Topic of the Week: American’s New Livery


Something tells me this is going to be a long comment thread. If you haven’t seen it, here it is. American’s new livery. Maybe we can get them to do a fly-by at Crankyspotting TOMORROW at 10a at Founders Plaza at DFW.

American Airlines New Livery

Now, what do you think? Personally, I hate that the eagle has been marginalized to the point that it’s unrecognizable. And the tail, well, yeah, the tail. I think I heard it put best in this excellent quote:

Colgan had sex with CSA and Cubana on a Greyhound bus in the same weekend and got pregnant. We know Colgan is the mother but we can’t tell who the father is. Nor do we care because the baby is still ugly either way.

Maybe it will grow on me. Or maybe it won’t last very long anyway…

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134 comments on “Topic of the Week: American’s New Livery

  1. I may just be patriotic, but I like it. I don’t know about the new logo and how well it goes with the tail, but overall I like the livery and it looks like a bold redesign. I’d love to fly one…

  2. The tail is certainly… distinctive, which is better than being unrecognizable. I actually like the typeface quite a bit. I have no nostalgia for the eagle, but the new logo seems to be abstracted into nothingness.

  3. I like the font, and I like the silver/grey paint. The tail is a bit much for me though. I do like the American Eagle livery a bit more. With the ‘e’ over the window it looks like a ‘c’, but on Eagle, with the titles below the window it reads a lot better…

  4. I like it, it’s very modern. Sure the tail is very in-your face, but it makes it recognizable. Kind of like Delta’s current tails.

    I’m curious to see what the livery of a combined US-AA fleet would look like. Will it be more of a combination of US and New AA or US and Old AA? Or somewhere in between? Seeing that according to Horton, the only involvement US had in this was the courtesy call Parker was given Wednesday evening as a heads up.

    Looking forward to hopefully seeing a glimpse in person tomorrow during Crankyspotting: Terminal Edition. Sorry I won’t be able to join you in person.

    1. I hope that it ends up with the new American livery.. I think that this can co-exist with the current US Airways and AA liveries for a while.

      It might make sense to do a massive painting process, but this seems like it’d be a wonderful brand.

  5. I don’t mind the tail (though, yes, the darned thing looks like it came straight out of Rex Kwon Do design studios). I don’t mind the font. I don’t mind the main body color. But the logo…it’s like they ran over the Eagle with a graphic designer’s SUV and that’s what they got. Sure, the eAAgle needed to be updated, but not like /that/.

    1. Absolutely dreadful. They had clean & sleek and that’s gone. I could live with the front but the tail just kills it.

  6. Maybe it will look better when you see a flock of those birds clustered around the gates but for now I’ll give it an overall C+.

    I’ll also say that nothing could have lived up to the fevered expectations among us av-geeks.

  7. No more shiny bare metal :( I loved that about American I guess I can get use to the chrome but ehh who knows (Or am I being dumb here and it is shiny metal that with the CGI looks more chromeish

    And can anyone find the American Eagle new look I cant seem to find it any where

  8. I like it. I like the logo — a nod to the past, but modern and suggestive of “going places” and aviation generally. I think the tail is distinctive; I particularly like that the tail scheme goes down the entire back of the plane instead of just being on the tail. I also like the new website and AAdvantage cards. There will be lots of headlines about doing this while in bankruptcy, etc., but it’s nice to see AA freshen its image. DL has invested a lot on this in the past few years and, as a result, DL’s ‘look’ (airport signage, china in premium classes, etc.) has a modernity to it that feels fresh. Good to see AA competing.

  9. Absolutely horrible! The new logo looks like the old tails on United Airlines planes or maybe the Greyhound bus logo, the bastardized American flag on the tail is offensive, and the whole thing is an ugly mess.

    Did the bankruptcy judge actually sign off on American wasting money on this??

    1. I am interested on the bankruptcy judge’s consent on spending the money for this.. They seem to have thrown a huge amount at it.. Lots of CGI everything… Bit overkill if you ask me.

  10. I think this will be the merged paint job. It combines the American colors and the flag style logo of US Airways.

  11. Hmmm, why do I have a sudden craving for a can of Pepsi?

    Bleah…but I never liked AA’s old livery.

    Best thing would be to use the throwback livery they have on a few planes, that is pretty bitchin’.

  12. Oh, and not to open any old wounds….but the tail reminds me of Family Airlines! (no thread hijacking about Family Airlines is allowed!)

  13. And how many millions of dollars did they pay some company to come up with that look? Someone at that company is a good salesman to talk AA into it…lol

    I was never a fan of the old AA bare metal, I like painted airplanes.

    The American Flag should sue AA for that tail logo.

    But overall it’s done it’s job, it’s getting everyone talking about AA and getting their name/photo in the news.

