Airport In-Flight Experience

American Workers Vote to Keep New Plane Design

Old look, or the new design? American’s new CEO invited the airline’s employees to vote their preference. And they chose …

When American introduced its redesigned logo and aircraft livery in 2011, the reaction was decidedly mixed. Many found the new logo—half of an “A,” sort of, or is it a stylized eagle?—a less than compelling replacement for the “AA” mark that had been the company’s identity for so many years. And the new flag-like tail art on American’s planes struck many observers as awkward and ungainly.

There was a context to the project as well. American was in bankruptcy at the time, and the considerable time and money devoted to the rebranding seemed an especially frivolous use of the company’s resources.

Fast forward to December 2013. American had finally merged with US Airways, and exited bankruptcy. And the new paint scheme had been in place long enough to give everyone time to acclimate to the change.

Presumably as a gesture of we’re-all-in-this-together inclusion, American’s new CEO, Doug Parker, decided to let American’s employees decide whether to keep the new tail design, or return to the old tail design, which featured the “AA” mark, with a spread-winged eagle in the middle. (Scrapping the new logo was not an option. Nor was reverting back to bare-metal fuselages, since many of American’s newest aircraft featured composite skins.)

The votes were tallied, and yesterday the results were announced in a company newsletter. Out of 61,418 total votes, 31,355 (52 percent) opted to keep the new tails, versus 29,063 favoring the old design.

It will be many months before all 580 US Airways planes, and the 539 American planes still sporting the old paint scheme, are finally painted in the new colors. But at least we know what those colors will be.

With that settled, travelers can turn their attention to the more important questions: What kind of airline will the new American be? Will it be more like American in its heyday, the more recent American, or US Airways?

Reader Reality Check

What are your expectations for the new American?

This article originally appeared on

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By Tim Winship

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

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