Decided to take a quick jaunt to Naples, Florida. Perhaps because I am occasionally interrupted by the rude roar of a Cessna overhead, or more likely because it’s raining (and I would rather be on the beach), I was reminded of an article I read in December in the New York Times, written by Jad Mouawad. Remember when commercial airliners decorated the skies, positioning themselves to be the most original, most memorable sight above? “Plain vanilla” is how Mouawad describes them now, and I would have to agree. It turns out that these are conservative times in airplane design (just as many would say they are relatively conservative times in Interior Design), fashioned by a depressed economy and  the airlines’ battle just to get passengers in their seats.  A completely no frills approach (how I was longing for a free pillow on this last flight)! Did you know that most airports (one exception is my local Westchester County, New York airport) have done away with observation decks entirely! Can I admit to still running excitedly up to the observation deck to see friends arriving?

I’ve assembled photos of airliners past and present, and gathered them (of course) on a Pinterest Board, for those of you who have an insatiable desire for all things aeronautic.

Today, we still have the time-honored, now “vintage,” American Airlines identity, for which the airline deserves credit:

Source: nytimes.com via Debra on Pinterest

Because some parts of the fuselage are no longer metal and need to be painted, it has sometimes morphed into this:

Source: nytimes.com via Debra on Pinterest

United’s understated design, below:

Source: nytimes.com via Debra on Pinterest

More recently became this, when United merged with Continental:

Source: nytimes.com via Debra on Pinterest

But remember Braniff?

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Even Alexander Calder got into the Braniff Act:

Source: nytimes.com via Debra on Pinterest

Pan Am’s symbol was ubiquitous on the tails of its fleet and in New York. Alas– the landmark Pan Am Building is now the Met Life building 😦

Source: nytimes.com via Debra on Pinterest

We had a brief affair with Freddie Laker, who then influenced the formation of People Express, based upon principles of transporting the masses on the cheap:

Source: nytimes.com via Debra on Pinterest

I would be remiss not to give an honorable mention for adventures in design to New York Air:

Source: nytimes.com via Debra on Pinterest

 Today, it is left to small, regional carriers to carry the design torch:

Source: nytimes.com via Debra on Pinterest

A Southwest Airlines plane can always be spotted when landing at an airport for its bright red underbelly–

Source: nytimes.com via Debra on Pinterest

Source: nytimes.com via Debra on Pinterest

     Jet Blue, a sentimental favorite:

Source: nytimes.com via Debra on Pinterest

But I have to admit, this Frontier Airlines jet caught my fancy (read the fine print)!

Source: nytimes.com via Debra on Pinterest