  14. I don’t mind the tail – it’s an in-your-face style that’s different from the ultra conservative AA we’ve come to know. I look at it as a sign of an organization finally trying to change and move forward.

    The logo on the other hand. Oh, the humanity. They should have found a way to incorporate the entire eAAgle.

    BTW, I’m sure all of you have seen this already, but Terry Maxon had a fun take on the new tail:

    And I have to agree with him, it DOES sort of look like an attempt to combine AA and US in the design…

  15. I find the tail blatantly disrespectful to the US flag (and isn’t it a ripoff of the former North American Airlines?). The logo up front looks like the peel off foil on a can of Pringles.

  16. I don’t mind the new logo, in fact it is sort of growing on me (from bleh to meh). It does look better on the 738 than it did CGI’d on a 773.

    The font is okay. I think they could have gone with something with bit more “a-ha!”.

    However, the tail, that tail. Sure, its new and bold, but I don’t know if I will ever “love” it.

    The livery itself doesn’t seem to flow well at all. It is smooth and quiet across the entirety of the aircraft, and then BAM! some loud tail hits your eyes.

    At least Parker and Co. now have something to work with for the “New, New American Airlines”

  17. The quote in your post is hilarious. I too immediately thought of the old red/white/blue Greyhound logo and made up a comparative graphic for my facebook page. I quickly found out I wasn’t the only one. I agree that the font is cool and the updated logo is tolerable, but the tail…oh that tail…yeah, no.

  18. I’m just curious where they got the money for the new paint jobs since they are in bankruptcy and aren’t making any money… Do they use union painters or is it part of the new pilots contract ;) (Pilots must fly and repaint planes)

  19. Can’t help but notice the flag on the tail has 11 stripes. Chapter 11 stripes? (The flag has 13).

  20. Is that a piano on the tail? Seriously, this looks like the work of a first year graphic design student. A lot of play and not much finesse.

  21. No matter how many people say they don’t like it or at least the tail, AA spokespeople will be right out saying “Everyone loves it” and “It’s what our customers ask for”.

    Those are the two standard answers for everything in the airline world isn’t it?

  22. If AA is going to drape themselves in the flag, it needs to be in a dignified way, like BA. This livery makes the airplane look like a parade float. That’s fine if you’re a low fare bargain airline, not so much if you are branding yourself as a “flagship” airline for global business travel.

  23. Honestly I like it overall. I think the tail looks cool. I do however agree that it is nearly impossible to tell that that is still an eagle and they should have done more to keep it the same. I know Delta turned the widget at an angle on the tail, but they kept it in their logo next to the Delta Airlines words. I wish AA would have done the same and kept the classic eagle right next to American on the fuselage.

  24. The whole look is absolutely horrible. There was a reason and pride behind a logo of 45 years: simple, classic and solid.

    The new eagle is shrunk to almost nothing. The red and blue surrounding provide color but no life and no resemblance to wings. Then there’s the tail.

    The tail looks like something from a fighter squadron about to launch from the Akagi featuring the Rising Sun emblem from the IJN!
    Nice message – here come American fighters, strafing and bombing an airport near you. Just horrible.

  25. I think I’d like it more if they put on the trademark “AA” with the eagle on the tail. The whole point of a paint job is so people see your logo and associate it with the brand…good luck getting the general public to remember what airline that is.

    Delta’s livery change still kept the classic delta symbol. United kept the CO globe because of its general recognition with the public, but this….yikes it could be any airline.

  26. Yuck, the tail is a mess, and they managed to kill an eagle at the same time.
    Apparently no one at US Air is available for comment….

  27. I was so in love with the old livery. I realize with the new composite materials that the polished aluminum look had to be replaced but I really don’t like this new look.

  28. i was initially resistent.., but the more I study the fine points, the more I see something thoughtful going on.. Lined up at the gates, which is where we really see them, all those tails will make a very impressive graphic, especially since the design extends into the fuselage. The design is a departure from the last century into the new one. While in Charlotte on my last plane change, i heard that Doug Parker bought a home in Fort Worth months ago..

  29. Ok, I’ll admit the tail leaves something to be desired. But I’ll give AA the credit for the daring design. Quite a change of pace for the usually uninspiring designs most U.S. carriers employ (see DL literally changing their colors every few years)! AA’s design has a futuristic appeal to me. Beats the ho hum look for most of the others!

  30. I bet that this is something that US was in on, so I doubt we’ll see that change whenever this merger is announced. In my highly advanced, nuanced opinion (not at all…) I think the new logo should go on the tail, where it even looks like it belongs.

    1. American has said that US Airways was not involved with the development of this design. Horton called Parker on Wednesday night to let him know about it, but that’s it.

