Well, I have to say that it's still growing on me too.
The previews that UAL744Flagship posted in the weeks prior to the official unveiling were absolutely beautiful. I would say that I would like this livery MUCH better if it were closer to UAL744's concept.
It's pretty similar but there are striking differences:
1) The blue belly and engines of United's design are much darker than the brighter blue of UAL744's design.
2) The cheatline on UAL's design had thicker bands. Each shade of blue had a wider band, making the cheatline more pronounced and the livery itself much more colourful and bright. A very beautiful, eye-pleasing combination. United's official design has the cheatline too narrow, reducing the amount of colour in the livery.
3) The bands in the cheatline were a stronger blue in UAL744's design. United's design is more muted.
4) The tail logo in UAL744's design was positioned and sized much better on the tail. On all planes, the flying-U was clearly pronounced. The blue that surrounds the flying-U took up more space, perfectly framing the logo. United's design, however, doesn't border the U at all, instead cutting the U off and making the logo hard to recognize.
5) The U N I T E D font on UA744's design was blue, not black, further adding colour to the livery. HOWEVER, United's black font on the plane gives it a distinctly retro feel. When I look at it I have the sensation of being taken back to the 80s, a feeling I do not mind AT ALL
, since everything in the world of aviation was better back then, like hopping a 744 from JFK
My impression of United's official design:
Retro. Instead of a step forward it is more a livery that echoes the past. That's not a bad thing. When I look at this livery, I do not see "21st century". This livery was supposed to be fresh and modern, instead it became fresh and retro. Again, not a bad thing.
When I look at it I see echoes of several time periods. The dark, bold United titles and the blue chealine remind me of the "Friendship" livery and did so long before N766UA posted that picture comparison here.
The dark United titles also take me back to the 1980s. While the font is different than what was used back then, it's not too far off in appearance.
Because the livery is much less colourful than anticipated, it has less of a modern feel and more of a retro feel. Airline liveries with generous amounts of white were around long before "Eurowhite" was even a word. Alot of past airline schemes weren't done proper justice because too much empty space or bare white was left exposed. Interestingly, as much as we hate white liveries, we seem to have a nostaligic soft spot for unbalanced liveries of the past. The retro schemes. The ones that always seemed to collect alot of dirt that never seemed to be washed off. Ahh those were the days.
This livery brings that back. Yes, it's unbalanced. It may have too much white. It looks like a scheme that would show dirt quite prominently. It's exactly what many of the 60s, 70s, and 80s liveries were like. In fact all you have to do is paint that tail white or extend the cheatline up it and presto you have a bona-fide late 70's to mid-80s airline colour scheme.
For that, I like it.
As a 21st century scheme it leaves me cold. I expected a bit better, and I'm a bit disappointed.
As a retro scheme, I love it. Many elements of old and new, a "new" livery that feels old, feels nostalgic, feels good. I can't wait to see it in person, hopefully with a bit of dirt on it for old time's sake. It's rare that I've seen an airline come out with a new scheme, that looked like something that the previous scheme would have replaced.