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New EVA trip report (PDX)-SFO-TPE-BKK and return W and C class

New EVA trip report (PDX)-SFO-TPE-BKK and return W and C class

Old Feb 15, 12, 5:33 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Beaverton OR
Programs: GE, AA PLT/2.6MM, BR Gld, Royal Carib. DM+, Celebrity Elite, NCL PLT, Princess Elite
Posts: 1,643
New EVA trip report (PDX)-SFO-TPE-BKK and return W and C class

This trip features a different routing on EVA for the first time in ages for me on this trip. Again this time around I'm including some notes on the Alaska Airlines connecting flights just in case anyone does the same routing. This is my seventh PDX-BKK round trip in the six months, so there will be some inevitable comparisons along the way with my previous trips. I ended up purchasing an Elite (premium economy) class round trip ticket for this itinerary.

My usual routing, PDX-SEA-TPE-BKK and return would not be available for me on the days that I needed to travel. If I wanted to fly with EVA Air, I would have to go via SFO, LAX, or YVR. I also had some upgrade certificates burning a hole in my pocket, so my goal was to get booked on flights that had the most Premium Laurel (business class) seats available. I only booked a couple of days ahead, so my pickings were slim, but I eventually decided that SFO would be the best option for me to use my upgrades. That would turn out to be way off base, but I’ll leave that for later. I e-mailed my usual consolidator the exact flights I wanted including the connecting flights to and from SFO via Alaska Airlines. The last SFO flight for the day on AS would leave at 300PM and I would have a seven hour layover, but I went for it anyway. The moment I saw that my consolidator had ticketed the booking; I called BR to check on the upgrade for the SFO-TPE flight. I was told that there were no upgrade seats open, but that I was first priority for one. In the meantime, I saw that my consolidator was able to get me the best window seats she could for me, which were the second row for all flights. I prefer the bulkhead, and sometimes ask that a note be put in my PNR with the request, but I decided not to at this point because I really wanted the upgrade. As soon as I hung up with EVA, my consolidator called and asked if I requested an upgrade. When I told her yes, she said that she would make a call for me as well. As I have said before, I love my consolidator.

On the morning of my flight I went to check in on-line, my upgrade still hadn’t cleared and I didn’t see any better seats than what I was assigned, so I just hoped that I would be able to secure the bulkhead when I got to SFO if my upgrade doesn’t clear. I called EVA one more time before I left the house and was told that I was still on the waitlist, and if the seat did not clear, there was nothing that could be done at the airport since I was booked in V class and not Y, M or Q.

28Jan PDX-SFO AS2517 Y DH4 N404QX seat 2A

I ended up leaving the house about 15 minutes later than I wanted, but still made it to PDX by 130PM. Check in took a bit because the Alaska agent just could not get the computer to accept BKK for my bag tag and kept printing out TPE tags, which of course would not work well. Off though security, and I arrived at the Boardroom. I had enough time to enjoy a Diet Coke and an apple before heading off on the longish walk to the end of the A concourse as my flight was leaving from gate A-10. One of the nice things about the latest collaboration between AS and AA is that being an elite member of AA’s program now gets me preferred seats on AS. So I’m now crediting all of my AS flights to AA which means no more chance of AS MVP status. The only thing I really lose out on is upgrades, but since most of my flights on AS involve their subsidiary Horizon who only operate one class equipment, there are not a lot of chances for me to upgrade anyway. We boarded on time and I made my way out to stand J to board the Q-400. Yes, this is a fairly long flight for a turboprop, but today’s flight was less than half full, and as soon as the flight attendants allowed it, my seat mate moved so I had two seats to myself. We started taxiing out to runway 10R when about three quarters of the way down, we turned on to an intersection and started our takeoff from that point – we were really light and only used about 3000 feet of runway when our gear left the pavement at 309PM.

It was a beautiful day for our flight south; there were vey few clouds out, so I spent a good portion of the flight just staring out the window. Service on this flight was drinks and a bag of snack mix, and I was given a full can of Diet Coke which lasted me a while. We had a great view of San Francisco as we flew overhead, and I was able to easily spot my childhood home in the city. We headed to the bottom of the bay before making our u-turn and landed on runway 28R after an hour and 40 minutes of flying and pull up at gate 22.

As for my seven hour layover? I had quite a bit of work to finish up, so instead of clearing security, I went to the AS boardroom at SFO and worked/drank Diet Coke for three hours before heading out to the international terminal. There I had dinner, and before I knew it, EVA check-in was open.

