Recently, I had the pleasure of flying EVA Air’s 787 business class once again during my travels from Brisbane to Taipei.
This marked my second encounter with this specific product, with the first being a memorable flight from Taipei to Vienna in November 2019.
Since I’ve already covered the EVA Air 787 hard product last time, in this review, I’ll shift the spotlight more towards the evolution of EVA Air’s soft product in the time since then.
I booked this leg of my trip for a total of 65,000 Aeroplan points, which would take me from Melbourne to Brisbane, onward to Taipei, and finally to Sapporo.
Securing award space on this specific route, which happens to be EVA Air’s sole Australian route, can be quite a challenge. However, availability tends to consistently open up in the last few days before departure.
Indeed, just a few days before my desired departure date, I noticed a favourable shift in availability, and it was during this window that I managed to secure my booking.
In between my Virgin Australia flight from Melbourne to Brisbane and my upcoming flight to Taipei with EVA Air, I spent some time enjoying the Air New Zealand Lounge Brisbane.
EVA Air doesn’t operate a separate lounge in Brisbane; however, as a Star Alliance airline, its business class passengers can access the Air New Zealand lounge.
It’s worth noting that the lounge has somewhat irregular operating hours. It’s open in the morning, closed in the afternoon, and then reopens again to accommodate passengers departing on evening flights.
I actually spent some time in the nearby Plaza Premium Lounge until the Air New Zealand Lounge reopened.
The lounge is quite spacious, and comes with a variety of seating options to cater to different passengers.
I enjoyed my time in the lounge, and headed over to the gate to board this long-anticipated flight.
As I stepped onto the Boeing 787-10, the crew greeted me in Mandarin and ushered me to the business class cabin.
It’s a relatively intimate business class cabin, featuring 34 seats arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration across 10 rows. This layout guarantees every passenger direct access, and provides a commendable degree of privacy.
Just as I remembered, the cabin has a sleek and futuristic design that’s very aesthetically pleasing.
An intentionally muted colour palette encompasses shades of grey and brown, with subtle green accents. The design extends beyond colour, as strategically incorporated horizontal lines within the seat and cabin create a sense of calm and spaciousness.
It’s worth noting that these seats aren’t in a reverse herringbone format, unlike EVA Air’s Boeing 777-300ER business class.
Some window seats are nestled away from the aisle, as they alternate between having close proximity to the aisle and being tucked against the window.
For solo travellers, choosing an odd-numbered seats grants both better window views and extra separation from the aisle.
Conversely, pairs of travellers may favour central seats for easier conversation with your seat mate. However, should you find yourself seated in the central pair of seats travelling solo, you’ll appreciate the convenience of a dividing barrier, which offers an extra layer of privacy.
For this flight, I happened to find myself in Seat 10G. I would’ve loved to secure a window seat, but I had to accept a middle-seat assignment due to the last-minute nature of my booking. Thankfully, the seat next to me remained empty!
Upon settling into a comfortable position, I allowed myself a moment to fully immerse myself in the seat and re-acquaint myself with its features.
At first glance, you’ll notice the 18-inch high-definition entertainment screen affixed to the seat back directly ahead.
Adjacent to this screen, a generously proportioned literature pocket extends outward, offering ample space to hold reading materials.
The footwell, thoughtfully incorporated into EVA Air’s seat layout, is a fusion of form and function that’s relatively spacious and unconstrained compared to many business class products out there.
However, there’s no space for luggage here, and larger carry-on items need to be stowed overhead.
Positioned above the console is a more comprehensive set of seat controls. This console optimally places all features within immediate reach, and allows for a fine degree of adjustment.
Adjacent are the USB and power ports, as well as the headphone jack.
Positioned distinctly underneath the lateral pane is a secondary, simple set of seat controls for quick adjustments. These controls encompass predefined settings for take-off, lie-flat mode, and lighting controls.
The integration of the tray table within the console is executed with seamless precision, and is accessible via a push-button. The tray table extends gracefully to provide a singular wooden surface.
Positioned within the seat’s inner confines, the entertainment controller integrates with the interactive touch-screen in-flight entertainment system.
Regarding storage, the primary in-seat storage compartment opens to reveal a vanity mirror and two spacious storage units. One of these is sized to accommodate a pair of headphones.
There are a few more storage units down by your knees, which are great for storing your shoes during the flight when you take them off in favour of EVA Air’s comfortable slippers.
Lastly, a sliding frosted divider extends from the seat shell, offering an added layer of seclusion from the aisle and the neighbouring seat.
Upon taking my seat, I was warmly greeted by a flight attendant who conversed with me in Mandarin and graciously presented a selection of welcome beverages.
From the list, I chose the Duvel-Laroy Champagne, and later on, I made a transition to a red wine to accompany my meal.
Waiting at my seat was a pillow, a pair of slippers, and a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, which were stowed away in the storage unit.
Various in-flight amenitities were also distributed, most notably the Salvatore Ferragamo soft-shell amenity kit.
