Okay, after watching this, can you still tell me that you do not like the new United Airlines & Continental livery? Thanks to W, a frequent reader, for pointing this one out.



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: david@airlinereporter.com

Government Adds New Rules to Airlines: the winners and losers

Nice! I’m just trying to figure out how they made that plane hold still suspended in air while they flew around it taking pictures. I love the music.

Uh, seriously?


Just gorgeous, hard not to like the new livery!

No, it’s quite easy to hate it. It looks terrible. Save the Tulip.

The only way I will ever like the new livery is if the replace it with something else, because just about anything is better than this.

I loved the livery when it said Continental, will never like it with the United name.

The 777 is a beautiful airplane in any livery. But this livery still sucks. I never liked CO’s livery to begin with, it looks even worse with the United name, and the loss of the iconic Tulip is salt in the wound.

Dr. Adventure

They really should have made the bottom of the livery blue – this would have been keeping with the new UA look and the light grey is just not bold enough – and the globe still is not impressive.

Never much cared for the continental livery to begin with. But let’s be honest, United has had nothing but terrible liveries over the past few decades so this fits well. I sure hope this is an interim livery and they come up with something attractive in the future. But, with their terrible livery history I won’t hold my breath. Those blocky letters look terrible and let’s be honest, does anyone really like eurowhite? They would be better off going the retrojet route. Friendship one livery for all. Now THAT was a nice livery.

how funny it was to hear rhapsody in blue from years ago and not see the tulip on the tail, it just didn’t work…..it’s really hard to make a 777 look bad…..

A song does not make the United/Continental livery look better. If anything, it’s subliminally playing to the senses of its audience by getting them to associate the song with the adopted United livery.

The problem with the livery is brand recognition, and how people associate the livery to the brand. It is difficult to take a livery that is as mature as Continental’s, and just switch its name for ‘UNITED’ in Arial font. Mercedes-Benz would not be able to successfully do this if they absorbed BMW, nor would Apple if they absorbed Microsoft.

Airlines have a particularly difficult challenge because it’s not easy to determine what should remain intact after a merger. United is United and Continental is Continental. A good example of this is Air France / KLM. Air France still straddles the line with KLM, because there is no way they can get passengers to associate KLM with anything that even remotely resembles an Air France livery.

In the end, most passengers want the ability to travel to and from their destinations at the most reasonable cost and convenience. Premium travelers want the amenities, benefits and convenience from their preferred carrier. It’s not like customers can easily trade Brand X for Brand Y in the United / Continental case. So, United can get away with rebadging its aircraft with the Continental livery. It’s a lot cheaper than doing all types of market research and modeling of different liveries to see which will resonate most with consumers.

I don’t particularly care for the choice of livery under the merger, but it does look good on the B777. It doesn’t at all look good on the Airbus models. Then again, how attractive this livery is, is nothing groundbreaking. If it looks good to you now, it looked good long before you noticed it. Continental had a fleet of aircraft, all using this livery, for many years.

It would have been nice to see then tweak it a little bit. But, it comes down to dollars and cents, which is very tight for many airlines.

I was just thinking how Boeing took the McDonnell Douglas logo and it still looks good but it still doesn’t work with UA/CO. We all associate United with a tulip, just like Delta is a widget. It’s hard to flat out eliminate part of your brand and keep everyone happy.

I agree. The ideal is to see an air carrier innovate its identity after a merger. But, many merge simply to survive. Business is business, which is unfortunate. Innovating an identity won’t do anything to get a traveler to choose between Brand X and Brand Y, especially when airlines influence how customers get to an intended destination.

It would be nice, however, to see Airlines at least leave an impression with customers, even if the airline has strong influence over how the customer’s travel. That’s what I think is sorely lacking with domestic carriers. Again, dollars and cents.


Mmm yea, still sucks. Very lazy livery.

Also consider fleet age for each airline. United has a fleet that’s a full 5 years older, across their fleet, than Continental. Their fleets are identical in terms of numbers.

Wouldn’t it make sense to rebadge United’s youngest planes under the Continental livery, rather than repaint Continental’s comparatively young planes to a United livery?

