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).
Taipei (TPE) – Los Angeles (LAX)
Wednesday, October 16
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.
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.
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.
Packaged headphones and a bottle of water were also waiting at my seat.
The entertainment controls, headphone jack, power adapter, and reading lights were located to the left of the seat.
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.
As boarding continued hot towels and pre-departure beverages were served. I just had a glass of water.
Shortly thereafter slippers and the signature Rimowa amenity kit were distributed (yes, perhaps I get a bit too excited over Rimowa amenity kits).
I was actually a bit disappointed the cabin wasn’t more Kitty-fied. Like, would pink walls or a pink bulkhead really hurt anyone?
Much like on my last flight, the only sign of Kitty was the bulkhead with pictures of her.
As boarding finished up the crew came around to distribute Hello Kitty themed 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.”
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.
At this point the flight attendant came around the cabin to take meal orders. The dinner menu read as follows:
And the wine/drink list read as follows:
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.
In addition to the Hello Kitty face on the gooseliver, the napkin holder was also Hello Kitty branded.
I was offered bread along with the appetizer, and chose a bread stick and some garlic bread.
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. 😉
The dessert consisted of fruit and something sweet and Asian, so of course I loved it.
To finish off the meal I once again had a cappuccino, which was spectacular.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
I decided to watch “Sherlock.”
About two hours prior to landing the pre-arrival meal service began, starting with juice (served with a Hello Kitty napkin, of course).
The pre-arrival meal menu read as follows:
I ordered the western meal, starting with a fruit plate and cappuccino (as if I hadn’t had enough already).
The bread basket was rather varied, with everything from garlic toast to croissants.
The main course was a “lime flavored apple crumble crepe roll,” which was extremely… unique.
The pre-arrival meal service was finished an hour prior to landing, at which point the sun slowly began to set.
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.