Back to Squawk list
  • 44

American and US Airways Employees Have Spoken: The Flag Tail Stays

On Thursday, American announced that the employees have spoken, and the new flag tail is here to stay. “It was very close but the majority has spoken and the new flag tail will proudly represent American Airlines – and all of us – for years to come.” ( More...

Sort type: [Top] [Newest]

fireboy63 7
What I don't understand, as a graphic designer, is why they designed a tail-like logo (sits to the left of the wordmark "American" on the fuselage in the story's photo), but then didn't use THAT on the tail. I can see that the beak of the white "eagle" that breaks up the blue on top from the red on bottom would overhang (and they'd have to adjust for that when applying the design to the tail), but to me, that feels A LOT better than the disjointed, multiple gradient lines of the "flag" logo they chose.
JD345 1
Without the flag on the tail I think it looks like the airplane lost its shorts on the takeoff roll. With the colors they have, with the eagle graphic on the tail it would look really bland -- like when you see a secondhand garbage truck with previous operator's decals removed yet still visible.

If they're just going to put a logo on the vertical stabilizer I think they'd have to either paint it that red or blue color and have the gray featured in the logo, and that wouldn't work with that eagle graphic, and at a glance it would look a lot like US which wouldn't help with trying to create a new identity. To make it work they'd have to go with a whiter fuselage, darker text, and a bolder red and blue -- and white body, blue or red dominated tail would blend right in with half of the world's airlines. I'm sure they toyed with those ideas but went with what we see now because it doesn't look like anybody else's livery.
josh homer 1
While I agree with your design expertise, graphic design is based on the artist. You might me taught to follow curriculum, but artists vary, and critics vary.
Do you people really think that the airlines give a damn about what the public thinks about their paint schemes???
You're getting worked up for nothing. They could paint the thing Bahamian pink or prostitute purple. The service and operation will still be the same.
I would rather get a good meal and drink on the house, combined with on time good service, than worry about if the paint scheme looks like a Greyhound bus...
preacher1 3
and to boot, do you really think they would have repainted if the vote had gone the other way. It had no chance of losing to begin with. As one said above, it was just a feel good gesture.
MultiComm 1
Well no good meals and free drinks after spending millions on a new paint scheme...
JC Mahaffey 5
I like the tail, but the "slash/eagle" piece doesn't reduce well -- something any good designer would have addressed. It's only viable in a large size so the detail is visible.
Good! It's refreshing, good looking livery, represents both merged airlines well, and won't be an excuse for Korean airline pilots to see a flash of light (aluminum reflection)blinding them on approach (like they were even looking out the windows anyway).
I wished they would go back to the good old orange lightening bolt when they were truly a Texas airline with class.
Ted Hromyak 4
A big pat on the back to American and US Airways employees. GOOD decision.
hahaha. Do you really think they counted votes?
Derek Vaughn 3
Best looking livery in the business! I can't believe that nearly 50 percent wanted to change it..
Bill Pardue 1
I wouldn't call it the best livery in the business. United has a classy livery with the use of Continental's golden globe set upon a navy blue backdrop. Hawaiian Airlines is also nice. Southwest has got to have the ugliest livery know to the entire industry. Delta and Virgin America both have rather bland liveries that do nothing for their planes.
YUCK YUCK YUCK...ONE of the WORST liveries in the WORLD!!!!...

