The world's most beautiful planes

While you went to sleep on Halloween night, Walt Disney World employees were busy transforming the Park into a magical holiday season paradise. In just a matter of hours, they took down the pumpkins and spooky decorations, and put up Christmas trees and plenty of red.
America’s 50 most charming small towns for the holidays Hoping to bask in some small-town charm this holiday season? Whether you’re looking for a quiet winter wonderland or a sunny beach, you’ll find the perfect place to celebrate on our list of 50 of America’s best small towns for the holidays.
Slide 1 of 35: The sheer size of commercial aircraft these days gives companies plenty of space and artistic licence to create incredible exterior graphics. From special designs to celebrate an anniversary or collaboration to company logos so well designed they've become icons in their own right, we take a look at the world's most stunning aircraft.
Slide 2 of 35: This Boeing 787-9 aircraft, owned by Aeromexico, is named Quetzalcoatl, translated to "feathered serpent", the name of a deity of pre-Hispanic Mexico. It took nine days for the livery to be painted in Boeing's hangar, six days longer than expected due to the colorful hues in the design. "As Mexico's flagship carrier, this aircraft will become an icon of our fleet and a reflection of what Mexico is today," said Aeromexico chief executive Andres Conesa in 2016.
Slide 3 of 35: Alaska Airways Airbus A320-family aircraft unveiled in a 2016 rebranding of a predominately-white fuselage with gray, green and blue lines rising to a blue tail with friendly Alaska's Eskimo logo.
Slide 4 of 35: American Airlines gradually did away with the well-known polished aluminium livery after its merger with US Airways in 2015. Although bare aluminium was a great deal cheaper the introduction of carbon skins meant it was no longer possible. The fleet now boasts a more up-to-date and sleek all-white design with an American flag tail.
Slide 5 of 35: Every summer since 2012, Brussels Airlines flies passengers to a huge music festival in Belgium called Tomorrowland. To celebrate this, Brussels Airlines and Tomorrowland created 'Amare', as part of the airline’s Belgian Icons series. This Airbus A320 is the ultimate party plane as Amare also has special mood lighting and music in the aircraft cabin to give passengers the complete pre-festival experience.
Slide 6 of 35: Delta Air Lines pays respect to those who fight cancer with a Breast Cancer Research Foundation inspired aircraft. A Boeing 767-400ER has worn various pink livery, it's latest being a stylish pink ribbon wrapped around its fuselage. Delta uses this plane to run cancer survivor flights and donates a large sum of money a year to the research foundation.
Slide 7 of 35: As part of the #MyStopover campaign, which encourages passengers to take some time to enjoy an Icelandic Stopover, Icelandair brings you the stunning 'Hekla Aurora'. The Boeing 757 is dressed in an exquisite full livery of the Northern Lights and the beautiful colors of an Icelandic winter landscape. An LED mood-lighting system displays the stunning Northern Lights throughout Hekla Aurora’s main cabin. Find out more about the airlines with the best stopovers here.
Slide 8 of 35: Showcasing Indigenous culture this intricate aircraft livery on a Quantas VH-ZND, is based on a work by the late Northern Territory artist and senior Anmatyerre woman, Emily Kame Kngwarreye. Her 1991 painting, Yam Dreaming has been adapted for the aircraft by leading Indigenous-owned design studio Balarinji. The bold and beautiful aircraft is also named after the artist.
Slide 9 of 35: Brussels Airlines thinks the adventurous character Tintin is the ideal travel companion. And because his creator 'Herge' was, of course, Belgian why wouldn't the airline want to dedicate a whole aircraft to its most famous cartoon character. The Airbus A320 is disguised as the famous shark submarine from the Tintin album “Red Rackham’s Treasure” and named Rackham. Not only is the outside of the aircraft painted in this spectacular Tintin livery, but the rear cabin walls carry images from the book which, incidentally, is also is available for reading on board for guests young and old.
Slide 10 of 35: As proud sponsors of the Irish national rugby team, not only does Aer Lingus fly the squad all over the world but it also prints giant photos of team members on its fuselage! The Airbus A320-214 otherwise known as 'GreenSpirit' has a green two-toned and white paint job and features images of the national sport's heroes. Various team members also take part in a safety demonstration video shown on board Aer Lingus transatlantic flights.
