The 8 Most Unusual Airline Liveries

The colour scheme and stickers you see on an aircraft are referred to as the livery. Every airline has its own regular livery, but now and then you’ll see aircraft that have undergone a spectacular metamorphosis, usually to celebrate some unique event or occasion. Here are the 8 of most unusual airline liveries I could find:

8. Peace and love, bro!

The Swiss Hippy – that would be the best way to describe this Swiss A340. With a flower on its nose and fuselage full of peace and love, this groovy bird’s plumage celebrates direct service between Zurich and San Francisco. Far out, dude!


7. The Berlin Bear

Ever seen a flying bear? I have. Germanwings gave “paws for thought” or “pause fur thought” with this growling A319-122. The bear is the official symbol and ambassador of Berlin, which is why this Airbus became a “Bearbus”. 

livery list

6. D’oh!

Ai Caramba! How yellow can you get? Very yellow! In 1995, a Western Pacific Boeing 737-300 was used in an advertisement for the Fox Broadcasting Company, which decided there was no better way of “airing” The Simpsons. The whole family is there, with Marge Simpson bringing up the rear, probably because the tail was the only place that could accommodate her bright-blue beehive hairdo. Sadly, this livery has now been painted over.


5. All-Black

Air New Zealand regularly comes up with original ways to incorporate national pride in its livery. The regular livery features the Koru symbol of the Maori (the original inhabitants of New Zealand), but in 2014 an entire Boeing 787 Dreamliner was painted black, with a white fern on the tail, celebrating the success of New Zealand’s national rugby team, the All-Blacks.

livery list

4. One livery to rule them all

During the filming of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies, Air New Zealand reinvented itself as the “Official Airline of Middle Earth”. This unique livery features heroes from the blockbuster movies. A logical choice, because they were all filmed on location in New Zealand. Don’t be surprised if you see Smaug the dragon floating in to land. It’s probably just a Boeing 777-300 in disguise.


3. Gotta catch them all!

I spent thousands of hours and way too much pocket money on Pokémon cards. These colourful Japanese characters were hugely popular in the Netherlands, as they were in the rest of the world. When the first Pokémon movie was released in 1998, All Nippon Airways cleverly picked up on this global hype, decorating a Boeing 767-300 and a 747-400 with a few of the 151 Pokémon characters. These aircraft proved so popular that, within a few weeks, the airline decided to transform another 767 into a Pokémon Jet. Today, there have been no fewer than nine of these Pokémon Jets in service!


2. Blue Delftware tiles

KLM’s Delftware Jet took to the air in 2011. KLM’s classic blue livery was covered in 4,000 blue Delftware stickers. These “tiles” featured the faces of KLM fans. During our Tile & Inspire campaign, we invited KLM fans on Facebook to create Delftware profile photos of themselves. These were used to decorate an aircraft for/with our fans, celebrating a popular part of our Dutch heritage. This livery is no longer around, but fortunately we still have the photos and movies!

1. Hekla Aurora

And the winner is Icelandair, which really has come up with a unique way of celebrating the magnificence of its home country. The Boeing 757 “Hekla Aurora” not only features the spectacular Aurora Borealis on the outside, but also has unique cabin lighting mimicking this natural phenomenon. Iceland is one of the best places on earth to see these Northern Lights, and it was a spectacular stroke of genius to display them on a plane!


Have you spotted any unique liveries recently? If so, please let me know.

Posted by:   Ben Kortman  | 
Join the conversation Show comments


I saw Titan Airways paint half of space on theirs and the old Astradeus airlines have “Iron Maiden” painted on their planes.

DOesn’t KLM have a Skyteam liveried plane?


Yes 3. A B777, B737 and Embraer.


In case you are interested most of these liveries are made with high quality Avery Dennison films.


I miss Kalula’s funny livery in this list!

Ben Kortman

Do you mean the green ‘flying 101’ livery? I love the lime green color indeed ;)


Yes me too!!


You should lookup the livery of Nok Air! They paint their planes like birds.

Ben Kortman

Nice one Tom!


That all-black livery on the 787 is ♥

Ben Kortman

I agree Chris :D

Abdul kaboor

World largest flight in KLM, the flight pictures is nice

Alex Jansen

Ben Kortman

Hahaha nice one Alex!


