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…
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.
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!
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.
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!
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”.
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!
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”.