Star Wars’ fans can collect not only Star Wars products nowadays but experiences and memories as well. Just visit Disneyland and kids can participate in Jedi Training or attend the Star Wars Celebration and you can immerse in all things Star Wars. But you can bring it up a notch by riding a Star Wars plane. There’s a Star Wars plane? Yes! One of the three arrived at the Los Angeles International Airport in 2016 and was a sight to behold. The Star Wars BB-8™ANA Jet arrived from its inaugural international flight from Japan and I was lucky enough to be invited to cover its arrival. I and the rest of the major news team from Los Angeles were able to see it land, taxi, board the cabin and even meet the real BB-8 from the Star Wars movie.
The BB-8™ ANA JET is the third and final aircraft in the ANA STAR WARS™ Project by ANA airlines, Japan’s largest airline. It features special livery with the BB-8 droid from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The first design which has domestic routes around Japan is the Star Wars™Ana Jet, a combination of R2-D2 and BB-8.
The second design was a R2-D2™ ANA Jet and it flies to Paris, Sydney, Munich, Jakarta and Beijing from Japan. It initially flew to Los Angeles but later on move to a Japan-Europe route when it served as the airline of the Star Wars cast when they went to London for the premiere of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015.
Now we really have our own here in the US that can fly us to Japan (hello Tokyo Disney, I’m coming) as the Star Wars BB-8™ANA Jet will have routes to Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Houston, Washington DC as well as an Asian route of Singapore to Narita.
After being escorted by the Ana Airlines team from the check-in desk to the airport gate, we waited for the Star Wars plane to land at the tarmac of the LAX. It took a month of background check before I got clearance coz’ the tarmac is really off limits to the public.
It was an amazing experience seeing all the big airlines from the ground even if it was super windy and cold that day. Ya, my hands froze and I needed a hug from Chewbacca.
The jet may seem small when it landed on the runway but once it taxied and you’re standing in front of a Boeing 777-300, wow! You can’t even get one or two pictures to cover the whole thing. And as a Star Wars fan, all I can think of was, is this really happening?! And the experience had just started.
After taking tons of photos at the tarmac, we went back to the departure area where a special guest arrived. Really special coz’ we weren’t informed prior to the event. The guest was BB-8 who flew in just for the event even if it was filming in London for the Star Wars film. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to touch him, but the force within me accidentally gave that push to do so when he came for a close-up. LOL.
After our interaction with BB-8, we boarded the BB-8™ANA Jet where passengers in coach can experience specially-designed BB-8 paper cups, headrest covers, and aprons for cabinet attendants.
If you’re a Star Wars fan, time to book your flight and experience it for yourself. You can watch most if not all – Star Wars films as in-flight entertainment on international flights.
Thanks to ANA Airlines for inviting me to the event.
Note: initially posted March 29, 2016. Updated May 4, 2018.