My home for almost 16 hours with Hello Kitty

My home for almost 16 hours with Hello Kitty

I was recently down in Houston to welcome EVA Air’s first flight, a Boeing 777-300ER, with a new Hello Kitty livery. After all the hoopla for the inaugural, I had a few hours before flying to Taipei, in Royal Laurel (aka business class) and I was excited. The Hello Kitty theme runs much deeper than just the fancy livery, and wanted to see what the full flight experience would be like.

The Shining Star Hello Kitty 777 arrives to Houston - Photo: David Parker Brown | AirlineReporter

The Shining Star Hello Kitty 777 arrives in Houston – Photo: David Parker Brown | AirlineReporter

By the time I arrived back at the airport, at about 10:30 pm, I had last showered at about 6:00 am and was about to take a 15hr 40min flight. My goal was to shower before departure — not just for me, but for those who would be flying around me.

Those in business class have access to the Executive Club in Terminal D, which was recently renovated, but it was lacking showers. However, since I had a business class ticket on a Star Alliance airline, I also had access to any of the United Club lounges. I looked online and saw that the United terminal E lounge was open until 11:30 pm and had showers — awesome!

Keep reading to learn how you can win a model of the EVA Air Boeing 777-300ER with Shining Star Hello Kitty livery…

United's Star Alliance lounge - Photos: David Parker Brown

United Club lounge – Photos: David Parker Brown

The EVA Air Houston Airport Experience

The woman at the United Club check-in counter was a bit excited that I was her first-ever EVA passenger and got a kick out of my Hello Kitty-themed ticket. Her positive attitude didn’t help too much though when I was told that the showers closed at 9:30 pm. Ugh.

I headed to the restroom and did a sink-shower and changed clothes in the very small stalls. It did not feel much like a premium experience, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!

The Executive Club for EVA Air passengers - Photos: David Parker Brown

The Executive Club for EVA Air passengers – Photos: David Parker Brown

Since I was there, I decided to try the lounge for a bit. I was unimpressed with the food and drink options (cheese/crackers, soup, skittles, had to go to the bar just to get a soda, and self-serve coffee in paper cups), so I decided to head over to the Executive Club to see if it fared any better — it did.  There were hot food options, better beverages, and I think a nicer atmosphere. However, still no showers.

The flight was a little delayed (likely from the media event) and during boarding, EVA employees were running around a bit chaotically. It was a bit disorganized, but I am sure it improved quickly with experience.

I was surprised that after the HUGE Hello Kitty event just a few hours earlier, there was nothing at the gate to celebrate the inaugural and I didn’t see pink or Hello Kitty anywhere. However, as we boarded, each passenger was given a paper Hello Kitty “777” to commemorate the event.

Our EVA Air Hello Kitty 777-300ER leaving houston close to 2:00am - Photo: Nathan Moeller/Astro95 Media (@Astro95Media on Twitter)

Our EVA Air Hello Kitty 777-300ER leaving Houston close to 2:00 am – Photo: Nathan Moeller | Astro95 Media

The Hello Kitty EVA Air Royal Laurel Experience

As passengers boarded, it became pretty obvious this was a special plane. Although I had already done a quick tour of the 777 previously, this time I was able to really enjoy some of the details.

hello Kitty everywhere! Menu, safety card, barf bag and more

Hello Kitty everywhere! Menu, safety card, barf bag and more.

The Hello Kitty images cycling on the main IFE screen and also on my remote were, at first, pretty cute. But by the 50th time, with the music in the background, I was kind of ready for it to stop. I wasn’t able to turn it off or access any other part of the IFE while on the ground.

A special Hello Kitty pillow, but normal PJs (thank goodness)

A special Hello Kitty pillow, but normal PJs (thank goodness)

Trying to avoid the IFE, I started to notice the smaller Hello Kitty details. The menu, the barf bag, and the safety information card was all customized in pink and Hello Kitty. I couldn’t help but smile. I was digging the Hello Kitty theme, but I am not going to lie, I was relieved when I saw my PJs were standard brown and not pink.

You can't hide from Hello Kitty -- she will find you!

You can’t hide from Hello Kitty — she will find you!

Even going to the bathroom, you couldn’t escape the cuteness. The toilet paper, lotions/potions, mini-cups, and wall air freshener all had the special theme. Earlier that day, EVA explained that the Hello Kitty flights have to stock twice the amount of toilet paper, since so much of it vanishes. Sadly, I had forgotten to grab some.

