September 26, 2015

Review: EVA Air Premium Laurel Class Hello Kitty Jet, Taipei-Fukuoka

Summer Trip Flying EVA Air Business Class on 777 & Hello Kitty Jet, Singapore Airlines Suites & Cathay Pacific First Class

Last summer, I travelled to the Philippines for the 70th birthday celebration of my father. It was a very short visit since I needed to be back home for work. I've always wanted to try EVA Air's Hello Kitty Jet so I booked my flight from Stockholm to Fukuoka using Avianca Lifemiles. From Fukuoka, I flew on a budget carrier to Tokyo, and from Tokyo I flew on Singapore Airlines Suites to Singapore, and then first class to Manila on the same airline using my Kris Flyer Miles. On my way back to Stockholm, I flew on Cathay Pacific First Class and Finnair Business Class using my AA Advantage Miles. This trip allowed me to test EVA Air Hello Kitty, Singapore Suites and Cathay Pacific First Class all for the first time and I couldn't be more satisfied.


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United Club, London Heathrow (LHR)
EVA Air Royal Laurel Class, London-Bangkok
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EVA Air Royal Laurel Class, Bangkok-Taipei
Hotel Novotel Taipei Taoyuan Airport
EVA Air The Infinity Lounge Taipei (TPE)
EVA Air Premium Laurel Class Hello Kitty Jet, Taipei-Fukuoka
Hilton Fukuoka Sea Hawk
ANA Suite Lounge Satellite 5 T1 Tokyo Narita (NRT)
Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Class, Tokyo-Singapore
Singapore Airlines The Private Room, Changi Airport (SIN)
Singapore Airlines First Class, Singapore-Manila
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Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila
Cathay Pacific First & Business Class Lounge, NAIA (MNL)
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Cathay Pacific The Wing First Class Lounge, Hongkong (HKG)
Cathay Pacific First Class, Hongkong-Frankfurt
Air France-KLM Lounge, Frankfurt (FRA)
Finnair Business Class, Frankfurt-Helsinki
Hilton Helsinki Kalastajatorppa
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Finnair Premium Lounge, Helsinki Airport (HEL)
Finnair Business Class, Helsinki-Stockholm

EVA Air Hello Kitty Jet bound for Fukuoka

Flight: BR0106
Departure in Taipei: 8:10
Arrival in Fukuoka: 11:20
Equipment: Airbus A330-300
Flight duration: 2h 10m
Date of flight: July 8, 2015
Seat: 9A
*This is an award travel, Business class flight #86

Introduction

Flying on EVA Air's Hello Kitty jet was not originally on my plan since from Taiwan, I thought I would just fly on PAL or Cebu Pacific and arrive in Manila a few days before my father's birthday. But since I've always wanted to fly on "the coolest jet on the planet", I thought I'd find a route where the Hello Kitty jet flies and book a seat for myself. Luckily, I found a seat on their morning flight to Fukuoka which suited my schedule so I immediately booked it using my Avianca miles. After staying one night in Fukuoka, I flew on Jetstar to Tokyo Narita, and from Tokyo I flew on Singapore Airlines to Manila via Singapore. My simple direct flight from Taipei to Manila turned out as a four flight trip and as tiring as it had been, it was surely worth it!

Taipei Taoyuan Airport (TPE)

I took the first scheduled shuttle bus from Hotel Novotel Taoyuan Airport at 5:30am which got me to the airport's Terminal 2 entrance around 5:35.

EVA Air Hello Kitty welcome sign at Taipei Taoyuan Airport Terminal 2

The check in zone for my flight in Premium Laurel Class was Zone 10 which was pretty empty when I arrived.

A young friendly agent helped me with the check in process and shortly after, I was given my boarding pass as well as a Lounge Invitation. It was strange that they do not offer fast track to their premium passengers which was a bit frustrating specially with a long line to the immigration that early morning. Fortunately, more desks were opened at exactly 6am.

After clearing the immigration, I headed to the fourth floor to visit EVA Air's The Infinity Lounge. Although it was not my first time visiting a lounge in Terminal 2 (I have visited China Airlines Lounge in 2014) it was my first time visiting an EVA Air Lounge so I tried to maximize it by visiting two other lounges namely The Star and The Club which I thought were all nice lounges.