  31. It’s growing on me; it’s definitely more modern while still maintaining a connection to the past. I’ve been amused by reading the comments about the tail. Bottom line: it’s pretty hard to represent a red, white and blue flag on an aircraft tail in a unique way at this point in time. For that reason, it might have been better to go with a different concept. On the other hand, if you are viewed as the de facto “flag carrier” for a country you probably should have the flag somewhere on the livery.

    1. Last time I checked though our flag had stars in the blue, not white lines that don’t line up with the other stripes. The tail design has grown on me a little since I first saw it (from revulsion to just general dislike). I like the idea of the flag, but it comes off as too rigid, especially on the 777 CGI. It looks off how it just kinda of cuts off about halfway down the fuselage. Also, the tail cone looks really odd being painted the same color as the rest of the fuselage behind the flag design, especially on the larger 777 animation. Maybe if the tail design and flowed onto the tail cone like British Airways it would have looked a little better.
      Overall, I think it would have looked loads better if it wasn’t so rigid and flowed into the rest of the fuselage better like British Airways or Emirates liveries.

  32. At first I disliked the new livery. But then one thing slightly shifted my focus. With this new tail livery American becomes an almost true flag carrier at least in design (after Delta foolishly abandoned its superb wavy gravy tail design). I know that there are no flag carriers proper in the USA. But this new livery makes American feel and look like one.

  33. Some of you kept talking about the eagle and I kept thinking what eagle. Then I went looking for other photos and now see what you are talking about. I just thought that splotch of red/blue next to the ‘n’ in American was just that, a splotch, but that’s where you’ve been talking about the eagle. They shouldn’t have added that since it’s not becoming.

  34. Designers have managed to tastefully incorporate the AA and the eagle in every rebrand for the last 80 years. This goes to show just how unimaginative this design firm’s tallent really is. Sad to find no trace of AA’s identity retained except for the name. I’m surprised they managed to keep the American name in the rebrand.

    1. There is some continuity actually in the design. Although the Eagle is far more abstract it is there, the primary colors of the design have stayed the same, and the font is the same as well. Still unsure about the tail, but the rest of the livery is actually fairly smart, IMO.

  35. Employees took millions in pay and benefit cuts for this…..??
    Cross between New England Patriots and Pepsi can…on that Tail
    Wonder where the US Air Logo will go…?
    AA Management sure knows how to waste money.

    1. No, employees took pay and benefit cuts because their compensation and productivity / work / scope rules were out of line with AA’s major competitors. Are you saying that AA shouldn’t be spending money to improve their product? The truth is AA should have done this a long time ago but they didn’t have the money to invest, which is why they should have filed for bankruptcy a long time ago. Anyway they had to do it now because the new planes have composite skins.

  36. The new livery has grown on me, especially after seeing photos of it on an actual aircraft, not the CGI.

    I like the new typeface. It’s close enough to the iconic Helvetica to not be alienating, but the humanist typeface they’re using is warmer and more modern. Sorry, I’m a graphic designer and a type geek as well.

    I like the look of the logo on the left side of the aircraft. On the right sight, the bit with the eagle looks disconnected. The logo should look good on signage, in airports and on overall branding.

    The tail? Like I said. I think it looks better on a real 737, not a CGI one. I can’t wait to see one of these birds in the wild! =M=

    1. Agreed, seeing it on actual aircraft is nice. Paint is a wonderful thing.
      I’m mixed about the tail but the rest of it is really nice!

  37. It’s not great, but it is fresh- which speaks to how dated AA’s old livery was. Now if AA can refresh their service and fleet (yes I know it’s on the way).

  38. Well, as a former AA employee, and resident of the DFW Area, I love the new design. Yes, I realize gone are the days of stripes down the window-line. In are the days of ‘subtle’ and ‘subliminal’ logos (such as the NW on the Northwest logo, and the arrow in FedEx). I think the eagle would look cool on the winglets!

  39. I like the new font and the stylized eagle in the logo; when I saw that I thought it was going to look awesome on the AA tail. And then I saw the tail and was disappointed. I also saw the comment about Colgan air, but in that same thread I read (or on Twitter I read) someone asking why there are red and blue keys from a piano on the tail. That made me laugh because that is exactly what it looks like.

    Wonder what the new US Amercan is going to look like. They both (in name) already claim flag carrier status. Perhaps keep the American refreshed look and call it USAmerican?

  40. It’s funny how some folks are quick to complain about the cost to paint the new livery. What they fail to realize is that the cost would still exist with the old livery for all the new baby buses and 787’s, due to their composite nature. I wouldn’t expect any of the Mad Dogs or older 752’s to be repainted. Not a real fan of the new corporate logo and I expect the tail “flag” to grow on me.