That’s close enough to what they’re doing. The Continental planes only need the name repainted while United planes are completely repainted.

It’s just not the same, and it never will be. It’s like taking a Dodgers baseball uniform and cap but having the word “MARLINS” on the uniform. Just. Not. Right.

And I blame Smisek’s bloated ego. Gotta wonder how desperate United was to merge if they were willing to surrender the front office AND their iconic corporate identity so readily.


The livery still sucks, looks like a cheap unoriginal paint job.

I miss the tulip! Though I was fine with the Continental livery, it’s just not the same with the United name in that typeface.

In answer to the question: NO! And, David your romanticizing (sp?) one of the blandest corporate presentations on an aircraft I’ve ever seen. But, forget the airplane livery….I hope the new integrated website at least offers some comfort and joy.


Howe long are they going to keep two airlines logo? Should go ahead change to Continetal image.

I still think this is the worst livery ever. I would have much rather seen them use the UA name with the UA livery, or come up with a new, unique brand. I never really had any problems with the Continental colors, but as Brad pointed out above, it looks so wrong to have the United name on the side of that plane.

Mark W also hit some good notes in his comments – UACO had a combined $649m loss this quarter, and money is tight everywhere. But this seems like a “band-aid” for the complexities of merging, and a few years down the road, I imagine that the new United will come up with a completely new brand.

Correction. The original design with “United” in Continental’s serif font was the worst livery every. Regardless of what you think of the current one with a san serif font it is a world apart from then first concept art that came out right after the merger was announced.

Jesse, I completely agree. You are referring to the one in the CO font with “United” in lowercase like this (http://www.businesstraveller.com/files/News-images/United/United-Continental.jpg), right?

Yeah, that’s the one.

R Lopaka

Fugly!!! Wonder if Clay Lacy did the air to air? Company got what it wanted…pissing off both groups of employees. Should have just painted United on CO present livery not touch UA AC then painted all a “Uniting” totally new livery in the near future.

R Lopaka

PS.At least they kept Rhapsody!!!

but rhapsody does not work here.
I remember arriving at ORD with that song strong in my head, here in this commercial, it feels as though they are trying to push it too hard

Nice video but that combined livery is just not right. I think they would have been better off using the United livery or just coming up with a new name and livery. when I see that globe on the tail it just screams Continental and to me that is a marketing no no! If they are going to repaint all their planes then they should make best use of it by creating a new brand and new livery.

for those who do not like it you all will get use to it. Not a big fan at first because it looked strange seeing united instead of continental but united livery color really sucked at least continentals livery colors stay crisp and clean looking a big improvement. GO UNITED


At least it would’ve been nice if they somehow integrated both liveries… I bet that a toddler could do better than that! To me, the tulip looked like it was a face smiling back to me. It looked good and ALWAYS put a smile on my face and send chills down my back. Now…. none of that ;(

The new livery is something I’ll get used to but I agree that the already unimpressive Continental scheme is even less-so with the United name. It makes the aircraft look like a box of generic cereal. The Continental globe looks dated too…It would have been nice to see them modernize it as Delta did with their newer “widget” logo. Unfortunately, it seems like they weren’t really trying here.

It’s an awful livery. The United logo is known worldwide. The Continental logo isn’t really even a logo, it’s just a globe which hundreds of companies have worldwide. Plus, how can they use Rhapsody when blue is such a minor part of the color scheme now?

For United buying Continental it sure looks like Continental is getting the better end of the deal (livery, CEO, benefits, culture, etc.).


Just flew through IAH. Dozens of freshly painted United planes. Beautiful! Unquestionably the best-looking livery in the industry.


It’s dull, boring, stale livery – just awful. They are probably going with the Continental logo because United’s service reputation is now so tarnished. The latest United blue-and-white livery is great. But the best was the first “friendship” livery, the one before the stars-and-bars, featuring the United spire and “United” in bold Bookman Italic. Nothing more spectacular than a 747 in that livery.

The problem is not only the tulip, the livery, …
New United do not provide anymore a high quality service as before the merger!
That’s the point !

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