Hello from Hong Kong! I’m on my wild review trip at the moment. After flying EVA Air’s Boeing 777-300ER business class from Houston to Taipei, I connected to EVA Air’s Boeing 787-9 business class from Taipei to Hong Kong. In this post I wanted to share my initial impressions of the flight, and then I’ll have a full review soon.
In this post:
EVA Air’s 787 business class seats are very good
While EVA Air’s 777 business class is a bit outdated, the carrier’s 787 business class is more modern, both in terms of technology and finishes. EVA Air has staggered Vantage XL seats on its 787s, similar to what you’ll find on several other airlines, including Qantas. Admittedly not all seats are created equal in this configuration (unlike with reverse herringbone seats), with the seats further from the aisle offering more privacy.
Whether the “bones” of these seats are better than the carrier’s reverse herringbone seats is a matter of personal preference. EVA Air uses both 777s and 787s on short and long haul flights, so it’s not that one product is the long haul one, and the other is the short haul one.
Regardless of your general seating preference, there’s no denying that the 787’s finishes are a bit more pleasant, and the tech is also much better, from higher definition entertainment monitors, to more charging options.
I’d be happy in this seat on a 14 hour flight, let alone the 80 minute flight that I was actually on.
EVA Air’s amazing short haul business class soft product
I really don’t at all enjoy flying short haul business class within Asia… because it makes it oh-so-hard to return to the United States and face the reality of what passes for a premium product there. 😉
What you’re offered on a short haul business class flight within Asia never ceases to impress me. Of course there were full pre-departure drinks, so I had a glass of champagne, which was served with a warm towel.
Then menus and a drink list were distributed.
On this short flight there was a full meal service, comprised of a starter of gravlax with fennel salad, a main course of fried nile perch fillet in hoisin sauce with vegetables and egg fried rice, and a dessert of fresh fruit. There was of course also a selection of bread, including some tasty garlic bread.
An iced latte before landing? No problem!
EVA Air has some of the best flight attendants in the industry, and this flight was no exception. Even though the crew was busy from takeoff until touchdown, they performed service in such a calm and composed way, and never came across as rushed.
What’s interesting about intra-Asia business class
As I mentioned above, it’s always tough to go back to flying in the United States after traveling within Asia. Here’s what I find so interesting, though. You might think “well it’s not fair to compare the premium experience in the United States to the experience in Asia, because it probably costs more.” Well, no.
Asian carriers largely have reasonable premium pricing for regional flights. While I redeemed miles for this flight, the cash fare would have been a bit over $400. I’m not saying that’s nothing, as this wasn’t that long of a flight. But that’s roughly what I’d expect to pay in cash within the United States for a flight in a premium cabin of a similar length.
But you know what I wouldn’t expect on a flight within the United States? Well, basically everything I received, from lounge access, to blankets, to flat beds, to pre-departure champagne in proper glassware, to a full meal.
Why do US airlines offer such a lackluster experience? Well, the simple answer is because they can. Foreign airlines can’t compete on domestic routes in the United States, and if you keep the standard low and no competitors really innovate, that’s a great way to maximize profits. It’s the same reason that European airlines get away with calling economy seats with blocked middle seats business class, all while largely charging high fares.
EVA Air’s business class product is just incredible, especially on a sector this short. On this 80 minute flight I got a flat bed, a pre-departure drink, a full meal, and incredibly friendly service. The top Asian carriers generally offer among the best business class experiences in the world, and that’s even more noticeable on flights of this length.
What’s your take on EVA Air’s Boeing 787 business class?