Review: EVA Air Hello Kitty Royal Laurel Class Taipei to Los Angeles

Introduction
US Airways Club Charlotte
US Airways Envoy Class Charlotte to Paris
Hilton Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
Star Alliance Lounge Paris
Air China Business Class Paris to Beijing
Air China Business Class Lounge Beijing
ANA 787 Business Class Beijing to Tokyo
Hilton Tokyo Narita Airport
Tokyo Narita Airport Hello Kitty Check-in
EVA Air Hello Kitty Business Class Tokyo to Taipei
EVA Air The Star Lounge Taipei
Taipei Airport Hello Kitty Gate
EVA Air Hello Kitty Royal Laurel Class Taipei to Los Angeles


I flew EVA Air Royal Laurel Class from Taipei to San Francisco back in July, shortly after they joined the Star Alliance. Long story short, I was blown away by their business class product.

Their hard product is phenomenal, and service and entertainment were top-notch. Their beverage selection was great (after all, they’re the only airline to serve Dom Perignon in business class), so the only downside to their product was the food, which wasn’t especially good.

Naturally I was excited to fly them again, this time on their brand new USA-bound Hello Kitty service, which started just a few weeks prior. The flight was virtually identical to the one I took last time to San Francisco, given that the flight departed and arrived around the same time, and was the same aircraft type (minus the Hello Kitty theme).

EVA 16
Taipei (TPE) – Los Angeles (LAX)
Wednesday, October 16
Depart: 11:55PM
Arrive: 8:40PM
Duration: 11hr45min
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 11A (Royal Laurel Class)

We boarded through door 1L, and while the crew greeted us, we weren’t escorted to our seats as I was last time I flew EVA Air.

Business class consists of two cabins — the forward cabin consists of six rows, while the mini cabin behind the galley consists of four rows. Royal Laurel Class has a herringbone configuration, which I find to be the most comfortable type of business class seating. The configuration is 1-2-1, so each seat has direct aisle access.

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EVA Air Royal Laurel Class cabin

I headed back to the mini cabin, as I was once again seated in 11A, the window seat in the last row of the cabin.

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EVA Air Royal Laurel Class cabin

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EVA Air Royal Laurel Class, seat 11A

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EVA Air Royal Laurel Class, seat 11A

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EVA Air Royal Laurel Class, seat 11A

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EVA Air Royal Laurel Class, seat 11A footrest

Since this is the Hello Kitty Sanrio Family 777-300ER, there were special Sanrio Family pillows, along with the standard blankets, which are extremely comfortable.

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EVA Air Royal Laurel Class Hello Kitty Sanrio Family pillow and blanket

Packaged headphones and a bottle of water were also waiting at my seat.

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EVA Air Royal Laurel Class, seat 11A headphones and water

The entertainment controls, headphone jack, power adapter, and reading lights were located to the left of the seat.

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EVA Air Royal Laurel Class cabin, seat 11A controls

I was rather excited that this flight was a bit more Kitty-fied than my last EVA flight, as they had Hello Kitty entertainment on the screens during boarding.

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Hello Kitty boarding video

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Hello Kitty boarding video

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Hello Kitty boarding video

As boarding continued hot towels and pre-departure beverages were served. I just had a glass of water.

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EVA Air Royal Laurel Class pre-departure water

Shortly thereafter slippers and the signature Rimowa amenity kit were distributed (yes, perhaps I get a bit too excited over Rimowa amenity kits).

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EVA Air Royal Laurel Class slippers

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EVA Air Royal Laurel Class Rimowa amenity kit

I was actually a bit disappointed the cabin wasn’t more Kitty-fied. Like, would pink walls or a pink bulkhead really hurt anyone?

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EVA Air Royal Laurel Class cabin, view from 11A

Much like on my last flight, the only sign of Kitty was the bulkhead with pictures of her.

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EVA Air Royal Laurel Class Hello Kitty artwork

As boarding finished up the crew came around to distribute Hello Kitty themed menus.

