So I like commercial airliners. I find them fascinating and fun to watch. That got me thinking about which ones I like best, which got me thinking, "Maybe I should spend a bunch of time ranking them for no reason".
That said, here is my completely subjective, totally arbitrary ranking of a not all-encompassing list of popular airliners. I'm sure you're dying with anticipation...
Disclaimer: This list doesn't contain every airliner, or variant thereof, in service. It contains the ones I see most often in plane spotting videos. I don't care much about little regional jets and turboprops, so I didn't include them. Feel free to disagree with me and tell me that I don't know anything :)
13. Airbus A320 family: The nose is too stubby, the main gear is too far forward on the fuselage, and it sits too high. This thing looks awful compared to the 737.
12. Airbus A380: Form definitely follows function with this beast. Sure, it serves the purpose of hauling lots of passengers just fine, but that huge fuselage and small, tapered nose make this thing look like a neanderthal with a huge forehead. I like the way the wing roots slope into the fuselage, but there's just no getting past that huge cranium.
11. Boeing 757: Like the A320, it sits too high. The tall main gear and beakish nose make this bird literally look like a bird, and not in a good way. It looks like they shaved the bottom third of the fuselage off.
10. Douglas DC-9/McDonnell Douglas MD-80 family: Only two knocks here. The nose is too stubby and I hate how short the gear is. Something about this thing just looks cheap and dated. From the nose back and gear up, though, it's not that bad.
9. Boeing 787: I like the tapered and swept back wingtips. I like the serrated edges on the nacelles. I don't like the tapered nose.
8. Boeing 737: Not much bad to say here. I like it's shape, I like both the older "cigar" style engines and the newer flat bottom ones. It's managed to stay modern looking even though it's been around forever.
7. Boeing 767: Nice, solid, wide-body twin. Nothing awkward or offensive about the design and shape. That said, not much to get excited about, either.
6. Airbus A330: Pretty much the same as the 767, although I find it to be slightly better looking. The slightly more tapered nose and fuselage bulge at the wing root add some character.
5. Lockheed L1011: A classic from the dawn of the wide-body. Lots of debate over whether the Tristar or DC-10 is better looking. Personally, I've never been a fan of the way the tail engine is routed down instead of straight back so that puts it behind the DC-10 on my list.
4. Airbus A340: I love the way the -600 looks with that long body and big engines. Shame they're out of production.
3. Boeing 747: The queen. Even the most naive and oblivious in the world can identify the 747. My favorite is the -8I with the elongated front section. Looks particularly good in Lufthansa livery.
2. Douglas DC-10/McDonnell Douglas MD-11: Best looking trijet in my opinion. These things look strong, sleek, and powerful. They got a somewhat unfair safety reputation early on and I'm sad to see them becoming fewer and far between.
1. Boeing 777: Big, long, sleek and strong. I love the long body -300ER. I love those gigantic GEs. I love the 6-wheel mains. I love the blade tail. This is my favorite commercial aircraft, bar none.