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EVA Air Brings Back Hello Kitty Jet Service
One of the world’s most playful passenger experiences has returned as EVA Air announced that its Hello Kitty Jet service recommenced on March 27, 2023. For over a decade, EVA Air has worked with Japanese company Sanrio to offer a unique concept, which features the iconic anthropomorphic cat and other characters from the company.
While the Taipei-based carrier’s Hello Kitty Jet service was suspended on April 1, 2020, due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, passengers are now once again able to take Hello Kitty-themed flights.
An Immersive Experience
EVA Air has multiple aircraft painted in colorful special liveries featuring Hello Kitty and other Sanrio characters. The first iteration of the Hello Kitty Jets was launched in 2005 but was discontinued in 2009. In 2011, the airline announced the return of Hello Kitty Jets, which has continued to this day.
Over the years, various Airbus A320-200, A330-200, Airbus A330-300 and Boeing 777-300ER aircraft have worn special Hello Kitty Jet liveries. Since aircraft are generally repainted every five to ten years, the airline has introduced over ten different liveries for its Hello Kitty Jets. Each aircraft is named based on its paint job, with the airline using names such as Shining Star, Hello Kitty Loves Apples and Celebration Flight.
The Hello Kitty theming extends far beyond the aircraft liveries. The presence of Hello Kitty is felt throughout the entire air travel experience. At check-in, passengers receive themed boarding passes and luggage tags. Upon boarding the aircraft, Hello Kitty finishings and amenities are immediately visible, with themed headrest covers, pillows and seatback screen content. In the seatback pocket, passengers will notice pink and white safety cards and airsickness bags. During the flight, EVA Air flight attendants don pink Hello Kitty aprons over their green uniforms to serve meals that include Hello Kitty cutlery ad other nods to the cat and her friends.
Five Aircraft and Three Routes
The Taiwanese airline currently has five aircraft painted in Hello Kitty liveries, down from seven before the pandemic. The current Hello Kitty Jets are:
- Friendship Bows: An Airbus A321-200 registered as B-16207
- Bad Badtz-Maru Travel Fun: An Airbus A330-300 registered as B-16331
- Joyful Dream: An Airbus A330-300 registered as B-16332
- Celebration Flight: An Airbus A330-300 registered as B-16333
- Shining Star: A Boeing 777-300ER registered as B-16722
Prior to the service’s pandemic suspension, Hello Kitty Jet service was offered on numerous routes, including flights between Taipei and Singapore, Seoul and various Japanese destinations. In the past, the themed experience was also available on flights to long-haul destinations such as Paris, Houston and Los Angeles. However, Hello Kitty Jets service is now only available on three routes:
- Flights BR115 and BR116 between Taoyuan International Airport (Taipei, Taiwan) and New Chitose Airport (Sapporo, Japan) are operating daily by either Joyful Dream or Celebration Flight.
- Flights BR255 and BR256 between Taoyuan International Airport (Taipei, Taiwan) and Denpasar International Airport (Bali, Indonesia) are operated daily by either Joyful Dream or Celebration Flight.
- Flights BR55 and BR56 between Taoyuan International Airport (Taipei, Taiwan) and Chicago O’Hare International Airport are operated three times a week by Shining Star.
When there are equipment changes on designated Hello Kitty Jet routes, the onboard themed service is generally still offered even if the aircraft flying that day does not have a Hello Kitty livery. Similarly, when Hello Kitty aircraft operate non-Hello Kitty Jet routes, the flights have regular EVA Air onboard service and amenities. This is currently the case with Friendship Bows and Bad Badtz-Maru Travel Fun, which are currently serving non-Hello Kitty Jet routes.
EVA Air has previously indicated that Hello Kitty Jet flights were very profitable, but the airline also faces unique costs with the service such as licensing fees as well as product design and manufacturing. Despite a three-year hiatus for the themed experience, the return of Hello Kitty Jet flights shows that the colorful aircraft will likely remain in the skies for years to come.
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