Onboard EVA's Hello Kitty planes
The airline industry is be a tough business. Many customers are willing to jump from one carrier to the next for fares that might be just $1 cheaper. That’s left airlines to look for all the marketing exposure they can get as they compete for passengers in such a cutthroat industry.
One of the most interesting marketing gimmicks airlines have used over the years is to paint some of their planes in a unique, attention-grabbing paint scheme. This year, aviation observers are treated to some of the most interesting “liveries” that have flown in recent decades. (Vote on your favorite below)
One set of designs belongs to Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways (ANA), which has painted four of its jets in Star Wars-themed paint schemes. The first was a Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” painted to look like the droid R2-D2. And ANA did not stop there, adding three more Star Wars planes. One of the designs features BB-8, another droid whose likeness graces an ANA Boeing 777-300ER. Another — dubbed the Star Wars Jet — was added to one of ANA's Boeing 767-300s; it shows both BB-8 and R2-D2. The fourth Star Wars jet was announced in July 2016 — a Boeing 777-200 that’s painted like the fussy droid C-3PO. (More: Need more 'Star Wars'? These special airline jets may do the trick)
Check out the All Nippon Airways Dreamliner painted like R2-D2
All Nippon Airways adds two more 'Star Wars' jets
Meanwhile, Taiwanese carrier EVA has rolled out its own set of special airline paint schemes. Its jets feature the likeness of Hello Kitty, the distinctive cartoon cat that’s cultivated something of a cult following among audiences around the world. EVA has flown more than a dozen Hello Kitty aircraft, rolling out the paint schemes on both short-haul narrowbody planes and on long-haul widebodies. (More: Trip report and photo tour: Inside EVA's Hello Kitty plane)
Adding to the experience on both ANA and EVA, the special theme extends to the cabin interior, too. On ANA, fliers will see Star Wars-themed headrests and beverage cups, among other items. Those items also bear Hello Kitty insignia on EVA’s Hello Kitty flights, as do the emergency evacuation cards. Some EVA airports even have Hello Kitty check-in kiosks.
Though they may be different, the special paint schemes always draw the attention of fliers at the airport. Do you have a preference? Vote below and we’ll see which set of designs is preferred by USA TODAY Travel’s readers.