American Airlines Employees Will Vote On The Post-Merger Plane Paintjob

What's old is new again, or what's new will still be new?

What’s old is new again, or what’s new will still be new?

It seems like only 11 months ago that American Airlines debuted a brand-spanking new paintjob — or “livery” as it’s called in the industry — and that’s because well, it was only last January that the company gave its planes a facelift for the first time in 40 years. But a lot has happened since then, namely its merger with US Airways, so things are about to change yet again.

This time around, Doug Parker, the new chief executive of American Airlines Group, is letting the employees vote on what the 1,500 aircraft will look like. Because apparently when American switched out its logo last year and put a U.S. flag design on the tail of planes, not everyone was pleased.

One US Airways attendant tells the Wall Street Journal’s Corporate Intelligence blog that while she likes the newer look, “I’m probably one of 10 people who do.”

CEO Parker told employees on Monday that workers will have two tail options to vote on: The newer, striped tail, or one with the AA logo on it like it used to be in the past.

But the old buffed-silver livery on the fuselage can’t come back, because of the materials used in some of the US Airways fleet and new planes that have been ordered. The new American logo of what looks kind of like an eagle’s beak bisecting a red-and-blue wing will also have to stay.

“However you may feel about the new livery and branding, the fact is it would be irresponsible for us to start over from scratch,” Parker said.

But if workers do vote for the old AA logo on the tail, that could be a bit of an issue, Parker says.

“The problem with this design is that it contains two different logos,” he writes in the letter to employees. “Brand experts tell us this is not ideal, that we should stick with just one. But if our team members decide they would like to keep AA on the tail of our airplanes, we will manage just fine.”

That being said, he also adds that so far as his preference goes, “I honestly do not care.”

The public will have a say as well, or at least American/US Airways are asking people to voice their thoughts on Twitter by tweeting with the hashtags #switchtail or #keeptail. But the official vote will only be up to employees, who can vote until Jan. 2.

Airborne Democracy: American Airlines Crew Vote on Plane Colors [Wall Street Journal]