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First we saw British Airways rip the tickets of some cute and cuddly pandas (or at least people dressed in panda costumes) to promote their newest route from London Heathrow to Chengdu, China, the home of the giant panda. Now, the very aircraft taking passengers to the Chinese city dons a cutesy new paint job to look like a smiling panda.
Following All Nippon Airways' suit, BA repainted their Boeing 777 to look like a happy little animal with blacked-out eyes and bit of a smile as it plies the clouds. The route officially took off yesterday en route to China's fourth largest airport.
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"This Hello Kitty jet is for everyone. On it, every day is a happy day. We are spreading a message of happiness." - EVA Air's Chairman (and Captain) K.W. Chang
In 2005, EVA Air painted Hello Kitty on the side of a plane. Then they did it again in 2006. The two planes turned frowns upside-down for a few years, but went away in 2008. Then, in 2011, we showed you the return of the Hello Kitty planes, though these newest versions only flitted around Asia at the time. Now, the US finally gets in on the kawaii action as the airline debuts their first Hello Kitty Boeing 777 and a first trans-Pacific route for the cute Sanrio character: Taipei to Los Angeles.
"Other airlines only do the exterior job [of theming a plane], but we've done it all," says Chang. "We want everyone to share our world," before connecting to other Star Alliance flights and returning to their world. You've already read the 11 coolest facts about these airplanes, but see exactly what Chang is talking about in our 77 original photos of outside, inside, and all around the new 777:
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It's not every day you see dancing on the tarmac at Los Angeles International Airport, but when that dancing is to celebrate the arrival of a Hello Kitty-themed airplane, it's completely warranted.
Slipping into a gate alongside the tails of 787s, 747-8s and A380s yesterday was EVA Air's brand new Boeing 777-300ER, its body painted all over with the cheery cartoons of Sanrio's Hello Kitty and friends.
Over 70 Hello Kitty enthusiasts were on the inaugural flight, joined by a troupe of Hello Kitty dancers, characters, artists and Hello Kitty's creator herself, Yuko Yamaguchi. The arrival marks the beginning of regular, nonstop flights between LAX and Taipei-Taoyuan for this aircraft, which is arguably the most kawaii addition to aviation since Pokémon showed up on some 747s. Even as Alaska Airlines' Mickey Mouse plane passed by, all eyes remained on EVA's Kitty.
Before booking a flight, however, there's some things you should know about EVA Air's Hello Kitty 777:
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Is it a panda or an airplane? The correct answer is...it's a panda-plane! Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA) may have had this special livery Boeing 767 since 2007 as a celebration of the 20th anniversary of their flying to China, but this is the year the panda look really gets a workout.
Starting October 1, 2013 ANA will increase seats from Tokyo to Chengdu, China, aka the "panda capital of the world." Instead of the 737 that once serviced this route, ANA will fly it using a 767. You can expect to see this panda plane as often as possible at Chengdu's Shuangliu International Airport. Imagine being able to fly a panda plane there, stay in a panda hotel, and then visit actual pandas? Even British Airways has famously gone bonkers for Chengdu this year.
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Here’s an airplane that you don’t see everyday, but with its new livery and look we kind of wish it was around our neighborhood so we could check it out in person.
Iraqi Airways is spiffing up the brand and business with a new look, and we’ve got to say that the effort is paying off. The new livery gets the branding across in a classic—yet contemporary—look. Of course we wouldn’t be opposed to a special paintjob here or there to celebrate some national treasures or special occasions, but for now we like what we see.
Keep an eye out for the plane in Iraq—obviously—but also in spots like London, Copenhagen, Turkey, and Germany. They even have some orders in the queue for their very own Boeing 787s, but it looks like it might be a pretty long wait until those arrive.
[Photo: Facebook / Iraqi Airways]
[Photo: Facebook / Iraqi Airways]
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To start the week off we figured we’d share a little bit of a distraction the form of a new airplane paint job, and this one comes to us from the fun folks over at Southwest Airlines. We know that Southwest is a big fan of animals—from puppies to ponies—but they also have a well-documented spot in their hearts for penguins.
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It's not everyday passengers get the chance to fly on a purple plane, especially in America where we are constantly subject to boring primary colors (with the exception of Southwest) and the regular arrival of "Eurowhite" international aircraft. If you've been lucky enough to pass through some exotic ports of call, it's not uncommon to come across more vibrantly hued planes.
Today we're going to "keep it royal" by taking a peek at some of these aubergine aircraft:
Thai Airways: Here's one you don't have to travel too far to see since you might catch a glimpse of it at LAX. It even has a little shimmer to it!
[Photo: Aero Icarus/Flickr]
Most of the time our conversations about Air New Zealand involve the awesomeness that is the in-flight sofa bed or the wackiness of their safety videos. Well this week it looks like they’re adding something else to the neato column, as they’re rolling out a brand new paintjob for some of their planes.
Out with the old and in with the new, as Air New Zealand is going with the official New Zealand Fern Mark as the decoration for the side of their planes. It’s all part of a new agreement with Tourism New Zealand and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, as each group is pretty darn fond of that image as well. The silver fern will be slapped along the side of plenty of white planes, but there will be a few planes that will be painted primarily black—badass.
To start things off right, one of their very first Boeing 787s will get the black look, further solidifying the plane’s cool factor.
Way back when Alaska Airlines held a contest for the kiddos—or keiki—over in Hawaii, as the carrier needed some inspiration for a new livery. They weren’t revamping their current design, but they were looking for something new, snazzy, and colorful. They got exactly that, and now it looks like Alaska Airlines has revealed it for the very first time.
We have to say that this new airplane paint job looks pretty darn great, and it might just be one of our new favorites. The design—thanks to Aaron Nee from Kaiser High School—was chosen from just shy of like 3,000 different entries. It shows off a little bit of Hawaii with images of a canoe, a yellow hibiscus, as well as the island chain.
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Someone over at Finnair is probably not having a good week, as an idea for a unique airplane paint job did not turn out as well as planned. The new livery was slapped onto the side of a plane as intended; however, it sounds like the original artwork might not have been truly original.
The Airbus A330 with the custom paintjob will be updated as soon as possible according to officials at Finnair, as they’re rushing around to fix the problem. Just the other day they were proud to show off a time lapse video of the airplane getting its new look, but now that video has been removed.
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Just the other day we were talking about Frontier, and all of their new fees and charges. Bottom line is that these can be avoided, and the way to get around most of them is to just book directly with the carrier. That means flyfrontier.com is your one and only spot for Frontier tickets, so please skip over Expedia, Orbitz, and all those other websites.
Now to publicize things even more it looks like Frontier is revamping their livery. Don’t worry about their furry and fuzzy animals, as those are certainly sticking around. In fact they even brought Mickey the Moose out of retirement to adorn one of the Airbus airplane tails.
We’ve seen various contests here and there dedicated to airline and airplane liveries, but now there’s a way to play graphic designer anytime and anywhere. Boeing has fired up a pretty neat addition to their website, and they welcome one and all to slap some paint onto the side of a 747-8.
You get a blank slate jumbo jet, and then you’re welcome to rotate it this way and that way to get your livery just right. Boeing has loaded a few different paintbrushes, stamps, and designs, so there are plenty of options from which to choose. There’s a whole bunch of colors, and you can even change up the background. Unfortunately you can’t upload your own logos and photos, so you won’t be able to stick your face onto the belly of the plane.