There was a time when passenger airplanes wore more sophisticated outfits than they do these days.

If you look back in time, we find elegant typography, minimalistic paint jobs, low-key colors, simple lines and dynamic curves, streamlined lightning bolts, remarkable-yet-discreet logos. The following selection of photos takes you back to the golden age of airliner liveries.

The second Concorde in factory livery, at the British Aircraft Corporation’s airfield at Filton, Bristol, 1971

Photo: Victor Drees/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images


A Cubana airliner (Bristol Britannia 318) at Jose Marti International Airport, Havana, Cuba, 1971

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Photo: Beverley Reed/AP


Bulgarian Airlines Tu-134A in hangar, c1970.

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Photo source: CPCP - Братерство. Мистецтво, Київ, 1972.


An Alaska Airlines DC-3 on sea ice at Tigvariak Island, Alaska, 1949

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Photo: Rear Admiral Harley D. Nygren/NOAA Corps.


Hungarian Airlines (Malév) TU-154 B-2 at Paris Orly International Airport, 1989

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Photo: Kornél Umann/Fortepan


A KLM McDonnell Douglas DC-8 (and an Aeroflot Il-18 on the left), 1970

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Photo: Éva Romák/Fortepan


Aerolineas Argentinas Boeing 737, 1968

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Photo: Éva Romák/Fortepan


This Aeroflot Tupolev Tu-114 looks gorgeous even in black and white (1961)

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Photo: Fortepan


Malév Bombardier Q400 in a 65th anniversary painting (2011)

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Photo: Malév


...and the same paint scheme on an Il-18, from 1972

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Photo: Lars Söderström/Wikimedia Commons


A Cubana de Aviación Douglas DC-3 , 1965

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Photo source: Flieger-Jahrbuch 1965, Transpress Web Verlag für Verkehrswesen, Berlin


Pacific Southwest Airlines Boeing 727, c1970

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Photo: SDASM


Tenneco BAC 1-11, c1970

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Photo: SDASM


United Airlines Lockheed L-1011 Tristar, c1980

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Photo: SDASM


Pan Am Boeing 747SP, c1978

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Photo: SDASM


Air Canada Boeing 727, c1974

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Photo: SDASM


Saudi Arabian Airlines Boeing 737, c1980

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Photo: SDASM


Aerovias Guest Lockheed L-1049G “Super Constellation”, c1955

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Photo: SDASM


Lufthansa Lockheed L-1649A “Super Star” Constellation, c1958

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Photo: Lufthansa


British Midland Douglas DC-9, c1979

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Photo: SDASM


Eastern Douglas DC-10, c1989

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Photo: SDASM


Aeroflot Ilyushin Il-86

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Photo: SDASM


Delta Airlines McDonnell Douglas MD-11, 1997

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Photo: SDASM


Lufthansa Douglas DC-10, c1980

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Photo: SDASM


American Overseas Airlines Boeing 377 Stratocruiser, c1949

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons


Hungarian Airlines (Malév) Lisunov Li-2 HA-LIX from the Fifties restored to airworthy condition in 2001

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Photo: Attila Nagy/Gizmodo


Air Atlantique Douglas DC-6AC, c1987

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Photo: Ken Fielding/Wikimedia Commons


Martin’s Air Charter Douglas DC-3, c1958

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Photo: Ken Fielding/Wikimedia Commons


Top photo: Japan Air Lines Boeing 747 (SDASM)

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