A line behind me soon formed at Diamond check-in. The first thing I asked the agent was if my upgrade cleared. She said no, but then contrary to what the phone agent said that she would put me on the stand by list. She asked for my seat preference and even asked if the only seat available was an aisle, would I accept it. After that, I asked about getting the bulkhead seats in Elite – none were available out of SFO the agent said, but if there was a no show she would move me, and she would send a message to TPE to see if they would release the seat for me on my connection.

There was no wait for security at all, and apparently I was the first person to arrive at the Evergreen lounge that night, so I went into the Diamond area and made myself comfortable. Within a few minutes, there were only a couple of seats left in the Diamond area. I was to find out later on that this flight was very Diamond heavy.


29Jan SFO-TPE BR17 W 77W B-16717 seat 21A

I made my way to gate G-102 a few minutes before boarding and checked with the agent to see if any of my requests – upgrade or seat change cleared. The answer was no, and within a minute boarding began. As usual I showed my boarding pass at the door and was directed to my seat with a smile and within a couple of minutes the Assistant Purser came over and greeted me and gave me a goody bag with a bottle of water, ear plugs and eye mask. As boarding went on, I saw her give the same Diamond good bag to the passengers in 20A/C and 20 H/K who somehow managed to get the bulkhead before I did.

The flight left the gate a couple of minutes late, and I noticed during taxi that of the four flights schedule for a 1205AM departure, ours would be the last to take off. We were airborne at 1228AM and a few minutes went by and we had well cleared the 10,000 feet altitude mark when I realized that there was no “cabin attendants service check” call from the flight deck. Another change was in store for me as the Assistant Purser came out and handed all of the Diamond member’s menus. I took a look and realized that the menu was not for our flight, but for the TPE-SFO flight instead. She apparently figured that out too, because a moment later my menu was replaced with the correct one. Tonight the choice was between beef with noodles (my pick) and pork with rice. I had read on the EVA web site that they were adding beef to all long haul flights in Premium Laurel class, but it does seem to be the rare item (no pun intended) in Elite class these days. As is the custom, the Diamond members were served first. Tonight’s supper was much better than on my previous flights a few weeks apart. It was a flat iron steak with sauce along with noodles and vegetables. It was served with a shrimp salad, warm roll, fruit, mango mouse cake and Walkers shortbread cookies. As usual I had my Diet Coke since I was going to watch a movie before I went to sleep. I devoured everything on my tray except for the cake which I just had a bite of (I’m not a mango fan), and went for the cookies instead. When my movie “Moneyball” finished, eye-mask and ear plugs and was out cold for the next seven hours. I woke up about ten minutes before breakfast and grabbed my book and read until the Assistant Purser came back to me deliver my previously ordered western breakfast.

I’m not a congee fan, so my breakfast this morning was a cheese omelet with bacon. A side dish of Genoa salami and potato salad was added as well as fruit, yogurt, and a croissant. Again it was a much better breakfast than on my previous flights. After the trays were picked up, I read for the remainder of the flight and after a transpacific crossing time of 13 hours and four minutes, we landed on runway 05R at TPE which was about 20 minutes early at agate C4. As I was making the short walk to transfer security (C4 is my favorite arrival gate at TPE), an agent had a sign up with my name on it. I was directed to the transfer desk as they did have a new boarding pass for the bulkhead window seat for my flight to BKK. Even with the stop at the transfer desk, I managed to be in the first wave of passengers through transfer security.

Off to the new and improved Diamond/C class lounge which I keep saying how much I like now compared to the older lounge. They have four showers, so no waiting now, much improved food selections, and quite a bit more seating. EVA has done a really good job with this lounge. Now if they can just start working on the other two.

