Seven of the Coolest Plane Paint Jobs

Hello Kitty plane

Who says aeroplanes have to be boring? Or white, for that matter? These seven amazing planes prove that they don’t. With fun, colourful or downright epic paint jobs – known in the business as livery – as well as some seriously cool themed interiors, these awesome aircrafts are all active at the moment and available for a flight…

Hekla Aurora

Brand new in February 2015, this incredible Northern Lights themed Boeing 757 was introduced to IcelandAir’s fleet to celebrate the introduction of their newest route, Birmingham to Reykjavik. As well as a beautiful external livery, the experience is complemented by bespoke cabin fixtures and some amazing Aurora Borealis themed mood lighting inside.

ICELAND AIR Hekla Aurora plane

Hello Kitty

Taiwanese airline EVA Airways have been celebrating the incredible Asian phenomenon that is Hello Kitty with their themed planes for years, and in October 2014 they finally brought those planes to Europe. In celebration of the cute cartoon cat’s 40th anniversary, EVA began flying its special edition Boeing 777-300ER between the capital cities of Paris and Taipei. Again, it’s not just about the paint job, which is a very special cartoon overload; the Hello Kitty aircraft is an experience. Cabin furnishings, pillows, cutlery and crew uniform are all on brand, and even the food, served in adorable lunchboxes, is themed – with the iconic cat’s face making an appearance on the top of rolls and in the pasta!

On board the EVA Hello Kitty plane


To celebrate the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, and to raise support for their campaign to make 23 April National Shakespeare Day, EasyJet introduced a new plane last year. The Romeo Alpha Juliet aircraft was decorated with an enormous portrait of the bard, opening the way for all kinds of incredible puns: “Shakes on a plane”, “‘is it a Bard, is it a plane?”, and “onBard entertainment” being just a few of the best (worst?) to appear in the media. The themed Airbus A319 also broke a world record last year, hosting the world’s highest theatrical performance with an hour-long adaptation of Romeo and Juliet at 37,000ft en route to Verona.

EasyJet Shakespeare Plane

Alaska Airlines Disney Planes

Flying to Disneyland? There’s no better way to travel than on board one of Alaska Airlines’ Disney planes. Launched in celebration of the airline’s longterm partnerships with both Disneyland® Resort and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the five planes feature bright and bold images of beloved Disney characters, from the wish-granting Genie on the Make-A-Wish plane to the iconic Minnie and Mickey. The latest addition to the fleet, featuring Mater and Lightning McQueen from Disney’s Cars, took a 34-member crew 29 days to paint working around the clock. Worth the effort, I think!

Alaska Airlines Genie Plane


Air New Zealand have long been known for their association with all things Tolkien. Since 2002 they’ve been branding themselves as “the official airline to Middle Earth”, with a series of hilarious Lord of the Rings themed on-board safety videos, and various plane decorations celebrating the franchise. The latest addition to the fleet was brought out in celebration of the Hobbit movies in October 2013 and features a 54m long image of the dragon Smaug – pretty cool.

Ps – don’t miss the latest Air New Zealand safety video, starring Elijah Wood and Sir Peter Jackson, which has been dubbed “the most epic safety video ever made”.

New Zealand Air Hobbit Smaug Plane


If you went to school in the nineties, you probably had a collection of Pokémon cards at some point in your life – maybe you even watched the TV show. Well, in Japan this retro phenomenon is still alive and well, and Nippon Airways have been using that cult classic to celebrate Japanese culture since 1996, with uber-bright planes covered in the lovable little monsters. At the moment, there’s only one Poke-craft left, the JA754A, a Boeing 777-300 featuring characters from the Pokémon Black and White video games. Better ‘catch it’ before it’s too late!

Nippon Airways Pokemon Plane

Flying 101

Got some niggling questions about how planes are made or how they work? South African airline Kulula aim to answer them with their amusing Flying 101 livery. The entire aircraft is painted in the company’s signature lime green, a striking enough paint job, but the whole thing is covered in diagrams and labels to help passengers understand exactly what goes where (well, more or less). It’s creative and very amusing, with fun graphics and lines like “The black box – that’s actually orange”.

Kulula Flying 101

About Emily Luxton

An award-winning writer and travel blogger on a mission to explore the world through deeper, more intelligent travel. Seeking out adventure, cultural exchanges, food experiences and more as she attempts to get to know the world. Lover of the great outdoors, sunsets, good food, and the odd bit of luxury!


  1. Yes, they are absolutely fantastic! I’ve seen most of those liveries on In this collection, the Icelandair is my favourite!

    • I think a few of these have appeared in other collections, but since the Aurora plane was only launched a few weeks ago I know that one is brand new! Actually that plane was the inspiration behind me creating this post – and I only selected planes which are still flying now 🙂

  2. I love the HeklaAurora. I’d read about it but thought I had no chance of actually getting on it. I was chuffed to bits today when our return from Keflavik to Birmingham was on it, it almost made up for not seeing the northern lights when we were in Iceland. It looks a lot nicer outside than in though!

    • That’s awesome – it always seems like these crazy planes never actually carry real passengers, so it’s nice to hear from someone who’s tried it. Did they switch on the mood lighting for you?

      Also – Iceland is on my list of dream destinations for this year. How was it?

      • Yep, the mood lights were on in the cabin and were a nice touch.

        You should go – it’s not as expensive as you might think, especially flights and accommodation. Booze and meals are the main expense, but it is a magical country. We didn’t do half the things we wanted to do in our five days, so will be back one day. Try and stay a week or longer if you can!

        • I will! Hoping to go later this year if I can fit it in – first I need to work out exactly what my travel plans are 🙂

          Definitely going to try to get myself on the Aurora plane, though!

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