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EVA Air Royal Laurel Class Hello Kitty menus

We pushed back right on schedule, with a much emptier cabin than on my last flight. There were about six empty seats in the mini cabin (out of 16 seats), including both of the center seats in row 11. So the cabin felt even more private than usual.

After the safety demo I browsed the entertainment selection, which they fortunately activate on the ground. The selection is impressive, and I eventually decided to watch “The Way, Way Back.”

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EVA Air Royal Laurel Class Star Gallery entertainment selection

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EVA Air Royal Laurel Class Star Gallery entertainment selection

Our taxi to the departure runway was quick, and after a long takeoff roll we were airborne for our 11hr9min flight to Los Angeles.

About 20 minutes into the flight the seatbelt sign was turned off and crew began their service, starting with closing the curtains between cabins.

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EVA Air Royal Laurel Class mini cabin

At this point the flight attendant came around the cabin to take meal orders. The dinner menu read as follows:

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And the wine/drink list read as follows:

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I wanted to order the “Star Special” catered by Din Tai Fung, but for the second flight in a row they were out of it, which was unfortunate. So I went with the “Healthy Dining” option instead.

The appetizer consisted of gooseliver terrine, a prawn, and some salmon. The highlight of the appetizer was that Hello Kitty’s face was on the gooseliver, which is about the only good thing I can say about it.

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EVA Air Royal Laurel Class “Healthy Dining” appetizer

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EVA Air Royal Laurel Class gooseliver terrine

In addition to the Hello Kitty face on the gooseliver, the napkin holder was also Hello Kitty branded.

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EVA Air Royal Laurel Class Hello Kitty swag

I was offered bread along with the appetizer, and chose a bread stick and some garlic bread.

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EVA Air Royal Laurel Class bread selection

My main course consisted of vegetables stuffed in baby pumpkin with curry sauce. The vegetables and rice were fairly tasteless, and there wasn’t enough curry sauce. I was also rather disappointed that they didn’t sear Hello Kitty’s face into any of the vegetables. 😉

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EVA Air Royal Laurel Class “Healthy Dining” main course

The dessert consisted of fruit and something sweet and Asian, so of course I loved it.

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EVA Air Royal Laurel Class “Healthy Dining” dessert

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EVA Air Royal Laurel Class “Healthy Dining” dessert

To finish off the meal I once again had a cappuccino, which was spectacular.

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EVA Air Royal Laurel Class “Healthy Dining” cappuccino

So I have to say service on this flight wasn’t nearly as good as on my last longhaul EVA Air flight from Taipei to San Francisco. On that flight I felt as if service was equivalent to what you’d get in first class on many airlines. The purser came around to personally introduce herself to each passenger, and I was addressed by name at almost every interaction.

This time around the crew was fine. They were by no means rude, they just didn’t smile very much and weren’t very attentive. For example, the hot towel I was offered prior to departure was only removed from my seat after the meal service was complete, even though it sat in the open the entire time.

The plus side to EVA’s lackluster meal service is that it was complete less than 90 minutes after takeoff, allowing lots of time to sleep.

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EVA Air Royal Laurel Class airshow after dinner

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EVA Air Royal Laurel Class airshow after dinner

So after dinner I made my bed. As I’ve said many times before, I find reverse herringbone seats to be the most comfortable business class seats out there, and for that matter find them to be on par with many first class seats. Since there were several empty seats in the mini cabin I collected a bunch of pillows and blankets from other seats to make one heck of a comfortable sleeping area.

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EVA Air Royal Laurel Class bed

I tried to sleep after dinner, though wasn’t having any luck. I may have left out one minor detail earlier, in that I didn’t have just one cappuccino, but rather maybe three.

Or four.

Or five.

I don’t know, I lost count. Because they’re just that good. So while I rolled around for a couple of hours trying to sleep, in what is one of the most comfortable business class seats in the air, it just wasn’t happening.