The pre-flight drink, gift for the inaugural, cold towel, and Hello Kitty napkin

The pre-flight drink, gift for the inaugural, cold towel, and Hello Kitty napkin

Before taking my flight, I had read that EVA was serving Krug champagne in business. I didn’t think of it at the time, but none of it was offered, however I did get some pretty good apple juice instead. Also, I was a bit disappointed to be given a cold towel in a plastic wrapper versus a hot one directly handed to me. Not a biggie, but it just didn’t feel as premium.

The contents of the high-end amenity kit

The contents of the high-end amenity kit

What was premium was my Rimowa amenity kit, which came stock with no special Hello Kitty additions. Inside I found a toothbrush, lotions, eye mask, socks, comb, chap-stick, glasses/camera cloth, and of course the really cool hard case.

EVA Air's Royal Laurel class

EVA Air’s Royal Laurel class

Hello Kitty or not, EVA has an impressive hard product in business class. The seats are configured in a 1-2-1 layout, which means that everyone has access to the aisle. The window seats are slightly angled towards the window, which really gave me a sense of privacy — I felt like I was in my own little world, especially being at the bulkhead.

The remote, outlets, seat controls and more

The remote, outlets, seat controls, and more

The large counter space, by the window, was helpful storing all my stuff within easy reach. The overall storage was ample, but there were a few times I was hoping for a bit more. Access to power, USB plugs (there were two), light, and remote was easy. The remote didn’t need to be used, since the main screen was touch-screen. It was nice having the map running on the remote, while doing other things on the main IFE.

The IFE screen is not only touch, but you are also able to swipe, like on many smart phones. The entertainment options were as one would expect, but I was a bit annoyed that the map was not interactive and had ads.

Watching the map on the remote, while watching a movie is slick

Viewing the map on the remote, while watching a movie, is slick

I really didn’t get to use the IFE much (I only got though 1.5 movies) — my main entertainment was the in-flight WiFi. The cost was very reasonable at only $21 for 24 hours of access. The speeds varied from 0.86 to 2.89 mbps for downloads and 0.02 to 1.17 mbps for uploads — not bad. It worked almost the entire flight, but our flight plan kept us pretty far south, improving reception.

My business class dinner with some Hello Kitty love

My business class dinner with some Hello Kitty love

Shortly after take off, dinner was served. The meal started out with lobster salad with fennel slaw. I thought there would be little pieces of lobster that you couldn’t barely see, but no… this was a whole tail.

Next, I had a choice between steak or shrimp. Since I already had a bit of seafood, I went with the steak, which was served with madeira sauce, mixed vegetables, and gnocchi. The food was better than average and if you looked closely, you could see some Hello Kitty influence. The meals in economy were a bit more obvious.

Even during the sleep cycle, the Hello Kitty photo was well lit

Even during the sleep cycle, the Hello Kitty photo was well lit

After dinner, I was quite tired (it was about 3:00 am Houston time) and was ready for some sleep; with one hit of the button, my seat folded flat. Even at 6’1″ and 250lbs, I had plenty of room to sleep comfortably. During my five hours of rest, I was able to find many comfortable positions, where with most lie-flat seats that I have experienced, there might be one, maybe two really comfy positions and the rest isn’t so great.

I almost wish I had more time to enjoy the in-flight entertainment. I wish I watched better movies

I almost wish I had more time to enjoy the in-flight entertainment. I also wish I watched better movies.

With leaving at around 2:00 am and arriving at about 6:00 am local time, the lighting in the cabin stayed in sleep mode for about 13 hours. That is a lot of darkness and inability to open the window — but I get it. The breakfast service was scheduled to start about two hours before landing, but I got hungry before then.

I asked about my options and even though there were some interesting Asian choices, I decided to go with a cheeseburger. It quickly came out and had a Hello Kitty bow in the middle. The burger lacked a little flavor, but wow, how did they make the fries so good, 11 hours into the flight, at 37,000 feet?

I went with a Chinese-style breakfast with plain porridge, egg pancake with shrimp, friend bean curd and traditional delicatessens

I went with a Chinese-style breakfast with plain porridge, egg pancake with shrimp, friend bean curd, and traditional delicatessens

Yes, the seat, the food, the IFE, and the WiFi were great, but all that can be ruined by lack of service. That was very much not the case with EVA. With all my experiences I had with EVA (two flights, tours, media events, hotel, ground transportation, etc.) I really came away seeing that they are genuine and have an amazing attention to detail.

