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EVA Airways: BR67 TPE-BKK-LHR in Premium Economy

EVA Airways: BR67 TPE-BKK-LHR in Premium Economy

Old Nov 20, 09, 4:22 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Hsinchu (Taiwan), Saigon, London
Programs: EVA (diamond), A3, BMI, VN
Posts: 2,960
EVA Airways: BR67 TPE-BKK-LHR in Premium Economy

Flight
DEP TPE 09:10 15NOV BR67
ARR BKK 11:50 15NOV BR67
DEP BKK 13:10 15NOV BR67
ARR LHR 19:10 15NOV BR67

TPE is 1 hour ahead of BKK and 8 hours ahead of LHR at this time of year.

For this flight, EVA used a 777-300ER (77W in their timetable). It is configured as:

42 seats of 61" Premium Laurel (C) class in 2-2-2 configuratoin split into two cabins. Front - 24 seats. Rear - 18 seats.
63 seats of 38" Elite (Premium Economy) class in 1 row of 2-3-2 then 8 rows of 2-4-2
211 seats of 33" Economy (Y) class, mostly 3-3-3 with some 2-3-2 near the galleys.

For my report on LHR-TPE BR68, see here: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip-...m-economy.html

Booking
This was the return journey of a flight booked through an agent in London. I was booked into Elite (Fare class Q).

Increasingly I'm finding getting a seat allocated the worst part of dealing with EVA. I'm gold in EVA's club. I like an aisle seat near the front but was unable to get anything but a middle seat through the online allocation system. Between when I first tried (probably about 3 weeks in advance) and the date of the flight, the online system either just offered a single middle seat or said that online allocation was unavailable and a seat would be allocated at check-in. 32 of 63 Elite seats are aisle seats.

EVA's call centre in TPE got me 26C (aise near the back) a couple of weeks before the flight. A few days before the flight they were still unable to do anything better. I asked if I could use miles to upgrade - they said I could but they could not allocate an aisle seat. Since 28 of 42 PL seats on a 777 are aisle seats this sounded unlikely to me. (Especially as the remainder are window seats which many prefer.)

I got a Chinese speaker to phone customer services about the Elite seat. No problem - a number of seats are available. They allocated me 20D. They explained that it wouldn't show online, but that it was now guaranteed for me.

I really think EVA need to sort out their allocation system. It seems they now hold back so many seats from their online system/usual call centre that getting one you like is a problem in Elite - even if you go online exactly 100 days before your flight (which is when it opens) and/or are gold with them. As for PL - the cabin had plenty of aisle seats empty for both sectors - so they should have had no problem allocating one to me. I could have understood it if they'd said that they had no availability for upgrades (hoping still to sell the seats), but again it seems their allocation system just locks up too many seats.

Pre-Boarding
I arrived at TPE rather early at 0650. EVA dominates T2 but there is a separate check-in row for FFs and business class that starts by one of the main entrances to the building. If you are arriving by car then it will likely stop by this entrance as it is labelled with EVA's logo. There is just one desk for diamonds (in addition to the little-used diamond check-in lounge). Else you must enter the correct taped off lane depending whether you are flying PL or are gold. Silver check-in is round the other side. I find the tapes an unnecessary annoyance - I've rarely seen a queue and it just looks bad in the context of providing a supposedly premium service. There were a number of vacant desks but no obvious way of avoid the lanes. So I zig-zagged my way through until I reached the front and was then swiftly checked-in. I was handed the BP for London and two lounge invites - one for TPE and one for BKK where the flight makes a short stop. BR TPE now uses generic paper for all classes. No special colours for the different classes. In fact it doesn't say "Elite" anywhere. There was a large letter "Y" printed on the BP. I think PLs get "C" and Economy flyers get "K".

If you are not silver, gold or in PL class, you have to find the right area to check-in using the screens. Within each area they generally have seperate desks for Elite class.

Your checked baggage is x-rayed at the end of the conveyor that runs behind the desks. This is great - you can watch it go through and if there are any problems they can be dealt with then.

After a slightly longer than usual line at security and zero queues at immigration I went up the steps and arrived at the lounges at 07:05, 15 mins after getting out of the car. If you don't have lounge access there are some eateries nearby, the More pay-lounge, or you can stay downstairs and mill around the duty free shops.

EVA have 3 lounges - an open air "garden" and two conventional style lounges, "the Diamond" and "the Business". Since "the Diamond" and the garden are only available to Diamond card holders, "the Business" can get overcrowded and getting upgraded to either "the Diamond" or the garden is not uncommon. The garden has it's own reception desk. Opposite it is short hall with a reception desk at the end with 2 or 3 staff. They will direct you either left to "the Business" or right to "the Diamond".