Slide 11 of 35: Inspired by the warmth of its culture and population, the colorful livery of Air Malta is known and has won awards around the world. But, if that is not enough, this Airbus A320neo has joined its fleet branded with cartoon characters to promote a Nickelodeon Treasure Hunt that will take place on the islands in April 2019.
Slide 12 of 35: AirAsia has painted an attractive Thai silk cloth pattern with the words "Amazing Thailand" printed on it. The Executive Director of the Advertising and Public Relations Department of The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) says that: "The point of the design on the airplane represents the Thai people and their invitation for others to experience the country's cultural uniqueness.”
Slide 13 of 35: Japan's largest airline ANA teamed with The Walt Disney Company in 2015 to fly special Star Wars livery aircraft featuring characters on the exterior of the actual aircraft. The fleet now consists of The R2-D2™, The BB-8™, The C-3PO™ ANA jets as well as the original Star Wars™ ANA jet. Other perks include all the Star Wars movies via in-flight entertainment and even special announcements in 'droid' voices.
Slide 14 of 35: This 'Hello 2020' Jet by ANA is the result of a contest to celebrate the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The Boeing 777 aircraft is being used for domestic flights up until August 2020. The design was created by a Japanese high school student who won the ANA "Paint the Plane Contest." Tourist attractions such as the Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Skytree and Mount Fuji appear on the aircraft livery alongside images of Olympic and Paralympic sports in bright colors.
Slide 15 of 35: EgyptAir has a distinctive blue and white livery but its 'piece de resistance' is the airline's logo situated on the aircraft tails. The striking emblem represents Horus, who is often thought of as Egypt's national tutelary deity and chosen because of its ancient symbolism as a "winged god of the sun".
Slide 16 of 35: Yes, there is such thing as a Hello Kitty jet and there is not just one but a whole fleet of them! Owned by Taiwan's EVA Air, Kitty and her Sanrio friends decorate the aircraft which have names like Joyful Dream and Friendship Bows. And the fun doesn't stop there, as well as the iconic aircraft livery guests can also enjoy special boarding passes, Hello Kitty headrests, hand cream and so much 'kawaii' more.
Slide 17 of 35: Since Norwegian Air first took to the skies, the airline has always honored iconic figures on the tails of its aircraft, using personalities who symbolize the spirit of Norwegian. This time it's the turn of British author Jane Austen to reflect Norwegian’s rapid growth in the UK. Other UK 'tail fin heroes' are to include children’s author Roald Dahl, footballer Bobby Moore, pioneering pilot Amy Johnson, rock legend Freddie Mercury, aviation maverick Sir Freddie Laker, poet Robert Burns and explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton.
Slide 18 of 35: Hainan Airlines' Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner adorns livery featuring characters from the hit movie, Kung Fu Panda. As part of a partnership between Hainan, Boeing and DreamWorks, the plane is one of six aircraft featuring characters and scenes from the popular animated franchise.
Slide 19 of 35: Rossiya Airlines celebrates Russia playing host to many international sports programs in 2018 with bright livery dedicated to favorite Russian sports. Illustrative images representing football, hockey, gymnastics and figure skating have been selected as the main elements of the special sports livery. The attractive design has been stylized with the help of polygonal graphics which are then integrated into the recognizable brand livery of the airline.
Slide 20 of 35: Dallas based low-cost airline Southwest Airlines is known for its highly rated service and impressive yet sometimes brash livery. This American Eagle artwork on it's 'Illinois One' aircraft is no exception celebrating its flights to Chicago since 1985.
Slide 21 of 35: Celebrating the launch of its new service between Zürich and San Francisco, SWISS released a special 'hippy style' livery full of peace signs, flowers and rainbows - far out man!
Slide 22 of 35: This visual masterpiece is by LATAM Airlines (formerly TAM Airlines) to celebrate 450 years since the founding of Rio de Janeiro. TAM Airlines decorated one of its A319 with a special monochrome 'Carioca' livery. The fuselage features a graphical representation of the Portuguese stone waves of Copacabana Beach. These motifs form part of the unique character of Rio de Janeiro and are designed to reflect how they're an integral part of the historic charm of the city.
