March 07, 2024

Embarking on a journey to immortalize the rich heritage of its historic fleet, United Airlines and MotoArt have joined forces to create a collection of United Airline PlaneTags, beginning with N7630U. Join us as we delve into the legacy of N7630U, tracing its journey through the skies, as well as the enduring impact of Saul Bass's timeless design, then set a reminder for March 7th to get your own official United Airlines 727 PlaneTags.


United Airlines: A Brief History  

United Airlines traces its roots back to 1926 when it was founded as Varney Air Lines by Walter Varney. Operating out of Boise, Idaho, Varney Air Lines provided air mail services in the western United States. In 1931, Varney Air Lines merged with Boeing Air Transport, forming United Aircraft and Transport Corporation, which later became United Air Lines, Inc. This merger marked the beginning of United Airlines as we know it today.

Throughout its history, United Airlines has been at the forefront of innovation and expansion in the aviation industry. In the 1930s, the airline expanded its route network, connecting major cities across the United States. It played a crucial role in the development of air travel, making it more accessible and convenient for passengers.

In the post-World War II era, United Airlines continued to expand its operations, introducing new routes and pioneering transcontinental flights. The introduction of jet aircraft in the late 1950s revolutionized air travel, and United quickly embraced this technology, introducing the Boeing 707 to its fleet in 1959. This marked the beginning of the Jet Age and solidified United's position as a leader in the industry.

Throughout the decades, United Airlines has undergone several mergers and acquisitions, further expanding its reach and influence. Notable mergers include the acquisition of Capital Airlines in 1961 and the merger with Continental Airlines in 2010. These strategic moves allowed United to strengthen its route network and enhance its services, cementing its position as one of the world's largest airlines.

In addition to its route expansions and mergers, United Airlines has been a pioneer in technological advancements in aviation. From introducing new aircraft models to implementing cutting-edge safety and efficiency measures, United has consistently pushed the boundaries of innovation in the industry.

Overall, United Airlines' rich history is a testament to its enduring legacy and significant contributions to the aviation industry. As one of the oldest and most respected airlines in the world, United continues to shape the future of air travel, connecting people and cultures across the globe.

United Airlines Fleet: An Evolution 

Photo by Kerry Taylor , used with permission. 

United Airlines has undergone a remarkable evolution in its fleet composition over the years, reflecting the advancements in aviation technology and the changing demands of the industry.

In its early years, United Airlines primarily operated propeller-driven aircraft such as the Boeing 247 and Douglas DC-3 , which revolutionized air travel with their speed and comfort. These aircraft facilitated the expansion of United's route network, connecting major cities across the U.S. and laying the groundwork for the airline's growth.

As air travel continued to evolve, United Airlines embraced jet technology, ushering in the Jet Age with the introduction of the Boeing 707 in 1959. The Boeing 707 allowed United to offer faster and more efficient long-distance flights, revolutionizing transcontinental travel and opening up new possibilities for international routes.

Throughout the following decades, United Airlines continued to modernize its fleet, introducing a diverse range of aircraft to cater to different route types and passenger preferences. From the versatile Boeing 737 for short-haul flights to the spacious Boeing 747 for long-haul international routes, United carefully curated its fleet to optimize performance, comfort, and efficiency.

The acquisition of Continental Airlines in 2010 further diversified United's fleet, bringing in additional aircraft types such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A320 family. This expanded fleet allowed United to offer an extensive network of domestic and international routes, serving a wide range of destinations around the world.

Today, United Airlines boasts one of the most modern and fuel-efficient fleets in the industry, with a focus on sustainability and innovation. From the state-of-the-art Boeing 787 Dreamliner to the next-generation Airbus A350, United continues to invest in cutting-edge aircraft to provide passengers with a superior travel experience while minimizing environmental impact.

In summary, the evolution of the United Airlines fleet reflects the airline's commitment to innovation, efficiency, and customer satisfaction. By embracing new technologies and adapting to changing market dynamics, United Airlines has remained at the forefront of the aviation industry, connecting people and cultures across the globe.

United Airlines Boeing 727

United 727


United Airlines' utilization of the Boeing 727 marked a significant chapter in its operational history, contributing to its reputation as a pioneering force in the aviation industry. Introduced in the early 1960s, the Boeing 727 quickly became a cornerstone of United's fleet, renowned for its versatility, reliability, and range.

United Airlines initially deployed the Boeing 727 on short- to medium-haul domestic routes, leveraging its capacity to efficiently serve high-demand destinations across the United States. With its ability to operate from shorter runways and smaller airports, the 727 became a workhorse for United, connecting passengers to key hubs and regional destinations with ease.

