1Gol, Delta & Air France's Rock in Rio Airplane
Denton artist John Bramblitt touches the paint before his brush touches the canvas.
Through this process, he creates detailed art that bursts with color, emotion, and complexity. It's why viewers are always shocked when they realize that he is, in fact, blind. Originally from El Paso, Texas and a UNT alumnus, Bramblitt has been painting for years after he lost his sight due to complications with epilepsy.
Recently, Bramblitt's latest piece was chosen to be displayed on an airplane hosted by Rock in Rio, Brazil's renowned music festival and one of the largest in the world. With crowds that boast millions, Rock in Rio has hosted artists like Queen, Rihanna, Guns N' Roses, and Shakira.
The plane was used to promote the event through a partnership between Gol Airlines, Delta, Air France, and Spotify. A vibrant crowd below cheers, while a rock star in a jet blue jacket grinds on his guitar across the plane's rudder.
2EVA's Hello Kitty Airplane
Dubbed the Hello Kitty Shining Star Jet, the colorful cartoon cast appears on the outside of a Boeing 777-300ER as part of a collaboration with the Japanese animation studio Sanrio. The second generation of EVA, Hello Kitty jets will fly travelers from Chicago and the Midwest to destinations in Asia and China, while being surrounded by adorable animation characters. Even the cabin crew wears special Hello Kitty uniforms.
The theme continues in the interior, with the iconic logo appearing on headrests, pillows, air sickness bags, and even toilet paper. At dinner, devoted fans can chow down on Hello Kitty grilled vegetables and food shaped like the famous feline. The level of detail in the themed flights have won warm reviews from frequent fliers for injecting a little fun into the journey.
3WestJet's Frozen Airplane
In 2013, Canadian airline WestJet custom-painted a Frozen-themed plane with beloved characters Anna, Elsa, and Olaf on the inside and out.
The painters covered a Boeing 737 with more than 170 gallons of paint from nose to tail in Fort Worth, Texas. Rotating six-person crews worked 12-hour shifts for 21 days straight to finish the whimsical job.
The Arendelle sisters appear on the tail of the aircraft, where Elsa waves her hands to create magical snowflakes that travel the length of the fuselage to the front of the plane, where Olaf the enchanted snowman suns himself on a beach.
4Air New Zealand's Dragon Smaug Aircraft
Also in 2013, New Zealand's national carrier unveiled a giant image of Smaug the dragon on its plane to celebrate the premiere of the second film in The Hobbit trilogy.
The 54-meter-high giant dragon logo was sprawled across both sides of the Boeing 777-300 which was scheduled to fly to Los Angeles for the premiere of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. It was the first time Hobbit film fans got a full view of the dragon, whose eye was revealed in the first movie.
5Icelandair's Glacier-themed Airplane
Icelandair celebrated the launch of its new glacier-themed Boeing 757-200 airplane in 2017 by flying the special-liveried aircraft over its glacial namesake. The inaugural flight went from Keflavik International Airport, near Reykjavik, to the Egilsstaðir airport in Egilsstaðir.
The airline usually names its planes after volcanoes. But this one is named Vatnajökull, in honor of the Vatnajökull glacier that also was the inspiration for the paint scheme. The country's largest glacier, Vatnajökull covers 8% of the country's land mass and is home to three active volcanoes—Öræfajökull, Báròarbunga, and Grímsvötn.
6Dubai's Personalized Aircrafts
The Emirates Aircraft Appearance Centre, the world's largest aircraft painting facility owned by an airline, has completely stripped and repainted 33 jets in 2015, or 13 per cent of its fleet.
Emirates had some eye-catching customized decals installed on its fleet. This included the Real Madrid A380, the Paris Saint-Germain A380, the Arsenal 777, the AC Milan A380, the Arsenal A380, and the United for Wildlife A380.
According to Emirates, aircraft appearance can affect the operating and technical performance of the plane. A good paint job can also help reduce fuel burn, and this convinced the airline to invest in an in-house aircraft appearance center.
7All Nippon Airways' Star Wars Planes
To coincide with the release of The Force Awakens in 2015, Japan carrier All Nippon Airways (ANA) launched a five-year "Star Wars Project" that included a new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner painted with an R2-D2 livery, proving yet again that the droid does indeed have the ability to take flight.
8Norwegian's Freddie Mercury Airplane
Norwegian is celebrating its 71st birthday this year with a very special re-brand of one of its aircraft. Queen legend Freddie Mercury is set to be painted on the fin tail of a Norwegian plane.
The icon, who died in November 1991, inspired millions, and probably wouldn't be surprised that he is now emblazoned on an aircraft. As the singer once remarked: “I am not going to be a star. I am going to be a legend.”
The Freddie fin tail will officially take to the skies later this year, in time for what would have been the singer's own 71st birthday.
9Kulula's Fun Flying 101 Airplane
Kulula is a low-cost Johannesburg-based airline known for its quirky sense of humor. In February 2010 the airline put into service a Boeing 737-800 with a "Flying 101" livery highlighting different parts of the plane.
On the exterior of the cockpit, an arrow points up saying "Big cheese —Captain, My Captain!" The location of the "black box" flight data recorder was highlighted with a big arrow. If there's a better or more striking way to understand what's underneath the skin of a plane, we've yet to see it.