Is air travel not whimsical enough for you? Does the inflight experience on most airlines not appeal enough to your inner preteen self? Well, we have good news for you! Taiwan-based EVA Air has what you need: a truly one-of-a-kind Hello Kitty themed service on select routes that will make any other flight seem boring by comparison.

Hello Kitty aside, I’ve wanted to travel EVA Air for a long time. Its Royal Laurel premium cabin is a favorite among the AvGeek elite for its excellent seat and service. Plus, EVA Air is part of the pantheon of elite Skytrax Five-Star airlines. So I included an EVA flight from Paris to Taipei in a recent Star Alliance multi-airline itinerary.

I wasn’t initially aware that my flight was a Hello Kitty service, but when I found out, I was thrilled! Not because I’m much of a Hello Kitty fan (though would I admit it if I was?). More because these Hello Kitty flights are an iconic AvGeek experience and a rare find.

Read on for photos and tales from my trip with Hello Kitty … *ahem* I mean Captain Hello Kitty.

The Hello Kitty Shining Star Jet, which is currently flying from ORD-TPE as BR55!

Star Alliance Lounge @ CDG Terminal 1

The trip started off at Paris Charles de Gaulle International Airport’s (CDG) quirky, fortress-like terminal 1. Star Alliance airlines share a common lounge at the terminal, although a few airlines do have their own separate lounges. The shared Star Alliance lounge is way too small for the traffic it gets, but at least the food and drink options are pretty solid.

After a brief break at the lounge, we rode a lengthy moving walkway to get to our gate.

Our Welcome to EVA’s Royal Laurel Cabin

Even boarding passes get the Hello Kitty treatment – Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter

I got a nasty surprise when I got to my gate and found myself staring at an EVA aircraft that didn’t have a special Hello Kitty livery. I was heartbroken, since the livery is a big part of the fun on Hello Kitty flights. The airline later clarified for us that we were the unlucky victims of an equipment substitution due to regular maintenance. I suppose it’s good to know that you can (usually) assume that a Hello Kitty flight will get a Hello Kitty livery. Fortunately, we later managed to find and snap a few photos of the Shining Star Hello Kitty liveried aircraft after we landed in Taipei — you can find it at the top of this article.

Once I boarded my flight it was clear that this would be the real-deal EVA + Hello Kitty service experience, despite the lack of a special livery.

The Royal Laurel cabin is stylish, but in a subdued way. Some might find the cabin finishes a little drab, but I thought the palette of greys and earth tones came across as pleasantly refined. Plus, all the Hello Kitty flair on this flight helped make the cabin look a bit more lively.

EVA’s well-known, well-liked Royal Laurel seat – Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter

I was seated in window seat 3A. All of the spacious outward-facing herringbone-style seats in the Royal Laurel cabin have direct aisle access. The pairs of seats in the center section are angled towards each other, making them slightly less private — especially because there is no divider between them. Those seats might be better for couples flying together.

Center section of the Royal Laurel cabin – Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter

My seat had a very spacious footwell.

Footwell and storage space – Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter

The seat controls located by the armrest were simple and intuitive. Also beside the seat were a reading light, power outlet, controller for the entertainment system, and a small storage rack. Staying hydrated in a dry airline cabin can be a challenge, so I appreciated the bottle of Fiji water that was waiting at the seat.

Beside the seat – Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter

As soon as I was seated, a flight attendant introduced herself, handed me a service menu, and took a drink order. I enjoyed a glass of the bubbly stuff (served with a Godiva chocolate) it as I slipped into a pair of Hello Kitty slippers. The entertainment screens were playing a video loop of Hello Kitty and her friends showcasing EVA Air’s destinations.

A refreshing welcome – Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter

Hello Kitty slippers – Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter

BONUS: The Plane Awakens – ANA Star Wars 787-9

The cabin filled up quickly, and we pushed back from the gate right on time. I love how ground crews at many East Asian airports pause what they are doing to give departing planes a wave goodbye.

Farewell from the ground staff – Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter

After a quick taxi and smooth takeoff, we were zooming over the French countryside.

First Meal Service

The printed menu for this flight dialed the Hello Kitty factor to the max. Both the food and drink lineups looked amazing.

One awesome EVA feature is the option to pre-order your meal in the weeks leading up to your flight, which gets you access to a broader selection of options than you get onboard. I didn’t take advantage of it, but some of the exclusive pre-order options sounded great.

Pre-ordering your meal unlocks more options on EVA – Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter

As we neared cruise altitude, flight attendants brought around small plates of foie gras and goat cheese — very tasty, though a bit heavy for an amuse-bouche.

