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
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.
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?
Tokyo Narita (NRT) – Taipei (TPE)
Friday, July 5
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.
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.
The coach cabin looked rather comfortable as well, with personal televisions at each seat.
About 10 minutes after boarding started all eight business class seats were taken, and we were offered hot towels followed by pre-departure beverages.
The purser came by to introduce herself and give us the menu and wine list for the flight.
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.
Eventually it was our turn for takeoff, and at that point there was quite a queue built up behind us as well.
Our climb out was rather choppy, though once we were through about 10,000 feet the ride smoothed 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.
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.
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:
And the wine list read as follows:
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.
Instead of selecting bread from a bread basket, I was served a plate with three types of 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.
Next was some cheesecake.
And then lastly was some Haagen-Dazs 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).
Shortly thereafter we began our descent, at which point I watched the airshow, which had an interesting flight deck like display option.
Despite looking like a nice day, the descent into Taipei was extremely turbulent, though in the end the landing was smooth.
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.
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.