Cheatlines, how delicious. One of my favorite
AirOrange posted in the other thread about how the Skyteam members Continental and KLM had retained a distinctive cheatline that's been lost over the years by partners KLM and Air France, which I'd add Delta to the list. And it got me thinking about the impact of global alliances in the future, seamless travel, and the importance of the same worldwide identity that Pan Am's blue ball, TWA's twin globes, Air France's winged seahorse, etc. used to convey individually.
Walking up to the gate you didn't need to see past the cockpit windows to know where you belonged. When you boarded the plane, confirmation was there what airline you were departing on that day. Liveries came right up to welcome you on board. The great liveries over time have also retained a name, as they defined travel. "The Proud Bird with the Golden Tail." "Speedbird." "Centaur." "Clipper." "Friendship." "Astrojet." These are all words and phrases we can match to a specific airline, maybe a memory of our flights and experiences with them, that are as historic and meaningful as "The Silk Route," "The Coral Route," or "The Polar Route" in general terms have become. There's also a specific cheatline in our memories that correspond to each word or phrase. "The Coral Route" may conjure up memories of Air New Zealand to one, or UTA to another, but one knew
exactly where they were headed with its mere utterance.
The same can't be said today. Someone else called the current style of design a "humpback" cheatline, and I wholeheartedly agree with that description. It's a downward flow that pulls your eye away from the tail, where all the money and energy to define a brand has been spent. Away with them!
Rikkus67 used this photo to illustrate a point, the "Proud Wings" design for Canadi>n. I never knew it had a name. Thank you. This plane perfectly exemplifies the direction I think liveries should go in the future. A unique and identifiable cheatline incorporated into a design that almost makes the plane look like it wants to take flight just sitting there, while never losing definition of an airline's heritage and purpose in the world.
View Large View Medium
Photo © John W. A. Merer
The other day I ran across the "Adiemus" commercial for Delta that played in Europe in the mid-90's. The planes were distinctive! They did look like dolphins from the perspective they were filmed. Now we could barely discern Delta from an overpacked holiday charter airline from the same angle.
To return to my original observation, I see no reason why the alliances of today couldn't incorporate the best of their design into something that recognized their partnership, yet individuality, with more than a decal. A tall order, I'm sure, but one that would work towards incorporating the globalization that's our future, yet still being able to have the excitement one used to get when we knew
a V-Jet or Viking had arrived in town.