Slide 23 of 35: United Airlines revealed its retro “Friend Ship” livery on an Airbus A320 as part of its 85th birthday celebrations. The vintage look design was voted for by employees out a set of choices from different decades in United's livery history. The patriotic all-American winner copies designs from the 1970s.
Slide 24 of 35: Virgin Atlantic's bright red tail fins and engines are arguably one of the most recognized livery designs in the air, but it's the famous flying lady who is the British airline's no.1 pin-up girl. The 1940's Varga girl is painted on the nose of every Virgin Atlantic jet in various forms and has been through some 'one-off' costume changes for designs like Austin Powers, Dita Von Teese, and Golden Girl (for the Tokyo Olympics). She was also enlarged and given a glass of champagne for Virgin Atlantic's 21st birthday.
Slide 25 of 35: The purple, pixelated livery design of Mexico's Volaris has been 'influenced' by social media and turned into a tool to increase its brand following by young travelers. The livery's extra 'Mom I'm Fine' slogan is the brainchild of Instagramer Jonathan Kubben Quiñonez, who traveled around the world with a sign with the same message to give his mother peace of mind. The airline flew @momimfine home to his mum for the privilege.
Slide 26 of 35: Portuguese wet lease company (which is basically a contract hire company for other airlines) Hi Fly is supporting the Mirpuri Foundation “Save the Coral Reefs” campaign, with a 'tale of two sides' livery. One side is painted in dark blue displaying destroyed corals, contrasting with the other side showing a light blue “pristine ocean with colorful and healthy marine life”.
Slide 27 of 35: China Airlines has partnered with Airbus to feature a corporate mash-up of identities in a new impressive livery. China Airlines' blue corporate identity colors are interwoven with Airbus' classic carbon-fiber pattern. The tail fin is painted with the progressive hues of the famous "Red Plum Blossom". The joint liveried aircraft is said to emphasize the China Airline's brand image of elegance and energy.
Slide 28 of 35: Aeroflot introduced new livery to celebrate its 95th anniversary as the result of yet another public competition. The winner was chosen from amongst the finalists by an expert jury that included members of Aeroflot's Management Board. The white and blue design in stylized traditional Russian patterns now dresses an Airbus 321. The aircraft bears the name of the celebrated theater director Yuri Lyubimov.
Slide 29 of 35: Air Canada has recently updated its iconic maple leaf branding with a sleek new livery for the occasion of Canada’s 150th anniversary year. The fleet of 300 mainline and regional aircraft are painted in a bold black and white design with a striking underbelly. The maple leaf 'rondelle' returns to the tail fin after an absence of 24 years.
Slide 30 of 35: This AirAsia Airbus A320 is what pure advertising aircraft livery looks like. Princelube (Asia) Pte Ltd oil company advertised its branding with a strong and punchy graphic alongside the low-budget airline's classic red tail.
Slide 31 of 35: Fiji Airways has gone back to its roots with a distinctive livery. The design features many pacific tribal patterns and emblems from Fiji heritage. The airline's CEO says: “We knew the exterior design needed to be just as distinctive, unique, and true to Fiji."
Slide 32 of 35: British Airways released nine A319 aircraft as part of the carrier’s London 2012 celebrations all featuring a sophisticated Golden Dove. The livery was designed by Pascal Anson as part of the BA Great Britons scheme. Some have said the subtle concept was wasted as it's only the golden take on the logo tail that stands out.
Slide 33 of 35: FinnAir's collaboration with stylish Finnish Design House, Marimekko, started in 2012. Two of its wide-body aircraft wear famous patterns. Marimekko for Finnair also supplies the fleet with cabin textiles and tableware.
Slide 34 of 35: Two massive Emirates A380 jets took to the skies wearing special livery in support of United for Wildlife, a global collaboration that unites the efforts of the world’s leading wildlife charities in the fight against the illegal wildlife trade. The beautiful livery features some of the planet’s species threatened by poaching and aims to raise awareness of the illegal wildlife trade.
Slide 35 of 35: Hawaiian Airlines' standard livery boasts the beloved icon of its brand. Pualani meaning 'flower of the sky' gazes forwards on the tail of the Boeing 717 aircraft. Beneath her, a silver maile lei garland with woven pakalana flowers wraps around the fuselage in a larger-than-life expression of the aloha spirit. Love discovering the unexpected? You'll find lots to enjoy in our feature about the strangest things you'll find in airports too.