Oh, did you forgot EVA Air’s B777 Hello Kitty livery? :-)


You forgot Finnair’s Angry Birds livery (probably the thing Finland is most famous for), on one of their A340s for the HEL-SIN route. Video:


I’m proud to see two Air New Zealand (special) liveries in the top eight.

Ben Kortman

Always happy to help. I love Air New-Zealand. Almost as much as KLM ;)


Western Pacific went bankrupt after less than 5 years in business. So not only is the Simpsons plane gone, so is the rest of the airline.

Ben Kortman

True story Chris. Shame. I really laughed when I saw this plane.


i’m old enough to remember when Braniff Airlines had the artist Alexander Calder decorating an airplane. It was called “A Splash of Colors,” as best I recall. I remember seeing it growing up in Kansas City. Southwest Airlines now has several planes painted to look like the flags of states they fly to which is also kind of cool.

Ben Kortman

Thanks for sharing Ward! I’ll look this one up :D


I really love the Delfts Blue Plane, as well as the Delfts Blue KLM Houses.

Ben Kortman

I love them too Theya! Have you read my blog about the KLM Houses?

Lolita M Balboa

Very nice airline liveries. Educational indeed. Many thanks for sharing.

Ben Kortman

You’re very welcome Lolita :)


AeroSur from Bolivia had (I just found out they ceased operations in 2012) a very cool shark livery on their planes:

Ben Kortman

That will be the first and only time I’d ever want to be in the belly of a shark Guido ;)

Dr John Quinn, Chicago

The two QANTAS aboriginal-inspired 744s were unique and beautiful. One was titled Wanula Dreaming, I believe. They might not be around anymore. And I’ve seen your Delft 773! Very impressive.
Nice blog!

Ben Kortman

Thanks Dr Quinn!


WestJet in Canada who code shares with KLM has a Disney Plane which should have been on this list! There’s a YouTube video dedicated to the making. Search WestJet Magic Plane

Ben Kortman

I found it! thanks for pointing it out to me Andrew :) This one is breathtaking!

Frank van der Voet

There certainly are many one-off liveries on airliners these days. As for the KLM Delft Tile scheme, is that one still flying or has she been painted over to her more ‘usual’ levery? Also, the faces on the tiles, do they have any special significance? (KLM employees?). Just wondering as I did not ever see this scheme close up until now.
Great Blog.

Ben Kortman

The tiles are the faces of more than 4000 KLM Facebook fans, Frank. They had the chance to put their profile picture on this special livery.

Adam Smith

I’m surprised Continental’s Boeing 777 N77014 didn’t get a mention which was painted in the ‘Peter Max’ colour scheme.

Ben Kortman

Thanks for adding it in the comments Adam. That’s a great livery indeed!

Edwin Berends

I like this ‘technical print’ on a new Airbus 350XWB recently delivered to Iberia. It celebrates the extensive use of carbon fibre composite materials in hull & wings, leading to weight reduction & hence energy savings:

Ben Kortman

Nice addition to the blog Edwin! Good looking and functional. Might be the best way to pick a livery.

Ralph Teutsch

Ecuatoriana’s mural-painted planes have never been beaten!

Ben Kortman

Do you mean this one Ralph? I think it looks quite scary in this picture ;)

Lex de Vries

South African Airways also had a B747-300 painted in a colourful livery.It was painted for the 1995 Rugby World Cup and did a low fly past over the stadium before the match which South Africa won.

Ben Kortman

Nice one Lex!



Ben Kortman

Thanks Bonnie ;)

Sleepy Brook

There is only one Pokemon Jet in the fleet now. (JA754A 777-300 Domestic Version All Nippon Airways)

Jeff Williams

Spotted Windrose out of Ukraine recently. Designer is colourblind, or like Newfoundland fishermen, they paint their boats with whatever colour is available. God awful! And thank God that blue Air Canada mess is leaving us soon.


Good morning or night.
I’m not writing a reply to anything, but i want to know or to inform me what means the ”?” livery or sticker on Skymark airlines Historic flett Boeing 767-3Q8 JA767A plane.
Much obliged.

Rico Reuter

Here you can see the scheduled times of some planes of Condor, TUIfly, Brussels Airlines and Icelandair with special liveries.

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