EVA Air

EVA Air Is Shifting Hello Kitty Flights From Houston To Chicago

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I’ve written extensively about EVA Air’s Hello Kitty flights, which are one-of-a-kind. I took a Hello Kitty flight just a few days ago from Taipei to Singapore, and prior to that I took Hello Kitty flights from Tokyo to Taipei and Taipei to Los Angeles a few years ago.

For those of you not familiar, EVA Air has a partnership with Hello Kitty, and they have a handful of planes that are Hello Kitty themed. Everything about the experience incorporates Hello Kitty, from check-in, to the gate, to the plane’s livery, to the onboard experience. It’s sort of crazy and amazing. Actually, scratch that, it’s just amazing.

EVA Air operates Hello Kitty flights to several airports, including both shorthaul and longhaul destinations.

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The EVA Air Hello Kitty Experience In 10 Pictures

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After flying EVA Air’s incredible 777 business class between Los Angeles and Taipei, I was very much looking forward to the connection on one of EVA Air’s Hello Kitty planes.

This wasn’t my first EVA Air Hello Kitty flight — years ago I took Hello Kitty flights from Tokyo to Taipei and Taipei to Los Angeles.

For those of you who still have no clue what I’m talking about, EVA Air has a partnership with Hello Kitty, and they have a handful of planes that are Hello Kitty themed. Everything about the experience incorporates Hello Kitty, from check-in, to the gate, to the plane’s livery, to the onboard experience. It’s sort of crazy and amazing.

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EVA Air 777 Business Class In 10 Pictures

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Hello from Asia! On Wednesday I flew EVA Air’s 777 business class between Los Angeles and Taipei. I flew EVA Air back when they first joined the Star Alliance, though this was my first time flying with them in over three years.

Last time I flew with EVA I thought they were an all around solid airline with great seats, service, and an overall very good soft product.

Well, after this flight I’m convinced they offer one of the best business class products in the world. A couple of years ago they introduced a slight update to their business class product, and it sure does make a difference.

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EVA Air’s Top Notch (Non-Alcoholic) Business Class Drink Selection

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Hello from somewhere over the Pacific! I’m writing this post live from my EVA Air flight, enroute from Los Angeles to Taipei. I flew EVA Air a few years back when they first joined the Star Alliance (including on one of their Hello Kitty flights), though this is my first flight on them since then. They’ve improved significantly over the past few years, and this is easily one of the top five business class products I’ve ever flown.

While I’ll have another post sharing my initial thoughts on the overall experience, in this post I wanted to focus specifically on EVA Air’s business class drink selection. More specifically, I want to focus primarily on their non-alcoholic drink selection.

First I should mention their champagne selection. EVA Air is known for serving the best champagne in business class of any airline. In the past they served Dom Perignon, Krug, and recently they even served Krug Rose, which retails for almost $300 per bottle.

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Oy: You Have To Hear This Audio Between ATC & EVA Air Pilots

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Earlier I wrote about an incident that occurred Friday morning after an EVA Air 777 bound for Taipei took off from Los Angeles. There was a serious miscommunication between the pilots and air traffic control, to the point that the 777 allegedly only cleared a mountain by about 500 feet. On top of that, visibility was limited and it was nighttime.

While we’ve heard certain snippets of the ATC audio, there’s now a full recording of the communication between the pilots and controller, along with a map of where the plane was flying. The level of miscommunication here is alarming.

To summarize the sequence of events:

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Did An EVA Air 777 Nearly Crash Into A Mountain After Departing LAX?

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It looks like the EVA Air 777-300ER flight this past Friday morning from Los Angeles to Taipei had quite a bit of excitement, and it wasn’t the pilots’ fault… at least not initially.

The weather in Los Angeles wasn’t good, and the 777 was departing towards the east (rather than towards the west, out over the ocean). The pilots read back the instructions they understood from ATC, which ended up being incorrect, though ATC didn’t correct them. Then ATC was shocked when they saw the plane was headed in the wrong direction, though it took the pilots over a minute to correct their course, putting them on a heading towards a mountain range and an Air Canada plane. Per ABC7:

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Great Opportunity: Redeem Miles For EVA Air Business Class To Asia

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In mid-2013, Taiwanese airline EVA Air joined Star Alliance, which I was quite excited about. They have a great business class product, and at first had tons of business class award availability.

As happens all too often when airlines join alliances, EVA Air quickly adjusted how they release award availability. They went from releasing tons of business class award seats in advance, to having a trend where they generally released them only within 90 days of departure when booking through a partner airline frequent flyer program.

The 90 day restriction isn’t ideal to begin with, though even within 90 days award availability wasn’t wide open. From time to time we’ve seen EVA Air release more business class award space in advance, though it hasn’t really been predictable.

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EVA Air Ups Their Champagne Game Even Further

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EVA Air is generally a very well regarded airline, and was just recently ranked as a Skytrax 5-star airline (whatever that’s worth). I had the chance to first fly them shortly after they joined the Star Alliance, and have enjoyed all my flights on them since (especially their Hello Kitty flights!). They have great reverse herringbone seats in business class, and a great soft product as well.

