Lonely Planet Writer

76-Second Travel Show: 'Airline logo awards'

I credit two things for kickstarting my love of travel:

  • my dad getting me a 'sun idol' outside the 1st-century pyramid outside Mexico City when I was five
  • peering out over the runway of the Dallas/Ft Worth airport and seeing a mixed array of pastel-colored Braniff jets -- and dreaming

Airports birth many travel dreams. Waiting for flights and seeing the runway's patchwork of exciting, artful planes named for countries you hadn't heard of before. Some have funny logos. Others use words beginning with 'Q' and have winged kangaroos for logos. Certainly as a kid, I loved any opportunity for airport time: diesel fuel in the morning smelled like victory.

And mostly I loved Braniff. It was the jet that took us most places in those early days -- trips to San Diego, to Mexico, to San Antonio, to Chicago. And it was the first jet to really mix it up with colors in its 'end of the plain plane' movement, capped with sculptor Alexander Calder's imaginative designs in the '70s. Airplanes as art.

Braniff, by the way, originally began in the Oklahoma oil boom in the '20s as the 'TULSA-OKLAHOMA CITY AIRWAYS,' my favorite airline name of all time. It'd evolve to Braniff, then collapse by 1982, shortly after J.R. Ewing got shot on the TV show 'Dallas.'

Considering that United/Continental -- apparently -- will be called 'United' from 2011, but look 'Continental,' I figured it was time to tribute the best of airline logos, particularly Braniff's love of art.

Any faves I missed?