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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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Lots of exciting news coming from Down Under with Qantas refreshing cabins, catering to kiddies, and filling the tummies of adults. While North America isn't directly affected by the new digs in the cabins, we can reap the benefits of enhanced meal service and an airfare sale for the littlest flyers.
The 'Red Roo' is expanding dining options for their hugely popular Select on Q-Eat meal service. Starting this week, if you're flying from Dallas to Australia in Premium Economy, you can pre-order your meals for the long, long flight. Don't worry west coasters, because next week LA gets in on the fun with flights from the west coast to Oz offering the service to PE passengers as well. The airline plans to expand this service to long-haul Economy later in the year.
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Ahh, the elusive upgrade. Like a rare animal, we seek them out and hope for something more than a glimpse. The desire is to experience the cushy seats, free-flowing champagne and delicious grub. And while many airlines ask passengers to fork over a large amount of miles for an available seat in the first or business class cabin, Air New Zealand may soon be saying, "Come on down!" to you with their bidding process for passengers to fly in the lap of luxury.
In just a few days, we'll be hopping an Air NZ plane heading over the pacific and, in the course of booking our travel, figured we should splurge a little when we came across a pretty sweet deal for one of their SpaceSeats in the premium economy cabin. And then an email arrived, proposing a possible upgrade to business class.
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Imagine being one of only 50 people onboard an airplane built to fly 500. This was our experience yesterday, July 4, as British Airways took delivery of its very first Airbus A380 from Airbus' HQ in Toulouse, France. Stay tuned as we explore the outside, inside, all around and even BA's other new toy, the Boeing 787, over the next few days.
Right here, right now may be your only chance to tour all four cabins of the British Airways A380. You see, once it begins regular passenger service, there's those pesky privacy curtains separating World Traveller (Economy) from World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy), and definitely keeping the riff-raff away from Club World (Business) and First Class. As we frolicked on the A380 during the delivery flight from Airbus HQ to Heathrow, there's even a cockpit peek bonus!
Who doesn't like free stuff, especially when it comes to complimentary items on flights? As rare as a gratis pillow or warm snack is these days, it's nice to see some airlines offering more than just extra legroom in Premium Economy. Specifically, on long-haul flights with their brand new Premium Economy seats, Cathay Pacific passes out little amenity kits.
Though they're not stuffed with the little lux lotions and lip balms of the Business and First Class kits, they do come complete with an eyemask, socks, toothbrush/toothpaste, mints and earplugs. To liven it up a bit, Cathay has even just now introduced new pouches for the kits, branded with a funky design from Hong Kong design and homewares brand Goods of Desire (G.O.D.).
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Just when we thought American Airlines' onboard comfort food was really hitting the spot, another airline antes up. Cathay Pacific has taken that idea to the next level by introducing Signature Chinese Dishes to their in-flight menu. Best part of the announcement is that every passenger will get the opportunity to sample the new dishes.
From August to October, Cathay will be refreshing the dishes on-board long-haul routes from the front of the plane all the way to last row. The new menus will feature Hong Kong specialties and traditional tastes while adding a level of service for premium cabins. Each dish is designed to capture local cuisine in cooking style, ingredients, taste and appearance.
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What would your life be like if you hadn't yet traveled to Europe? If you'd spent years reading travel novels and fantasizing over guidebooks, but hadn't made the big leap? This is the case for Andy Miles, who in his late twenties just embarked on a trip to hit most of the cities for the first time. He's walking us through the emotions and observations of a true Newbie Traveler.
Here's the truth: I'm not really such a Newbie Traveler anymore. A few days ago I realized that I may have been more places than some people who consider themselves world travelers. All told, I've been to the UK, France, Mexico, Switzerland, Italy, Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium. Oh, and also the United States, but that doesn't really count.
There are some specific things I did on this trip which I had never done before, all aiding in the end feeling that I'm officially an international traveler now. Here's a couple, for example:
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It seems like everyone wants a little more space nowadays, and airlines are certainly aware that passengers are willing to pay for it. Carriers like Virgin America, United, Delta, and JetBlue all have different flavors of their extra legroom seats, and now there’s one more airline looking to help you stretch out a little bit.
WestJet is looking for more profit (and to lure more business travelers away from Air Canada), so they’re now offering up their own version of premium economy seating for those willing to pay for the privilege. Planes are heading into the hangar starting this month, as four rows of seats will now be enjoying around 36 inches of pitch.
WestJet is upgrading and updating their entire fleet of Boeing 737s, so this is going to be quite the undertaking; however, they obviously feel that moving and shifting all the seats is more than worth it.
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Lots of new changes coming to Alitalia over the next few months. From a full fleet renewal, more transparent fares on their most popular flights, and even a very generous offering for their passengers from young to older. In true Italian fashion, they have named their newest classes of services super romantic names.
In the past 3 years, the Italian airline has spent a considerable amount of time, not to mention, euros, on creating a more pleasurable experience for all of their passengers. In a quest to fly the youngest fleet in the world, they have bought new planes and refreshed existing planes. By the beginning of next year, the entire fleet will be an average of about 6 years old.
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Just in case you missed it, the seats are basically coach seats with the middle blocked out. Then at cruising altitude the three seats transform into a couch of sorts, where you and your traveling companion can snuggle up for the long-haul flight over the Pacific. It seems that these seats are catching on, and they might just make their way over to other airlines as well.
Apparently the airline has already been chatting with like 12 other airlines about the ability to license the Air New Zealand invention. Airline officials seem to have no problem doing so, but they are pretty honest when they state that they’re looking for quite a bit of cash for them to share their clever idea. Sounds likeif all goes wellt might be around the end of the year when we start to hear about the snuggle-seats being offered up elsewhere.
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It’s been a couple summers since Delta first introduced their plans to help you stretch out on those long-haul international flights. Apparently travelers enjoyed not having their knees bash up against the seat in front of them, so the stretched out seating design was extended to some domestic flights as well. Obviously they’re looking to cash in on our willingness to pay for a little bit more comfort and space, and it also probably doesn’t hurt that the competition over at United Airlines has been doing something pretty darn similar with their Economy Plus options.
Delta’s Economy Comfort upgrade is almost complete, as it sounds like they’re just about finished upgrading and updating a whole mess of their airplanes. The airline is promising that as of June 7 the new seating options will be available for your seating pleasure on all two-class airplanes throughout the globe.
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FOOD. Think about it. Food is so awesome. AIRPLANE FOOD. Now think about that. Not so awesome, right? Well, an airline can only do so much to develop an appealing onboard menu, while battling with catering companies, onboard kitchen appliances, altitude issues and passenger diets. Obviously it's best to go for First or Business Class for optimum yumminess, but we're happy to report that Cathay Pacific's Premium Economy meals are better than economy, which aren't too shabby on their own.
Flying CX840 from Hong Kong to New York in Premium Economy, we were first presented with a welcome flute of champagne, followed by a hot towel to refresh. Then, a printed menu arrived, laying out the options for a dinner, brunch, drinks and snacks at any time.