EVA Air Boeing 787 Business Class: Can We Just Fly A Bit Longer?

EVA Air Boeing 787 Business Class: Can We Just Fly A Bit Longer?

42

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.

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While EVA Air’s 777 business class is a bit outdated, the carrier’s 787 business class is more modern, both in terms of technology and finishes.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.

EVA Air Boeing 787 business class cabin
EVA Air Boeing 787 business class cabin

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.

EVA Air Boeing 787 business class seat
EVA Air Boeing 787 business class seat

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.

EVA Air business class pre-departure drink

Then menus and a drink list were distributed.

EVA Air business class menu & drink list

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.

EVA Air business class meal

An iced latte before landing? No problem!

EVA Air business class drink

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.

Bottom line

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?

Conversations (42)
The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. US Guest

    Flying in Asia reinforces the idea that the United States is really just a third world country with a Gucci belt

  2. MikeyInOregon Guest

    EVA has been one of my favorite airlines for almost a decade, even before people started talking about it. Everything that you wrote in this post is true and then some. I totally prefer to fly long haul in their 787 rather than their outdated 777 even though I find the 787s much tighter than the 777s. I'm happy that they fly their 787s TPE-SEA which is what I usually do. The only thing that...

    EVA has been one of my favorite airlines for almost a decade, even before people started talking about it. Everything that you wrote in this post is true and then some. I totally prefer to fly long haul in their 787 rather than their outdated 777 even though I find the 787s much tighter than the 777s. I'm happy that they fly their 787s TPE-SEA which is what I usually do. The only thing that I don't like is their TPE lounge, it's always over crowded and lackluster, you would think that this being their flagship lounge that they would provide a tad more luxurious experience.

    1. Jeff Guest

      Do any of you find the foot cubby on the 787 is smaller or more restrictive? I recently took the 787 to Haneda but had problem with my feet compared to the 777...not sure I was just off that day or?? (I was at the seat closer to window)

  3. JAY B Guest

    Be, I love you man, but your hyperbole on this one is just too disingenuous:
    "I really don’t at all enjoy flying short haul business class within Asia…"

    For three very good reasons, and a few others too:
    A. Yes you do.
    B. Yes, you do, and
    C. Yes. You do.

    So do I. The fact that domestic US airlines suck will never, full-stop EVER, make me think twice about...

    Be, I love you man, but your hyperbole on this one is just too disingenuous:
    "I really don’t at all enjoy flying short haul business class within Asia…"

    For three very good reasons, and a few others too:
    A. Yes you do.
    B. Yes, you do, and
    C. Yes. You do.

    So do I. The fact that domestic US airlines suck will never, full-stop EVER, make me think twice about enjoying EVERY SINGLE moment of every segment I fly with Asian carriers, long OR short haul. EVA rocks and I'm (kind of) glad you are promoting them. Some secrets are best kept cause it just makes it harder to book flights when more people realize just how good they are. I wrote a killer review about my favorite go-to hotel in Positano and 9 months later they had pumped the prices by 30% and were sold out for almost every day in 2023 until they closed at the end of October for the season.

    Thanks for your good work.

    Even my flight from Beijing to Bangkok on Air China Business Class blew away ANY domestic US FIRST CLASS flight I've ever taken and I've been flying Domestic F for 36+ years now, on every carrier come and gone, including all of the sad offerings we currently have to deal with for US travel.

    Agree 100% the blocked-middle seat in intra-Europe Business is silly but at least most of the flights are so short I don't even care.

  4. simmonad Guest

    "Why do US airlines offer such a lacklustre experience? Well, the simple answer is because they can."

    The DoJ allowed merger after merger after merger in the USA so that you get local monopolies (say at least 60% of flights) at many airports. When you have such a dominant position, you simply don't have to try to please the customer.

  5. jns Guest

    I have flown EVA Air many times in coach and have always been happy with the flights and the flight attendants.

  6. iamhere Guest

    About the seating at least they had the 1-2-1 configuration. I really do not like the business class that is 2-2-2 or worse 2-3-2. And there is nothing really that you reported on here. Everyone knows that Asia has this kind of service for short haul flights.

  7. Weekend Surfer Guest

    I’m looking for award seats in J for next July between Tokyo or Osaka and Seoul (ICN or GMP). While the awards are reasonably priced, the products don’t seem as good (think domestic J). Is it because the flights are shorter? Would love something comparable to this EVA 787 on JAL or KAL, but I don’t see it.

    1. Anthony Guest

      KAL definitely have something similar, their a321 neos have 8 lie flat seats in business in a single aisle plane. They’ve only got about 10 of these in their fleet at the minute though and a lot of them are used for the Seoul to jeju route but they’ve started to fly them to a few cities in Japan.

  8. Azamaraal Diamond

    Have only been able to score one EVA points flight over 17 years (Aeroplan) and no transferable points points in Canada. Sad because they go where I want to go at reasonable prices.

  9. Ricky Guest

    I honestly think most Americans actually don’t enjoy Asian-style service and make them uncomfortable. Same with European one. I might be wrong, but Americans are so casual that they might actually prefer what they get on United or Delta.