30Jan TPE-BKK BR67 W 77W B-16705 seat 20K

I was able to grab a shower, but I didn’t eat anything at all in the lounge; I just had a Coke Light and worked/Skyped for a couple of hours before heading off to gate C6. While at the gate, I saw a group of pilots board. Then another group, followed by a third and a fourth group. When we did board the aircraft, 10 of the 12 Premium Laurel seats in the second business class section were taken by crew, and about 75% of the first section was filled with deadheading pilots and flight attendants. I wonder what would have happened if I tried to upgrade this flight? Elite class ended up with only a couple of empty seats, I did have a seatmate who was a Gold member. The Assistant Purser did come over and great me shortly after boarding and came back after takeoff with a menu. We left the gate a bit late, but eventually took off on runway 05R at 930AM. I always thought this was a lunch flight, but according to the menu, it’s a “light meal.” I was offered two choices that were different from my past trips; either pork with noodles or chicken with rice. I asked for the chicken and my meal tray did come out first. My chicken was actually a roasted chicken thigh with barbeque sauce that was served with a smoked chicken, apple, celery, raisin salad along with fruit, the now familiar 20th anniversary cookie and a piece of pineapple mouse cake. Overall it was pretty good, but I liked the sukiyaki meal that was served on my previous legs of this flight. About an hour after the meal was served a beverage and snack mix run was done which was nice. My last three TPE-BKK flights, picking up the meal ended the service until a quick beverage run 10 minutes before landing.

About 45 minutes before our arrival, the Chief Purser came by and said hello and handed me a fast track immigration card. That’s the first time that I have gotten one on arrival into BKK. I really appreciate it since normal immigration procedures seem to take forever when the EVA flight arrives; we usually arrive smack in the middle of the late morning rush. We landed a few minutes ahead of schedule on runway 19R after a three hour and nine minute flight and taxied into gate E7 so I still got the long walk to immigration. As I got off the aircraft, I noticed very large groups of people slowly making their way towards the immigration area. They were using the moving sidewalks, but weren’t walking, so I walked around the sidewalks. When I got to the usual immigration area, the lines were the longest I had every seen. Boy was I glad that I had the fast track card. It took me only a minute or so to find the entrance to the fast track area (which is also for diplomatic/official passports) and there were no lines at all with a bunch of immigration booths open. I was through in seconds and make my way over to the baggage carousel which was still showing the previous EVA flight. Finally bags started to come out – first a couple of priority bags that didn’t connect in Taipei, then all of the crew bags, and finally more priority bags, but my bags weren’t in that batch. They finally came out towards the end even being priority tagged. Now, if I had to wait for immigration I probably wouldn’t have noticed, and honestly only the passengers with fast track were through immigration and at the carousel, but still, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen delays like that at BKK. Customs did have me put both my bags through their x-ray before I was able to exit the area and head for a taxi.

When I made my booking, I wasn’t sure of my return date, but once my return was confirmed, I called EVA to upgrade both my BKK-TPE and TPE-SFO sectors. Normally I wouldn’t upgrade the BKK-TPE flight, but this time I was going to be on an A330 without Elite class, so I consider that a good use of miles. The EVA staff in BKK was very apologetic, but couldn’t upgrade either sector when I called and put me on the waitlist for both. A couple of days later EVA did call me back and confirmed the BKK-TPE flight in C class, but could not release row 6 for me which I thought was strange. The agent said that she put a note in my booking that my preference was for a window in the bulkhead row. Nothing opened up for the long haul portion, and I kept calling until I checked in on-line

09Feb BKK-TPE BR62 C 332 B-16310 seat 6K

The night before departure I did on-line check in and saw that agent kept her word, and I was in 6A from BKK to TPE. Just for fun, I looked at the seat map, and the entirety of row 6 was mine to assign, so I moved myself to 6K and again hoped for the best that I would be able to get my preferred bulkhead seats on the SFO flight if my upgrade didn’t clear. I took a combo of the MRT and airport train to get to the airport which worked out really well for me this time. I got to the airport a few minutes before check-in was opened lines had already formed. There wasn’t a line for Diamond check in however, and the agent soon waved me over. I asked first about the upgrade and she said that I was still on the waitlist, but would send a message to TPE for me to see if it would clear, and then I asked the agent her getting the bulkhead seats and she said that she would ask for those in the same message. I only had my backpack and a rolling carry on for the flight back, and I checked the rolling bag to SFO figuring that I would just gate check it on the flight to PDX. She handed me by boarding passes and lounge invites, but I had to ask about getting the fast track immigration card. She wasn’t given any, so she had to get one from Premium Laurel check-in, and handed it me with a big smile. Fast track security and immigration were just that, fast, and soon I was making my way to the Evergreen lounge.