EVA obviously trains their people well, but there just seems to be more there than just providing good service because it is their job — it genuinely felt like the flight attendants cared. They were attentive and professional, but not overwhelming. With having such a long sleep cycle, they weren’t walking through the cabin often, disturbing people sleeping. But quite a few times, I wanted a ginger ale, water, or coffee and hit the call button. The longest I had to wait was 13 seconds (yup, I was timing) for someone to be at my seat and whatever drink I asked for was there in less than a minute.

Landing in Taipei. Shortly after this all the windows fogged up

Landing in Taipei. Shortly after this all the windows fogged up.

IAH-TPE was my third-longest flight that I have flown (after completing the world’s two longest flights previously), but wow did it go fast. With the comfortable seat, delicious food, Hello Kitty distractions, WiFi, five hours of sleep, IFE, and high-end service I was shocked when we were about to land. Even in a premium product, I am normally okay with landing after 13 hours, but I felt I could have comfortably done a few more.

The Hello Kitty food experience

The Hello Kitty food experience

So, what was it like flying on the Hello Kitty plane? It is kind of what you want to make of it. If you don’t care and just want a premium product and service, it is not too much in your-face. If you are looking to live the Hello Kitty dream, you can make it enjoyable as well. But if you want a real-deal Hello Kitty experience, you are best to actually fly in economy. For me, not being a huge fan, but enjoying a special theme, the business class experience was perfect.

I am not the only one who enjoyed the experience — these Hello Kitty flights are big for EVA. They see a higher load factor on the flights and created a separate EVA Air Hello Kitty website to learn more and book your flight on one of the seven themed planes.

Making and giving away models at 37,000 feet

Making and giving away models at 37,000 feet – you can win one!

The Hello Kitty 777 Model Contest: OVER

Thanks to everyone who participated. The winner was Lisa H. Congrats and look forward to our next contest! The comments will be closed for a while and then re-opened for discussion on the story.

Okay, okay, so you read the story, now how do you win yourself a Hello Kitty Shining Star Boeing 777-300ER model (1:200 by hogan)? It is easy.

First off, leave a comment on this story stating what is your favorite Hello Kitty livery with EVA Air. Then make sure that you are following @AirlineReporter and @EVAAirUS on Twitter and like AirlineReporter on Facebook.

At 5:00 pm PDT on July 21, 2015, we will close the comments, and randomly select a winner. GOOD LUCK!

MORE EVA AIR HELLO KITTY PHOTOS: From the flight and during the inaugural event.

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me: [email protected]

http://www.airlinereporter.com
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58 Comments
Allen C.

Hello Kitty Loves Apples.

Who doesn’t love apples (and some of the others are a bit much…)!

Another great AvGeek article. Keep up the great work, David!!

Current favorite at the moment is the Hello Sanrio Family Hand in Hand livery.

Daniel C

Hello Kitty Speed Puff

Not only does it sound like something that it is only legal in select states, but it most applies to flying with the characters riding the clouds.

I love the global kitty one with the eiffel tower.

I’m planning to visit Thailand (hopefully combine BKK & HKT)sometime in October and was thinking of trying out EVA. Will have to check whether they have a HK themed aircraft on this route as they do operate a B777-300ER, so worth checking that out. At best will only be able to afford their Premium Economy.
Great article though! I really enjoyed it.

My favorite is definitely Hello Kitty Loves Apples. Because who doesn’t love apples?

Stan Wu

Hello Kitty Hand in Hand

Hello Kitty Around the World… If only it was on a 773…

César Oznaya

Hello Kitty Speed Puff is the cutest and it kind of reminds me of my sister 😛

I think I’m torn between the Sanrio Family Hand in Hand and Shining Star Livery. Both look quite cool.

I like Hello Kitty w/Magic Stars. Can’t wait until Eva starts flying to Chicago!

Hello Kitty Loves Apples, and I love Hello Kitty Loves Apples.

Frank Su

Will EVA send one of the Hello Kitty planes to New York is doubtful but it is on my wish list.

Michael

My favorite livery is the one with the apples since I was born in the big apple.

I’m the guy who guessed like 50 times for the model plane about the bathroom Hello Kitty items. I’ve got my fingers crossed!!

