EVA Air gives Seattle a taste of the good life… but not for long

EVA Air joined the Star Alliance back in June, and has been a great new option for Star Alliance award redemptions given how generous they are with business class award space.

While their old business class product is really mediocre, their new business class (Royal Laurel Class, as it’s called) product available on most of their 777-300ER aircraft is phenomenal. It features reverse herringbone suites (all of which have direct aisle access), Dom Perignon (the only airline to serve it in business class), and Rimowa amenity kits. I had the chance to fly their Royal Laurel Class from Taipei to San Francisco in July, and have to say I was really impressive by the product. While the food was a bit disappointing, every other aspect of the product — from the seat to the service to the drinks to the entertainment — was about as good as I’ve ever experienced in business class.

EVA_Air_Royal_Laurel_Class

Anyway, EVA Air flies to Seattle, which is definitely one of our more “exotic” airlines and routes, though the service has always been operated by a 747.  As I said above the 747 has a really outdated business class product, so to me that route isn’t worth much since I’d rather connect through Los Angeles or San Francisco and get the new product. Though I really do love the Seattle flight in theory since it departs Seattle at 2AM and gets into Taipei early in the morning. I’d love to be able to spend a full day at home, stay up late, hop on a flight, and wake up refreshed in Asia.

I’ve really, really been hoping that EVA Air eventually puts a 777-300ER on the Seattle route so that we finally get the new product. So imagine my surprise when I was driving across the 520 Bridge here in Seattle last night and saw a 777-300ER in the sky. My reaction was somewhere along these lines:

Even after managing to calm down I was still kinda like this:

When I got home I hopped online and looked up the flight schedule to be sure that my eyes weren’t failing me or that it wasn’t a diversion from another flight or something. Sure enough, BR26 was operated by a 777-300ER. So I quickly looked up more of the schedule, only to realize this is only a temporary thing through October 16…

Way to tease me, EVA Air! Now please, please, please schedule the 777-300ER to Seattle permanently!

Comments

  1. hi lucky,

    do you know if flight attendants can tell if you booked your business/first class ticket on miles? i know the ones working the counter can, but what about the ones that serve you food/drinks etc?

    Thanks!

  2. @ ang — I don’t believe they can. That being said, on non-US airlines I’ve never had a flight attendant treat me any differently because I was on an award than if I were on a revenue ticket, so I think it’s a moot point either way.

  3. @ang I did Royal Laurel TPE-NYC last Tuesday, and in the (wonderful) 14 hours I hung out in the galley practicing my Mandarin with the (very friendly) crew and talking to them about champagne.

    (Incidentally, each flight does have a limited supply of the Dom, so you’d better hope that you’re not on a flight with me.)

    From what I could see from the manifests, there was no “award travel” notation — just the Infinity MileageLands (:D) or other frequent flyer level, a name, and the notation if you pre-booked a meal (which I did, and which was uniformly great for a lover of Chinese cuisine. The noodles with Super Grandma Ragu were particularly good.

  4. On the flight attendants knowing about your ticket… the FSD’s on most OW flights definitely know your elite status. I often get a special greeting regardless if i’m on CX, QF, or AA. As for revenue vs miles, the booking reference codes tell them that, I have seen those listed on a manifest on a CX flight but cannot say anywhere else. It was some time ago, not recently.

  5. We flew Royal Laurel Class LAX-TPE less than two weeks ago. It was truly phenomenal. The cabin was too warm and the main course was just okay, but everything else but the flight experience was amazingly good. The flight attendants provide terrific service throughout.

    We have never flown in F on an Asian airline but I have to imagine this was a close approximation in many ways.

  6. The above should read “everything else about the flight experience…” I’m still waking up in HKG.

  7. @ mangoceviche — Sadly I don’t believe they have Hello Kitty specific amenity kits. A travesty, isn’t it?

  8. The big revelation in this post for me is that you drive! If you need to get somewhere, I thought you just flew there. 😉

  9. How the heck can you tell a 777-300 when its in the sky!?! I’m always amazed by the ability to tell planes when on the ground, I’ve got some of them down but this blows my mind.

  10. Lucky, what website is easy to use to tell you which aircraft is flying on a specific flight number?
    Many thanks, love the blog
    D

  11. thanks lucky, john and bruce. i didn’t mean to hijack your post. i noticed you always get such amazing service on your award redemptions. i asked bc a friend of mine used miles for first class on AA from japan coming back to jfk last night and they treated her really bad. the flight attendants treated her like a 2nd class citizen and was whispering “it’s bc she redeemed miles”. she ended up reporting the incident to AA so i was just wondering if they could tell.

    no turn down service, smashing down trays etc.

  12. Flying Eva business class for the first time next month. Hope the food will be better than your experiences or I will have no choice but to drown my sorrows in Dom.

  13. @ Jeremy — Well EVA Air is pretty easy to identify due to the globe on the tail of the plane and also the green undercarriage. I saw it wasn’t a 747 because it only had two engines, so it had to be a 777.

  14. @ ang — Sorry to hear about that. Yeah, US airlines are a different game altogether, though even on them I’ve never experienced such bad service due to being on an award.

  15. Ben:

    I booked an award flight TPE-SEA on new years. The 777 routes weren’t available. I know the seats aren’t as nice, but how does everything else compare? Do they still serve Dom?

  16. @ Eric — I believe service otherwise is the same, it’s just the seat and entertainment that are different.

  17. Hey Lucky,
    I just wanted to say that for some reason I’ve never really followed you–I first started reading Gary’s blog in 2010 and just kind of stuck with it, even though the couple times I’ve read yours I liked it and we seem to be around the same age so are at similar stages of our travel lives. But I have to say, after reading this post, that you’ve been bookmarked and I’m going to start reading you daily. Your embedded videos so perfectly capture my feelings about certain travel things, and I cannot stop laughing. I am totally Kristen Wiig in that skit every time something new or fun happens to me that is travel related. You could have filmed my first time upstairs on a 747 and it would have looked just like that. Or really, whenever Qantas hands out menus in coach–there’s something about getting a menu on an airplane that remains so decadent to me.

    Just wanted to say nice job, and keep up the good work!

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