After enjoying the great food and friendly service in the lounge, I decided to head to the boarding gate. On the way, I passed by this Hello Kitty Shop.

Aircraft, Airbus A330-300

 EVA Air's "Hello Kitty Around the World" jet

Boarding, gate C2

Boarding at Gate C2 started at 7:53 instead of the scheduled 7:40 beginning with those passengers flying in premium class as well as those with EVA Air status. I have to say that boarding was very organized, probably due to the fact that most of the passengers were Japanese who are known for their discipline and being orderly.

There was also a separate passenger bridge for Premium Laurel passengers.

Cabin

EVA Air Hello Kitty Premium Laurel cabin with a 2-2-2 configuration

From Eva Air's website, this route normally uses the smaller "Hello Kitty Loves Apples" jet which is an Airbus A330-200 with 24 seats in Premium Laurel Class and 228 seats in economy class. It turned out that the flight had to use a bigger aircraft (lots of passengers booked) so today, it is the "Hello Kitty Around The World" jet with 30 seats in Premium Laurel Class (10 of which were taken) and 279 in economy class.

View of the cabin from the back

Another view of the cabin with the Hello Kitty frame in front of it.

Seat

There it was, my window seat with a Hello Kitty pillow waiting for me!

Shortly after settling in, one of the flight attendants taking care of my side of the cabin welcomed me on board and took my pre-departure beverage. I settled for a glass of water which was served with a refreshing towel and a Hello Kitty table napkin.

EVA Air Hello Kitty screen and reading materials

EVA Air Hello Kitty seat controls

EVA Air Hello Kitty inflight magazine

The Safety Instructions Card couldn't be more beautiful as it was Hello Kitty themed. And of course, the air sickness bag also had the Hello Kitty theme.

I was also given a pair of slippers which was pretty impressive for a short flight. As far as I know, the Japanese are used to getting slippers when flying in premium class so it could be the reason for that.

Entertainment

EVA Air Hello Kitty 15.4 inch touch screen

EVA Air headphones by Thunder

EVA Air entertainment controls

Dining

EVA Air Hello Kitty menu card

EVA Air Hello Kitty breakfast menu, Japanese style

EVA Air Hello Kitty breakfast menu, Japanese style

EVA Air Hello Kitty breakfast menu, Western style

EVA Air Hello Kitty menu

The EVA Air Hello Kitty wine list included Champagne Collet Rose, Jaujau 1er 2012 Chateau de Jau, Casas del Toqui Chardonnay Barrel Series 2012 and Monchhof Reisling 2012 among others.

My EVA Air Hello Kitty Western style breakfast consisted of fruit, yogurt, muesli and bread.

EVA Air Hello Kitty main course: Onion and Asparagus Cheese Tart

After clearing my tray, the flight attendant gave me a refreshing towel and a Hello Kitty toothpick. Yes, even the toothpick had a Hello Kitty design.

With still an hour before landing, I was offered another glass of water which was served together with a Hello Kitty coaster.

Lavatory

EVA Air Hello Kitty tissue paper

EVA Air Hello Kitty cup

The usual HARNN skin care products were also available inside the lavatory.

Gifts

To make my first ever flight on a Hello Kitty jet even more memorable, one of the flight attendants gave me a Hello Kitty playing card. Oh thank you very much!

And two Hello Kitty bags which they normally use when one buys from their duty free shop. Thanks again 🙇

Arrival in Fukuoka

View 10 minutes before landing

We arrived at Fukuoka International Airport Terminal 1 around 11:18 which was two minutes ahead of schedule. Really impressive!

CONCLUSION

No doubt, this flight was one of the coolest flights I have been on. I have seen pictures of the Hello Kitty jet on the internet many times but being able to fly on one was definitely magical. The Hello Kitty pillows, table napkins, toothpick, coaster, tissue paper and cup were all so beautiful and brought out the "kid" in me. I have to say that EVA Air coming up with this idea of Hello Kitty jets was very original so kudos to that! The food which was presented with a Hello Kitty design tasted great as well. And last but not the least, the crew on this flight were simply fantastic. They took care of me so well and of course, I simply can not thank them enough for the gifts/souvenirs I got. I am not sure when I will be able to fly on the Hello Kitty jet again but as an aviation geek, (sort of) this flight has surely left a special place in my heart. To all the crew on this flight, thank you so much!


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