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San Diego penguins take to the skies (a lot)

January 26, 2012 |  6:16 pm

For a couple of flightless birds, Pete and Penny Magellanic spend a good deal of time in the air.

If you’re on a Southwest Airlines flight somewhere, you might see the two penguins on their way to an ambassadorial gig for SeaWorld San Diego.

Most recently, the pair went to Denver for appearances at the airport, a skating rink and three morning television shows. The visits allowed a handler to talk up conservation and, yes, the delights that await tourists at SeaWorld (including 300 penguins of several varieties, including the Magellanics).

Pete and Penny are frequent flyers: Miami, Vancouver, Boston and Chicago, among other destinations. Soon, the San Francisco Bay Area.

“They’re good travelers,” said a SeaWorld spokesman. “They have their own seats, in their own carriers, of course.”

There’s a ritual to a Pete and Penny flight. The Southwest pilot asks passengers if they’d like to meet the pair close up.

The reaction never varies. And soon Pete and Penny are waddling up and down the aisle.

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-- Tony Perry in San Diego

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