Eva Air Seattle To Taipei Business Class – Ben says: Although EVA Air doesn’t have the favorite business class seats, the food, beverages, amenities and service are simply excellent.
After flying from Newark to Brussels to Vienna, my next flight was to Bangkok on EVA Air’s 787-9, which features their new Business Class product. EVA Air’s Vienna flights alternate between operating non-stop in Taipei and operating via Bangkok.
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I had a long layover in Vienna as I arrived at 1pm, my connection was at 6:35pm. So I worked a long day at the Australian Business Lounge I reviewed earlier.
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My flight to Bangkok was from gate D23, so I left around 5pm, very early for my flight. I didn’t realize at first that there were more security gates at these individual gates (I don’t know why, since I already went through security?), and in this case the line was very long.
Fortunately, business class and elite passengers can cut the line, albeit a bit awkwardly. There’s a sign out front indicating that premium passengers can board, but with no separate queue, it sure looks like you’re cutting through.
Once through security I found a seat in the sterile gate area until boarding began. Checkout was supposed to start at 5:50 PM, but ended at 6:05 PM.
I couldn’t wait to try out EVA’s new 787-9 Business Class. I’ve always been a big fan of their service, but so far I’ve only flown the 777-300ER in Business Class, which has reverse chevron seats.
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I went to the second set of doors and was ushered into the business class cabin. EVA Air’s business class soft top actually feels more like first class than business class, and it’s one of my favorite things in the world.
EVA Air has stunning seats on their 787-9, which are very similar to what you’ll find on the Qantas 787-9 (although the finish makes them look very different). Spread over seven rows in a 1-2-1 configuration, the cabin is very intimate with just 26 seats.
I’m not sure what EVA Air’s motivation was to install these seats in business class other than the reverse chevron seats on their 777s. I would say the quality of the seats is almost comparable.
This configuration is not the most efficient, as there are only 26 seats between doors one and two, but you can find 30 reverse business class seats in this space.
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So I’m not sure if the airline really thinks it’s a good hard product, the seats are cheaper to install or what. However, it is surprising that they have introduced a new type of seat that is not necessarily better because it creates product inconsistencies.
All that being said, these are some of the best quality rocking chairs out there, and the quality of this product is growing on me.
The seats in the middle section are still level with each other (so they’re not like the “B” seats you find in some staggered configurations).
For individual window seats, they alternate between being near the aisle and near the window.
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I was in seat 7K, which was a “true” window seat. These seats are great because you can easily see out the window and you get more privacy since you are some distance from the hall.
These seats make efficient use of space because the foot of the seat is lower than the front seat, so the seat in one row is closer to the aisle and the seat in the next row is closer to the window.
This is one of my favorite types of outdoor seating because of the features surrounding the seat. For one, the seat has an elaborate privacy shield so you can’t actually see the person sitting next to you.
A console in front of the seat houses the seat controls, a headphone jack and 110v and USB outlets.
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Next to that is the entertainment controller (although the personal TV is also a touch screen, I’ve never used that controller).
My only criticism of the seat is the lack of individual air nozzles, which is very common on Asian airlines.
I have a pair of headphones waiting by my seat when you get up. They are of very good quality, but not at the level of Bose or Bang & Olufsen.
A bottle of fizzy water was also waiting at my seat. Although I usually try to avoid bottled water, it’s unavoidable on flights. Fizzy is my favorite if I’m going to serve bottled water.
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EVA Air’s business class suite was amazing and the procession of non-stop service began the moment I boarded. As soon as I sat down the flight attendant came to my seat and said my name, introduced me to the seat and informed us of our flight time.
He then offered me a drink before leaving. I asked for some champagne, which was served with a special Boeing 787 napkin, a chocolate and a hot towel on a tray. Often the small touches make a difference and the fact that EVA Air stands like a small chocolate and towel is served on a tray.
Moments later the flight attendant brought me a kit of supplies that came in a special bag.
The accessory kit is by Salvatore Ferragamo and it’s amazing. However, I still prefer the Rimowa amenity kit on flights from Taipei (at least the last one I checked).
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I was then given the menu and wine list for the flight and the flight attendant explained that dinner would be served after take-off and breakfast before landing.
Although the cabin was initially only half full based on the seatmap, it was almost full. So the staff is busy providing this excellent service to all business class passengers.
About 10 minutes into the ride, Nicole came up to me and introduced herself. Five minutes later a flight attendant came to my seat to take my food order. He took both my dinner and breakfast orders, asked what I wanted to drink, woke me up for breakfast, did I want more water or soda, etc.
The only funny thing is that I decided to order the vodka martini because I saw it on the menu. Since the EVA Air works so well with their softer products, I thought I’d give it a try, and I was surprised at how customizable it could be. Maybe I’m pushing my luck, but…
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At 6:30 PM the main cabin door was closed and at 6:35 PM the captain announced that we would push back in 10 minutes. He told us that our flight time would be 9 hours 40 minutes and we would be flying at an altitude of 35,000 to 39,000 feet.
At 6:45 pm we started our taxi and on the way out there were some interesting traffic like Lada A320 and Aeroflot Sukhoi Superjet.
I browsed the entertainment selection as we headed out. Although the system is easy to use and responsive, the English selection is very limited. There are just under 50 movies, and then a very limited number of TV shows.
I have to say that aside from some fun choices…unusual names I thought of. I guess it could be a case of “lost in translation”.
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While the entertainment selection isn’t stellar, EVA Air does have Wi-Fi on the 787-9s, which is great.
Unfortunately, EVA Air Wi-Fi charges based on data usage rather than time, but the price isn’t that bad:
10 minutes after take off I decided to go to the bathroom and took a picture of the cabin on the way back. Oddly, EVA Air pilots never turn off the seat belt sign, but it is on by default. Then when it goes bad they make an announcement asking you to stay in their place.
Business Class has three bathrooms – two at the rear of the cabin and one near the front of the cabin. While there are some amenities they are pretty much standard for a 787.
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As far as I’m concerned, EVA Air has the best beverage selection of any airline in business class. Wave La Grande Dame 2006, Fiji, San Pellegrino, Iced Coffee and Cappuccino? Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes.
My martini, unfortunately, was not spectacular. Not sure how I get the olives on the bottom of the glass? Canapes include ham and horseradish, gorgonzola and olives on rye bread.
About 50 minutes after takeoff they brought out a full table setting, which I thought was beautiful, including a small tray of bread, butter and olive oil.
About five minutes later, I served an appetizer of timbale avocado salad with crab meat and chive oil. This is wonderful.
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Next was a salad with a bit too much dressing for my taste, but it was delicious.
The main course was served approximately 75 minutes after takeoff. For that, I ordered the fried prawns with cashew nuts, which was very good.
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