APEX Insight: In revisiting its own history, American Airlines is celebrating the airlines that it acquired and absorbed in its ascendance to the status of world’s largest airline fleet – and this latest marketing move is all about it. Get ready to re-experience some retro airline liveries including the latest two carrying the colors of TWA and AirCal.
As the immortal Pan Am brand continues to prove, an airline’s livery can evoke memory and emotion from another era of travel. To call it garden-variety nostalgia seems too reductive: It’s about how the airlines that get us from here to there got here from there. In celebration of its multi-airline legacy, American Airlines has been rolling out a series of “Heritage Plane” liveries, the latest two carrying the colors of TWA and AirCal. Bringing the airline’s retro jet series to the present day is the current American Airlines logo, which is superimposed on each jet’s retro styling.
Aside from pouring on plane paint from the past, the carrier has been introducing equally retro amenity kits to those flying internationally in the premium-class cabins. The kits include felted pouches and themed socks. This is experiential time-travel, and will be available to passengers through January 2016.
“Customers will also identify with the historic logos and colors of the companies that now form the fabric of the modern-day American Airlines.” – Fernand Fernandez, American Airlines
It’s a delicate task, though, to craft the language around legacy livery. After all, we’re talking about mergers and acquisitions, which push companies together like tectonic plates. Lives and livelihoods of employees are altered, and the often-quite-personal relationships with passengers must be recalibrated. “We have more than 100,000 employees, each with their own unique story, and these retro amenity kits are a small tribute to the heritage of their careers and their legacy carriers,” said Fernand Fernandez, American’s vice-president of Global Marketing, in a press release. “Customers will also identify with the historic logos and colors of the companies that now form the fabric of the modern-day American Airlines.”
We look at the airlines whose liveries live again in these heritage amenity kits and aircraft liveries. Just for fun, let’s also surface their slogans.
AirCal (formerly Air California)
Acquired by American: 1987
Slogan: The Refreshing Change in Air Travel.
Trans World Airlines (TWA)
Acquired by American: 2001
Slogan: Today’s TWA. Find out how good we really are.
Acquired by American: 1999
Slogan: Change is in the air.
Merged with US Airways: 2004
Rebranded as American Eagle: 2015
Slogan: The up and coming airline.
Became US Airways: 1979
Slogan: The Big Airline with a Hometown Touch.
Merged with US Airways: 2005
Merged with American Airlines: 2013
Slogan: At America West, what we serve is you.