From “Star Wars” to Hello Kitty: The World’s Best Aircraft Paint Jobs

The livery designs on these one-of-a-kind airplanes are everything but boring.

From “Star Wars” to Hello Kitty: The World’s Best Aircraft Paint Jobs

Occasionally airlines give their jets fun new paint jobs, like this Brussels Airlines Tintin-themed one.

Courtesy of Brussels Airlines

It’s not uncommon for airlines to roll out a fleet of freshly painted planes, like when Hawaiian Airlines introduced an updated version of it iconic “Pualani” logo in 2017, or even more recently when WestJet debuted a sleek new look earlier in June. But every now and then, airlines will send a one-of-a-kind livery—or aircraft design—down the runway to celebrate a partnership with a local brand or a flight destination. Here are some of the most fun special aircraft livery designs in the air today.


Finnair features Marimekko prints on several of its aircraft.

Courtesy of Finnair

Finnair Marimekko “Kivet” Livery All Finnair flights feature prints from the Finnish-brand Marimekko on the blankets, pillows, tableware, and amenity kits used on board. But if you’re lucky, you could find yourself on the Airbus A350 seen here “wearing” Marimekko’s Kivet dot print, or an Airbus A330 with the classic Unikko poppy print.


This is the fifth design in Qantas’s flying art series.

Courtesy of Qantas

Qantas “Emily Kame Kngwarreye” Livery In February 2018, Qantas debuted the fifth design in its Flying Art series that honors Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. The livery of the new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner features a design inspired by “Yam Dreaming,” a painting by Emily Kame Kngwarreye, a late Anmatyerre artist from the Northern Territory.


EVA Air flies seven different Sanrio-themed aircraft.

Photo by Blue Stahli Luân/Flickr

EVA Air Hello Kitty “Hand-in-Hand” Livery EVA Air started flying its Hello Kitty “Hand-in-Hand” jet between Taipei and Los Angeles three times a week in March 2018. The Boeing 777-300ER features 19 Sanrio characters including Hello Kitty, Little Twin Stars, Cinnamoroll, and Badtz-Maru, just to name a few. EVA Air’s love of Hello Kitty runs deep—it flies six more planes featuring other Hello Kitty and Sanrio characters on routes within Asia.


The pelican designs on “Louisiana One” are inspired by the state flag.

Courtesy of Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines “Louisiana One” Livery To celebrate 39 years of Southwest service in New Orleans, the airline unveiled a Boeing 737-700 livery in March 2018 inspired by the Louisiana state flag. Louisiana One is the 12th Southwest plane that takes design elements from various state flags, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Texas, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, and Tennessee.


Brussels Airlines painted this Airbus A320 to look like the shark submarine from a Tintin story.

Courtesy of Brussels Airlines

Brussels Airlines Tintin “Rackham” Livery Brussels Airlines put one of Belgium’s most famous cartoon characters—Tintin—on the livery of an Airbus A320 back in 2015. Designed to look like the shark submarine from the Tintin adventure “Red Rackham’s Treasure” on the outside, the plane also features images of Tintin and Captain Haddock on the interiors, along with copies of the book on board. The “Rackham” livery will fly on various routes through Europe until 2019.


ANA flies several “Star Wars”-themed planes.

Courtesy of ANA

ANA Star Wars Livery You might not be able to fly in the Millennium Falcon, but you can book a trip to Tokyo in one of these ANA aircrafts designed to look like your favorite robots from Star Wars, including R2-D2, C-3PO, and BB-8.


All of Frontier’s aircraft have a different animal on their tails.

Courtesy of Frontier Airlines

Frontier Airlines “Grizwald the Bear” Livery Denver’s low-cost carrier, Frontier Airlines, revamped its livery back in 2014 by rolling out a freshly painted fleet of Airbuses featuring a new green logo and a different animal on each plane’s tail. We’re particularly fond of the Airbus A320 dubbed “Grizwald the Bear.”


Icelandair’s special livery designs feature natural wonders, including the northern lights.

Photo by Eric Salard/Flickr

Icelandair “Hekla Aurora” Livery Icelandair has several special livery designs featuring natural wonders found in Iceland, but the most beautiful one has to be the “Hekla Aurora” Boeing 757, which is not only wrapped in photographs of the northern lights on the outside, but also illuminated with LED mood-lighting to mimic the aurora borealis on the inside.


Air Malta introduced a new version of the livery seen here with Nickelodeon characters in June 2018.

Photo by Mark Harkin/Wikimedia Commons

Air Malta “Nickelodeon” Livery Air Malta rebranded its fleet with a colorful new design featuring the Maltese Cross on the tail, seen here, some years ago. But a brand-new Airbus A320neo made its debut in June 2018 with a special Nickelodeon-theme livery, featuring characters like SpongeBob SquarePants and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, to promote the Nickelodeon Treasure Hunt that is taking place in Malta in April 2019.

>> Next: Which Airline Has the Best Wine in the Sky?

Lyndsey Matthews is the senior commerce editor at AFAR who covers travel gear, packing advice, and points and loyalty.
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