I go to the lounge and have some nibbles and seemingly a case of Coke Zero while I await boarding. We are leaving from E1 today – how come I never arrive at E1? As usual, I leave the lounge before boarding is called and head out to the gate E4. After I enter the gate area, the head of security comes over to say hi – I see him on almost every trip, and we always have a short chat about the state of the airline industry in Thailand. Boarding is soon announced, and I’m greeted at the door and escorted to my seat by the Chief Purser. Premium Laurel class is about three quarters full this afternoon and there are no dead heading crew members. The seat next to me stayed empty, so I am able to really spread out. Our incoming aircraft arrived about early from VIE, so everyone is on the aircraft and the doors shut five minutes before schedule departure time. The Assistant Purser comes by and verifies my on-line order of the beef meal (which is one of the regular menu items) and I'm given a menu to peruse as well. We take off to the south on runway 19L and head east. It’s a beautiful day today, none of the usual thunderstorm activity.

Here is today’s menu:

Hours D’oeuvre:

Oriental vegetable terrine with prawn and lemon grass

Main course:

Stuffed chicken breast with banana, seasonal vegetables, potatoes OR

Stir fried beef fillet slice with XO sauce, mixed vegetables, stir fried noodles OR

Fish fillet gently poached in chu chee curry sauce, assorted vegetables, steamed jasmine rice

Cheese, fresh fruit, sweet
Coffee, tea

The Assistant Purser comes by with beverages (Diet Coke for me) and snack mix. A few minutes later, the cart is rolled out on the opposite aisle to start the lunch service. Except for me apparently – the Chief Purser comes out with my tray and gives me first dibs on the bread (yum, garlic bread). The appetizer is pretty good, and as soon as I finish, the Assistant Purser comes by with the main course. I’m fairly sure that I’ve had this entrée before, and it was good. Again as soon as I finish, I’m offered the cheese plate and fruit plate. Just when I’m stuffed and can’t eat any more, the Chief Purser comes by with ice cream. There’s not a lot of time left in the flight after eating, so I just sit down with my book and magically my Diet Coke glass always stays filled. It was a bit cloudy as we descended, and this time we landed to the north on runway 05R after flying for three hours and one minute and we got to gate C8 about 20 minutes early. I was hoping to see my name on a sign by the transfer desk for either the upgrade or seat change, but alas, no thing awaited me. There was however no wait at all for transfer security. I again head to the new Diamond/Business Class lounge.

When I arrive at the lounge, I ask the agent about both the upgrade and/or the bulkhead Elite class seat. He’s really good and says, I see the seat there, let me get that first, and he issues me a new boarding pass for 20A. He then says that I am on the standby list for the upgrade, and I should know by 710PM (the flight is at 750PM) either way.

I enter the lounge, still full from lunch and do some work while having a Diet Coke. At 650PM, I pack up my stuff and head to the gate, figuring there will be a wait for the required passport check that is mandated for all U.S. bound flights. I start to walk towards the exit, and the lounge agent is walking towards me with a smile on his face. He tells me that the upgrade is confirmed; he just wanted to verify that I wanted to use one of my upgrade certificates. I wait at the counter for a moment while everything is processed, and I’m handed a boarding pass for 6K. Yay!

09Feb TPE-SFO BR18 C 77W B-16712 seat 6K

I head out to gate C2 and there is no line at all for the passport check. Apparently they opened the gate early and got most people through and downstairs. This flight is almost completely full, I did get the last seat in Premium Laurel, and there are only a couple empty seats in each of the other cabins. Again, the Chief Purser greets me at the aircraft door and escorts me to my seat. As we taxi out, the Assistant Purser comes over to give out menus. This flight is again Diamond heavy; my seat mate is a Diamond member as well. There are a couple of aircraft ahead of us for takeoff, but soon it is our turn to depart on runway 05R and we are off at 815PM and begin our trek to the east. As soon as they can after departure (where is that service check announcement), the flight attendants are out in the cabin, and dinner orders are taken. The flight attendants are definitely going around in status order to take our requests. I went for the steak for dinner and the western style for breakfast. After orders were taken, beverages and snack mix were served. The carts were then rolled out to start the dinner service. Here is the menu:

Hors D’oeuvre:

Marinated prawn with vinaigrette and scallop mouse terrine

Spinach Soup

Romaine Heart Lettuce Salad

Main Course:

Pan fried beef fillet steak with red wine sauce, mixed vegetables, baked red skin potato topped with sour cream OR

Braised pork belly “Don Po Style, “mixed vegetables, steamed rice OR

Pan fried cod fillet with red pimento coulis sauce, mixed vegetables, buttered red skin potato with parsley

