Flight Review: SEA to TPE on EVA Airlines Royal Laurel Class
For the holidays, we decided to head to Thailand, and what better way to get there from Seattle than EVA Airlines Royal Laurel Class. After trying them out for the first time a few years ago, I've gotten addicted and its now my preferred way to get to Asia.
EVA Air, like most of Star Alliance, is awesome about releasing last-minute award availability. If you track the inventory on Expert Flyer on another source, availability usually opens up at 14 days or 7 days prior to departure, almost to a T. I love redeeming Avianca LifeMiles on these flights since you can usually buy them once a quarter for .01375 cents a mile. For this flight to Taipei and connecting onto Bangkok, I spent 67,180 miles plus $32 in taxes. LifeMiles also charges miles per cabin per segment, unlike United, so if you book a short hop in Econ for a long-haul, you save some miles. I spent around $950 which I consider a steal. EVA has one of my favorite long-haul business products in the world.
Check-In, Lounge and Boarding
We had checked-in online and there was a short-line for Star Gold and business class passengers. One guy made sure to cut everyone in line to speak to the check-in agents about his flight which they wouldn't let him check-in for because he didn't have the appropriate visa. After raising his voice and swearing a few times, the agents just ignored him and he left without more fuss. Dropping our luggage was painless and the agents were surprisingly cool after the confrontation. Much different than the recent Delta agent in Portland!
BR 25 departs Sea-Tac at 12:20 AM which makes it one of the latest (or earliest) departures. Sadly that means the Centurion Lounge was shut down and we had to head to the tired British Airways lounge, which EVA operates in the evening.
Couches were tattered, the food ran out and it was just generally unpleasant. We decided to just have some water and hang out at the gate before boarding commenced.
Boarding commenced right around 11:50 PM and was quite orderly. Star Gold, Business Class and Premium Economy passengers all boarded together.
Flight - BR 25
Date - 12/20/2017
Cabin - Royal Laurel Class
Aircraft - 777-300ER
The Seat and Amenities
Upon boarding we took a left and were in the last low of the rear Business Class cabin. We chose seats 11D and 11G, the last row of the rear mini-cabin. I usually like the last rows of Business Class mini-cabins since there is less foot traffic. Luckily both lavs for Business Class are further forward, and there isn't a Premium Economy lav directly behind. EVAs 777s all have a reverse herringbone seats, one of my favorite configurations. I also find there cabins to look refined in modern - I love the wood grain and the light hues of green.
Every seat was loaded with full-size pillows, plus bedding and EVAs "Thunder" headphones. My first pair didn't work but the FAs quickly replaced them. They weren't anything to write home about, but perfectly serviceable.
FAs eventually came around with grey Rimowa amenity kits. Most of my previous ones were green, so this was a nice change of pace. It contained all the essentials along with some Melvita lotion and lip balm.
Pretty soon after boarding the FAs came by with warm towels, Godiva chocolates and took our welcome drink order.
It was around midnight and I was already starting to fade, so I obviously opted for the Veuve Le Grande Dame. Retailing at around $150 a bottle, and one of my favorite champagnes, I was determined to drink more than just a few glasses.
We had a slightly delayed departure out of Seatac. Once we reached cruising altitude, the FAs came by to take meal orders for both dinner and breakfast. I loved the design of the menus. For dinner I had pre-ordered the Lobster.
Dinner started with some canapés and of course a few more glasses of Le Grande Dame. The FAs came by with a breadbasket eventually followed by a cold appetizer. The shrimps tasted fresh.
The main course of Lobster was served with fried rice and some veggies. I asked for some chili sauce as well. It was succulent and lightly dressed in a delicate ginger sauce that perfectly brought out its flavor. The dish was on par with the Lobster Patta I had while flying SQ Suites, and worthy of a First Class flight.
For desert there was a sweet milk tart, similar to flan, instead of the creme brulee which was listed on the menu and it was served with fruit. It was good, but not my favorite part of the meal.
The entire meal from the quality of the food, the service, the plating and the pacing was a perfect five. I'm not sure how it could have been any better. I'm always impressed with the food on EVA, but this meal definitely blew me away.
After dinner I headed to the bathroom to brush my teeth and change into the pajamas they provided. The lavatories were stocked with nice Harnn toiletries along with toothbrushes, razors etc.
When I returned, my bed was already made and a fresh FIJI water bottle was placed by my seat.
These 777s also have ambient lighting in Business Class with a starry ceiling which is a cool touch.
I was pretty tired and the champagne caught up with me. Before I knew it, I had slept 6 hours lying flat. After waking up I decided to check out some of the content in the IFE, which had a decent selection of western and asian content. The FAs replaced my water and soon they kicked back into gear for breakfast. I ordered the Chinese Congee breakfast which was really good. My favorite part was the chestnut omelette, obviously covered in chili sauce.
Just when I thought breakfast was over, we were served plates of fruit.
About 45 minutes after breakfast, we began our descent and touched down at Taipei Taoyuan International Airport.
EVA Royal Laurel Class is a joy to fly. From the moment we stepped onboard, we were absolutely spoiled. The experience is extremely refined, from the Lobster dinner to the Le Grand Dame being served. In the future, I would happily go out of my way to fly EVA again and hope they continue releasing last minute award availability!