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-   -   EVA AIR Elite Class Premium Economy Review (777) (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/eva-air-infinity-mileagelands/1606758-eva-air-elite-class-premium-economy-review-777-a.html)

undersky Aug 28, 14 6:13 am

EVA AIR Elite Class Premium Economy Review (777)
 
Before my last trip on EVA AIR's (BR) premium economy (Elite Class), I couldn't find too much information about this very old and established product online, so I decided to write up this review and hope it could benefit other people who might want to know more about this product.

Since the majority of their long-haul flights are operated by 777, I am specifically reviewing this product on 777.

Like most Premium Economy products, EVA AIR has a 8 seats abreast layout with 38 inch legroom in a Boeing 777 cabin. However, this is basically the extend of information available on their website. I would like to comment on some of the lesser known facts:

1. Seat Comfort

In my opinion, the seat is incredibly uncomfortable due to a. the lack of a foot rest on the majority (15/18) of their 777 planes, and b. the short leg-rest. The leg rest is so short that it stops in the middle of my calf. Therefore, half of my calves and my feet are basically dangling.

The arm rests however were spacious and comfortable. The entertainment system was okay and got the job done. There was AC outlet, but no USB outlet on the old plane. On the newer ones (pictured below), there were both.

Legroom on a new wifi-enabled 777-300 ER (JFK-TPE) with foot rest

http://i.imgur.com/Q4T4zirl.jpg

2. Fleet (New 777-300ER)

Only 3 out of 18 planes delivered since May 2014 have foot rest in Elite Class. These new planes mainly fly between Taipei-LAX and Taipei-JFK. Their flight numbers are listed on the launch website: http://sky-wifi.evaair.com/#home

The difference between these new 777 and the old 777 in Elite Class is basically: 1. Foot rest, 2. Bigger TV, 3. Better entertainment system, and 4. Wifi onboard. In fact, right now they offer free wifi as a promotion if you fly on these planes. Otherwise, seats/services/size are the same as the old ones.

3. Food and Drinks

The meals are served on a tray just like the Economy. However, you do get one extra side dish (better food). You also get a bottle water like Cathay Pacific (PE) flights. This is definitely one of my favorite perks.

One thing I hate about Taiwanese carriers (China and EVA) is that they only serve you half of already tiny cups of soda. They are super stingy when it comes to serving drinks, but will refill for you if you ask them again.

I tried their Bloody Mary and it tasted absolutely awful. I believe they used Tomato juice instead of a proper Bloody Mary mix. Also, the red wine served was very sweet, almost like juice. My wife told me the special EVA AIR drink tasted like cough drop. In sum, I think the drinks onboard mainly cater to Taiwanese taste buds as they prefer sweeter wines as well smaller portion drinks. (e.g. The largest size soda in McDonald in Taiwan is a medium size in America.)

The food was ok. I thought the congee was tasty, but the Seafood pasta was pretty bland. Some of the Taiwanese appetizers might be a bit weird of Westerners.

I would post the menu, except the descriptions are pretty useless. The Appetizer and Salad simply read "Appetizer" and "Salad" without any descriptions.

Pre Meal Snack and Drink:

http://i.imgur.com/Ke8yaoil.jpg

First Meal:

http://i.imgur.com/GEmVACwl.jpg

Second Meal (Congee Options from two different flights):

http://i.imgur.com/zM3R86Tl.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/nL9SaJTl.jpg


4. Amenity

In additions to a bottled water, they also handed out slipper (Economy has these too), Amenity kit (Economy does not have these), and a thicker blanket. Inside the amenity kit you will find toothbrush/paste, lip balm, lotion, etc.

http://i.imgur.com/wLZnR93l.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/yegQP0Tl.jpg


5. Cabin

The bathroom was clean and I liked the infrared faucet. This is definitely superior to the ones on China Airlines or United where you have to hold down the faucet for it to work briefly. The amount of the water and the temperature were both excellent.

There was also a mood lighting that they turned on sometime which was pretty cool.

http://i.imgur.com/ahLFERXl.jpg

6. Conclusion

This is the first time for me to fly EVA AIR's premium economy product since 1997 on their 747 Combi jets.

