EVA Air A330 Business Class Introduction
My EVA business class flight from Vancouver arrived just before 6am, which meant I had just over 2.5 hours to wait until boarding for my onward flight to Jakarta (featuring the new EVA Air A330 business class product). I’ve transited Taipei before, and really dislike the lounge. I don’t think the food is very good, nor do I find the decor very tasteful. I did stop by just after landing to freshen up and grab a water, but decided to walk around the terminal instead. For those who haven’t been, Taipei airport has themed gates, including the always popular Hello Kitty gate, so spending a couple of hours in the terminal can actually be quite enjoyable (I was tired though after the 13+ hour flight).
Boarding was scheduled to begin at 0830, so I made my way to the gate a bit before then. I managed to get a picture of the recently delivered Airbus A330 that would be bringing me to Jakarta!
The Flight – EVA Air A330 Business Class From Taipei To Jakarta
EVA Air 237
Taipei (TPE) – Jakarta (CGK)
Friday, January 27, 2018
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300
Seat: 9A (Business Class)
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Normally when I book a flight I’m really careful to watch for any last-minute aircraft swaps, but for whatever reason I didn’t pay attention on this segment. I was fully expecting the EVA regional business class in a 2-2-2 configuration across 4 rows, with an angled seat very similar to what Singapore Airlines offers on many of their short/medium haul routes.
Imagine my surprise when I stepped on board and immediately got a sniff of that ‘new plane smell’, only to see a new fully-flat product in the EVA Air A330 business class cabin!
The fully-flat beds are a bit overkill on a 5-hour daytime flight, but as a bit of an avgeek, it sure is nice to experience a new product, especially when not expecting it! The seats are still arranged in a 2-2-2 configuration on this new EVA Air A330 business class, but there’s an extra row, and the seats are slightly staggered to provide a bit of additional privacy.
Waiting at the seat during boarding were slippers, pillow, day blanket and the same high-quality noise cancelling headphones from my EVA Air business class flight from Vancouver.
Cabin crew came around during boarding and offered a choice of pre-departure beverage, and also informed passengers that all bags had to be stored overhead during taxi, takeoff, and landing (very apologetic for the inconvenience, and offered to help with bags). I asked for a glass of champagne, which was served chilled, in a real glass, alongside a cold towel.
This sort of service is what makes EVA Air standout in my opinion. As a point of comparison, I’ll share my boarding experience on United Airlines Polaris First Class from San Francisco to Frankfurt.
I was greeted at the door by…. nobody, and found my seat in the nose of the plane. A crew member came around and asked what I wanted for my meal choice, literally 3 seconds after sitting down. I asked what was available, and she pointed to the menu and walked away.
When she came back, I very politely asked her how her day was, to which she responded ‘I’m tired’, and then walked away again, only to return because she realized she forgot to take my meal order. When I asked for the chicken main, she said they were out already (in first class, really), and I pleaded my case saying nothing else was really doing it for me.
She went to the galley and conferred with the rest of the crew, and it seems one of them was willing to give up their meal choice to appease a picky passenger, as she came back and said they could make one available for me. Rejoice!
The third time she came back, I very delicately asked for a pre-departure beverage, as the ancient 747 taking us to Frankfurt was needing a final inspection before we could pushback, and we would be sitting at the gate for awhile.
She responded with an audible sigh, and said nothing was cold yet, but she’d see what she could find. She didn’t come back for about 15 minutes, so I went to use the lavatory only to find her chatting in the galley with her colleagues. She said she hadn’t forgotten, but needed me to open the mini-bottle of Prosecco, as she couldn’t do it.
That’s right – I literally opened the mini-bottles of Prosecco for the entire first class cabin.
Thankfully this good deed didn’t go unpunished, as for the duration of the flight I was the only passenger who seemed to get indifferent service, rather than flat-out hostile service. I made it my effort to make the cabin crew smile during the flight, but sadly couldn’t accomplish that on the 10-hour journey over the Atlantic.
