Saturday, December 28, 2013

Airline Review: Eva Airways HKG to TPE to JFK

This review is a bit of a cheat because I am combining my flight from Hong Kong to Taipei, and Taipei to JFK New York, all in one mish mash post.  I figured the experience was similar enough, since both were in business class.

First off, I am not sure I will ever cease to get a thrill out of seeing this sign and being able to head toward where it is pointing?!  So shameless….
I settled into my Royal Laurel seat… the name is a bit funny but there is nothing funny about the amazing, fluffy blanket, or the completely lie-flat seat!
I was serenaded by a singsong-y Hello Kitty rendition of Merry Christmas.  I found it pretty adorable, all in all.  Flipping through their duty free magazine, I have to believe that Eva makes an absolute killing in their Hello-Kitty themed airplane products.   Even I was tempted to get a thermos bottle or a key chain - just because.

The "light" menu from Hong Kong to Taipei (a barely 1.5 hour flight) cracked me up.  I was not sure that the flight attendants would have enough time to get us all of the dishes and options before we had to land!  But of course they pulled it off without a hitch.  The US airlines have so much to learn…
However, the food tasted pretty terrible.  I was really glad I had filled up on food in the lounge at the airport (I had heard that food on Eva is not great).
The alcohol selection on my TPE to JFK leg was plenty impressive, with two white wines and two red wines, Dom Perignon (!) and lots of liquor, although I did not partake in any of it:
Eva's new business class uses Cathay's herringbone layout, which provides you the most privacy because you cannot really see your neighbor on either side.  I snagged a window seat this time, which I quite like when I am traveling alone.
There is enough leg room so that I could lie flat and stretch out completely without a problem, but as you can see, the leg space narrows significantly as you get near the feet.  A tall person (probably anyone over 6 feet?) would still feel constrained.  The TV screen is great - good color, good brightness, good sound quality - and it pops out during the flight for uninterrupted viewing.  I was a little worried about the entertainment options (it seemed like the new releases were a little bit limited) but I did still manage to watch four decent movies (two foreign, two new releases) while getting a good six hours' worth of sleep, so I was satisfied.  I thought both of the new releases I watched, Blue Jasmine and Frozen Ground, were compelling and disturbing.
They have plenty of gadgets and plugs and a quite nice headset.  The seat levers (the lit up buttons at the bottom of the picture) are quite nuanced, to help you achieve the exact angle you desire.
My favorite meal of the flight was my "breakfast" as we neared JFK (at 9 PM local time).  I loved the traditional Chinese rice porridge and all of its traditional Taiwanese accompaniments, like egg and mushroom frittata, a mushroom and pork sautéed side dish, and an assorted plate of wood ear mushrooms, asparagus and wolf berries and dried pork floss.  It was very tasty.  Their coffee, on the other hand, I did not even want to touch...
I loved the amenities kit that Eva provided - a custom green Rimowa "suitcase"!  It was filled with lotion (which I thought smelled like the airplane, so that was not so great), lip balm, an eye mask, socks (with traction soles, woot woot!) and a foldable brush.

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