They even offer Rimowa amenity kits in business class, which I love.

But perhaps the one area where they excel the most is with champagne.

Over the past several years EVA Air has served Royal Laurel passengers Dom Perignon, Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 2004, and Krug. All three of those are among the best champagne served in business class, and better than what a vast majority of airlines serve in first class.

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EVA Air’s 777 Economy Seats Are Getting Tighter

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Per @airlineroute, EVA Air’s newly delivered Boeing 777-300ER aircraft will feature 10 seats per row in economy, rather than the current nine. The new planes will feature a total of 39 business class seats, 56 premium economy seats, and 258 economy seats. This represents a capacity increase of 20 economy seats, as the current 777-300ERs feature 238 economy seats.

This change is hardly surprising, as 10 seats per row in 777 economy is becoming the norm rather than the exception nowadays. I can think of fewer than a dozen airlines that still have only nine seats per row in economy.

Meanwhile most airlines, many of which are considered to be “premium” carriers, have 10 across seating nowadays.

In many ways I really can’t blame airlines for packing in seats like sardines, because there’s simply no return on offering a more spacious configuration as a standard offering. While extra legroom and premium economy seats sell, bigger basic seats as such can’t command enough of a premium to justify them.

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EVA Air Becomes The 8th Skytrax 5-Star Airline

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Skytrax is the closest thing we have to an “official” airline ranking system, and it’s something some airlines take very seriously. Airlines get “star” ratings, so I guess it’s not surprising airlines want to be rated 5-star, because it’s something great they can add into all their marketing materials. After all, who doesn’t want to fly with a “5-star airline?”

Prior to today there were seven airlines which were considered to be 5-star:

Personally I’ve never taken Skytrax seriously, as their ratings simply don’t add up. Hainan Airlines is a Skytrax 5-star airline, while Japan Airlines isn’t.

Hainan receives five stars for their longhaul business class product. Having flown it recently, I’ll say that I thought it was fine. The soft product was pretty good, while the hard product was lacking — the seats don’t all feature direct aisle access, there’s no wifi, the entertainment isn’t great, etc.

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New EVA Air Chicago To Taipei Route Coming In November

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Taipei-based EVA Air has been nicely expanding their US service over the past few years, both in terms of increased destinations, as well as increased frequencies to existing destinations. While it has been rumored for a while, EVA Air has now officially announced their newest route.

EVA Air will launch 4x weekly flights between Taipei and Chicago as of November 2, 2016. The 4x weekly service will operate with the following schedule, per airlineroute.net:

BR56 Taipei to Chicago departing 7:50PM arriving 7:40PM [Sun, Tue, Wed, Fri]
BR55 Chicago to Taipei departing 12:20AM arriving 6:00AM (+1 day) [Mon, Wed, Thu, Sat]

The new route will be operated by a Boeing 777-300ER, featuring 39 business class seats, 56 premium economy seats, and 238 economy seats.

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EVA Air Is Now Serving Krug Champagne In Business Class!

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One of the aspects of flying I really enjoy is the variety of champagne airlines serve. I feel like I’ve actually become pretty well versed on champagne through flying alone.

EVA Air, the Taiwanese Star Alliance airline, has long offered one of the most impressive business class champagne selections of any airline.

For years they served Dom Perignon in business class, making them one of the only airlines to do so. Then late last year they changed up their champagne, from Dom Perignon 2004 to Veuve Cliquot La Grande Dame 2004. On the surface I realize that probably sounds like a downgrade, though I do prefer La Grande Dame to Dom Perignon, even if it doesn’t have the same name recognition. So I considered that to be an upgrade.

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EVA Air 747 Retirement Video

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Airlines are slowly retiring the gas-guzzling queen of the skies, the Boeing 747 (the pretty ones are always the thirstiest, eh?).

As an aviation geek it’s tough to not get at least a little bit sentimental about it. Many of us grew up flying the 747 and associate many of our first longhaul journeys with the plane, so seeing them slowly scrapped and dumped in the desert is like losing an old friend.

The only good thing about 747 retirement is that we seem to get a cool “farewell” video from each airline whenever it happens.

Most recently, EVA Air has posted a 747-400 farewell video on YouTube:

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EVA Air To Operate Hello Kitty Flights To Houston

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As I wrote about last week, EVA Air will be expanding their service to North America next summer, as they’ll be launching 4x weekly service between Taipei and Houston as of June 2015. This expansion is a no brainer, not just because Houston is a huge oil city, but also because it’s United’s biggest hub, so there’s lots of potential for connecting traffic, now that EVA Air is in the Star Alliance.

So if you were excited about the new route to begin with, take a deep breath and make sure you’re sitting down. As it turns out, this new EVA Air flight to Houston will be operated by a Hello Kitty 777-300ER. The most exciting part? They’re not even using an existing Hello Kitty 777-300ER (of which there’s only one), but rather they’re taking delivery of an all new Hello Kitty 777-300ER!!!

Via USA Today:

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