFi-equipped Southwest planes will have the opportunity to watch not only these episodes, but even one of this year’s episodes, “African Shark Safari.”

This is the second year in a row the Discovery Channel has teamed up with Southwest to promote cable’s longest-running programming event, which premiered in 1988 and this year runs July 23-30. And after receiving feedback that last year’s plane wasn’t “sharky” enough, Southwest took things to a whole new level – adorning this year’s plane with five different shark species.

Curtis Smith, Senior Marketing Manager for the Discovery Channel, really enjoys seeing these two like-minded brands bring customers together.

“Especially over the past five years, I think Shark Week has turned into a pop culture phenomenon,” Smith said. “People throw parties… it’s something everyone wants to be a part of,” he added.

“Southwest is committed to connecting people to what’s important in their lives,” said Brandy King, Director of Communications for Southwest Airlines. “Our long-standing partnership with Discovery connects Southwest with the millions of fans around the world who tune in each year for the week-long phenomena that is Shark Week.”

The Shark has landed! Thanks for coming along with us on the fin-tastic @SouthwestAir #SharkWeek flight! #sharkstakeflight

— AirwaysLive (@airwayslive) July 17, 2017

And to the AV geeks and plane spotters out there: if you’re not flying in the near future or don’t live near an airport that Southwest services, you can keep up with the plane on social media by searching #sharkstakeflight. The plane will continue to sport the shark-themed livery through August 31.