    1. AD Guest

      Um, what? Americans prefer less space, less time privacy and poor service? I don’t think so.

    2. Albert Guest

      I'll take lack of lounge and surly service in domestic US "First Class" over the cramped seating (in both dimensions) in European "Business Class".

    3. tipsyinmadras Diamond

      Service standards in Asia are significantly higher across the board but I think you’d be hard-pressed to find an American who wouldn’t appreciate and enjoy them. Given a choice, you’re not going to find a large majority opting for dated, subpar hard products with surly, indifferent service.

  10. InceptionCat Gold

    EVA air really is brilliant. A recent flight on the 2hr hop TPE-KIX even had Caviar as a starter.

  11. JetSetFly Guest

    It is possible to have good service, good food, and decent seat when flying transcon. It’s called JetBlue Mint. US is absolutely capable of competing with Asian airlines such as EVA or CX if asian airlines are allowed to fly within US. But I suspect if US 3 up their games, any amount of existing profit will be zero. Labor and food cost is just cheaper in Asia when compare to US. That’s why there...

    It is possible to have good service, good food, and decent seat when flying transcon. It’s called JetBlue Mint. US is absolutely capable of competing with Asian airlines such as EVA or CX if asian airlines are allowed to fly within US. But I suspect if US 3 up their games, any amount of existing profit will be zero. Labor and food cost is just cheaper in Asia when compare to US. That’s why there are decent amount of expats living in Bali and Bangkok for retirement. Dollar just go so much further.

    1. Vancouver - Char Diamond

      yes, JET Blue plus arguably, PORTER on their short Toronto to NewYork flights and Air North out of Yukon

      While i see the role for unions in society but sometimes unions can be too strong lowering quality and service standards

    2. Evan Thoitis Guest

      I don’t think US airlines can compete with Asia on service.. both on the ground and inflight!!

      Maybe the US airline should stop paying the crew. Instead invest in hard products and quality food and let the crew collect a 15-20% for their salaries from passengers if they give good service!! Like in restaurants!!
      American style!!

  12. CMX Guest

    Also, in the US people are on average paying much more for “First Class” in return of a much more inferior product.

    1. Henry Guest

      Omg, that is not a much more inferior product, that is not even a product.

    2. Pete Guest

      You get a bigger seat, slightly more room for your legs, and the chance to deplane before the rush. That's about it.

  13. globetrotter Guest

    I do not frequently fly domestically. When I rarely do, I feel so sorry for the flying public. I will never waste my miles and dollars to fly domestically in premium class. It is not so much about supply and demand as global readers of travel blogs are acutely aware that the opportunities to redeem miles and points for premium seats and five star hotels only exist in US. It is capitalism and the corrupt...

    I do not frequently fly domestically. When I rarely do, I feel so sorry for the flying public. I will never waste my miles and dollars to fly domestically in premium class. It is not so much about supply and demand as global readers of travel blogs are acutely aware that the opportunities to redeem miles and points for premium seats and five star hotels only exist in US. It is capitalism and the corrupt establishment in which the financial transactions, authority and power are exchanged between big businesses and government officials, including judicial members.
    I recently flew China Airlines from NRT-TPE-SFO. The services were exemplary. The food was delicious and the seats are comfy.

    1. jedipenguin Guest

      Far fetched but I would love the entire US aviaton industry outsourced to the Asians. From flying within the US to air traffic control to managing airports to pilot training. It would be a massive upgrade.

  14. Mantis Member

    Collusion and lack of foreign competition is not a reasonable explanation for why the domestic premium experience sucks so hard. After all, most countries restrict foreign carriers from domestic routes, even the ones with great premium products. There's probably more competition in domestic US than most intra Asia routes anyway. And profiteering is kind of ridiculous since US airlines have some of the lowest profit margins of any US industry.

    I think it's simply that...

    Collusion and lack of foreign competition is not a reasonable explanation for why the domestic premium experience sucks so hard. After all, most countries restrict foreign carriers from domestic routes, even the ones with great premium products. There's probably more competition in domestic US than most intra Asia routes anyway. And profiteering is kind of ridiculous since US airlines have some of the lowest profit margins of any US industry.

    I think it's simply that if the intra Asia-like premium product was available in the US at $400 for a 2 hr flight, it would sell out immediately, and the costs to actually provide Asian carrier level service here would be astronomical (labor, lounge space, food, etc)...they would have to charge 5x as much to be profitable, which people wouldn't be willing to pay. That product here would cause an airline to go bankrupt.

  15. JanK Guest

    I dont think in Europe it is the lack of competition to blame. Thanks to Open Sky, any airline can fly from anwhere to anywhere. In my opinion the rootcause here is lack of demand, customers not demanding more and willing to pay for this “fake business” crap.

  16. Tony Guest

    I recently flown EVA too (both long haul and short haul in business) and I agree that EVA offers a compelling and competitive product. However, EVA's product isn't necessarily better than similar products from some other Asian airlines. I've also recently flown both JL and CX (both long- and short haul) and I'd rate them about equal to EVA's product (BTW, CX onboard catering in J, which is one of its weaknesses, has improved noticeably on my recent flights).

