Date: December 2015
Aircraft: 777/300ER #B-16703 Hello Kitty Livery (Sanrio Family)
Configuration: 3 Class International
On Time: Yes
Reward Flying Experience: 7 of 10 ✈
A bit of luck
EVA Air typically doesn’t release their reward space until a couple weeks before departure. To deal with situations like this, book a different airline to destination and change prior to departure if you need to plan ahead. Otherwise be flexible and reward space to Taipei should open. Having said that I have booked EVA Air on an interAsia route 10 months in advance.
Value for Reward per redemption point:
Sky High: >.08
This was the 3rd leg of a ORD-TPE route through Paris. Based on the complete route, my value was in excess of 12 cents per point. If you were to book just this segment, the fare is $2,500 for business class and it would require 75,000 points for a 3.3 cent valuation. A good deal but not great. You can probably find EVA flights to TPE from North American cities; IAH, LAX, SFO, YYZ, YVR and JFK as well for a good valuation but they tend to release these closer to departure where I've seen Asia/Europe routes open months in advance.
EVA portion of ticket:
Reward Availability: 6 of 10 ✈
Reward Value: 3 of 10 ✈
What were they thinking?
The business class cabin has 6 rows of 1-2-1 seating and a 7th row of 2 seats in the front and 4 rows of 1-2-1 seating in the cabin aft the 2nd door. (Newer EVA Air 777/300 series jets have an extra seat in the 7th row right side window.) The window row seats are angled to the window while the middle 2 seats are angled to each other. This arrangement creates a sense of privacy that is welcome on a 12 hour flight. The cabin itself is quite attractive. It was immaculate. The front cabin wall had a painting of what else, the Sanrio Family, and the back cabin wall held a long magazine rack. (row 6 middle probably not a good seat choice) There were 3 lavatories available for business class, one in front by the cockpit entry and one at the rear of the business cabin on either aisle. What was most impressive about these lavatories is their size. Having been on many 777 aircraft I know the standard size. These where at least 50% bigger. Here is a link to the EVA Air website that details the Royal Laurel Business Class cabin.
Just like home
Get me off this plane
The seat was comfortable, but not as comfortable as the United seat I just left. There were two differences, and maybe these are just my preferences. First the seat is firmer which became more noticeable into the flight. The second, which I noticed immediately, is the width was narrower than United. But with that comes privacy so it’s a trade off I’m willing to take as it wasn’t too narrow or cramped. The compartment itself was extremely well laid out. My photo of the footwell because of the lighting doesn’t show how much room you have for your shoes and to stretch out, but it’s plenty. There is a magazine rack and slippers just off your right side down by the floor. On the left is the audio hand set, seat controls, a reading light and multiple jacks for electric and portable devices with stable storage for water and other items. The meal tray neatly slides out and folds into a huge table. The Zodiac Cirrus design is well thought out.
✔︎Like a Rock
This seat is very comfortable to sleep on. A tall person would have no problem with this seat. I did not like the seat extended to lie flat as it seemed to have a hump in the middle, but that may have been just me not setting the seat right, so I had it almost lie flat. A blanket and pillow are provided. The blanket is thick and large which can be used as a mattress pad and blanket. The material was warm and soft.
Hard Product (Cabin/Seats): 8 of 10 ✈
✔︎I’d buy this stuff
One of the few airlines that provides pajamas for business class passengers, EVA Air hopefully will set a trend. They are super comfortable. A word of caution however to anyone who is normally wearing XL and up. They only had M and L. (I’m not sure if that’s all they had on my flight or that’s all they carry for men.) Large is usually good if not a little big for me. This large size is tight, but that is the only issue.
And then there is the Rimowa amenity kit. Since I was inbound I got the olive green kit. It contains Harnn moisturizers and lip balm along with ear plugs, toothpaste, comb, etc. It is a very nice kit and the sample moisturizers are decent size tubes, not one squeeze and your done like most others. This is just a little thing that combined with other EVA touches sets them apart from the pack, in my opinion.
Full bar in cabin
Multiple coffee selections
Multiple tea selections
I’m not sure what the whole Hello Kitty thing is but it’s a theme and they stick to it which is ok by me. Menus, pillows, silverware ties, plane decorations, they do it all. Krug Grande Cuvée champagne and a nice Bordeaux, my choice.
Food Menu Selections and food extras:
✔︎Printed, multiple cuisines
Printed, single cuisine
Verbal by flight attendant
✔︎Mid flight snacks
EVA Air allows you to order your meal online before departure, days in advance, which I did. The menu has Western and Chinese cuisines with multiple selections for each. Online had an additional 3 choices that were not on the printed menu. This is another little thing that sets EVA apart.
Compliments to the Chef
✔︎Fine dining with a miss or two
No rave reviews
Get me a meal from economy
Poor and Outstanding. EVA gets a bad rap on their catering and I have to agree, it is not in the same class as say a Lufthansa or Cathay Pacific. The meal started with a smoked tartare of salmon canapé and a shrimp canapé which was fairly good. The Hors D’oeuvre was a duck liver terrine and was excellent. Next the mushroom soup (not shown) wasn’t so good. I had pre ordered the pan fried Charolais Beef, which is a grass feed french beef. It was NOT good. The plate looked nice but that was it. I did not finish it.
Now on to outstanding. Mid flight I asked for a bowl of noodle soup, which is a staple in Taiwan. In fact I went to the most popular place in Taipei for noodle soup, EVA’s was better. I followed that up with a delicious cup of hot chocolate and a cookie. And then there was breakfast. I had pre-ordered the French Toast. The menu said it came with Red Berries and Sweet Mascarpone. This dish is probably the best meal I’ve EVER had on an airplane. It was restaurant quality. Moral of the story, I will order this for dinner next time!
Soft Product (Amenities/Food/Drinks): 6 of 10 ✈ (with a special shout out for pajamas in business class!)
Can I stay and watch some more?
✔︎Watched a fav and went to sleep
400 cable channels and nothing to watch
Glad I brought my tablet
EVA did not disappoint with IFE either. The headphones were comfortable. Movie and TV selections were plentiful in both English and Chinese. The air show was informative.
InFlight Entertainment: 6 of 10 ✈
✔︎Made the flight special
Did their job
Did they board?
Another area where EVA stands out. Most business class cabins have 2-3 flight attendants. One works the galley and one on each aisle. I lost count with EVA they had so many different FA’s on duty. Of course that is an exaggeration but point taken is I had at least 5 different people attend to something for me during the flight.
Crew: 8 of 10 ✈
✔︎Didn’t realize was on a plane
Time for a trade-in
The Boeing 777 is one of the best planes in the sky. This aircraft was delivered to EVA in June 2006 making it a few months shy of 10 years old. To me it was brand new.
Aircraft: 7 of 10 ✈
Search for Reward tickets
EVA has a very useful mobile app. Timetable simply shows scheduling while Flight Status are updates on current flights within 2 days. You can book a flight and it has a flexible day search option. You can check in for your flight as well as manage your trip. I changed my seat assignment using the app. It's an attractive app as well. Click on the picture to go to EVA's website for more information.
I was excited to fly EVA Air based on comments read in blogs and reviews. They did not disappoint. I am now a big fan of EVA and will fly them again. In fact I have another reservation later in the year. My home base is Chicago and they’ve recently stated they will begin flying out of ORD in 2016. Perfect, as Taipei is a beautiful place to visit. xiè xiè.
Do you have any EVA Air experiences you'd like to share? Feel free to leave a comment.