Pride of the skies

Aeromexico

This Boeing 787-9 aircraft, owned by Aeromexico, is named Quetzalcoatl, translated to “feathered serpent”, the name of a deity of pre-Hispanic Mexico. It took nine days for the livery to be painted in Boeing’s hangar, six days longer than expected due to the colorful hues in the design. “As Mexico’s flagship carrier, this aircraft will become an icon of our fleet and a reflection of what Mexico is today,” said Aeromexico chief executive Andres Conesa in 2016.

Alaska Airways

Alaska Airways unveiled its rebranding in 2016 of a predominately white fuselage with gray, green and blue lines rising to a blue tail with friendly Alaska’s Eskimo logo. The refreshed brand was introduced on a newly-painted Boeing 737.

American Airlines

American Airlines gradually did away with the well-known polished aluminium livery after its merger with US Airways in 2015. Although bare aluminium was a great deal cheaper the introduction of carbon skins meant it was no longer possible. The fleet now boasts a more up-to-date and sleek all-white design with an American flag tail.

Brussels Airlines

Every summer since 2012, Brussels Airlines flies passengers to a huge music festival in Belgium called Tomorrowland. To celebrate this, Brussels Airlines and Tomorrowland created ‘Amare’, as part of the airline’s Belgian Icons series. This Airbus A320 is the ultimate party plane as Amare also has special mood lighting and music in the aircraft cabin to give passengers the complete pre-festival experience.

Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines pays respect to those who fight cancer with a Breast Cancer Research Foundation inspired aircraft. A Boeing 767-400ER has worn various pink livery, it’s latest being a stylish pink ribbon wrapped around its fuselage. Delta uses this plane to run cancer survivor flights and donates a large sum of money a year to the research foundation.

Icelandair

As part of the #MyStopover campaign, which encourages passengers to take some time to enjoy an Icelandic Stopover, Icelandair brings you the stunning ‘Hekla Aurora’. The Boeing 757 is dressed in an exquisite full livery of the Northern Lights and the beautiful colors of an Icelandic winter landscape. An LED mood-lighting system displays the stunning Northern Lights throughout Hekla Aurora’s main cabin. Find out more about the airlines with the best stopovers here.

Qantas

Showcasing Indigenous culture, this intricate aircraft livery on a Qantas VH-ZND is based on a work by the late Northern Territory artist and senior Anmatyerre woman, Emily Kame Kngwarreye. Her 1991 painting Yam Dreaming has been adapted for the aircraft by leading Indigenous-owned design studio Balarinji. The bold and beautiful aircraft is also named after the artist.

Brussels Airlines

Brussels Airlines thinks the adventurous character Tintin is the ideal travel companion. And because his creator ‘Herge’ was, of course, Belgian why wouldn’t the airline want to dedicate a whole aircraft to its most famous cartoon character. The Airbus A320 is disguised as the famous shark submarine from the Tintin album “Red Rackham’s Treasure” and named Rackham. Not only is the outside of the aircraft painted in this spectacular Tintin livery, but the rear cabin walls carry images from the book which, incidentally, is also is available for reading on board for guests young and old.

Aer Lingus

As proud sponsors of the Irish national rugby team, not only does Aer Lingus fly the squad all over the world but it also prints giant photos of team members on its fuselage! The Airbus A320-214 otherwise known as ‘GreenSpirit’ has a green two-toned and white paint job and features images of the national sport’s heroes. Various team members also take part in a safety demonstration video shown on board Aer Lingus transatlantic flights.