Cheese, fresh fruit, Haagen Dazs Ice Cream
Coffee, tea, Godiva chocolate


The appetizer and soup were very good, and there were three choices of dressing for the salad – I took the vinaigrette. The bread selection came out again, and I had some yummy garlic bread. The steak was perfectly done, and I thought the potato was very good. The cheese and fruit came out first, and then strawberry ice cream followed. I was so stuffed. I’ve been trying to limit myself to a four hour nap on these flights back to the U.S., and that’s exactly what I did. While I was awake, flight attendants were constantly coming by to offer drinks. I actually switched to water for a bit towards the end. About two and a half hours before landing, breakfast was served. Here is the menu:

Chinese Style: Selection of tea, Taiwanese plain porridge served with hot and cold delicatessens, fresh fruit

Western Style: Coffee, tea, fresh fruit, muesli, yoghurt, asparagus omelet, pan fried chicken sausage, sautéed button mushroom, roasted tomato, buttered broccoli, roasted chunky red skin potato with parsley

Premium Laurel Special: Tea, traditional cold delicatessens, relish chicken soup with noodle Din Tai Fung, fresh fruit

I was still fairly full from dinner, so I mostly picked at my western breakfast. The omelet and potatoes were good, and the bread selection had included a very good croissant. I finished eating and watched a couple of TV shows before we started our approach to SFO. It was a crystal clear day out, and our flight path leaving TPE was head to Tokyo, make a right and head out mid-pacific. So no views overflying the city, we made landfall north of Santa Cruz. After a short flight of 10 hours and five minutes, we landed on runway 01L and taxied over to G99.

A couple of other flights arrived at the same time, but U.S. immigration was quick and this time EVA got the baggage done correctly and my priority tagged bag was one of the first out. Unfortunately, that meant that there was no one being picked on in customs, so it was my turn for a customs inspection. My officer was very professional and friendly, and I was done within five minutes.

I head to Alaska’s check in area and find that all of the kiosks are being used, and one of the agents saw that as well, so she called me up and issued my boarding pass.

09Feb AS2614 Y SFO-PDX DH4 N408QX seat 3A

There are still a couple of hours to go before departure, so I head to the Alaska Boardroom. SFO has a very small club, and it’s packed today. I do some work, make a ton of calls and have a can of Diet Coke while I’m waiting. My Q-400 shows up at the gate just outside the Boardroom window, so I take that as my cue to start packing up. Unlike my flight down, this flight is packed so no room to spread out at all. We leave gate 22 right on time and taxi out to runway 01L. After a short wait we are airborne at 551PM, and I get a gorgeous view of San Francisco with the sun setting as we start to head north.
Service on this flight is a drink and snack mix and I have a Coke Zero as my beverage of choice (I’m really beginning to like Coke Zero more than Diet Coke these days) and I just read as we cover the 550 miles in an hour and 37 minutes. Before I know it we settle on to runway 10L at PDX and I’m home.

Overall, EVA took good care of me. At least to and from SFO, I can tell there are more Diamond members than ever before. But still, as I seem to say at the end of each trip report, sometimes it's very nice being a big fish in a small pond.
ak333 is offline  
Old Feb 16, 12, 4:59 pm
  #2  
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I almost forgot to add - usually when the upgrade to Premium Laurel comes through, EVA changes your booking code to N. That didn't happen when my airport upgrade came through, it stayed as V. But one of my certificates was still shown as used in my account.
ak333 is offline  
Old Feb 17, 12, 1:28 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: bay area
Posts: 172
Enjoyed your write up as usual. I always read them through in one go. Meanwhile, am planning a trip to Jkt and would like to take EVA. Any chance you can let me know your consolidator? Would like to see if they are cheaper then booking via Travelocity, etc?

Thanks.
tommy525 is offline  
Old Feb 17, 12, 1:14 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: BKK
Programs: Hyatt Globalist, Marriott Titanium, Hilton Diamond, Alaska MVP 75K
Posts: 1,087
thanks for the report
blackmamba is offline  
Old Feb 17, 12, 2:22 pm
  #5  
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Originally Posted by tommy525 View Post
Enjoyed your write up as usual. I always read them through in one go. Meanwhile, am planning a trip to Jkt and would like to take EVA. Any chance you can let me know your consolidator? Would like to see if they are cheaper then booking via Travelocity, etc?

Thanks.
You have a PM.
ak333 is offline  
Old Feb 17, 12, 11:39 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: bay area
Posts: 172
Many thanks !!
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