A “Sky Gourmet Prelude” of foie gras with sesame and goat cheese with tomato, with Krug rosé – Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter

The real star of the show was the Krug Rosé champagne that EVA serves only on its Hello Kitty flights. To be fair, EVA is known for its exceptional wine selection on its non-Hello Kitty flights as well. But the rosé is a step above even for EVA. It retails for well over $200 a bottle, easily beating what many airlines serve in first class. It was excellent, and I had no trouble taking my flight attendant up on her regular offers to top up my glass.

How could anyone say no to this? – Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter

Flight attendants came by to set our tray tables with a beautiful Hello Kitty tablecloth. From here on out, all dishes were served directly onto the table — no trays here!

Hello Kitty is there to keep you company during your meal – Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter

Next up was a spicy crab mayo salad, which was served with bread, butter, and balsamic vinaigrette. It was delicious.

Hors D’Oeuvre, bread, and vinaigrette – Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter

The ginger-carrot soup was rich and flavorful. The crispy onions sprinkled on top were a great touch.

Soups up! – Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter

I was a little less enthusiastic about the salad course. Although the selection of greens, nuts, and cheeses were good, the “whisky cocktail” dressing didn’t taste great.

Mixed salad with whisky cocktail dressing – Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter

For the main course, I went with the pan fried beef Charolais. The presentation was a little boring, but the meat was cooked to *perfection*.

Pan fried beef Charolais with crystal pink salt, mixed vegetables, and a potato pancake – Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter

Photo evidence for those of you who are picky about how your beef is cooked – Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter

I somehow found a final bit of stomach space for the simple pineapple desert course, a few cheese selections, and some port.

Cheese plate served with crackers, prunes, and pecans – Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter

I came away from the meal service stuffed and pretty impressed. On the whole, the meal lived up to the hype I had heard about EVA. I personally would have preferred some more bold flavors, but that’s just a subjective matter of taste — perhaps the meal was designed for more subtler French palettes.

My flight attendants were friendly and polite, not to mention insanely efficient. My glass was never empty, and my plates were removed promptly after I was done with each course.

BONUS: The Queen of the Skies Still Delights on EVA Air

If you’re interested in a second opinion on EVA Air, check out this 2015 article by AirlineReporter’s fearless leader David Parker Brown, who flew the inaugural Hello Kitty flight from Houston to Taipei — a much longer flight than mine.

After eating so much, I felt a little like Gudetama, a lazy egg character that also has a special EVA livery – Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter

Stay tuned!

There’s plenty more to cover about this flight, but … *yawn* … after that epic meal I’m in a bit of a food coma. I may need a moment to sleep it off.

Don’t worry though: I’ll be back soon to share more of my experience with plenty more highlights, including:

  • The bedding and sleep experience in Royal Laurel class
  • The lowdown on EVA’s amenity kit
  • Inflight entertainment
  • More Hello Kitty appearances, including on … toilet paper?!
  • Some seriously bizarre drinks
  • The second meal service
  • Our final verdict on the Hello Kitty experience on EVA Air
  • How you can get yourself onto a Hello Kitty flight

While you’re waiting for my second part, why not share your thoughts in the comments section below? Have you flown EVA Air? Do you want to try a Hello Kitty flight?

Even without Hello Kitty and her friends, EVA Air’s refreshed livery looks great – Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter

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SENIOR CORRESPONDENT – SAN FRANCISCO, CA. Manu got his private pilot license in high school, setting the tone for his interest in all things aviation. He earned his frequent flyer credentials working as a journalist, and is now a medical student in San Francisco. He enjoys writing about air travel from a millennial’s perspective.

http://www.airlinereporter.com
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4 Comments
Michael Moscaritolo

That is really awesome! It puts the fun and excitement into flying for kids and adults that are kids at heart. I wish more airlines would do things like this on a regular basis!

Joe Blow

Eva Air is a great airline.

My last flight was just a few weeks ago from Taipei to Seattle. It was a great flight until we landed and my cell phone flew off to the seat underneath me.

It took a few flight attendants to go through taking the seat cushion out, getting on their hands and knees with their flashlight to find it.

They finally did and had the ground crew person come with a screw driver to take away the compartment cover to get the phone.

I was the last passenger off of the airplane. I felt like an idiot and will never make that mistake again. The purser told me I wasn’t the first that happened to.

Next time, I’ll put it in my carry on bag.

I’m looking forward to my next flight in a few days.

Thanks to MANU for the great report. To be honest, the Hello Kitty thing does not move me at all. That said, I’ve flown EVA three times and was thoroughly impressed. I agree with MANU that the advanced booking meal options are superb, but the regular fare is still some of the best flying. I’m still LMAO about the Soup Slop Pic; I’ve never seen airplane soup without it and I don’t think it can be avoided. Lastly, I’ve had the Krug Rose only once and not on an airplane. Yes, it is excellent, but I do not need to spend that much for fizzy wine. Again, a superb report. Thanks!!

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