From the 1970's, the updated Friend Ship United livery.

From the 1970's, the updated Friend Ship United livery.

The United Airlines voting booth is closed and a winning livery has been announced for United’s retro livery: the Friend Ship United Airlines livery. I am told that the retro livery will be put on an Airbus A320 and not on a Boeing 757 as previously reported. That’s too bad since my main argument against the Saul Bass livery (which I love dearly) is I have seen it on a Boeing 757, but I have never seen it on an Airbus A320. Plus, I think liveries just seem to look better on Boeing 757s than on the A320. Oh well, better than no retro livery.

It is unknown when the new livery will make its debut, but I am told it will be a part of United’s 85th birthday celebration, which would be in 2011 sometime.  I would also assume United would be celebrating the union of two airlines into the new United. I hope that United will have their Airbus A320 in retro Friend Ship livery right next to Continental’s Boeing 737 in Blue Skyway livery (hint, hint United).

United asked their employees to vote on the retro livery they wanted to see and the Friend Ship livery won with about a third of the votes. I also conducted a United Airlines retro livery poll and 27% of the more than 1200 votes wanted to see the Saul Bass livery. For me, it was a win-win. I love airline liveries and especially enjoy retro liveries. Although not my first choice, I am very excited to see the new-old Friend Ship livery on an Airbus A320 soon.

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me: [email protected]

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9 Comments

I think liveries just seem to look better on Boeing 757s than on the A320

I agree, but just because a 757 isn’t a short, stubby, bulbous-nosed little thing.

I think Friend Ship livery is beautiful and somehow more timeless and graceful than the Saul Bass livery which just looks so 70’s/80’s.

I remember the Friend Ship livery on DC-8’s, and the 757 is the closest in scale. Wish they’d paint a 757 in Friend Ship livery.

I initially wanted the Saul Bass livery, but glad a more retro one won out. I was hoping for the 1937(?)/first livery, but happy nonetheless. I love the Piedmont plane out there, and Lufthansa’s retro A321 is fantastic. Thanks for posting the winner!

On looking more closely at the picture, it reads “United 757 Friend Ship” on the fuselage, and you can see the door 2L outline – so maybe we’ll get our 757!

It looks a hell of a lot better than the new livery they are rolling out.

OK I know I’m “old” because to me this isn’t so Retro as I was born in 1971!
I love the look on the 757. They should paint them all like this. I like the “happy”
font United 757 Friend Ship.

Is that really all there is to it because that’d be flabbregsatnig.

Why don’t they just do all of them? They have enough aircraft… I think the “friend ship” is one of the worst ones. The Saul Bass and earlier Mainliner liveries are so clean and professional.

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