Air Malta

Inspired by the warmth of its culture and population, the colorful livery of Air Malta is known and has won awards around the world. But, if that is not enough, this Airbus A320neo has joined its fleet branded with cartoon characters to promote a Nickelodeon Treasure Hunt that will take place on the islands in April 2019.

AirAsia

AirAsia has painted an attractive Thai silk cloth pattern with the words “Amazing Thailand” printed on it. The Executive Director of the Advertising and Public Relations Department of The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) says that: “The point of the design on the airplane represents the Thai people and their invitation for others to experience the country’s cultural uniqueness.”

ANA Star Wars Jets

Japan’s largest airline ANA teamed with The Walt Disney Company in 2015 to fly special Star Wars livery aircraft featuring characters on the exterior of the actual aircraft. The fleet now consists of The R2-D2™, The BB-8™, The C-3PO™ ANA jets as well as the original Star Wars™ ANA jet. Other perks include all the Star Wars movies via in-flight entertainment and even special announcements in ‘droid’ voices.

ANA ‘Hello 2020’

This ‘Hello 2020’ Jet by ANA is the result of a contest to celebrate the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The Boeing 777 aircraft is being used for domestic flights up until August 2020. The design was created by a Japanese high school student who won the ANA “Paint the Plane Contest.” Tourist attractions such as the Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Skytree and Mount Fuji appear on the aircraft livery alongside images of Olympic and Paralympic sports in bright colors.

EgyptAir

EgyptAir has a distinctive blue and white livery but its ‘piece de resistance’ is the airline’s logo situated on the aircraft tails. The striking emblem represents Horus, who is often thought of as Egypt’s national tutelary deity and chosen because of its ancient symbolism as a “winged god of the sun”.

Eva Air

Yes, there is such thing as a Hello Kitty jet and there is not just one but a whole fleet of them! Owned by Taiwan’s EVA Air, Kitty and her Sanrio friends decorate the aircraft which have names like Joyful Dream and Friendship Bows. And the fun doesn’t stop there, as well as the iconic aircraft livery guests can also enjoy special boarding passes, Hello Kitty headrests, hand cream and so much ‘kawaii’ more.

Norwegian Air

Since Norwegian Air first took to the skies, the airline has always honored iconic figures on the tails of its aircraft, using personalities who symbolize the spirit of Norwegian. This time it’s the turn of British author Jane Austen to reflect Norwegian’s rapid growth in the UK. Other UK ‘tail fin heroes’ are to include children’s author Roald Dahl, footballer Bobby Moore, pioneering pilot Amy Johnson, rock legend Freddie Mercury, aviation maverick Sir Freddie Laker, poet Robert Burns and explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton.

Hainan Airlines

Hainan Airlines’ Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner adorns livery featuring characters from the hit movie, Kung Fu Panda. As part of a partnership between Hainan, Boeing and DreamWorks, the plane is one of six aircraft featuring characters and scenes from the popular animated franchise.

Rossiya Airlines

Rossiya Airlines celebrates Russia playing host to many international sports programs in 2018 with bright livery dedicated to favorite Russian sports. Illustrative images representing football, hockey, gymnastics and figure skating have been selected as the main elements of the special sports livery. The attractive design has been stylized with the help of polygonal graphics which are then integrated into the recognizable brand livery of the airline.

Southwest Airlines

Dallas based low-cost airline Southwest Airlines is known for its highly rated service and impressive yet sometimes brash livery. This American Eagle artwork on it’s ‘Illinois One’ aircraft is no exception celebrating its flights to Chicago since 1985.

SWISS

Celebrating the launch of its new service between Zürich and San Francisco, SWISS released a special ‘hippy style’ livery full of peace signs, flowers and rainbows – far out man!

LATAM Airlines

This visual masterpiece is by LATAM Airlines (formerly TAM Airlines) to celebrate 450 years since the founding of Rio de Janeiro. TAM Airlines decorated one of its A319 with a special monochrome ‘Carioca’ livery. The fuselage features a graphical representation of the Portuguese stone waves of Copacabana Beach. These motifs form part of the unique character of Rio de Janeiro and are designed to reflect how they’re an integral part of the historic charm of the city.

