Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Down Low on the Down Under

It's time for another installment of the Best Color Scheme Tournament - this time, we're heading to Oceania. If you're as old as I am and went to school a long time ago, you may have been taught at said institution that this continent was simply called "Australia." Apparently that is wrong and is the equivalent of calling anything north of Westchester County, NY "Upstate." I won't ever make that mistake again. But, I diverge...on to the important stuff. Let's find out who will join AeroMexico and Varig in the Dance.

Here is the set-up: We have eight participants broken up into two brackets. Here are our randomly selected first round matches:

Bracket 1:
Qantas v. Air Kiribati
Polynesian Blue v. Solomon Airlines

Bracket 2:

Air New Zealand v. Air Marshall Islands
Air Nauru v. Air Vanuatu

And, NO, I did not make up these names. On to the Bracket 1's matches...

Qantas v. Air Kiribati: On paper, this match is a blowout. Qantas is the premier airline of the region AND it has a very nice color scheme to boot. I'm a fan of the kangaroo. As you recall, national symbolism is a factor to be considered in the overall analysis of the color scheme. Air Kiribati's design appears to be a sunset, which is nice, but, and this may be a stretch, most countries have sunsets so it's not very original. WINNER: Qantas.

Polynesian Blue v. Solomon Airlines: I am personally very conflicted with this match. On the one hand, Solomon Airlines looks like the Brasilian flag, and as an Argentinian you know how I feel about that. And the stars, they look like they were stenciled in by first graders learning their shapes. On the other hand, I have a deep philosophical problem with an airline having "blue" in its name and being almost entirely red. WINNER: Solomon Airlines.

And now, the Bracket Final...

Qantas v. Solomon Airlines: Maybe it was unfair to pick on Solomon Airlines' colors. After all, if you inspect the flag on the plane below the cockpit, you can see that the colors on the plane are in fact also on the country's flag. So, national symbolism also applies to Solomon Airlines, I suppose. However, the kangaroo is definitely a more imposing symbol. Also, not to be the fashion police, but the baby blue on the Solomon Airlines engines does not match the rest of the scheme. The winner advances to the Continental Final, and that will be: WINNER: Qantas.

Very compelling indeed. Now on to Bracket 2 to find out who will face off against Qantas for a spot in the big show. To the matches...

Air New Zealand v. Air Marshall Islands: If you look closely again at the Marshall Islands flag underneath the cockpit, you will see that the country's flag and the airline's color scheme are almost a carbon copy. There's a lot to be said for using your country's colors on your flag carrier, but a little creativity would be appreciated. Air New Zealand has a simple, yet compelling color scheme. I like the forward looking arrow-like design on the tail. It implies progress and moving forward. WINNER: Air New Zealand.

Air Nauru v. Air Vanuatu: In my opinion, this is the closest first round match so far. You have a tale of two approaches: the extravagant yet tasteful design on Air Vanuatu and the classy yet intriguing color scheme on Air Nauru. I lean towards Air Vanuatu's bold design here because not only is it fun to look at, but it matches. The engines match the underbelly, which match the winglets. I am probably the most unqualified person to be making judgement calls on colors matching because until recently I didn't even wear matching socks. WINNER: Air Vanuatu.

And now, let's see who will face Qantas...

Air New Zealand v. Air Vanuatu: Talk about matching. Look at the outside wheel on the Air Vanuatu plane above. MATCHES! That is attention to detail my friends. I don't even know where this Vanuatu country/islands are, or if they even exist, but by golly, they are meticulous folk. Major upset here people. WINNER: Air Vanuatu.

And now...bum bum bum, the FINAL!

Qantas v. Air Vanuatu: What a compelling Regional Tournament. We had a classic matchup pending between the regional powers (Qantas and Air New Zealand). Just like in the other regionals where fierce rivals Aerolineas Argentinas and Varig and AeroMexico and Mexicana met, I was expecting a showdown to settle the queen of the Oceania skies once and for all. It was not to be because a little guy named Air Vanuatu decided to show up and it was upset city in Bracket 2. And, now, what will happen in the final? Besides the classic kangaroo that has gotten Qantas this far, I am also a fan of the "Spirit of Australia" slogan on the fuselage. It's humble but strong. However, just like I don't like an airline whose name includes the word "blue" but whose predominant color is red, I also have a problem seeing the letter Q not followed by the letter U. Does Qantas think they are above the natural laws of grammar? If so, they should take it up with her. The upsets continue, folks. It's a stunner in Oceania. WINNER: Air Vanuatu.

Wow, that was exhausting. Time for lunch.

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