The Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport was chosen by travel Web site Amadeus as one of the 10 “traveler-friendliest” airports in the world, thanks to Hello Kitty.
The global travel data provider said part of the airport’s appeal was the Hello Kitty waiting area near the C3 boarding gate in Terminal Two.
The Hello Kitty waiting area was launched in 2007, Taoyuan International Airport Corp (TIAC) said. It features a statue of the Japanese cat towing a suitcase and includes a playground for children. All the seats in the waiting area are pink to match the color of Hello Kitty’s iconic outfit.
There is also a Hello Kitty store next to the waiting area, where Hello Kitty items can be purchased, including Taiwanese desserts such as sun cakes (太陽餅) and pineapple cakes in Hello Kitty-style packaging.
TIAC said passengers could see Hello Kitty in other parts of the airport, including nursery rooms and phone booths. EVA Airways’ check-in counters in Terminal Two have also been remodeled to resemble a Hello Kitty aircraft cabin and include a display of the utensils and pillows used on the airline’s Hello Kitty jets.
A Hello Kitty slide and another Hello Kitty store can be seen in Terminal One, at B7 and A4 boarding gates, the company said.
TIAC said the Amadeus’ announcement would encourage it to offer more entertainment-oriented facilities so that passengers can enjoy their time at the airport while they are waiting for their flights.
The airport already has other themed waiting areas including ones featuring the well-known Pili Puppet Show (霹靂布袋戲) TV series of Taiwanese glove puppetry, Taiwan’s postal service, the famous Chinese novel Journey to the West (西遊記) and Taiwanese snacks.
Some of the other airports on the Amadeus Top 10 list are Incheon International Airport in South Korea, Changi International Airport in Singapore, Portland International Airport, McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam and Vancouver International Airport.
In other travel-related news, the Civil Aeronautics Administration said Taiwan and China could soon start negotiating over the additional cross-strait flight services for next year’s Lunar New Year holidays, either at the end of next month or the beginning of December.
The agency said the Lunar New Year holidays would be in February. Given that both sides need time to process the results of the negotiations, it would be too late if the negotiations were held any later, it said.
Additional reporting by CNA