(Note that business class passengers departing from Taipei are treated to a hard-shell Ferragamo amenity kit instead.)
The amenity kit was equipped with Salvatore Ferragamo creams and moisturizers, as well as the usual items like eye shades and a dental kit to ensure maximum in-flight comfort.
A refreshing change from my previous experience came in the form of new Jason Wu pajamas.
Distinguished by a drawstring hoodie-inspired design without an actual hood, these pajamas proved to exceptionally comfortable – both during the flight and nowadays even at home!
The menus also underwent a transformation since my last flight, adopting a fresh appearance characterized by horizontally folded, vibrant sheets.
This is a notable departure from the elaborate booklet format, and in my opinion, the menus look a bit cheaper than the previous rendition.
After taking to the skies, the meal service began, and I was particularly looking forward to the experience.
For my flight, the food menu read as follows:
(Note that EVA Air also offers a pre-flight meal ordering feature, which allows you to select from a wider range of main courses up to 24 hours before departure.)
And the beverage menu read as follows:
Meal service commenced with an amuse-bouche, which was elegantly presented alongside an array of freshly baked warm bread. The table was meticulously set with crisp cloth, an assortment of condiments, glassware, and polished cutlery.
The amuse bouche featured a delicate arrangement: camembert cheese delicately perched upon a velvety blini, crowned with sun-dried tomato, and accompanied by crisp yet succulent shrimp.
Following this, a delectable plate of hors d’oeuvres graced the table, which consisted of prosciutto paired with poached scallops and ripe tomatoes. These first few bites certainly tantalized my senses and made for a very delicious start to my meal.
For the main course, there was a choice between pan-seared lamb or braised chicken on the menu. However, I had ordered the steak with potatoes from the pre-flight menu selection, which was presented beautifully.
The steak melted in my mouth, while the potatoes paired beautifully with a golden and crispy texture.
To conclude the meal, an assortment of treats were provided. Among these were assorted fruits, which came accompanied by a slice of nougat cake, as well as a rich, velvety chocolate cake.
Lastly, I indulged in not one but two matcha milk teas, each elegantly presented in mugs. This is one of the unique selections on EVA Air’s drinks menu, and one that I’d indeed been looking forward to for quite some time.
After a fulsome meal service, I made my way to the restroom before retiring for some rest.
EVA Air’s business class restrooms feature a generous layout that allows for easy manoeuvring, and they’re impeccably maintained throughout the flight.
A compact tray can be extended over the toilet, offering extra surface area to accommodate personal items. Moreover, a set of Acqua Colonia premium amenities allow guests to optimally freshen up.
Returning to the cabin, I effortlessly converted the seat into it’s lie-flat form with a push of a button.
The spacious layout, coupled with the blanket and supportive pillow, renders these lie-flat beds exceptionally comfortable – and the side armrest can also be lowered for added space and comfort.
As I gradually roused after a brief five-hour nap, I found myself awakened by the crew just in time for a second meal service. Among the choices were Chinese and Western breakfasts, or the pièce de résistance: the Royal Laurel Special.
Naturally, my palate gravitated towards the Royal Laurel Special, which is comprised of classic Shanghai noodles, intertwined with delectable minced pork enrobed in a sublime chilli bean sauce.
The spice perfectly complements the rich umami of the pork, both of which are balanced out by a refreshing garnish of cucumber slices.
The Shanghai noodles were followed by a comforting bowl of congee, alongside a plate of refreshing fruit.
Finally, I ordered a cappuccino, which was elegantly presented with a sugar stick on the side, waiting to add its sweetness to each sip.
At this point in my journey, I took a moment to explore the entertainment selection. The 18-inch entertainment screen proved to be highly responsive, and boasted a sharp display.
Control can be achieved either through the provided entertainment controller, or by directly touching the screen.
While the entertainment selection is somewhat limited, encompassing fewer than 50 options, there’s a silver lining in the form of available Wi-Fi.
EVA Air has partnered with Boingo to offer onboard Wi-Fi services. I enjoyed complimentary access that comes as a benefit on my Canadian-issued HSBC World Elite Mastercard.
For those without an eligible credit card, EVA Air’s Wi-Fi charges are structured based on data usage, rather than time spent online. Prices start at $4.95 USD ($6.70 CAD) and can go up to $39.95 USD ($53.50 CAD) for an unlimited plan.
EVA Air continues to shine as a top-notch airline, consistently delivering a remarkable flying experience that positions itself among the world’s best carriers.
The sleek cabin design of the Boeing 787 offers a sense of sophistication and modernity that’s both aesthetically and functionally appealing.
The flight staff were all lovely and attentive to any requests, and the meal service onboard was excellent.
Moreover, EVA Air’s attention to detail is reflected in its thoughtfully curated amenities, including designer Salvatore Ferragamo pajamas.
Whether embarking on a journey between Taipei and East Asia, North America, Europe, or Australia, EVA Air is a wonderful way to fly, and its allure as a top-tier airline remains undeniable.