747 Combi PE Cabin
http://i.imgur.com/7yHW0B6l.jpg

I remember that I was able to sleep soundly 17 years ago, mostly because 1. it was a bigger seat, 2. better leg rest, 3. i was 40lb lighter and 17 years younger. Flying EVA AIR again after so many years, it really brought back some old memories. Some of these flight attendants must be babies when I flew them....and now they have become beautiful girls fresh to the world. They still play 望春風 while landing, a song that I used to associate w/ flying and cry when listening/playing it on a piano. Today, the seat is no longer as comfortable to me, and the FB service is kind of under whelming. The service however was in my opinion better than CX, and far superior than any US carriers. (However, CI does have way prettier FA than BR. I would rate BR FA as 8/10 while CI as 10/10.) Will I recommend this carrier though? Definitely, because their fare is ridiculously cheap. It's literally $300 USD more than the Economy class fare, and to me that's a great deal. Since CO/UA merger and how UA gone to drains, I have switched to flying exclusively on any international carrier serving Premium Economy cabin. (My theory is that, if I always fly Premium Economy, I don't really need the benefits of a status anymore, and I don't have to deal again with United.) I have flown mostly on One World carriers and still prefer CX PE over BR PE. However, CX PE is simply way more expensive than BR. If it's only $500-1000 more than Y, I will happily fly CX. However, for this trip I took, CX PE was $1700 USD more than BR PE ($3700 vs $2000), so I thought BR PE was a great deal.

By the way, I was able to buy the ticket on EVA AIR website 4 hours before my flight. It was easy and simple and the fare was the same cheap as buying it 1 month ahead.

Rating:

Price/Value: 5/5
Seat Comfort: 2/5
Food/Drinks: 3/5

goteed1 Aug 28, 14 8:19 am

Thanks, this was very helpful. Thinking about this product for an upcoming trip to Taiwan

ORDnHKG Aug 28, 14 2:57 pm

Do you have a pic of just the amenity kit and contents alone ? Seems like this is a newer version of the kit and looks very similar to TK's Y class pensil case kit. (Y class not Comfort class) Earlier this year I got one that looks like a coin purse, just toothbrush/paste and lip balm.




Originally Posted by undersky (Post 23437164)
However, for this trip I took, CX PE was $1700 USD more than BR PE ($3700 vs $2000), so I thought BR PE was a great deal.

By the way, I was able to buy the ticket on EVA AIR website 4 hours before my flight. It was easy and simple and the fare was the same cheap as buying it 1 month ahead.

[/B]

I am not familiar with TPE's fare, but $2000 still seems quite steep, I would assume Y class fare would be a lot less than $1700 when it is low season. As I had looked before going to HKG from JFK (since BR doesn't go to ORD where I live), elite class is often $600+ more than regular Y. UA and NH however is already hovering around $1000-$1200.

undersky Aug 28, 14 6:27 pm


Originally Posted by ORDnHKG (Post 23440082)
Do you have a pic of just the amenity kit and contents alone ? Seems like this is a newer version of the kit and looks very similar to TK's Y class pensil case kit. (Y class not Comfort class) Earlier this year I got one that looks like a coin purse, just toothbrush/paste and lip balm.





I am not familiar with TPE's fare, but $2000 still seems quite steep, I would assume Y class fare would be a lot less than $1700 when it is low season. As I had looked before going to HKG from JFK (since BR doesn't go to ORD where I live), elite class is often $600+ more than regular Y. UA and NH however is already hovering around $1000-$1200.

buying on the day of the flight:

JFK-TPE-HKG RT:
EVA Economy Web Special: 1700
EVA PE: 2000

SFO-TPE-HKG RT:
EVA Economy Special: 1400
EVA PE: 1700
CX PE: 3700

Prices are probably cheaper if you buy it earlier than the day of, but usually they are the same for CX and EVA PE products. I have checked their prices before and ended up buying CX twice, almost semi-last minute, and prices were always the same. For me, CX PE is always $2000~2500 (i pay the higher one to upgrade to J), and BR PE has always been $1700-1900. These were West Coast to Asia (same prices regardless final destination; maybe $100 difference which is negligible).

This time, both flights were sold out or nearly sold out, so CX price was very high. If you query a date a few months later, the price goes back down to the standard $2000.

In my opinion, CX is still a superior product even connecting HKG to TPE, due to the nicer foot rest, nicer food (J class entree), sparkling wine pre-flight drink (still got those?), and lounge access for a lowly silver member.

However, BR PE does give you priority luggage handling that CX doesn't give you. HKG is also a much better airport to connect at. CX planes are newer too.

p.s. i bought several tickets for various people departing from various parts of US to Asia for this trip, hence I had multiple data points.

As for the amenity kit, I don't seem to have an unopened one so the content is missing....sorry.

exwannabe Aug 28, 14 9:15 pm


One thing I hate about Taiwanese carriers (China and EVA) is that they only serve you half of already tiny cups of soda. They are super stingy when it comes to serving drinks, but will refill for you if you ask them again.
lol I thought this was my pet peeve.