Eventually I decided to browse the duty free catalog, where I came across the Hello Kitty section, available exclusively on the Hello Kitty aircraft. I wanted to be sure I bought some swag to give away on the blog, and especially liked the Hello Kitty & Dear Daniel Accessories Plush Set, which I thought was the most adorable thing ever.

So I went up to the flight attendants (there were a handful of them in the business class galley talking), and they all started giggling when I expressed interest in the Hello Kitty items. I said I’d like the Hello Kitty & Dear Daniel plush set, and they asked how many I wanted. I said “however many you have,” which was met with even more laughter (the kind where you put your hand over your mouth). Unfortunately they only had three aboard, so I diversified a bit.

Anyway, from thereon out the service level got a bit better on the flight, I must say (and stay tuned till tomorrow, as I’ll be launching another Hello Kitty swag giveaway then).

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EVA Air Hello Kitty duty free purchases

I eventually managed to get a bit of sleep, and woke up about three hours out of Los Angeles. At that point it was bright outside.

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View out the window

I decided to watch “Sherlock.”

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EVA Air Royal Laurel Class Star Gallery entertainment selection

About two hours prior to landing the pre-arrival meal service began, starting with juice (served with a Hello Kitty napkin, of course).

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EVA Air Royal Laurel Class Hello Kitty napkin and apple juice

The pre-arrival meal menu read as follows:

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I ordered the western meal, starting with a fruit plate and cappuccino (as if I hadn’t had enough already).

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EVA Air Royal Laurel Class pre-arrival meal fruit starter

The bread basket was rather varied, with everything from garlic toast to croissants.

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EVA Air Royal Laurel Class pre-arrival meal bread

The main course was a “lime flavored apple crumble crepe roll,” which was extremely… unique.

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EVA Air Royal Laurel Class pre-arrival meal main course

The pre-arrival meal service was finished an hour prior to landing, at which point the sun slowly began to set.

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View out the window

We began our descent into Los Angeles about 30 minutes prior to arrival. We touched down right on schedule on runway 24R, and from there had a 10 minute taxi to our arrival gate.

Immigration was fast thanks to Global Entry, though at customs the officer did ask what was in my five Hello Kitty bags. Explaining I’m a big fan seemed to do the trick.

On the whole this was another perfectly pleasant flight on EVA Air. Their hard product is phenomenal, with an amazing seat and entertainment system. The service wasn’t quite as good as on the last flight, which was disappointing. The food wasn’t very good, but given that EVA seems to be a nocturnal airline and only take-off and land when it’s dark outside, I don’t see that as much of an issue.

I’d fly them again in a heartbeat, especially given how much premium cabin award space they release.

Enjoy this review? Check out hundreds of other reports on airlines, hotels, and airport lounges worldwide!

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

More articles by lucky »

Comments

  1. First, I totally think they need that Rimowa amenity Kit-ty. Second, is that piece of carrot cut into the shape of a Hello Kitty hair bow???

  2. I’m not sure which is more worrisome, that I spent semi-valuable work time reading about Hello Kitty or that I now feel like my life won’t be complete until I take the Hello Kitty flight too.

  3. As good as that hard product looks, the food looks downright terrible. Even the quantity looks small too.

    How is the quality of their book-the-cook option?

  4. Pretty much agreed after my EVA experiences (see #thatjohnoneva on Instagram), although a few pointers:

    • EVA loads a limited number of bottles of Dom. On my TPE-JFK flight it was four. I checked. And by checked, I mean “drank them”.
    • The Taiwanese food is way better than the Western food. Play to their strengths, and you’ll be surprised by the Super Grandma Ragu — it’s delicious.
    • The matcha is pretty damn good.
    • Was it just me, or were there about four more crewmembers in Royal Laurel than were actually needed?

  5. I really enjoyed reading this report!!! I plan to fly it in Feb and can’t wait! Did you specifically ask to be seated on the last row of royal laurel class? Do you think you would have gotten the Din Tai Fung meal had you sat in the front rows since I presume the flight attendants ask for their orders first?

