Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Would You Fly Air Hello Kitty?

It made me laugh. Until I realized I was going to board it. 

EVA Air and Hello Kitty. How about that for an unlikely cooperation? Or isn't it? The companies actually complement each other in ways you won't believe. EVA Air supplies the aircrafts and the crew. Hello Kitty takes care of pretty much anything else. The result? Air Hello Kitty. Pretty priceless. 

How many Hello Kitty products can you see here? Do note the vegetable thing that is shaped as the figure. 

5 out of the airline's 46 passenger jets have been painted in Hello Kitty themes. I was unaware of this until I boarded two of them between Seoul and Taipei and onwards to Guam. The themed planes may calm down younger passengers before flying, but it didn't exactly reassure me. 

Pink overdose, and not the artist

A normal EVA air boarding pass and a Hello Kitty one.
Which one would you prefer? Collect enough if the
Kitty version, and you can win Kitty prices.
Just sayin'.
"Does that thing fly?" My first reaction. Followed by laughter. Slightly nervous laughter. Male travellers that are looking for a masculine boost should definitely stay far, far away. Because Hello Kitty hasn't only made her mark on the outside, Hello Kitty products are everywhere in the plane too. And most of them are pink. The airline claims that there are over 100 Hello Kitty products on the inside. The boarding cards, the plastic cutlery, the toothpics, the pillows, the napkins, the cups, the trays, the headrest covers, the toiletries, the cabin crew's aprons, the welcome video on the personal screens, the ice cream, the special ice cream spoon and the stirring pin to mix the sugar into your tea with. They are all Hello Kitty. Even a piece of fruit in the salad is shaped as Hello Kitty, not to mention the theme of the instructions on how to evacuate the aircraft in case of an emergency. Had enough yet? Well, you will then probably be pleased to know that the throw-up bags come with Hello Kitty on them. Help yourself.

The special Hello Kitty boarding passes are especially popular, as collecting them enable you to win prizes. Hello Kitty products, of course. Allegedly "exclusive Eva Air Hello Kitty gifts" even.

Fois gras

The animation is cute enough, but bring earplugs. 
K.W. Chang, who is Chairman of EVA Air, claims that their Hello Kitty Jets are much-loved. And judged by the number of passengers on the two flights I flew, he is right. Even business class, or Royal Laurel Class, was full. No surprise, of course, if you read about the benefits in EVA Air's inflight magazine. It says: "Premium Laurel Class passengers can look forward to Hello Kitty-inspired fois gras [...]" Does that mean cat liver, or is it just pink?

So, is EVA Air some strange non-serious airline? Not at all, it has a history that goes back 20 years, and it will join Star Alliance, the world's biggest airline alliance, in June 2013.

The collaboration is actually between EVA Air and the Japanese company Sanrio which owns Hello Kitty. It isn't new is new, but they have been at it once before a few years ago. The "second generation" of Hello Kitty jets have received brand new names, though. Magic Jet, Apple Jet, Global Jet, Hello Kitty Happy Music Theme and Speed Puff Jet are ready to take you to the skies.  

The consolation if you overdose. You can puke in it. 
You want to read more? Check out their website. Just remember to turn down the volume before visiting. Turning down the volume is something you cannot do on board the plane. The welcome video is very cute. Once. But it runs on repeat. And the music is not very cute the 17th time you hear it. You may end up hurting your fellow passengers. With a pink Hello Kitty knife, of course. 

Only one question remain. When are we going to see a similar cooperation between Delta and Disney? The latter company has even got a flying crew member on board, already. Dumbo is at your service.

More photos below. 

Hello Kitty will also guide you
through any emergency. 

At least my pillow was blue, as opposed to the pink one
in the background. 

Of course you can also buy your own. 

Even some of the gates at Taiwan Taoyuan
International Airport (TPE) are Hello Kittied out.
Popular for photos, still.