First time I ever was in Asia was working in Seoul. Was thirsty so went to the vending machine. Put cash in and out popped this tiny can that was gone in one swig. Put more money in for another before walking away

Yes, they drink less than us.

BrotherBluto Sep 6, 14 8:15 pm

My biggest complaint about EVA's Elite class is that the arm rests could be taller. The tray table hits the top of my thighs and therefore isn't exactly flat. I'm a big guy and the lack of a footrest hasn't bothered me or no discomfort with the leg rest. Other than that... it is 100x better than flying in coach or on a US-based airline. Food is good, great entertainment selection and love that they are now part of the Star Alliance so I can use the miles I have been sitting on with United (fly them 1x/yr to keep the miles active). EVA's Royal Laurel class is top notch. Also a big plus that they are direct from LAX to TPE.

zqsn5678 Sep 6, 14 9:16 pm


Originally Posted by undersky (Post 23437164)

3. Food and Drinks

One thing I hate about Taiwanese carriers (China and EVA) is that they only serve you half of already tiny cups of soda. They are super stingy when it comes to serving drinks, but will refill for you if you ask them again.

I tried their Bloody Mary and it tasted absolutely awful. I believe they used Tomato juice instead of a proper Bloody Mary mix. Also, the red wine served was very sweet, almost like juice. My wife told me the special EVA AIR drink tasted like cough drop. In sum, I think the drinks onboard mainly cater to Taiwanese taste buds as they prefer sweeter wines as well smaller portion drinks. (e.g. The largest size soda in McDonald in Taiwan is a medium size in America.)

The food was ok. I thought the congee was tasty, but the Seafood pasta was pretty bland. Some of the Taiwanese appetizers might be a bit weird of Westerners.

Welcome to the social and culture differences!

TRVLUPGD Sep 6, 14 9:31 pm

Thanks. Will not use this product.
Will be trying a CX PE on a five hour flight. Hope it will be much better.

tris06 Sep 6, 14 10:21 pm

That's still an interesting review. I look forward to eventually comparing it when CI rolls out its own PE.

LAX/HKG Sep 7, 14 6:43 pm

Thanks OP for the informative report. I agree not having to deal with UA is a big plus.

ORDnHKG Sep 7, 14 7:23 pm


Originally Posted by TRVLUPGD (Post 23486535)
Thanks. Will not use this product.
Will be trying a CX PE on a five hour flight. Hope it will be much better.

CX PE on a 5 hours flight will only get you the seat and nothing else, you will get the same meal same amenities like Y unlike BR.

Only long haul PE to US/Europe/Australia you get upgraded amenities.

EVA777 Sep 8, 14 4:04 pm

^ Great write up!

Yes that combi picture brings back some memories. I felt like I lived in 24 D/G in the early 2000's.

exwannabe Sep 8, 14 5:53 pm


Originally Posted by EVA777 (Post 23495306)
^ Great write up!

Yes that combi picture brings back some memories. I felt like I lived in 24 D/G in the early 2000's.

I flew 24D about 2 dozen trips across the pacific. Infinite leg room and a decent chance of the adjacent seat being open (as one of the few middles). Would still prefer it (despite the ancient IFE) to the present cabin.

Also could easily beat the crowd to customs as you deplane before even the J customers.

Oh well ....

At least I now can often afford RL :-)

username Sep 12, 14 7:45 am


Originally Posted by exwannabe (Post 23495735)
Also could easily beat the crowd to customs as you deplane before even the J customers.

Umm, I have not seen that happen. In my experience, they would open 2L first, keep the curtains closed for the ED cabins and let the F and J customers from upstairs deplane first. 1L might get opened before the curtain opens but 2L opens first for the 744.

tya Sep 13, 14 10:37 am

BR elite is indeed less attractive than their previous Evergreen Deluxe. Now even flying JFK-TPE, I'd rather go for emergency exits in Y than in PE.


Originally Posted by undersky (Post 23440956)
buying on the day of the flight:

In my opinion, CX is still a superior product even connecting HKG to TPE, due to the nicer foot rest, nicer food (J class entree), sparkling wine pre-flight drink (still got those?), and lounge access for a lowly silver member.

I always assume CX PE to be similar to BR elite. At least from the PR photos released online, hard products look not much different. But with J class entree? now I am really attempted to give it a try!


Originally Posted by undersky (Post 23437164)
(However, CI does have way prettier FA than BR. I would rate BR FA as 8/10 while CI as 10/10.)

I've seen some changes after junior Chang came back to the management. He seems to have a slightly better aesthetic taste. ;) (maybe only except for the unnecessarily flashy design in their new TPE lounges...)


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