As United Airlines expanded its route network and passenger base, the Boeing 727 played a pivotal role in facilitating growth and enhancing connectivity. The aircraft's spacious cabin layout and comfortable seating configuration made it a favorite among passengers, offering a superior inflight experience for both leisure and business travelers.

Throughout its decades-long service with United Airlines, the Boeing 727 operated on a diverse range of routes, spanning from coast to coast and extending to international destinations in Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Its versatility and reliability made it well-suited for both domestic and international operations, contributing to United's operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.

However, as newer aircraft models entered the market and industry trends shifted towards more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly options, United Airlines gradually phased out its Boeing 727 fleet. The retirement process began in the late 1980s and was completed by the early 2000s, marking the end of an era for both United Airlines and the aviation industry as a whole.


United Airlines Boeing 727 At A Glance


Boeing 727 Characteristics:

  • Manufacturer: Boeing
  • Type: 727-222
  • Tail #: N7630u
  • Crew: 7 (2 Pilots, 1 Flight-Engineer, 4 Flight Attendants)
  • Passengers: 132 (14 First Class, 116 Economy)
  • Wing Span: 108 Ft 0 In
  • Length: 153 Ft 2 In
  • Height: 34 Ft 6 In

Boeing 727 Performance:

  • Range: 2,140 Nm
  • Cruise Speed: 470 Kts
  • Max Takeoff: 184,800 Lb
  • Empty Operating Weight: 98,400 Lb
  • Ceiling: 42,000 Ft
  • Rate Of Climb: 2,940 Ft / Minute
  • Engine: 3 X Pratt & Whitney Jt8d-7b



Saul Bass Livery: A Design Icon

Saul Bass, a visionary graphic designer and filmmaker, left an indelible mark on the world of design with his iconic creations. Renowned for his minimalist yet powerful approach, Bass revolutionized visual communication, shaping the aesthetics of film posters, corporate logos, and brand identities. His distinctive style, characterized by bold colors, geometric shapes, and striking typography, captured the essence of the subject matter with remarkable clarity and impact.


United tulip logo


Among his many achievements, Bass's collaboration with United Airlines in the 1970s stands out as a landmark moment in aviation design history. Tasked with reimagining United's livery, Bass drew inspiration from the tulip, a symbol of air travel and freedom. The result was the iconic Saul Bass Livery, a vibrant and elegant design that adorned United's aircraft from 1974 to 1993. With its sweeping curves and dynamic composition, the Saul Bass Livery not only distinguished United Airlines' fleet but also embodied the spirit of travel and adventure. Bass's timeless creation continues to inspire awe and admiration, a testament to his enduring a master of design.


Saul Bass livery United 737 in Saul Bass livery flickr photo by airbus777 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license



N7630U: A Symbol of United's Legacy


United 727


N7630U, a Boeing 727-222, was delivered to United Airlines in October 1968. It served with the airline until it was withdrawn from service in October 1992. N7630U was configured with an all-coach, high density seating layout with 189 seats. Less than 30 of this special variant were built for United, and featured an extra exit door between the forward passenger door and the overwing exits, which was plugged on N7630U. The planes were intended to serve a proposed “Jet Commuter” route between San Francisco and Los Angeles, however were eventually used along the California Corridor and other locations when the commuter route did not materialize. After retirement, it landed in Marana, AZ in 1997, and in 2024 was given a new life as PlaneTags.  

MotoArt Finds A Relic


United Saul Bass livery


United Airlines PlaneTags


Saul Bass PlaneTags


MotoArt owner Dave Hall recalls seeing N7630U for the first time. "We stumbled upon a treasure – this derelict frame still clad in the iconic Saul Bass livery. It became a quest to capture and preserve these amazing colors before this piece of history vanished forever."

Boeing 727 PlaneTags


United 727 PlaneTags



United Airlines 727 PlaneTags


Saul Bass PlaneTags


United Airlines Boeing 727 PlaneTags, made from N7630U, will be available on Thursday, March 7, 2024 at 12pm PST. Don’t miss getting your favorite colors - set a reminder, log in, and order your tags right at noon. 







United Airlines X PlaneTags: A Collaboration

The collaboration between United Airlines and PlaneTags represents a fusion of aviation history and innovative craftsmanship. By repurposing retired aircraft parts into unique collectibles, this partnership celebrates the legacy of United Airlines' iconic fleet while offering avgeeks and travelers a tangible connection to aviation heritage. Together, United Airlines and PlaneTags bring to life the stories and memories of these legendary aircraft, allowing admirers to own a piece of aviation history. Share your story with us on social media #showusyourplanetags