United Airlines

United Airlines revealed its retro “Friend Ship” livery on an Airbus A320 as part of its 85th birthday celebrations. The vintage look design was voted for by employees out a set of choices from different decades in United’s livery history. The patriotic all-American winner copies designs from the 1970s.

Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic’s bright red tail fins and engines are arguably one of the most recognized livery designs in the air, but it’s the famous flying lady who is the British airline’s no.1 pin-up girl. The 1940’s Varga girl is painted on the nose of every Virgin Atlantic jet in various forms and has been through some ‘one-off’ costume changes for designs like Austin Powers, Dita Von Teese, and Golden Girl (for the Tokyo Olympics). She was also enlarged and given a glass of champagne for Virgin Atlantic’s 21st birthday.

Volaris

The purple, pixelated livery design of Mexico’s Volaris has been ‘influenced’ by social media and turned into a tool to increase its brand following by young travelers. The livery’s extra ‘Mom I’m Fine’ slogan is the brainchild of Instagramer Jonathan Kubben Quiñonez, who traveled around the world with a sign with the same message to give his mother peace of mind. The airline flew @momimfine home to his mum for the privilege.

Hi Fly

Portuguese wet lease company (which is basically a contract hire company for other airlines) Hi Fly is supporting the Mirpuri Foundation “Save the Coral Reefs” campaign, with a ‘tale of two sides’ livery. One side is painted in dark blue displaying destroyed corals, contrasting with the other side showing a light blue “pristine ocean with colorful and healthy marine life”.

China Airlines

China Airlines has partnered with Airbus to feature a corporate mash-up of identities in a new impressive livery. China Airlines’ blue corporate identity colors are interwoven with Airbus’ classic carbon-fiber pattern. The tail fin is painted with the progressive hues of the famous “Red Plum Blossom”. The joint liveried aircraft is said to emphasize the China Airline’s brand image of elegance and energy.

Aeroflot

Aeroflot introduced new livery to celebrate its 95th anniversary as the result of yet another public competition. The winner was chosen from amongst the finalists by an expert jury that included members of Aeroflot’s Management Board. The white and blue design in stylized traditional Russian patterns now dresses an Airbus 321. The aircraft bears the name of the celebrated theater director Yuri Lyubimov.

Air Canada

Air Canada has recently updated its iconic maple leaf branding with a sleek new livery for the occasion of Canada’s 150th anniversary year. The fleet of 300 mainline and regional aircraft are painted in a bold black and white design with a striking underbelly. The maple leaf ‘rondelle’ returns to the tail fin after an absence of 24 years.

Air Asia

This AirAsia Airbus A320 is what pure advertising aircraft livery looks like. Princelube (Asia) Pte Ltd oil company advertised its branding with a strong and punchy graphic alongside the low-budget airline’s classic red tail.

Fiji Airways

Fiji Airways has gone back to its roots with a distinctive livery. The design features many pacific tribal patterns and emblems from Fiji heritage. The airline’s CEO says: “We knew the exterior design needed to be just as distinctive, unique, and true to Fiji.”

British Airways

British Airways released nine A319 aircraft as part of the carrier’s London 2012 celebrations all featuring a sophisticated Golden Dove. The livery was designed by Pascal Anson as part of the BA Great Britons scheme. Some have said the subtle concept was wasted as it’s only the golden take on the logo tail that stands out.

FinnAir

FinnAir’s collaboration with stylish Finnish Design House, Marimekko, started in 2012. Two of its wide-body aircraft wear famous patterns. Marimekko for Finnair also supplies the fleet with cabin textiles and tableware.

Emirates

Two massive Emirates A380 jets took to the skies wearing special livery in support of United for Wildlife, a global collaboration that unites the efforts of the world’s leading wildlife charities in the fight against the illegal wildlife trade. The beautiful livery features some of the planet’s species threatened by poaching and aims to raise awareness of the illegal wildlife trade.

Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines standard livery boasts the beloved icon of its brand. Pualani, meaning ‘flower of the sky’, gazes forwards on the tail of the Airbus A330. Beneath her, a silver maile lei garland with woven pakalana flowers wraps around the fuselage in a larger-than-life expression of the aloha spirit. 

Source: Read Full Article