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!
The beautiful terminal at Singapore Changi Airport – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter
I recently needed to travel between Singapore and Hong Kong while on vacation. There are a lot of options for airlines and equipment for that four-hour flight. I had done the opposite route on the way there in Cathay Pacific business class on an A330. Since I’d never had the opportunity to fly Singapore Airlines (SQ), despite the rave reviews, I decided to transfer points from my Chase account to my SQ KrisFlyer account to redeem for first class. I figured the flight, while not long-haul, was long enough to get to experience the airline.
This article will focus on the ground experience at the excellent Singapore Changi Airport, which many consider to be the best airport in the world. I can see why.
Entrance to the private check-in area
Inside the private First Class check-in area – Photos: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter
Dedicated immigration line for First Class passengers
We arrived at the terminal via the MRT train. Given the chance again, I would have just caught a cab or an Uber, since it was nowhere as convenient and timely as, say, the Hong Kong airport express train. Also, when you arrive via car, you can be dropped off in the driveway of the private First Class check-in area. Instead, we had to wander through the terminal to find it – luckily my wife has become more patient with these types of adventures.
The artsiest window seat picture I’ve got (admit it, we’ve all tried something like this). – Photo: Jake Grant
There are many programming languages out there, as my computer science major friends would tell you. Perhaps you’ve heard of a few notable ones like Java, Python, and C. This past semester, I took a class solely dedicated to MATLAB, which is has a reasonable claim to be the worst of them all. A glorified calculator, MATLAB is good for matrix multiplication and approximately nothing else, in my humble opinion. How does this relate to aviation, you ask? Good question!
Basically, this had to become code CDG – Photo: Air France
In this class, a series of coding puzzles, we messed around with web APIs and other applications. That’s where the planes come in. Naturally, I decided if I had to do a convoluted project, I would do it about something I actually liked. I took my programming language to flightstats.com and started digging.
Kansas City International’s Terminal A Has Been Closed since January 8, 2014
Airline consolidation, the move to bigger planes, and trimming of under-performing flights has resulted in less need for gate space in all but a few privileged focus cities and hubs across the United States. Kansas City International Airport (MCI) or as we locals call it, “KCI,” is the 39th-busiest airport in the country and has seen the effects of this first-hand. As airlines began to sunset (we’ll miss you, Braniff, TWA, and Vanguard) and consolidation spread across the industry, it became apparent that it was time to consolidate terminals.
Terminal A seen from the ATC tower in August, 2012
On January 8, 2014, US Airways Flight 1948 departed Kansas City International’s Terminal A for Charlotte. This would be the last regularly scheduled operation out of the 42-year old structure. This was a bittersweet milestone for travelers of all sorts in our two-state metropolitan area, albeit for very different reasons. For those not in the know, our airport is comprised of three thin, horseshoe-shaped terminals. This was a revolutionary design for its day, but has proven a real challenge for airlines, passengers, and airport operations in recent history.
Consolidation aside, moving operations out of Terminal A allowed for clearing space for what many agree is a longer-term solution to ensure Kansas City remains competitive with its local peers: A single, modernized, consolidated terminal. More on that story and the perplexing controversy over this much-needed, PFC-funded infrastructure project some other time.
For nearly four years, this terminal has been out of reach of the public eye while the aviation industry has continued to work through its various consolidations. AirlineReporter was granted rare access to the terminal while awaiting the arrival of the TriStar Experience L-1011 late last month. Join us as we stroll down memory lane…