Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Quick Trip Around Asia Part 6 : EVA Air 'Hello Kitty' Premium Laurel Class - Taipei to Hong Kong (Airbus A330-200)



FLIGHT
BR857
AIRLINE
EVA Air
ROUTE
Taipei Taoyuan to Hong Kong
GATE DEPARTURE
18.10 (Scheduled) / 18.54 (Actual)
GATE ARRIVAL
20.00 (Scheduled) / 20.58 (Actual)
FLIGHT TIME
1 hour 32 minutes airborne
AIRCRAFT
Airbus A330-200 B-16309 ‘Speed Puff Jet’


My next flight in this series of reports was BR857. This is one of EVA's 'Hello Kitty' flights - and yes I specifically chose this flight just to fly with Kitty. It had been on the to do list for a while.

I arrived at Taipei Taoyuan airport on a connecting flight from Osaka so I didn't get  to use any of the Hello Kitty checkin zones at all, instead I rushed through transit security as my inbound flight had been a little late and it was a tight connection. As it turned out I needn't have , because flight BR857 was delayed anyway.


Gate C10 - you can see the delay notification on the LCD screen
I decided to go back up the stairs and browse the duty free shops whilst I waited, although I didn't find anything that appealed so I left empty handed. I was fairly excited to get on board so I stood near to the priority queue to ensure I was one of the first on the plane. Eventually boarding was announced and I headed onto the Airbus A330-200, painted in the 'Speed Puff Jet' special colours.


The seats all had Hello Kitty pillows on them, and there was little signs of Hello Kitty spread through the cabin, e.g. safety cards, pictures on the wall etc. There was also a Hello Kitty video playing on the seatback screens with cheerful Hello Kitty music, it was a very fun environment to be in. Despite this I don't think it was too overpowering, so those flying on business would not be inconvenienced by it.


As you can see above the A330 is fitted with the older style business class seating, being angled lie flat pods. Perfectly comfortable, especially for a flight that is only a little over an hour! The green EVA air colours features throughout, all in all a fairly attractive cabin in my opinion.

Hello Kitty animated video playing and a Kitty painting on the wall


Hello Kitty flies Eva!

Quite a few empty seats still

Next door is the B777-300ER I came in on - it's headed to Los Angeles Next
Even the safety card's have a Hello Kitty theme:


The Hello Kitty music continued to play as the passengers steadily streamed in, although business class remained quite empty. I was pleased about this,  less passengers should mean better service! Whilst boarding continued I kept on snapping away, and I was going mad uploading Hello Kitty pics on Facebook at the same time. Most of my friends had no idea there  was such a thing as a Hello Kitty flight!


Seat pitch - looks like typical angled lie flat arrangement to me


Soon enough a lovely female crew member came and welcomed me on board, I was handed the Food and Wine menu, and offered a welcome drink. Moments later a glass of champagne arrived along with the Hong Kong arrival card.



Even the paper napkins come with Hello Kitty pictures on them! Rather than a tray of hot towels the crew pass around pre packaged wet towels that are cold and refreshing, which was a good thing since the temperature outside was quite warm and I had built up a sweat whilst I was rushing in transit.

As I got settled it was time to peruse the menu for the flight, a 'Light Meal' was on offer. The menu contained a page for both the Taipei-Hong Kong and Hong Kong-Taipei return sector. It's a fairly basic offering with 2 choices for the main course only. Still that is about all that I expect on a flight of this length.

The menu for my flight - I don't eat salmon so Pork it is!


The return flight menu looks more appealing!
Boarding was soon complete and the lights were dimmed for takeoff, the Hello Kitty picture did of course remain well lit!!


Nobody offered to hang my jacket so I hung it myself


Up into the night sky

Straight into cloud
The departure was smooth despite the low overcast clouds over Taipei, it didn't take too long to climb above it and the seat belt sign was turned off. I had a bit of a play with the seat controls:


I didn't have long to play with the seat before my meal arrived!

There is no doubt that we are flying with Kitty today
The starter had an edible Hello Kitty face on top of it! I don't normally eat cat but today I made an exception, it didn't really have any taste though.

Unfortunately the starter hidden under the cat face did in fact resemble CAT FOOD, so I didn't finish it. 'Sliced Meat Jelly' they call it, I have no idea what was in it. Perhaps it is a Taiwanese delicacy?   At least I could wash it down  with a nice cold glass of the rose champagne!


Hello Kitty cutlery

Overall meal presentation

Main course

Hello kitty floss and tooth pick?

A selection of breads
The main course of pork ribs was at least quite nice, and the garlic bread was tasty too, but why serve the meal with a bowl of fruit? It doesn't make sense to my western mind, maybe it is a Taiwanese thing? I would much prefer a dessert or some cheese and crackers.  Overall, the meal was disappointing!  Cathay does a better job on this  route. The wine however was free flowing and the crew incredibly polite.

With the meal over it was time to do a spot of duty free shopping, I ended up buying a Hello Kitty stationery set to give as a gift, and a Hello Kitty model plane of the aircraft I was flying, for myself. It was delivered in a standard Eva Air bag:


Hello Kitty is everywhere
I was amazed to find in the toilet's that Hello Kitty was there too, all over the toilet paper, and her face was even on the air freshener attached to the wall! I probably shouldn't call Kitty a 'Her' as I think I read somewhere Kitty is neither a HE nor a SHE.

After dinner I settled back with a cappucino, once again delivered with the sugar covered stirrer, a very cute invention and I'd like to buy some for my home.


Just an hour after takeoff we were on descent into a very wet and cloudy Hong Kong. We did have to do one holding pattern which delayed the flight even further. Then there was some pretty solid rain to get through on the approach, which was a little bit exciting. Hong Kong does tend to get some bad weather at times. You can check it out on the video review of this flight:



Despite the weather we made a smooth landing at Hong Kong and arrived at the gate, 58 minutes behind schedule. The crew made a PA thanking us for flying with EVA Air and KITTY!

Unfortunately the delay meant I was very late getting to my hotel and I was super tired when I got there, it had been a long day. However it was definitely worth it. I was very happy to try  out the famous Hello Kitty flight.

Would I go out of my way to fly with Kitty again?? Probably not, but I also won't avoid it. I think it is a bit of fun and a great novelty. Flying can become very routine and boring and this is something a little bit different and exciting. EVA Air certainly seem to have the mix between fun and seriousness right though, business travelers won't find themselves distracted or overcome with too much Kitty, but Kitty fans will love it!

And another thing too, I learnt from this flight that EVA Air  is pronounced: E. V. A air, and not 'eeeyyvaah air ' as I thought before.

3 comments:

  1. my whole life is a lie . . . . i always pronounced it "eeyva" (like Eva Mendes)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I only discovered it after viewing an E-V-Air commercial recently. Like yourselves, it shattered the very foundation of my existence!

      Love the trip reports, btw!

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