-- Sarah Palin's name may still be in the political spotlight, but it's about to be removed from the JetBlue-owned aircraft that shuttled her across the USA during her bid for the vice presidency.
The jet used by Palin during the campaign will make its last flight today with the McCain-Palin campaign logo still on the plane. The jet – an Embraer E190 leased out on a charter basis to the campaign by JetBlue – flew the Palins home to Alaska on Wednesday.
Today, after the jet's crew gets its required rest, the plane will fly from Anchorage to Buffalo before continuing on to New York JFK, JetBlue's home base.
The return journey from Alaska to New York will mark the last of over 100 flights the re-branded jet operated under the charter contract with the McCain-Palin campaign, JetBlue spokesman Sebastian White says.
The jet made stops in 29 states while flying for McCain-Palin, according to information provided by the carrier.
White says the fuselage will be stripped of the McCain-Palin logo once it returns to JFK.
He adds that "for the time being we'll use it as a spare/backup aircraft. On Nov. 12 it will go to our Embraer paint shop in Nashville to be fully repainted with JetBlue livery. The jet returns to revenue service mid-November once repainted."
The jet was delivered to the McCain-Palin campaign on Sept. 4, shortly after the Alaska governor was named as presidential candidate John McCain's running mate.
The E190, which typically holds 100 passengers for JetBlue, was reconfigured for the McCain-Palin campaign to include a divider curtain to separate the press area.
The E190's return flight could also prove noteworthy for more than just its part in a historic presidential race. White says the Anchorage to Buffalo segment is scheduled to go nonstop, provided that winds remain favorable. If so, JetBlue believes this would mark the longest nonstop flight ever for the E190.
"It would never be possible with customers onboard," White adds, noting that the lighter load should increase the range of the plane.