EVA Air, a Star Alliance Member, will begin nonstop service between Houston (IAH) and Taipei, Taiwan (TPE) on June 19th 2015 in a Hello Kitty themed airplane. Flight frequency will start at 3 times a week and will increase to 4 times a week on July 1st 2015. This will be the only nonstop route into Taipei from Houston.
Quoting EVA Air’s press release: [link to full press release]
EVA will serve the route with its latest Boeing 777-300ER, which will be delivered in May 2015 and brightly painted nose-to-tail with Texas–sized Hello Kitty and Sanrio characters. The 333-seat aircraft will be configured with 39 seats in Royal Laurel Class business, 56 in Elite premium economy and 238 in Economy. It will be equipped with Wi-Fi, the latest inflight entertainment system and SMS roaming service that passengers can use to send and receive short messages on their own mobile phones.
Cabin interiors such as headrest covers, pillows, safety cards, and napkins will all be in the Hello Kitty theme.
Per Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren at USA Today: [link to USA Today Article]
“Not even the bathrooms provide a refuge from the Kitty-fication, featuring Hello Kitty soap. Hello Kitty tissues, and yes, even Hello Kitty toilet paper.”
Whether or not this level of cute appeals to you or if it will cause you to barf up a rainbow, an additional nonstop route into Asia is definitely a good thing. This will give Houston another one-stop option to destinations in Asia. As we’ve seen before with Korean Air’s and Air China’s new nonstop routes out of Houston, additional competition means lower prices into the region as well as into their hub. I took a quick look at September flights from IAH to TPE and so far EVA Air’s Hello Kitty plane is priced lower for their nonstop flight than the comparable 1-stops on all other carriers. I’m looking forward to seeing how this affects flights into Thailand, The Philippines, Japan, and the rest of the region that EVA Air serves via their Taipei HQ.