Review: EVA Air Business Class Tokyo Narita to Taipei

Introduction
Club International Seattle
Lufthansa Business Class Seattle to Frankfurt
Lufthansa Senator Lounge Frankfurt
Lufthansa Business Class Frankfurt to Nice
Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Mediterranee
Grand Hyatt Cannes Hotel Martinez
Park Hyatt Zurich
Swiss Senator Lounge Zurich
Austrian Business Class Zurich to Vienna
Austrian Business Class Vienna to Tokyo Narita
EVA Air Business Class Tokyo Narita to Taipei
Le Meridien Taipei
W Taipei
EVA Air Infinity Lounge Taipei
EVA Air Royal Laurel Class Taipei to San Francisco
Thoughts on Nice, Monte Carlo, Cannes, Zurich, and Taipei


Upon arrival at Narita we headed to transit security, which was surprisingly deserted. From there we went to the ANA business class lounge, which is located at the far end of the concourse, about a 10 minute walk away.

I’ve reviewed the ANA business class lounge in the past, so I’ll refrain from doing so again. As I usually do, I spent a couple of hours catching up on work in one of the massage chairs, which sure feels good after a longhaul flight.

Our flight was departing from gate 32 at 10:30AM, so at 9:45AM we headed to the gate for our departure.

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Our plane to Taipei

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Our plane to Taipei

Boarding began on-time at 10AM, and in total I counted no fewer than seven gate agents… for a narrowbody aircraft! Surely there are some opportunities to improve efficiency there?

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Departure gate

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Departure gate

EVA 195
Tokyo Narita (NRT) – Taipei (TPE)
Friday, July 5
Depart: 10:30AM
Arrive: 1:05PM
Duration: 3hr35min
Aircraft: Airbus A321
Seat: 1C (Business Class)

EVA Air’s A321s are brand new, as they just started taking delivery of them last year. This plane was no exception, and even had that new plane smell.

The plane was in immaculate condition, and had a small business class cabin consisting of just eight seats spread across two rows in a 2-2 configuration. Legroom was slightly better than you’d get in domestic first class in the US, though not as good as longhaul business class.

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Business class cabin

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Business class cabin

At our bulkhead seats were a pillow and blanket, which were rather nice for a shorthaul flight. There were also slippers in the seatback pocket, though no amenity kit.

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Pillow and blanket

The coach cabin looked rather comfortable as well, with personal televisions at each seat.

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About 10 minutes after boarding started all eight business class seats were taken, and we were offered hot towels followed by pre-departure beverages.

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Hot towel

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Pre-departure beverage

The purser came by to introduce herself and give us the menu and wine list for the flight.

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Menu and wine list

Within about 25 minutes boarding was complete, and right on schedule we began our pushback to the runway.

We taxied out to runway 16R, where there was quite a queue for takeoff. It’s rather intimidating not being in a “heavy” aircraft at Narita, as there were nothing but 747s taking off ahead of us, including a Nippon Cargo 747-8 and KLM 747-400.

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Nippon Cargo 747-8

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KLM 747-400

Eventually it was our turn for takeoff, and at that point there was quite a queue built up behind us as well.

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Queue for takeoff

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View after takeoff

Our climb out was rather choppy, though once we were through about 10,000 feet the ride smoothed out.

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View on climb out

On the climb out I browsed the entertainment selection, which was one of the most extensive I’ve seen on a shorthaul configured aircraft. I eventually decided to watch “To Catch a Smuggler: Cavity Courier,” which seemed like a bit of an odd TV show for an airplane.

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Entertainment selection

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My selection

But it was a great show, and kept me entertained for about 45 minutes. The entertainment control was located to the left of the seat, and was the same that most airlines have on longhaul aircraft. The headphones were also in the seatback, and were standard on-ear headphones.

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Entertainment control

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Headphones

As we leveled off the captain came on the PA to welcome us aboard and inform us of the flight time of 2hr54min, which would put us into Taipei on-time.

Shortly thereafter the purser came around the cabin to take meal orders. The menu read as follows:

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And the wine list read as follows:

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EVA’s menus are interesting. They’re simultaneously the most varied and least varied menus out there. They have three different types of menus you can choose from — Japanese, Western, or Premium Laurel — though within each menu there were no options.

I asked about the possibility of mixing and matching, and taking an appetizer from one menu and main from another, but that was met with a blank stare.

