Crazy, gaudy, clever airplane paint jobs

Story highlights

British Airways has launched a plane with panda-themed livery

There's a long tradition of airlines getting creative with paint jobs for promotional purposes

Alaska Airlines turned a 737 into "Salmon-Thirty-Salmon" after a plane hit a fish -- yep, it happened

CNN  — 

Does the paint job of an airplane – otherwise known as its livery – make a difference to you?

Does a pastel rendering of Hello Kitty or a cuddly panda impart a sense of fun and high spirits?

Or does it make you think, “Just who the hell is flying this plane and how serious are they about it, really?”

More: Too cute? Hello Kitty plane makes maiden flight to U.S.

Either way, airlines around the world have a proud tradition of getting goofy with the looks of their aircraft.

Air NZ's Hobbit plane - click to expand
Hello Kitty takes to the skies
02:16 - Source: CNN

Unusual livery designs are often meant to publicize partnerships or promote special events, such as company anniversaries.

The gallery above shows a few of our favorites over the years.

UPDATE: For those Gwaihir-eyed readers who noticed no Hobbits on the Air New Zealand livery and left us some comments on the matter, we have this just in from Middle Earth:

“I can confirm that this is indeed Air New Zealand’s Hobbit-inspired 777-300ER aircraft. Hobbit Bilbo Baggins features at the rear end of the aircraft which isn’t visible in the picture you have used,” the airline’s Emma Field told us.

We’ve added a different view of the plane to the left of this story.

And if you’re wondering about our answers to the questions at the top of this piece., they’re: yes, yes and yes!

Let us know what you think of creative airplane liveries in the comments section.

More: How airline liveries reflect a changing industry