There is a thread all about TPE "lounge insanity" at http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/other...-insanity.html

No upgrade for me this time - I was in "the Business". There is a single shower which I've never used and a popular games room. Most of it is open plan with mostly low chairs and tables but also some standard chairs and tables so you can sit up and eat properly if you like. WiFi works well, but you get a log-in screen on your browser which you bypass. I also had a couple of security-type warnings from my browser but I've long since stopped worrying about such things.

I really can't grumple about the food - more than one type of noodle, chinese buns, hot dogs, salad, tortilla + salsa dip, tuna sandwiches, toast/butter/jam, rolls, cereals, roast potato pieces, hot sweet potato, crackers and cheese, yoghurt, decent coffee, a variety of herbal teas, soft drinks and booze of various types. I've used all EVA's lounges and the choice is different in each one. The "Diamond" probably has less food choice but is more refined. The garden has a proper waiter service and barman.

The only problem with the "Business" is the ambience - noisy and you're just too close to other people. I ended up with a bizarre chap sitting opposite me - looked like Gary Glitter on his release complete with goaty beard, but with headphones that made him look like a cyberman. He downed 2 beers and poured the third onto the carpet. He wore a tracksuit and kept bobbing about trying to engage others in what ever rhythm he was in to. He'd occasionally blurt out a "yeah man", bang his foot on the floor or clap his hands.

By 0745 the lounge was full - probably if I'd arrived later I would have got a better lounge. By 0815 it was thinning out rapidly. A Taiwanese girl sat next to cyber-glitter only to be leered at. She promptly moved on. At 0830 I left - boarding was scheduled for 0840.

It's a short walk to gate C7 - down an escalator, past some unexciting duty-free shops and a right turn. About 5 minutes in total. If you're into duty free shopping, I don't think TPE is the place to do it. As I was on the way to the gate an annoucement was made that boarding would be delayed by 15 minutes to 0855 because of ground handing problems. I worked my way to the front of the gate in anticipation of priority boarding.

At 0855 boarding started, but C class only. Usually they board C class and golds/diamonds together but this time it was C class only first. At 0900 diamonds/golds were boarded.

TPE-BKK
I took up 20D which is the front row of the Elite cabin. No babies today, fortunately. We pushed back at 09:25 and were airborne by 09:35. After reaching cruising altitude, a deputy purser came over to me and introduced herself and thanked me for flying with EVA again. They do this for golds and diamonds. Though well-meaning, I find it awkward. She did go beyond the normal thing and asked if I needed any magazines, duty frees etc., or would I like a drink? I was fine.

It's just over 3 hours flying time to Bangkok. PL (C class) looked about 30% full, Elite was 90% full, Economy was about 70% full. 45 mins into the flight the meal service sorted. Chicken potato or fish with rice. I went for fish with rice and it was pretty good. Generally I go for "fish" or "seafood" if offered - I find the quality is usually better than for other dishes in Elite. My neighbour had chicken and it did look OK. As I mentioned in my BR68 trip report, the Elite meal service is more of an upgraded Economy service rather than a downgraded Business class service. You generally get an extra dish (eg a salad) compared with Economy and the overall quality is up a notch. The meal came with a fruit dish consisting of star fruit and orange, a celery/lettuice/kidney bean salad with japanese dressing and a roll and butter. The usual beers and wine (red or white) were offered.

There was no top up for the wine, but I was singled out for being offered another glass when the trolley reappeared. A few fellow pax then asked for more too. There was a coffee or tea round and top ups were offered. A little later I was again asked if I needed more wine.

I should add that where pax press the call button and ask for extra drinks, this is always cheerfully dealt with. EVA FAs are all females and are mostly Taiwanese. They have a few other asians too - I've seen Vietnamese and Thais. I think it's fair to say the English isn't as good as you get on CX or SQ, but it's certainly good enough and in some cases excellent.

As usual I decided not to use the VOD system. Sometimes I watch my own films, but this time I needed to work on something. I really like having laptop power. This combined with the 38" pitch can make for a comfortable and productive flight. Just as I was plugging in I heard a slight commotion... it was cyber-glitter! I hadn't noticed him on board.. it seems he was trying to get into Elite to use the toilet and didn't appreciate he wasn't supposed to.

I've noticed that EVA pilots often now make no annoucements until descent is about to commence. Just as the captain came on the FAs did a round with a tray and soft drinks (apple juice, orange juice or water). I've not seen this before on short haul flights.

We started our descent at 11:15 BKK time, were on the ground at 11:45 and at gate E6 at 11:50.

Lounge
On leaving the aircraft I collected a transit card and made my way through security and into the EVA lounge on concourse F. See my earlier report http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip-...m-economy.html - the experience was indistinguishable from last time, except I stayed until they called the flight. It is a bit silly that EVA's lounge is in F but they usually seem to get a gate in E.

