The flying public may know them generally as "paint jobs," but airlines call their colors liveries, a charmingly old-fashioned word drawn from Latin by way of France that originally described the uniforms of feudal lords. Commercial aviation: More regal than it seems!

While some airlines go the stately and reserved route -- British Airways' "Speedbird" and Union Jack, American Airlines silver skin and stylized eagle -- others have livened up their liveries in an effort to attract attention and build their brands. Most obvious case in point: There's only one hue you'll find on the side of a JetBlue Airbus.

But more and more, airlines are experimenting with their colors and partnering with advertisers, celebrities and even entire states to turn liveries technicolor. Even Hello Kitty is now on the side of not one but three Eva Air planes.

Who said airports had to be dreary.

Loading Slideshow...
  • JetBlue

    The official airline of the Boston Red Sox painted an Airbus A320 to match the team's grey road uniforms. Mark Greenberg/JetBlue Airways

  • JetBlue

    The iconic Boston Red Sox dangling Socks in the tail of a JetBlue Airbus A320. Mark Greenberg/JetBlue Airways

  • President Truman's Plane

    President Truman's DC-6 transport plane, built by Douglas Aircraft Co., featured a stylized American eagle, seen here in an AP photo from June 26, 1947.

  • American Airlines

    American Airlines goes the retro route with this "Astrojet" that actually made its first flight in 1999. <em>Photo: <a href="" target="_hplink">Wikipedia</a></em>

  • ANA

    Hey, remember Pokemon? So does ANA, which painted up these 747s way back in 1999. <em>Photo: Flickr/<a href="" target="_hplink">Suoh Sato</a></em>

  • AirTran

    AirTran partnered with Universal Orlando Resort to put Harry Potter on the side of this 717.

  • Germanwings

    This Germanwings aircraft promotes tourism to Berlin with a cartoon riff on the bear that appears on the city's coat of arms. <em>Photo: Timo Breidenstein</em>

  • AirTran

    Comedian <a href="" target="_hplink">Mark Malkoff</a> set a Guinness World Record for the most flight segments in a 30-day period, with more than 130 flights on AirTran. It even earned him his face on the side of this plane.

  • Nok Air

    This Nok Air jet from Thailand takes color and self-promotion to the extreme. <em>Photo: Sam Chui</em>

  • Swiss

    Daring carrier Swiss bedecked this jet with as many cultural stereotypes as possible. <em>Photo: Timo Breidenstein</em>

  • Air New Zealand

    In 2002, Air New Zealand jumped at the chance to promote the home country -- and Lord of the Rings. <em>Photo: Robert Mora/Getty Images</em>

  • ANA

    ANA rolled out this panda-themed aircraft in 2007 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its flights to China. <em>Photo: TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images</em>

  • Alaska Airlines

    This Alaska Airlines "Starliner 75" debuted in 2007, a throwback to the carrier's World War II livery and honoring its 75th anniversary.

  • Kulula Air

    South African carrier Air Kulula was an instant hit when photos of this livery -- designed to demystify airplanes -- hit the web in 2010. <em>Photo: <a href="" target="_hplink">Gadling</a></em>

  • AirTran

    AirTran celebrated Danica Patrick's first IndyCar win in 2008 by putting her face on one of its 717s.

  • United

    Chicago-based airline United gave a nod to the city's most famous TV host with Oprah's signature to honor of her "farewell season." Photo: Jim Prisching/AP Images for United

  • ANA

    This ANA Boeing 787 may look drab, but we give it creativity points for being the very first commercial 787 livery: The first paying customers on the composite aircraft took off in October. (AP Photo/, Joshua Trujillo)

  • Avianca Colombia Juan Valdez

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">franciscoduque96</a>:<br />The Colombian airline Avianca rolling a Juan Valdez Cafe (Coffee Brand) paint job.

  • D-ABMC (Air Berlin Santa Claus Tour 2011)

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">Airbus</a>:<br />

  • AirTran Georgia Aquarium

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">Airbus</a>:<br />

  • Air New Zealand All Blacks

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">Airbus</a>:<br />