If there is one thing I want you to take away from this review, it is this: EVA is not a Mainland Chinese carrier.
So often, we encounter reluctance to flying EVA from Award Expert clients. The usual response goes something like this: “Oh, we don’t like Chinese carriers”. By that, they invariably mean Mainland Chinese carriers. And although many Mainland carriers have greatly improved, that response is understandable. After all, who wants to fly in an ashtray?
EVA is a Taiwan-based airline and member of the Star Alliance network. Its worldwide route network includes North America, Europe, and Australia. EVA’s longhaul fleet is composed of 777-300s, A330-200s, and 747-400s (which will be retired later this year). All longhaul flights have lie-flat seating and both service and food is exceptional. Not just good, exceptional. I had the chance to fly abroad an EVA 777-300ER from Amsterdam to Taipei with a stop in Bangkok in business class as part of my Star Alliance Business Class Adventure in Europe and Asia.
After a delayed start to our flight, which EVA handed extremely well, we boarded for the first portion of our flight, an 11hr journey to Bangkok.
Amsterdam (AMS) – Bangkok (BKK) – Taipei (TPE)
October 03, 2013 (why so old?)
Aircraft: Boeing 777-3ooER
Seat: 10D (Business Class)
This was a late night flight, now pushing midnight, so boarding was quick and FAs helped to get every passenger settled quickly. Nevertheless, FA still offered a pre-departure beverage, warm towel, and menus prior to takeoff.
EVA Royal Laurel 777 Business Class Seat
EVA introduced a reverse herringbone seat on its 777 long before many of its competitors. Since we were traveling together, my brother and I chose a section of two seats in the middle. Seats are spacious with plenty of personal storage. The Royal Laurel cabin contains 27 seats divided into two cabins. We were seated in the rear cabin.
In terms of bedding, a comfortable blanket and pillow were waiting on my seat. EVA has since introduced a new plusher blanket, pillow and mattress pad, so know that bedding has improved even more since my flight. Pajamas are now also avaibale.
The cabin was too dark and full to take a decent photo of the bed in sleep mode, so I will include this stock photo–
The bed is spacious enough even for a tall person and my feet did not feel constrained in the “cubby hole”.
EVA Royal Laurel 777 Business Class Food & Drink
EVA shines in the food and beverage department. As usual, I stuck to the western menu options and found both the quality and portion sizes wonderful.
Here’s a look at the menu and wine list for the first sector to Bangkok–
A couple notes. First, EVA rotates its champagne. My flight had Dom 2003 but recently we have seen Krug or Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 2006. Second, menu appearances and tablecloths have changed, but the food itself has not. You can still order in advance online and whatever you eat, expect a high-quality meal.
The meal began with a seafood appetizer, which I passed on. I did enjoy the garlic bread and fresh carrot juice.
Next up came the main course, with no salad or soup course in between presumably due to the late-night flight. I ordered veal and it was expertly prepared. The risotto tasted more like saffron, but I love saffron as well–
Cheese and dessert were served by cart and I opted to try cheese, cake, fruit and ice cream. All were excellent. FAs were so happy to see me seat since most in the cabin went right to sleep.
I appreciated the Godiva chocolate as well:
After almost no sleep the previous night, I fell asleep after the meal service and slept for 7.5 hours straight. Success! I should note both meal services were efficient: not quite as fast as on competitor China Airlines, but very efficient. Due to the late hour, that was appreciated.
90 minutes prior to landing breakfast service began. Service began with a fruit plate and delicious hot croissant (not your usual airline croissant)–
My brother ordered waffles while I had poached eggs–
Every bite was delicious.
EVA Royal Laurel 777 Business Class Service
Service was spectacular. I can’t describe it other than to say, there was no pretension by the FAs. I am sure they were also not thrilled about the flight delay, but made every passenger feel comfortable. We were addressed by name the entire flight and FAs (at least while I was awake) constantly monitored the aisles to check on passengers. They also smiled, like the stock picture below–
EVA Royal Laurel 777 IFE + Wi-Fi
EVA offers noise cancelling headphones (good, but not great) and has an IFE library with a large selection of movies and TV shows from around the world. Seat-to-seat calling is also available and complimentary. Wi-Fi is supplied by T-Mobile and costs $21.95 for a day pass.
I watched a French movie called Love is in the Air which takes place wholly onboard a daytime from New York to Paris. I enjoyed it!
EVA Business Class Rimowa Amenity Kit
Another thing I love about EVA: the amenity kit is from Rimowa! Thai Airways and Lufthansa also offer Rimowa amenity kits, but only to first class passengers.
BR76 makes a ground stop in Bangkok. All passengers were forced to exit the aircraft during the 90-minutes on the ground. Business class passengers were escorted through security and to the EVA Lounge, which was a bit crowded.
We re-boarded from Gate G3 and took off, again precisely two hours late. A new cabin crew welcomed us onboard.
New Rimowa amenity kits were not given out, but all blankets had neatly been folded (or hopefully replaced).
Dinner service began not long after takeoff:
Mixed nuts and rice crackers to start.
I’m just not into cold duck, but again enjoyed some garlic bread with my single scallop and pesto sauce:
The main course was very tasty, with the salmon cooked to a perfect texture.
Finally, a fruit plate with chocolate ice cream for dessert:
Not bad for a 3hr, 40min flight!
Other than the delay, I don’t have a bad thing to say about the flight. FAs were pleasant and attentive, the seat is comfortable, food was great, and EVA has the best amenity kit and champagne in business class. I highly recommend EVA Royal Laurel Business Class.
For a more recent review, check out Lucky’s recent flight from LAX-TPE. You’ll see some of the differences I noted, but also that business class hasn’t changed much since my flight.