I flew on a name-brand airline the other week. Airplanes are my reading room, so I packed my usual array of reading material: The Economist, Monocle, and Octane.
But who needs a couple hours of reading material when something as fascinating as this is hanging just outside your window?:
Where to start. First, there’s a bunch of mismatched paint that’s been dabbed on with a brush clearly stolen from a preschool play center. And there’s the variety of panels — some are deeper blue, some are more oxidized, so we can be sure that a variety of airplanes have been cannibalized to get this hunk of junk in the air. Personally, I admire that look on the Millenium Falcon, but not so much on a device I’m trusting my life to.
But wait, there’s more. Let’s look back toward the wing:
I applaud the airline for taking the time to locate, hire, and train the one individual capable of laying down a more dribbly line of caulk than yours truly. And look at that grease swirl at the junction of the engine nacelle and the leading edge of the wing. How artful — you can’t get that kind of fluidity of application by accident. There’s real technique at work here.
All joking aside, I actually don’t blame the mechanics who work on this plane. They’re probably good people who went in to the business because they were gearheads who liked working on airplanes. The root source of bad blue paint and the lack of time (and will) to do things right is more likely to be someone controlling a marketing budget who believes that cash spent on the rights to Gershwin tunes is more important than keeping the planes looking like the vessels of safe passage they need to be. Where would you spend your dollars?
I’m a believer in smoothing the transmission of the truth, so I’d spend the dollars it on matching paint, a new caulk gun, a buffing wheel, some rags, and the time and permission to do things right. Brands are about truth, and that truth must be fractal. Everything matters. Or else everything comes untied.