Don't change the "silver bird."
That's what customers and employees told American Airlines executives two years ago when the Fort Worth-based carrier first started working on a new livery.
And while executives chose the new tail and brand design a year ago, finding the right silver paint for its planes took until December.
“‘How can we find the perfect silver paint to mimic the silver polish?’ and that was, from my perspective the challenging part of the rebranding,” American's chief commercial officer Virasb Vahidi said on Thursday.
At one point, American pulled one of its MD-80s out of service, parked it at Meachem Airport in Fort Worth and painted it eight different shades of silver. (Technically, it was four colors but they had two shades of mica, according to Vahidi.)
Last December, American chief executive Tom Horton and other executives went to Meacham and stared at the aircraft under the sun.
"Finally, Tom looks at me and says 'Virasb, we're looking for that silver metallic look when people look at your car - I have a silver car - and everybody says it's silver, so why don't we get your car and bring it and park it next to the aircraft," Vahidi said. "So we parked it under these 8 different shades and we all pointed and said "That's the one that looks like the silver in the car.'"