So I ordered the Premium Laurel option, which consisted of a Chinese noodle with crab meat soup, which was really good. That was served with some cold chicken and a side of some sort of mochi (or something like that), which was probably my favorite part, since I’m a mochi-holic.

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Chinese noodle and crab meat soup

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Mochi… I think?

Instead of selecting bread from a bread basket, I was served a plate with three types of bread.

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Bread

I found it a bit odd that they had the appetizer and main course on a single tray, and then three courses of dessert. The first course was a fruit plate.

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Fruit plate

Next was some cheesecake.

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Cheesecake

And then lastly was some Haagen-Dazs ice cream.

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Ice cream

On the whole it was a good, though slightly odd, meal (due to the way the courses were served). Service throughout the flight was excellent, as there were two flight attendants plus the purser working an eight person cabin, which seemed like a total overkill. But the flight attendants were all smiles and were extremely attentive.

I dozed off for a bit after lunch, and woke up about 30 minutes out of Taipei, as one of the flight attendants was coming around the cabin with a basket of mints (and the like).

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Mints

Shortly thereafter we began our descent, at which point I watched the airshow, which had an interesting flight deck like display option.

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Airshow

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Cool display option

Despite looking like a nice day, the descent into Taipei was extremely turbulent, though in the end the landing was smooth.

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View on approach

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View on approach

We touched down in Taipei right on-time and had a fairly long taxi to the far end of the terminal, and from there it was about a 15 minute walk to immigration.

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Taxiing to the gate

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Taxiing to the gate

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Taxiing to the gate

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EVA Air A330 at gate next to us

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Walking to immigration

On the whole, EVA Air’s shorthaul narrowbody service impressed me. Ultimately the seats are a bit more comfortable when you’re flying a longhaul configured aircraft, but for such a short flight the seats were perfectly adequate. The only thing I’d try to do differently next time is fly the Hello Kitty EVA Air service between Tokyo Narita and Taipei.

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Comments

  1. I was on the same flight last month (even sat in 1C!). Upon check-in (I had overnighted at NRT due to IRROPS), BR was very strict about the 7kg carry-on weight limit, and forced me to check my rollaboard. Did you experience this?

  2. Ah, Eva Air, used to fly it to Taiwan as a kid. I think the “yellow mochi” you are referring to is a dim sum dish called “nai huang bao” (google search). I hope you were able to try some authentic Taiwanese food in Taipei.. beef noodle soup, din tai feng dumplings, pork chop rice, Taiwanese breakfast, and more.

  3. @wxguy
    EVA is known for weighing the carry-on. I got weighed for long-haul Toronto-Taipei in June also and has to check it (it was 10kg, when my carry-on was itself 4kg). I even forgot I had cameras in there (oops) but it arrived safely

    I don’t know why the big deal vs. other airlines who rarely measure (I haven’t got weighted by AC, UA, AA, SQ, TG, LX, etc…)

  4. i’m curious too, what is the award availability like on the hello kitty planes? i am kicking myself for not finding out about them until after i flew my hk to taiwan flight two months ago =(.

  5. I thought I remember that you said the purpose of going to Taipei was to fly the Hello Kitty plane. Perhaps I missed something…why did you take the A321 instead?

  6. We flew the Hello Kitty plane from TPE-HKG in J a couple weeks ago. Fun and availability in J was wide open. Nothing in Y however.

  7. @ Lantean — Generally excellent, as I doubt there are many business travelers that actively seek out the Hello Kitty plane. 😉

  8. @ SANspotter — The real purpose was to try EVA’s longhaul service. I was hoping to incorporate the Hello Kitty flight, but due to the timing it just didn’t work out unfortunately.

  9. I also flew HKG-TPE on the Hello Kitty plane (sheer accident) and the businessmen which predominated the J cabin seemed to not care one way or the other.

    My wife and I found it amusing but other than that, it was a normal flight. Catering seems to BR’s weekest link and I am really unsure as to why, they seem to want a quality product but seem to just miss the mark with the strange menu configuration.

  10. >Legroom was slightly better than you’d get in domestic first class in the US, though not as good as longhaul business class.

    To put things into perspective, the distance between NRT and TPE is less than HEL and FCO, or SFO and IAH. And it’s certainly better than intra-Europe legroom 😉

  11. I got my hand luggage weighed too but they allowed our bag at 8.8 kg to go through, a 3 year old on the itinerary helps:-)

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