Its really to bad as the old one was one of the BEST in the WORLD!....well,was!!
Adam Carter 3
Exactly! Why change something that has been a great design and a classic
MultiComm 0
I thought that as a kid with Delta but now I love the new design. An update...ah hem...change every now and then never hurt too badly.
(v)e Same 4
Oh poor Delta. I still think their old design from the 80's was one of the best in history if not THE best... I know when they changed over a few years back I just shook my head. Me and my other ramp rats thought it looked like a bad love child between US air and British airways... And I don't dig the all red widget... So sad..
BIG MISTAKE, they should keep the US Airways colors and put the AA with the Eagle
on the tail. The AA logo is so iconic!!
JD345 2
Is it iconic because it's a great logo that transcends time, or is it iconic because they haven't changed it since the Johnson administration?
PhotoFinish 1
because they haven't changed it since the Johnson administration
What they really need is to keep us air colors and paint them in American airlines name and paint a big Piedmont Airlines speed bird on all of them since US Air bought Piedmont..
Bob Ploehn 3
Unfortunately, the Piedmont work ethic and service orientation was lost by USAir.
preacher1 2
yeah, it was. Piedmont was an Airline.
dax9876 2
This idiocy is part of the reason the legacy carriers are or have all been in bankruptcy. Why on EARTH would you put this to a vote? You spend millions and millions of $$$ designing a new livery, and then commence painting your aircraft... Why would you let this decision go to vote from your employees now that millions of dollars have been plunked into this? How about being democratic with important decisions that wouldn't automatically lose the company millions of dollars?
(v)e Same 6
If they spent millions and ended up with that design, I'd be asking for a refund ASAP! LMAO.
MultiComm 3
I understand being employee friendly but I agree with dax9876 ... if this is going to a vote then it should be done at the drawing board rather that waiting until a load of money is spent on it
preacher1 2
all part of being EMPLOYEE FRIENDLY and THE NEW AMERICAN. Douggie Boy's management style vs TH
PhotoFinish 1
It wasn't about the paint. It was about developing a relationship with workers. It was a gesture to make employees feel like they have a voice in the company.

In part, it was because there was so much vocal opposition from some employees about the new paint initially. This takes away one point to chew on and throw into management's face repeatedly.

At first the familiar is comfortable and the new is resisted. But people have had a while to live with the new design, and get comfortable. I suspect that management had a sense that the initial resistence to the change had somewhat subsided. If Horton had held a vote BEFORE the change we would've gotten different results.

So Parker gets credit for holding a vote that Horton couldn't have had initially.

So many express such devotion to the old logo, but it at the very least needed updating.

American can still bring back the AA in their materials, but the new 'linoleum knife' eagle looks a little better than the dated eagle between the A's.

The tail is quite unique and no other livery will ever be mistaken for an AA plane.

Logos and liveries evolve. This may not be the last change, but they're moving in a good direction.

When I look at the 'linoleum knife' logo, it appears to me that it was being developed as a tail logo. but since the tail will carry the colors, the 'linoleum knife' should evolve into lord if an 'A' shape.

If the logo had more of an 'A' shape, namely a wider base, it would more directly say American. So in a sense, that, together with a rerun to using AA in written materials (eg. AAdvantage) AA could go back full circle to the old, without actually going back to the old, flat dated logo.
Terence Rucker 1
Why couldn't AA modernize their iconic logo without too much change? Think of Apple, Chevron, IBM, Microsoft, Shell and others. They all managed to freshen the brand without totally alienating recognition. If you look up at an airliner flying over with the new livery, you wouldn't have a clue what airline it represented.

Perhaps they should block out an AA in reverse shadow on the tail. As a passenger, I don't want to fly on "an all new airline." I would like to think there is some continuity with the legacy of American.

That stupid-looking slash/bird thingy on the side has to go. As my wife said when she saw the new livery " I didn't know Greyhound had an airline." She wasn't joking. I told her it was American's new paint-job. She went "eww.."

Since I live near a major air hub, I see all the liveries go by. The new American livery doesn't stand out at all and nothing about it says "American" The bird-thingy on the side isn't visible, the stripes cannot be easily made-out on the tail. Aeroflot's livery does a much better job of looking modern and clean with the red,white,blue and silver. Whomever designed the new American livery should be ashamed for designing such a confusing mess.

Say what you will about the old livery but it was instantly recognizable. Even if you only saw a portion of it. Any good logo does that.

I have tried to like the new livery for a year now. I tried to like it. I really did.

