It’s not often that you see opportunist passengers swiping the cutlery from their tray sets and stuffing cushions into their bags. But for the EVA Air cabin crew working on A330 planes carrying names such as ‘Magic Jet’, ‘Apple Jet’ and ‘Speed Puff Jet’, it’s a familiar sight.
Five of EVA Air’s passenger jets are decked out with Hello Kitty memorabilia – everything from the pink plastic cutlery to the pillows, seat headrests, napkins, cups, sick bags, bathroom toiletries and even the meals (Hello Kitty shaped fruit salad was on the menu). Not forgetting the Hello Kitty themed boarding cards, cabin crew aprons, welcome video on every seatback screen and emergency evacuation instruction cards.
A lot of the inflight items seemed to leave the aircraft in passengers’ pockets. I couldn’t resist slipping the pink plastic teaspoon into my pocket, and others happily followed. Proof of a good co-branding exercise, I’d say.
EVA Air’s collaboration with Hello Kitty’s creators, Sanrio began in 2005 when the first themed flights were introduced until the airline’s licensing agreement expired in 2009. The Kitty planes made a comeback in 2011 and now run between Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong.
The airline’s hub at Taoyuan International Airport in Taipei offers a Hello Kitty experience without having to buy a ticket for the flight. It’s hard to miss the boarding gates dressed in pink and the cartoon cat’s face etched into the seats, which make a great photo opportunity.
The special flights may be confined to Asia, but that could soon change as EVA Air will soon join Star Alliance and the airline’s CEO has previously announced plans to run a Hello Kitty 777 plane to either Europe or the US.