Anyway, back to this amazing flight. Boarding finished in about 20 minutes, which seemed really fast, with nearly every business class seat occupied (not my neighbour seat though). We were welcomed onboard by the female captain (all female crew actually), and informed of our flight time, with a slight arrival delay due to flight conditions. She told us to expect a bumpy flight, and crew would do their best to not let it disrupt service. We pushed back right on time and made our way to the runway, with lots of EVA plane spotting on the way, including the always popular Hello Kitty plane.
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The climb out of Taipei was bumpy, and the seatbelt sign stayed on for about 30 minutes. Once we were free to roam the cabin, I used the washroom, which was clean but basic and featured a couple of the same amenities found on long-haul aircraft.
Meal service began with another beverage and some snacks.
The menu for lunch included three main options and a selection of beverages.
For my main I chose the honey glazed chicken with mixed vegetables and rice, along with a sparkling water. Up first for food was an appetizer consisting of salmon rolled with potato salad, and chicken rolled with fig, both of which were excellent.
I also selected a piece of garlic bread from a variety of options.
The main came out next and was actually quite good. I’m not normally a fan of chicken on planes, but this was cooked well and was very flavourful!
Dessert was light, and included fruit and a small piece of cake.
After dinner I decided to relax the seat and watch a bit of in-flight entertainment, though I did end up falling asleep for a bit as the cabin got quite dark after meal service. The in-flight entertainment screen is large and sharp, and featured the same variety of programming as my flight from Vancouver.
The seat on the new EVA Air A330 business class product does go fully-flat, though I didn’t use that function for the short daytime flight. It should be noted that this style of seat doesn’t provide a lot of space, especially on the A330, which felt cramped, and the footwell is incredibly small. Furthermore, there is very little storage at the seat save for literature holders and a small area with cupholder awkwardly behind the seat.
The flight was fairly bumpy most of the time, but I was tired enough that I managed to sleep on and off for most of it while watching television. About 40 minutes outside of Jakarta the captain came on and asked everyone to prepare for a bumpy descent, and she wasn’t wrong. Once we broke through the clouds I managed to get a couple shots of our approach (Jakarta is one of my favourites – it’s just so different from what I’m used to in North America).
We landed about 20 minutes later than expected, and made our short taxi to the gate. Jakarta Airport is a bit of a dump, but in kind of a charming and exotic way, if that makes sense…
EVA Air A330 Business Class Bottom Line
This was probably the best business class flight I’ve taken within Asia, with comfortable fully-flat seats, great food and beverage options, a crisp in-flight entertainment screen with a good variety of programming, and most importantly, amazing service from all of the crew.
I’ve flown a lot of the Star Alliance carriers multiple times now, and no other airline offers such consistently warm and friendly service on every flight. ANA is also really good, but crew are a bit more robotic, and most of the other airlines are hit and miss, or just plain terrible most of the time.
Things I loved about this flight:
- Friendly and professional service from all of the crew
- Comfortable fully-flat seat
- Great food/beverage
- Amazing headphones for such a short flight
Things I didn’t love about this flight:
- Foot cubby very small – side sleepers be warned
- Not a lot of storage at the seat
- No seat storage during taxi, takeoff, and landing
As a reminder, I booked this segment as part of a larger Aeroplan mini round-the-world trip with stops in Jakarta and Paris for 155,000 Aeroplan miles. You can book your own round-the-world trip in business class in as little as two credit card applications!
- Apply for an American Express Platinum card and earn 50,000 Membership Reward points as a welcome bonus
- Refer yourself for a Business Platinum card and earn 15,000 Membership Reward points as a referral bonus, plus an additional 50,000 Membership Reward points as a welcome bonus.
Total points earned = 115,000 – enough for a business class trip around the world!
Anyone considering a trip overseas should really consider routing through Taipei to experience one of the world’s best business class products – EVA Air is truly phenomenal.
Have you flown the new EVA Air A330 business class? Tell us about your experience in the comment section below!