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Aircraft liveries don’t materially impact the passenger experience, but to the general public, they are the brand — while most of the world’s population will never set foot on a United plane, many would recognize the carrier’s blue and gold colors, and the prominent globe tail design.

Now, following years of flying a design that was more or less a holdover from Continental — and a long, storied livery lineage — United has finally unveiled its new colors, falling more in line with the airline’s revamped overall aesthetic. Some elements have also made their way to the company-wide uniform redesign, expected to roll out in 2020.

“Cleared for takeoff” — nearly a full day ahead of schedule. Journalists are flying to Chicago for United’s official unveiling tomorrow — some may even be in the air right now, and probably won’t be so thrilled to see that United jumped the gun and shared its new livery the night before Wednesday’s much-anticipated event.

The airline even flew its refreshed bird up to Chicago under the cover of darkness early Tuesday morning — it’s curious that it’s come out of hiding just hours before the planned grand reveal.

Anyway, back to the livery — it’s… blue! So, so blue. The design itself is similar to the livery you’ll see flying on every other United jet today, with a recognizable font and a familiar globe on the tail. Just without any hints of the gold accents we’ve had for years.

This is all we get for now — but, tomorrow, I’ll be getting up close and personal with the new design at Chicago O’Hare (ORD), just a few miles up the road from United’s headquarters. We’ll hopefully learn more about first flights, rollout plans and other key details as well, so stay tuned for more to come later this week.

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