Houston

EVA’s Hello Kitty jet lands in Houston

HEllo KITTY ARRIVING

With a great deal of fanfare and classic Hello Kitty cuteness, EVA Air’s brand-new, specially painted Boeing 777-300ER landed at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport on Friday, June 19, 2015, with the carrier’s Chairman KW Chang serving as captain.

EVA AIR CHAIRMAN

Named the Hello Kitty Shining Star Jet, the plane’s livery features Little Twin Stars Kiki and Lala, Hello Kitty and My Melody and is EVA Air’s seventh specially painted aircraft and its second using a long-range Boeing 777-300ER. The plane will fly on EVA Air’s new route between Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental and Taipei’s Taoyuan International Airport three times a week. A fourth flight, using a Boeing 777-300ER with standard EVA livery, will be added on July 8, 2015.

Here are a few pictures from the arrival event at IAH Airport. More pictures of the Hello Kitty-themed items on board – and available for purchase on board the airplane – tomorrow on Souvenir Sunday.

EVA HelloKit Shining Star in flight

EVA AIR HELLO KITTY JET – in flight. Courtesy EVA AIR

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More tomorrow…

(All photos by Harriet Baskas, except the plane in flight, which is courtesy EVA AIR)

Snagged a cheap airfare; now what?

What good is it if you take advantage of one the current airfare sales, but end up in a city where you can’t afford to do anything?

Never fear:  plenty of cities are chock-full of free and really cheap things to do.  Sometimes the free stuff is right there in front of you; other times you’ll need to dig around in magazines, visitor bureau brochures and Web sites.

And sometimes, you might get a little help from the president.  At least if you’re in France.

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Starting April 4, 2009, visitors age 25 and under will get free admission at 18 national museums in Paris.  Admission to the Louvre alone is around $14, so it will be a good deal. (Note: currently the Louvre is free to everyone on the first Sunday of each month, free for people under 26 on Friday evenings, and free to anyone under 18 all the time – according to the Louvre Web site.)

Not going to Paris this spring?  Check out the cool, free stuff in my article on MSNBC.com: Cheap thrills for U.S. travelers in 2009.

My favorite: The Beer Can House in Houston.

Admission: $1 to tour the grounds outside the house. $5 to go inside. And who wouldn’t want to go inside???

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Karaoke at the airport? Yes! In Houston.

Sometimes dreams really do come true!

In the past I’ve joked (sort of…) that it would be great if airport amenities included speed-dating, tattooing, and karaoke – especially during the busy holiday travel season.

Now comes word that Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport is not just hiring choirs and bands to entertain travelers during this holiday season – starting today it’s setting up karaoke booths so travelers can belt out songs as well.

According to an airport official, “Aspiring vocalists can choose from hundreds of song titles… and small prizes will be given to the singers.”

Now what else can I put on my holiday list?