It blows. Sad.
zuluzuluzulu 1
Delta's is just as ugly...However, I've noticed most of their aircraft still sport the Widget. Did they change their minds?
preacher1 1
I thought the widget was what they went to. LOL
MultiComm 1
The original widget as everyone knows and loves began in the late 50s as shown here:

The newest livery has the widget but is all red with blue text instead of blue/red widget and blue text. I like the new livery...would have been different if they had not merged with Northwest but again...a good blend on two airlines livery's
JD345 1
I still miss the red and gray NWA logo...
But " Legacy" paint schemes always put the employees in a bad mood when they taxi into an airport to where a"HUB" used to be and no one from the former airline is there to work it... I hear ya....
How can you have an American flag without stars. Look at NOA on their 767s; stars look cool. There is soo much Legacy and " Seniority" from these two airlines. Lets hope we can keep the " Legacy" OLD SKOOL... lol colors of the airlines that merged and were bought out. Sports teams are cool. I would like to see a DFW Mavericks plane along with an old TWA tail...
Has anyone noticed that on at least one A380 the flag is backwards? In other words, it doesn't 'wave'' aft....
Galen Labady 1
I think American should paint a couple planes with the design shown on that Airbus with the old AA symbol and the new logo since the old symbol was such an icon.
Bill Pardue 1
The flag tail is so so in my opinion, but it would have looked much better if they had not ccontinued it down to the fuselage. If they had just left it on the tail then it would be fine, but by stretching it all the way down the fuselage to where the rear exit door is was a bit much.
Eric Schmaltz 1
I don't think most people would have given it a second thought had someone not started the controversy! I think it looks pretty cool! (on a totally unrelated point...can we PLEASE do away with LOL in 2014 and forever?!?!)
joel wiley 2
The last attempt to do away with that acronym hit a SNAFU and went FUBAR.
Until there is a universally recognized sarcasm font, I think we'll have to live with it.
Allen Jones 1
Why not ask the customers? They don't provide the business. Clearly, AA has gone and US Airways is here. (Executive Platinum)
Dee Lowry 1
Really...???? The Logo on the tail doesn't represent how the Airline opperates. It's the people who do their job and do it to the best of their ability. A paint job is a paint job. I've been thru 5 tail logo's and that didn't keep me from doing the job. I may not have liked the design but I had a work ethic and always put 110% . Are you going to fly an airplane because of it's Tail? I, personally will look at their safety record, service and professionalism. What is the big deal about a "Tail Logo"?l
Nathan Quast 1
Are the MD-82's and 83's going to be painted in the new livery, kept in the old one, or gotten rid of of altogether?
Dave Gregory 1
Back when SWA retired their 732s in 2005, all of them, with the sole exception of N96SW, retained their desert gold liveries. Given that the last of American's MD-80s will leave the fleet by 2018, it is likely that only the newest of the MD-82s will be repainted in the new livery, although I wouldn't deduce the possibility that a full fleet repaint will be done.
mbv9415 1
I've been flying through DFW, MIA and ORD a lot lately and have yet to see a MD82/83 or B752 painted in the new livery.
JD345 1
While we're all familiar with the old AA livery, it's almost fifty years old. Airlines seem to get a makeover every decade or so, except AA -- their old livery is really familiar but had they evolved it through the years I don't think we'd be talking about it now. Because other liveries tend to evolve through the years they get their symbols that you can recognize from one generation to the next. But with AA, it's just been what it's been for so long without a facelift that this dramatic of a change is kind of necessary if they're ever going to change it.
Because the majority company isn't legacy. They were an LCC. Near recent timeline:

USA (legacy) goes bankrupt. AWE (LCC) buys USA. AWE is majority owner, making it a LCC.

AAL goes bankrupt. AWE buys AAL, and becomes majority owner.