  17. Reader Guest

    Asia has much lower labor costs and wages than America & Europe, so your dollar has a much higher PPP there.

    1. derek Guest

      AA should cut wages in the current FA negotiations.

    2. Reader Guest

      They would have to cut cost of living as well. Taiwan remains a cheap locale.

    3. Pete Guest

      Hong Kong isn't cheap, neither are Singapore or Seoul, yet the carriers based in those places maintain a very high standard of customer service.

      US carriers have been so basic for so long that they've forgotten what quality really is. It would be interesting to arrange crew exchanges where, for instance, an AA or UA flight attendant would swap out with an SQ or BR flight attendant for three months. Yeah, training issues, I know,...

      Hong Kong isn't cheap, neither are Singapore or Seoul, yet the carriers based in those places maintain a very high standard of customer service.

      US carriers have been so basic for so long that they've forgotten what quality really is. It would be interesting to arrange crew exchanges where, for instance, an AA or UA flight attendant would swap out with an SQ or BR flight attendant for three months. Yeah, training issues, I know, but it would be fascinating to hear what they had to say when they returned, and what the EVA FA thought of working for United...

    4. Reader Guest

      Asia has very high COL due to low wages. As someone mentioned below, a $400 flight feels much more expensive there than here.

    5. US Guest

      The idea that all of Asia has much lower labor costs and wages is such an elitist, racist white view of the world.

      Ever been to cities like Singapore, Hong Kong, Seoul or Tokyo? More wealth there and infrastructure that makes most of the “developed” west look third world.

    6. Reader Guest

      Ever worked for an Asian airline? No? Didn't think so. Wages there remain uncompetitive versus American carriers. Inform yourself before you pull the tiresome race card.

  18. UnitedEF Guest

    Sweet! Which routes are these 787's deployed on? I'm flying back to Taiwan and onward to the Canton fair. Would be sweet if I can check out the 787. Right now I'm booked in CI J on the way there and BR J on the way back. Need to change dates so maybe looking to book J on BR

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ UnitedEF -- I believe the only North America routes that get the 787 with any regularity are Seattle and Vancouver. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

    2. Mike Smith Guest

      I flew from MIA to DFW on American in a 787 in business class this past August. Awful experience.

    3. UnitedEF Guest

      Ah ok so I may be taking a detour. Never flew out of SEA before. Leaving LAX with UA connecting to BR J would that get me into Polaris or just the regular area of the lounge @ LAX? Would like to visit LAX *G lounge as it's been a while as it is way better than KE lounge that CI uses but always fun to check out a new product. Just flew B6 to JFK on the new Mint it was pretty sweet. Thanks for the trip report!

    4. Daniel Guest

      On the long haul routes, expect the 787 to Munich, Milan, Vienna, Brisbane, Seattle (only BR26). Within Asia, I know it will be on some flights to HKG and BKK, although I expect there to be more.

      Good to know: EVA doesn't sell Premium Economy on short haul routes like HKG, MNL and similar. In case they fly those routes with a 777 or 787, you can get those seats with Economy tickets. They will...

      On the long haul routes, expect the 787 to Munich, Milan, Vienna, Brisbane, Seattle (only BR26). Within Asia, I know it will be on some flights to HKG and BKK, although I expect there to be more.

      Good to know: EVA doesn't sell Premium Economy on short haul routes like HKG, MNL and similar. In case they fly those routes with a 777 or 787, you can get those seats with Economy tickets. They will cost a surcharge, although less than emergency exit seats - and in my experience, you pretty much always still get them for free during online check-in if you do it right away once it opens.

      Besides this, I agree that the 787 is way better than the 777. Just make sure to get the "real" window seat for more privacy (or a middle seat away from the aisle).

    5. Eric Guest

      EVA also uses the new 787 on TSA-HND/SHA

    6. putout Guest

      "the cash fare would have been a bit over $400"

      See that's the thing. For the average economy passenger expected to fly this route, $400 is much more a portion of their wage than a similar passenger on a route of the same length in the US or Europe. So the product is naturally much more premium as a result. Costs and what consumer can or want to pay are much more of a factor than competition.

    7. putout Guest

      That was supposed to be a comment, not a reply. Oops.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

tipsyinmadras Diamond

Service standards in Asia are significantly higher across the board but I think you’d be hard-pressed to find an American who wouldn’t appreciate and enjoy them. Given a choice, you’re not going to find a large majority opting for dated, subpar hard products with surly, indifferent service.

3
jns Guest

I have flown EVA Air many times in coach and have always been happy with the flights and the flight attendants.

3
JetSetFly Guest

It is possible to have good service, good food, and decent seat when flying transcon. It’s called JetBlue Mint. US is absolutely capable of competing with Asian airlines such as EVA or CX if asian airlines are allowed to fly within US. But I suspect if US 3 up their games, any amount of existing profit will be zero. Labor and food cost is just cheaper in Asia when compare to US. That’s why there are decent amount of expats living in Bali and Bangkok for retirement. Dollar just go so much further.

3
Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
5,163,247 Miles Traveled

32,614,600 Words Written

35,045 Posts Published