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‘Airline’ may head to new season

A&E reality show goes behind scenes at Southwest
/ Source: Reuters

The reality TV series featuring drunk passengers, dancing gate agents and people too large to squeeze between the armrests on an economy seat may be heading for another season on the air.

Cable TV’s A&E Network is in talks with Southwest Airlines to shoot another season of the series called “Airline”, which features the exploits of the low-fare carrier, the two sides said  Monday. Both said nothing has been finalized.

The initial run of 18, half-hour episodes started airing earlier in January.

It appears a diet of episodes showing the proper policy to handle a male passenger who wants to board a flight wearing a kilt with nothing underneath, planeloads of people stranded at airports, as well as in-flight sing alongs with flight attendants, has proven popular with viewers.

“We are very pleased with the results of the show so far,” said Gina Nocero, a spokeswoman for A&E Network. A spokeswoman for Southwest said the show gives a good perspective of what airline employees must deal with on a daily basis.

The series is based on a British TV show of the same name that pulled in solid ratings during its six-year run on the ITV Network. A&E said they have been pleased with the ratings for the U.S. version.

Unlike some reality shows that highlight strange eating exploits and pushing the envelope on travel, Southwest passengers munch on peanuts and fly on an airline that bills its no-frills approach as one of its main selling points.

In recent months, Southwest has become the leading domestic carrier in the United States in terms of the number of passengers it flies. It is also the only major U.S. airline that has remained profitable since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.