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A Little Lift: 13 Other Airlines Who Rebranded Before American

January 18, 2013 at 11:10 AM | by | ()

So, what's the verdict?

Do you love or hate the "New American" look unveiled yesterday by American Airlines?

Judging from the opinions on social media and the comments on our Instagram, it's not the fresh font or logo that's getting travelers fired up. Instead, the most divisive design detail seems to be that of the striped tail. Gone is the "AA" and gone is the eagle. The fleet will now sport tails with a reversed American flag, rendered in graphic, gradient stripes from top to bottom.

It's a drastic branding change, and we're reserving our own thoughts until we can see what it looks like in person. For now, let's take a look back at 13 other new airplane paint jobs in recent years (just the tails!):

· Germanwings
Rebranded in: 2012-2013
Inspiration: "Smart, dynamic and innovative." It's a stylized burgundy and yellow "W," transforming the wings in Germanwings into a "succinct icon."

· Fiji Airways/Air Pacific
Rebranded in: 2012-2013
Inspiration: "Masi," or native design motifs, which represent the welcoming nature of Fiji.

· Royal Brunei
Rebranded in: 2012-2013
Inspiration: A modernizing and freshening up to prepare for the 787s they'll get later this year (2013).

· Air Malta
Rebranded in: 2012
Inspiration: To display 100% Maltese pride and identity.

· Virgin Australia/Virgin Blue
Rebranded in: 2011-2012
Inspiration: Unity under the Virgin name to become a direct challenger to Qantas.

· Japan Airlines/JAL
Rebranded in: 2011
Inspiration: The return to the retro logo of the red crown crane signifies the nation of Japan's "distinct hallmarks of pristine quality and reliability."

· United/Continental
Rebranded in: 2011
Inspiration: Combining the brand of Continental Airlines with United to form one international powerhouse

· Finnair
Rebranded in: 2011
Inspiration: International appeal and upping their level of recognition in the Asian market

· Swiss
Rebranded in: 2011
Inspiration: Switzerland's national identity.

· Aerolineas Argentinas
Rebranded in: 2010
Inspiration: A new confidence in the airline for improved quality and regularity of service

Rebranded in: 2009
Inspiration: The modern Latin frequent flyer.

· Qantas
Rebranded in: 2007
Inspiration: A modernization of the 'roo, but with a focus on Australian history and heritage.

· Brussels Airlines
Rebranded in: 2007
Inspiration: "B" for both Brussels and Belgium. The dots represent runway lights and a network of destinations. The colors pay homage to SN Brussels Airlines (blue) and Virgin Express (red), who merged to make this airline.

So, which one was most drastic? Our vote goes to Air Pacific/Fiji Airways, and this won't be the last time you hear of their rebranding efforts. In fact, their new aircraft livery is going to give the prettiest planes on the tarmac a run for their money...er...their skies. Still, the jury is out on American Airlines for us; sound off in the comments!

Archived Comments:


LOVE the new AA - less dated, more america-f*ck-yeah (to be taken at face value or ironically, as preferred). i would be more likely to fly with that new design. HATE the chavvy air malta redesign. budget airline-tastic

Airlline Tails

WOW! The American Airlines tails now look SNAZZY! Still miss the AA logo. Swiss is classic. And Brussels is unique.


Rebranding is just that....a new brand. Critics should realize that for anything to grow, we need to change. I, for one, love the new AA paint job. I'm with juliab, it's so f*ck-yeah-America, it makes it cool. I also love Germanwings' new tail. It's so super cool.


I'm still not over the United/Continental merged branding. It just hurts.

"It feels like some kind of alternate-universe bad design dream."


New Brand

Sometimes strong rebranding can be negative because customers will not be able to associate a new brand with something with thay once enjoyed. For example Fiji Airways have very distinc new brand. I don't think it's good.

Still miss the AA logo

I still miss the AA logo! LOL ;)


Love what JAL did, showing courage for heritage.. One little thing, the Swiss rebranding was not a rebranding, in fact Swiss emerged as a new company (with new paintjob) after Swissair had gone bust. Same with Sabena that was part of the Swissair group, started a new life as Brussels Airlines.

Airline Tails

Great Stuff!