Air New Zealand has billed itself as the official "airline to Middle-earth" since it debuted its first

Lord of the Rings

livery on a Boeing 747 back in 2002.

But now, one of these iconic themed jets has been singled out in a list of the "ugliest planes that have ever flown", compiled by the UK's Daily Telegraph.

Air Nok's bird-themed livery also received a harsh review. Photo / 123RF
Air Nok's bird-themed livery also received a harsh review. Photo / 123RF

The Boeing 777-300, embellished with residents of Middle-earth was released in 2012 ahead of the first installment of Peter Jackson's

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trilogy.

Standing alongside our national carrier were other "ugly" airlines, including Bangkok's Nok Air, with distinctive bird-like livery, Russian-based S7 airlines, because "lime green only looks good on a New Orleans pimp", and Air Jamaica, with a colour scheme that "would not look out of place on an early Nineties ski suit".

In 2003, the Herald reported that a special low-flying "Frodo flight" to show off one of the first "flying billboards" around the country failed to draw crowds on Auckland's waterfront.

"Was that it?" was one man's comment as the small gathering of spectators wandered off.

However, school children in Gisborne were delighted at the sight of Frodo flying over their school.

Air New Zealand first Lord of the Rings-themed Boeing 747 in 2002. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Air New Zealand first Lord of the Rings-themed Boeing 747 in 2002. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Air New Zealand has been crowned best airline in the world for four consecutive years by AirlineRatings.com.