  6. Curious why you chose the last row of seats in J? I would think you would be at risk of there being a bassinet baby right behind you in that position?

  7. Couldn’t you pre order your meals when flying Royal Laurel? Could Din Tai Fung be on the pre order meal as one of options? Just wondering

  8. I’m surprised you didn’t preorder your meal. They have lobster and steak and other good food if you preorder. Maybe.. 3rd time is a charm?!

  9. Ben — I just love that Sanrio Family pillow, you didn’t happen to snatch one from the plane that you could lend to me, did you?

  10. @ Joey — I did request that seat since I like how private it is. My guess is that if I were seated further upfront I would have probably gotten my meal choice. Oh well.

  11. @ AP — The center seats are really private in that you can’t really even easily talk to the person seated “next” to you. So I would probably do two window seats behind one another, so you both have maximum privacy and can still communicate fairly easily.

  12. @ Bgriff — When I booked it was one of the only window seats left, and to be honest I kind of like how private it is in the very back of the cabin.

  13. These reports have been so helpful! I’m planning a trip to China using a USAir 90K award. Trying to decide — Air China nonstop? or EVA with the extra time it takes to stop in TPE? (Also interested in ANA) Any strong preferences? Thanks!

  14. @ elteetrav — Thanks! I’d probably still go with EVA Air for the excellent hard product. Otherwise I’d probably do ANA if you can get new business class on them.

  15. @ Kevin L. — Thanks for the kind words, I appreciate it! Lots more trip reports coming shortly. Have some hotel reviews write up, and then embarking on a mega-Delta journey next week that should be interesting.

  16. Great report, Benni!

    Did they not have DECAF cappucinos?

    Also, while the food doesn’t look all that great (maybe the pre-order options are better), the wine list looks excellent. I’m looking forward to drinking my way across the Pacific!

  17. @ snic — Hah, it hadn’t crossed my mind to ask until it was too late, unfortunately.

    And yes, why eat your way across the Pacific when you can drink your way across it?

  18. I love reading your trip reports but these Hello Kitty ones are particularly enjoyable 😉 ! Lucky do you book EVA award space through mileage plus? I have flown EVA for years and have always been a big fan especially of their premium economy – but this year I have a trip to BKK and want to fly Premium Laurel – seems like a good way to burn United miles!

  19. @ Mark — Thanks for the kind words! EVA Air does release plenty of Royal Laurel award space to partner airlines, so it’s a great use of United miles pre-devaluation.

  20. Great report, as usual! I need to fly HK Eva Air now!

    Is there a difference in the color of the Rimowa amenity kits? Different ones for different flights/destinations? Men’s vs women’s? What’s in them?

  21. I rather like the understated HK décor in their Laurel Class. Perhaps it’s less overkill for business travelers and parents?

    Did you have a look at economy class to see if the décor was the same as your previous HK flight? Or, are they toning everything down now?

    I think HK PJ’s and branded amenity kit would be awesome!

  22. @ Andy — There didn’t seem to be too much more decor in coach, though it did seem like they food was a bit more Kitty-fied, including Hello Kitty forms, spoons, etc.

  23. I am surprised you did not take a pillow a safety card and/ or anything from the Lav I take the Biz or first class pillows/blankets all the time when I fly UA or AA three class metal works great for road trips when you need to sleep in the back of your car lol

  24. I love this trip report and I love hello kitty. I agree with others next times you have to pre order meal. Actually on my last trip Paris to TPE, the purser told me almost 75% passengers chose pre order meals.

  25. One thing which I don’t think you’ve remarked upon (and it’s not like you have particular reason to, so that’s understandable) is how ridiculously terrible EVA’s own program is. 50,000 miles NA-to-Asia… each way… in coach. That’s not even in premium economy…

    Anyway, next time you mention you’ll be having an EVA flight, I’m sure one of us will remind you to pre-book your meals!