Deric Ryan

B-16703 also known as Sanrio family hand and hand love the 777

Oh! I hung on every word and photo you posted re EVA air and hello Kitty. I first saw a plane in AMS or perhaps CDG and have been thoroughly enamoured since! I have been wondering how to acquire some EVA hello kitty accessories ? The model and is spectacular !
I’m enjoying your posts
Namaste

Hello Kitty around the World! I love that it features landmarks around the world

My favorite EVA Air Hello Kitty livery is “Hello Kitty Around the World.”

My fav livery is San Rio family hand in hand livery. Great going Eva Air.

My fav. is Sanrio Family hand in hand!
Thanks for sharing, David!

Hi EVA Air team

I like them all but if I have to choose one (so as to WIN the model), i have to go with Sanrio Family Hand in Hand as it exemplifies family and global friendship!

Favourite is Hello Kitty Around the World.

Michael

Definitely Hello Kitty Loves Apples.

Tiniest typo under the “The pre-flight drink, gift for the inaugural, cold towel, and Hello Kitty napkin” pic, you wrote cold town, you probably mean cold towel.

Oh no, that is correct. Talk about HIGH end service — they give you your own city :). Heh… thanks for catching that – it has been fixed.

David | AirlineReporter

Jeanne Forsyth

Hello Kitty around the World!

Hello Kitty Loves Apples. Great article, David! Thanks.

Corey White

I like the Around the World livery. Kind of fitting for an airplane. Thanks

Christopher L McMullin

Hello Kitty Happy Music is definately my favorite. Not sure how I feel about it being an Airbus aircraft, though. Lol. Great & Interesting read.

Ben Levy

Hello Kitty Happy Music!

Around the World hands down.

I love the Shining Star livery! The stars on the side of the engines makes it that much cooler!

My favourite around the world.

Richard

Apples. Definitely the apples.

Phill Yu

the newest one of course. the star on the engine is neat

I like several of the liveries, yet I’ll pick Hello Kitty Speed Puff.

My second choice is Hello Kitty Around the World.

Love the Hello Kitty Around The World. My niece is a huge Hello Kitty fan and absolutely adores this plane. I’m proud to say I used one of her favorite things to get her excited aviation.

James Burke

Hello Kitty Around The World is my favorite livery

The Shining Star livery looks good to me! Helps that it’s a brand-new -300ER.

Around The World is my fave. Another great article. Good stuff.

Lisa H.

I like the one you flew, the shining star one. I only hope to see it in person someday!

Colleen R. Gray-Mackey

Sanrio Family Hand in Hand is my fav!

Luv San Rio family livery.

I like the Hello Kitty Sanrio Family Hand-in-Hand livery

Mike Butorac

Around the World. At least the damn cat has a camera!

Ryan Yap

It has got to be the shining star!

I <3 logojets. Very nice they take the logo's to the inside of the plane as well.

Hello Kitty Around the World …for keeping with the travel theme. Although, the apples are a close second.

I’m sure all the bright colors must getting tiring on a 9 hour flight, but that looks like top-notch service!

Curtis R

Thanks for the article, hope someday I have the opportunity to fly on the Hello Kitty triple 7. My favourite piece of the livery is Joey and his girlfriend on the fan cowls. It’s a great price of stand alone art. Keep up the great reporting!

You know, I can’t say that I care much for Hello Kitty anything. I did enjoy the prospect of Hello Kitty toilet paper though. Fave livery, is the Speed Puff livery. Cheers!

Mitchell

Hello Kitty Loves Apples

atul jain

Hello kitty looks most lovely on ‘sanrio family’ livery.

David Kuanwei Chen

Thanks for this great review! 🙂 I agree, Eva has a great premium product and wonderful champagne! The Rimowa amenity kit is extremely cute.

I loved flying Around the World, beautiful and such a cute livery!

Would LOVE to win this…I work in aviation and am currently in Taiwan, am trying to get a seat on one of these jets flying home as my trip over was over 20+ hours and TPE-IAH would make my life SO much easier (not to mention the Asian vegetarian meal probably knocks the socks off standard ones – I didn’t eat the entire 20+ hours of flying over here!). Love any and all jets with the Hello Kitty Livery. Also following you on Twitter and FB!

Sanrio family because that was our jet (LAX) before they moved it to Paris.

Josephine Teow

I love the Hello Kitty with Magic Stars livery! Really hope I can win:)

My favorite livery is the Hello Kitty Speed Puff.

Definately “Hello Kitty Shining Star”!

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