AAL decided on the scheme change prior to AWE buying them. It would have come down to either AAL repainting anyway (to whatever colours AWE wanted) or AWE repainting their fleet. Either way, it would cost.
David Schmarr 2
A little fact checking, Brad. First of all, AWE (LCC), didn't "buy" AMR or American Airlines. AMR in fact represents 72% of the new company value, against 28% for the shareholders of LCC, which hardley makes LCC a majority owner.

It's important to understand that American's management took this company bankrupt with 5+ billion dollars in the bank! This was simply voodoo economics, exploited to destroy what was left of employee retirements. The same retirements that the pilots and others had agreed to sacrifice to help retain in 2003.

When it was clear to the world that the former AA management team was incapable of running an airline and when they were quite far down the road to ruining a pretty good airline, the employees helped to push for a MERGER of AA and LLC. This was the only way they could imagine to get rid of Horton and his gang.

Doug and his team were decent enough to poll the employees on their choice of tail livery. The new or the old. Only two choices, for obvious reasons. (Big money already spent down the new color road). Neither would be my choice, but alas, the new color wins.
Brian Bishop 0
Good points David, but you can't legally just "take a company into bankruptcy" without finincial justification. If the "5+ Billion Dollars in the bank" was just extra cash sitting around, any bankruptcy judge would throw them out of his courtroom. Those are the same types of legacy costs that have bankrupted the largest companies in the country.
PaulN2719 1
Worst paint scheme ever. Makes me want to fly ANY other airline.
Ken Lane 1
Like SWA?

It's my favorite.
smoki 1
I don't like it. It's tacky. Nothing elegant about it at all which the older logo livery presented.
joel wiley 1
If their HQ was in Chicago, I would have wondered about the count, but since it's in Tehas I'm sure it was all open and above board. As they say "it's not who votes that counts, it's who counts the votes".
preacher1 2
Sad part is regarding that though, is that Chicago has just managed to keep the political machinery alive thru this day and time. What they have nowadays seems amateurish when put up beside what used to be scattered across the South in the not to far distant past. Each county had a ruling family and if you were working at State level, you had to have the blessings of that family. There were cases where that control crossed over county lines as well. That is why some counties in the South are still dirt poor today. Those families didn't not want factories in their county as it would rob them of field hands for their big farms.
Ken Lane 1
I'm not sure about that tail. That looks pretty tacky.

Before I left for Christmas vacation, I was talking with one of my vendors who is an AA captain. I mentioned I fly only SWA between Austin and Phoenix followed with, "Unpainted aluminum just doesn't do it for me."
Bob Ploehn 2
New design does not have unpainted aluminum.
Ken Lane 0
So, it's gray to nearly look like aluminum? Odd.

At least it has Texas colors! ;-)
Jason Feldman -1
It's nice that the CEO let the company employees choose the tail scheme - now if only he was open to letting the employees decide on executive compensation, contract negotiations, pensions, etc... LOL - I kid, I really do HAHAHAHAHA - but the CEO lets them choose the tail colors, how nice.

Maybe the boss man will let the employees decide on a mascot too some day - you know, if they all behave
Matt Hauke 0
I like their new Livery. It is a lot better then the old one which was so bland and boring.
New tail new attitude with those pesky passengers?
joel wiley 0
Hey, its a cheap flashy gesture that enables the galley slaves a chance to feel that they are involved in the decision making process (if the so desire). As for us Pax, we're most likely to see it in an ad somewhere. Maybe a momentary flash as it pulls up to the gate, then its thru the jetway inside till the destination. As I'm rolling off the plane in the cattle drive back up the jetway, I'm wondering what if my check-thrus made the same flight. Not likely to turn around and gaze back and say 'oooo, nice tail logo'.