  41. I didn’t care for it when I first saw it and it still hasn’t grown on me. I Tweeted as much and even got a response from American “hoping I would love it to in time.” So far that hasn’t happened.

      1. Yeah, I am starting to like it now. Especially seeing the pictures of an actual plane. The detail on the tail is pretty cool.

        I think the new Eagle looks neat when on the AAdvantage and gates and stuff.

  42. It looks pretty comical and what happened to displaying not just the eagle, but what about the United States of America’s flag? It’s not pretty at all, it’s just different. And why are they doing this? Won’t they be changing their name to U.S. Airways soon anyway. I sure hope so. This airline has always been a predator and will always continue to be.

  43. Keep in mind that some logos and livery changes are chosen because they are indeed easy to paint over or change in the event of merger.
    The “American” look was indeed iconic and survived many years.
    This new livery is rather “bold” in a not so good way! Sorta has a third world look and feel to it, like it should be on an old Ilyushin in Zaire.
    Time will tell, but it will most likey change after the merger.

  44. I don’t like it – the tail is a bit too flashy, add some twinkle lights and it’s all set for Las Vegas.
    I like the retro AA plane

  45. When you own an eagle. you wouldn’t trade it for a yardbird, much less abandon it out on the tarmac. At least the fuselage graphics are clean and uncluttered.

    The tail, especially the extra stripe below the horizontal stabilizer, is what happens when the artist over at the ad/design agency either, doubles his Prozac dosage or switches to a new “Speed’ dealer.

  46. In real life, the gray paint is not nearly as shiny/reflective as they make it seem in the CGI. I think the real life version looks much worse than the CGI version.

  47. To me, it’s a branding exercise gone terribly wrong. Oddly, the tail is very similar to Aeroflot and Cubana de Aviación.

  48. They would be far better spending money on getting their on time performance back to levels that mean they are a real airline instead of the flag carrier for Disney. Mickey Mouse Airlines is what they really are.

  49. Hey, the colours of Liberia on the tail!

    Now that might save some money too if the company were to relocate there. (Joking, ok).

  50. I like it. It’s very fresh and contemporary. The Eagle, although subtle, is sophisticated and interesting. The tail took me a little while to get used to but I reckon after a few months and any more examples in service, we’ll all accept it and appreciate American’s point of difference. Well done American for the courage to make the change and use it as an analogy for changing their whole service philosophy

  51. I’m not the biggest fan yet. But I wasn’t the biggest fan of Delta’s latest but it grew on me. I’m sure this will. But at least it’s better than scraping off Continental and just writing United.

  52. To me the livery looks like something a movie executive came up with for a fictional airline in a movie, not an actual one, looks cheap….

  53. How horrible will this look on the MDs, ERJs, CRJs, and any other aft-engined aircraft they might fly? You’ll have a big silver engine blocking the lower third of the flag, followed by a long, narrow, silver fuselage. It’ll be fugly.

  54. The “Flight Mark” reminds me of United’s tail design from the 1960s (pre-tulip). The tail has got to go. Everything else is okay, but the tail has got to go.

    I’ve done brand strategy, and have done work for several airlines. A good identity is intuitive and helps the person viewing it understand not only the name of the company, but some of its attributes. This tail is confusing, dizzy, and cluttered. I don’t believe those are attributes the teams at either Futurebrand or AA want associated with the airline.

  55. As someone living outside of the US, the old silver tubes of American Airlines meant nothing to me. I think that American Airlines has done a great job with this design, in showing their patriotism. There is no question but that this is an American airline.

  56. Instantly recognizable from long distance, so a good update, even if I dislike so many people/companies wrapping themselves in the flag.

  57. The new tail helps our progress towards increased employment in the US. Imagine the design experts hired to design the tail, all the executives required to approve it, and the people who actually apply the paint!

  58. For anyone who doesn’t like the tail and would like to try to get AA to reconsider it, please join the Facebook group “fix the tAAil.” The Gap rescinded a planned logo change because of negative consumer response. If enough people who don’t like the tail make their voices heard, maybe AA will explore a change to the tail design.

    1. Reminds me of the attempt to “save the tulip.” I wouldn’t count on a change at this point since for every person who hates it there seems to be one who at least likes it.

  59. Have a look at a “real” photo (eg. on – its the reverse of usual in that the cgi looks better than real life.

    Disappointing – they could have done so much more…..

  60. Maybe it’s just me, but the “beak” resembles nothing more than a very important and engorged part of the female anatomy… one that many men never seem to find. Well, I guess the debate is over; it’s the biggest one you’ve ever seen… how fitting that it rides a long metal tube into the heavens.

  61. Just saw a TV ad with the new paint job. The body color and AMERICAN name look fine, the ‘eagle’ splotch doesn’t look good, and that awful tail does look like red/white/blue piano keys.

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