(REUTERS – 3RD MAY) Eva Airlines and Sanrio launched a Hello Kitty-themed flying experience in Taiwan, flying to more countries in Asia and aiming to boost tourism between countries in the region.
Upon entering the departure gate of Taiwan’s Taoyuan International Airport, tourists are able to experience the Hello Kitty-themed service from the moment they check in — getting their cat-themed boarding passes from the pink kiosks.
Thirty-year-old Hello Kitty fan Lolita Lin, who carries a Hello Kitty purse and a matching passport cover, said she has loved the cartoon character since she was a little girl.
“I think Hello Kitty makes me happy and I think it helps me to recall my childhood memories,” said Lin.
A tourist from Malaysia, 30-year-old Su Cheu, walked past the kiosks and said she would love to bring her 2-year-old daughter to board the flight next time.
“Hello Kitty is all over the place and it’s very attractive. Also, I have children and it would be fun to bring them here,” said Cheu.
Chang Ai-lin, Eva’s senior instructor, said the 50-year-old cat icon has always been the airline’s top choice.
”It (Hello Kitty) is comforting and it always warms people’s hearts. That’s why we chose Hello kitty to be our promotional icon,” said Chang.
Other Hello Kitty-themed paraphernalia include food, eating utensils, headrest covers and pillows.
Chang said the Hello Kitty airplane has helped boost tourism between Japan and Taiwan.
”It is because of the flight route from Japan, many Japanese come travel to Taiwan and choose to take the Hello Kitty flight. They think it’s a good way to relax and it feels different to see the Hello Kitty iconwhen they get on board,” said Chang.
The two Hello Kitty-themed services this year can be seen on the A330-200 jets, flying between many Asian cities such as Taipei, Tokyo, Sapporo, Fukuoka, Guam, Seoul, Shanghai, and Hong Kong.
The first Hello Kitty inspired airplane by EVA Air rolled down the runway in 2005.