  26. Interessting to read about RL-hello kitty service. I think they reserve the total experience for their asian flights as that gives them a competitive edge in the overcrowded asian market: i have reviewed royal laurel flights AMS-BKK-TPE vv on flyertalk thread eva royal laurel including posting full menus and drinks list: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/other-asian-australian-south-pacific-frequent-flyer-programs/1491411-eva-royal-laurel-class-10.html …. As you collect rimowa kite be sure to watch announcements in the future about eva changing their kit colours to the seasons or colours of taiwan. It is at management level suggestion board so who knows when it will implemented.

  27. Gooseliver on the healthy diet? Ha, good to know.

    Incidentally, your movie selection was filmed in the Boston suburbs and Cape Cod. Yes, there really is a Water Wizz.

    The only thing missing was Hello Kitty temporary tatoos. Or do you have a real one already? 😉

    Thanks for your unbridled enthusiasm over the special features of this trip. It’s always great to see the passion in your writing.

  28. Really like to read your trip reports. Especially looking forward to this one as I will be trying this product (TPE-SFO) early next year.

    I think I have to pre-order the Din Tai Fung meal and try your highly recommended cappuccino. When do they start serving Dom on the plane?

  29. Lucky,
    I know you’ve said that EVA Air serves rather poor food, and that for you, the most important thing for J is the seat. I’ve never tried EVA, but just wanted to know how bad the food really is, and whether I should risk it.
    I’m thinking of flying between SIN and AMS. SQ is way out of my budget, but I’m getting similar prices for BR and QR. Which would you recommend? QR has a slightly worse seat (but still excellent, seeing that they have low loads, and I usually get the seat next to me free anyway), but excellent food in my past experience. I’m just worried about going hungry during the flight on EVA. First world problems.

  30. Nice report, looking forward to our trip in oct.

    any idea if we can use our business class boarding passes in LAX to access the United lounge in the commuter terminal ?

  31. @ mike — Business class on a Star Alliance carrier only gets you lounge access at your departure gateway city. So unless you’re a United Club member or flying United transpacific you wouldn’t get access.

  32. Lucky

    thanks for the prompt reply

    I thought they maky work like the oneworld alliance,
    no problem when I have time to kill ( and a nice shower) before the hop to san diego.

  33. @ mike — Nope, Star Alliance is slightly different. You can find their lounge access policy here:
    http://www.staralliance.com/en/benefits/status-benefits/lounge-access-policy/

    “Customers have access to any Star Alliance member carriers’ owned Business Class lounges.

    — Customer must present a boarding pass for travel in International Business Class on a Star Alliance flight
    — Customer must be departing from the local airport in International Business Class
    — Customers must be a revenue customer
    — Customer is not entitled to any guests”

  34. @Lucky – have you checked out the HELLO KITTY CHECK IN AREA at TPE? So cool! Wanted to send you a picture this morning when I was there, but then realised I didn’t know how to attach it. Haha. Pic turned out blurry anyway, but… you really should go there next time. And the onboard duty free now sells a Hello Kitty Bluetooth keyboard and a Hello Kitty travel kit with a neck pillow, luggage belt and eye mask! So cool, right? Don’t you just want a set to replace your current one? 🙂

  35. Ben, does this serve the jfk route? I checked br32 and it seems like it’s just the laurel class. Will they start serving the jfk route with this plane? I thought it was supposed to start June but I don’t see it.

  36. Hey Ben! Been following your blog for a while but this is probably the first time I’ve commented on anything. Anyway I will be flying in Royal Laurel from Taipei to Sapporo and in Premium Laurel on the Hello Kitty jet from Narita to Taipei next month, which I am immensely looking forward to, especially after reading your trip reports on it!

    On another note, based on your experience, is LifeMiles a better choice to credit my miles to instead of EVA’s own FFP?

  37. The Rimowa kits do come in different colors. We got charcoal ones from Seattle to Taipei and light green ones returning to Seattle.

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