I just don't see it as a high interest topic.
Brian Bishop 0
I like it, for what that's worth (JMO), but I'm glad they're repaintint AWE's fleet. Never liked it anyway (or the airline for that matter).
preacher1 3
Douggie Boy has got what his ego has always wanted, the world's biggest airline, now all merged and out of bankruptcy, shed of all that pesky stuff called debt, with somebody else to blame it on; He can come in now like a shining knight on a white horse and be good buddy to everybody, and the guy that is primarily responsible for it all, both good and bad, is fading off in the sunset, crying all the way to the bank.
AWAAlum 1
Do you know Doug? Or do you just know Tom? I understand your respect for Horton but I believe the disrespect you're spreading for Parker is unfair. The man has done an unbelievable job of pulling a couple of bankrupt airlines up by their bootstraps under what's possibly been the worst and most difficult of times in airline history. He has succeeded in taking three (3) airlines out of bankruptcy and I might add his job as CEO of America West began the day before 9/11. I don't think there are a lot of people out there who can claim a success such as that. A lot of you are badmouthing a man who's pretty much done the impossible. I don't suppose any one of you could have done nearly as well. Give the man a break and see what the future brings. Then make yourself into judge and jury.

PS-I like the new livery as well. As much as I like the AA, it is dated and it's time to bring it into the 21st century.
preacher1 1
I will take a wait and see. Knowing that he started at AA under Horton, when he left, yes, admittedly he succeeded with the other airlines but there was no caring in regardless of the image projected. It was and will be ego driven. We shall see.
saso792 0
Doug didn't pull American Airlines up by their bootstraps. They had already turned the corner and making record profits by the time of the merger and him being CEO of the new American didn't make it. They would have been just fine without him.

You say to give Doug "a break and see what the future holds". Well get ready for step one. He is going to attempt to put thousands of American Eagle employees and their families in the poor house with his greed. His attempt will be in the form of trying to force over 3000 American Eagle pilots to take concession cuts while American is making record profits and then when they refuse the cuts, he will close American Eagle and blame it all on the pilots for not taking cuts. He is not worried about the Eagle employees and families which are already struggling to make ends meet on their current wages while he is living the high life.

After that, he will try to give the Eagle flights and new planes to other regional carriers. But one thing he forgot, there really is a pilot shortage at the other regional carriers and they are already having a big struggle placing qualified pilots in their airplanes. Wonder who he thinks will be flying those flights if they don't have pilots on the flight deck? Does he thing the current Eagle pilots will go to the other regionals? Nope, the Eagle pilots will NOT be looking for a job with a regional. They can't afford the cuts and they won't start at the bottom with another regional. The pilots also don't have the goal to retire with a regional carrier. They will move to the legacy carriers with a future and the legacy carriers will be hiring.

But, this is just the view of a bottom feeder and am not a Doug fan as you appear to be. I'm not sure why you are a Doug fan, but I'm sure there is a reason..............
Just to clarify here, you never liked US Airway's fleet, or America West's fleet?
Brian Bishop 1
US Air
209flyboy -2
Who designed this tail scheme, Liberace?
Hunalink -3
Looks like an old Greyhound Bus in the sky. UGLY! And in today's world ... you might as well just put a big bulls-eye in the middle of that flag on the tail?
vramos3 -9

Terence Rucker 2
Why are you SHOUTING?

Why couldn't AA modernize their iconic logo without too much change? Think of Apple, Chevron, IBM, Microsoft, Shell and others. They all managed to freshen the brand without totally alienating recognition. If you look up at an airliner flying over with the new livery, you wouldn't have a clue what airline it represented.

Perhaps they should block out an AA in reverse shadow on the tail. As a passenger, I don't want to fly on "an all new airline." I would like to think there is some continuity with the legacy of American.

That stupid-looking slash/bird thingy on the side has to go. As my wife said when she saw the new livery " I didn't know Greyhound had an airline." She wasn't joking.

[This poster has been suspended.]

JD345 1
The passengers don't give a damn about the airline, only their fares.


Don't have an account? Register now (free) for customized features, flight alerts, and more!
Did you know that FlightAware flight tracking is supported by advertising?
You can help us keep FlightAware free by allowing ads from We work hard to keep our advertising relevant and unobtrusive to create a great experience. It's quick and easy to whitelist ads on FlightAware or please consider our premium accounts.