I arrived back at the gate just as mainstream boarding started.

BKK-LHR
I was welcomed aboard by a new crew that would be taking us to LHR. When I got to 20D, it was already occupied by an elderly British chap. He'd got the seat wrong and should have been in 20G. He was very sorry and moved, but he'd pretty much filled the locker with his stuff and didn't bother to move it. I didn't make an issue of it and didn't feel like moving it myself as with people passing through the aisle it would have been a palava.

Elite was almost full, Economy probably about 70%. PL I would guess under half full. The rear PL cabin only had 4 seats occupied out of 18, though of ocurse the front cabin is more popular.

I didn't notice whether we took off on time, I suppose we did. About 30 minutes into the flight the FAs did a snack run. They always used to do this, but it was missing from BR68 LHR-BKK a little while earlier. Some Japanese rice crackers, napkin and a cold drink (beer available). Then an FA came over and did the "gold cardholder" introduction. She and her colleagues addressed me by name throughout the rest of the flight. I feel they were making a real effort. She asked me if I wanted anything just to let her know. I requested a bottle of water which she delivered to me inside a duty free bag. Presumably this was to prevent a deluge of copycat requests.

The meal service started almost immediately - pork with rice or beef with potato. I went for the beef and it was cubes of beef with mashed potato, carrots and something else I now forget. I didn't really like it - the potato was dry and the beef chewy. Also delivered was blackcurrent cheese cake (jolly good), fruit (papaya, guava), salad with ham and a roll and butter. The usual drinks were available - red or white, beer, soft drinks. Top ups were offered rather belatedly and combined with a coffee/tea run. Trays were eventually collected combined with a coffee/tea top up run. All-in-all efficiently done, but of the 6 meals of my return trip, this was the weakest because of the chewy beef.

Now a note about the seat. I can't really recommend 20D even without the babies. I think you do get a little less legroom (the divider between Elite and PL is in front of you) and you suffer a little because of the curtain. Most inter-cabin walkers part the curtain, walk through the gap created and let the curtain close behind them. Some carry this off with great aplomb. A minority (including an FA) has a different technique. They stand just short of the curtain and then whisk it to one side and behind them in a great flourish as they then proceed through. If you have exposed skin (face, elbow etc) at best you will feel a chill because of the disturbance, or at worse you will feel the brush of polyester on your skin. I mused as to whether there had ever been an incident of "curtain rage".

The lights were dimmed and pax asked to close the blinds. The flight runs in daylight almost all the way to London, all the way in the summer months. Most people slept and it was a very quiet flight. There seemed to be fewer British travellers than usual - a number of Taiwanese going all the way as well as other asians that started in Bangkok.

The crew did regular trips offering juice to those awake. They also did a snack run - crackers or chocolate biscuits. A little later they offered a tray of rolls - I had what appeared to be a chicken and pickle sandwich.

At 5pm London time, the second meal service started. Seafood spaghetti or Pork noodle. I went for the seafood spaghetti and it was very good. Some prawns, squid, scallop and crab sticks. There was also fruit, roll and butter, a cupcake and mixed fruit yoghurt. Usual choice of booze offered and top-ups were offered combined with collecting the trays. They were sluggish collecting the trays as they served Economy after Elite. They did a separate coffee/tea run later.

We were running early and started to descend at 18:15 but were warned that on landing a gate might not be available. However, miraculously we landed at 18:50 and were at the gate at 19:00.

Arrivals
LHR T3 was very quiet, no lines for immigration including non-EU. I walked straight through to baggage just as the first luggage including my "club" tagged suitcase arrived. I was in arrivals at 19:15, just 5 minutes after our scheduled arrival time and 25 minutes after the wheels hitting the runway. Probably a record.

I should warn first timers on BR67 that LHR is not always so welcoming. Immigration lines can be very long for

Last edited by jimbo99; Nov 20, 09 at 4:40 pm
jimbo99 is offline  
Old Nov 21, 09, 12:40 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SAN
Programs: PR Premier Elite
Posts: 1,911
The snack run has been absent for some time from LAX-TPE and back too. For years it was standard procedure that shortly after takeoff there would be a snack and drink service and then about an hour into the flight a full dinner and drink service. The post takeoff drink service has been conspicuously absent for the last few years along with the previously standard "international dateline mid-Pacific" noodle/sandwich service. I have only flown BR twice this year down from 7-8 RT TPAC flights in previous years due the the effective breakup with CO but I have a BR trip next week. I will report back if there are any changes in the snack service regiment ex-LAX.

BTW, credit where credit is due. Lately LAX Gold-Diamond call center is on the ball service wise for seat assignments. They probably don't speak English to much better than the rest of BR's system but they are effective and now apparently newly empowered to do stuff without calling Taipei for approval first. Try them sometime if you are encountering problems with other call centers.
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