EVA Air Royal Laurel Business Class Seattle-Taipei – Flight Review

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BR25-11

With the flight being a virtual 12-hour red-eye, I did not pay too much attention to the inflight entertainment. Still, I caught one movie and a few TV shows on the swing-out 15.4” screen.

Choices include all of the usual suspects: movies, TV shows, music, and map display. As I’ve noticed on previous flights with EVA, Western (aka American) media selections are somewhat thin. If you’re looking for the latest releases from Hollywood or HBO, you’re likely to find the well running dry after a few long-haul flights.

ARRIVAL

We were wheels down in warm and humid Taipei-Taoyuan International Airport at 4:36 a.m. local time. Perhaps due to the early hour immigration was empty, with a zero-wait time. By the time I reached the baggage carousel my bag was already there waiting. Customs was a breeze, as was catching a ride into town. Total elapsed time from airplane to curb was an impressive twelve minutes.

BR25-7

BOTTOM LINE

This wasn’t my first flight aboard EVA’s Royal Laurel service. The last time I took it, from Los Angeles to Taipei, was in January 2015, and I recall the experience being ever-so slightly above average. I enjoyed it, but it didn’t make a particularly lasting impression.

Yet this flight was decidedly well above average.

The difference wasn’t anything big, like a new hard product. No, it was a series of small changes that added up over the course of the flight. For example, the bottled water at the beginning of the flight was Fiji-brand instead of something more generic. Linens have been changed to be more colorful and cheerful, working in more oranges and blues instead of white and grey. The tablecloth now features traditional Taiwanese designs and animals, providing a cultural touch to what previously was just a solid white cloth. The design of the menus is much more elegant, and the food and beverage options them have all been upgraded. Pajamas have been added to long-haul flights.

But it isn’t just improved appearances. There was a marked improvement in customer service. Crew to passenger ratios, as far as I could tell, averaged 1:4, with the same flight attendant keeping watch over the same four people. Over the course of a twelve hour flight that enabled the crew to develop a connection with each passenger, tailoring the service in a much more personal manner, which is typically the hallmark of the upper-echelon carriers. They were also much friendlier and considerably more personable while maintaining a very professional demeanor.

Perhaps EVA is feeling pressure from reinvigorated competitor China Airlines, whose new Boeing 777 service is dazzling. Whatever the reason, the changes have injected new life into EVA’s business class that should leave fliers more than satisfied.

(Photos: Accura Media Group)

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