EVA Air 787-9 business class is so good. Best pillows in the sky!

EVA Air 787-9 business class is so good. Best pillows in the sky!

If you are flying to or from Taiwan, and one of your options is EVA Air 787-9 business class, you take that option. Everything else is inferior IMHO. Well, most everything else (which I’ll explain down below).

In my opinion, business class (Royal Laurel Class) on EVA Air has always been hard to beat. They’ve taken it to another level with the 787-9.

Once onboard, you’ll find extremely stylish – and comfortable – seats with all the latest tech and gadgetry. Really good food. And most importantly, the coolest pillows you’ll ever see outside of Willy Wonka’s bedroom.

BR160
Taipei, Taiwan (TPE) – Seoul, South Korea (ICN)
Friday, May 3, 2024
Aircraft: 787-9
Registration: B-17885
Duration: 2 hours 0 minutes
Seat: 6A (Business Class)

EVA Air 787-9 (787 special livery) side view
EVA Air 787-9 (787 special livery) side view illustration by NorebboStock.com
BR160 flight track
Our route from Taipei to Seoul today as BR160.

My full review of EVA Air 787-9 Royal Laurel Class (business class) from Taipei to Seoul

Truth be told, I had no idea how good the EVA 787-9 was when I booked this reservation. It seemed like an interesting choice (something that would be fun to review), so I went with it and hoped for the best. It turned out to be one of the best travel decisions I’ve ever made.

Arrival at TPE

EVA Air operates out of Terminal 2 at TPE. My taxi driver dropped me off exactly 2 hours and 14 minutes before the scheduled departure time to Seoul – which is more than enough time before an international flight this airport. I thanked him the best I could using broken (white boy) Mandarin Chinese, and headed inside with giddy anticipation.

Taipei Taoyuan International Airport terminal 2 entrance
Welcome to Terminal 2 at the Taipei…(checks spelling) Taoyuan International Airport!
EVA Air buisness class diamond check in Taipei airport
Just a pic of me checkin’ out the check-in desk for this flight, that’s all. Not a lot of activity so far.
Taipei airport check-in hall departures board
And what the heck. Here’s a picture of a security guard scratching his a** as he observes the departures board here in the check-in hall. I aim to be thorough!

The pre-departure experience

All EVA Air business class passengers flying out of TPE get access to the Eva Air Lounge located on the upper level of Terminal 2. I spent most of my time in there before heading down to the gate area just before boarding was set to begin.

SANspotter standing in front of EVA Air 787 banner at the Taipei airport
I was doing really good taking pictures of the terminal until I found this EVA Air 787 banner. It’s probably the most important awesomest pre-departure pic in this entire review – even though my eyes are closed.
Gate C5 Taipei airport
Gate C5 (the departure gate for this flight) thattaway –>.
special livery EVA 787-9
Hot damn! It’s the special livery EVA 787-9, and (assuming they don’t crash into it with the lavatory truck), it’s going to be taking me up to Seoul this afternoon.
Gate C5 waiting area Taipei airport
As usual, nobody here in the gate area seems to be sharing my excitement about the special livery thing. I didn’t dare tell them that the first thing that I was going to do when I get home is to illustrate it. You saw it at the top of this review, right?
EVA Air business class boarding pass Taipei to Seoul
They no doubt sensed the dorkery as I held up my boarding pass to grab this pic though.

The boarding process for BR160 to Seoul

Boarding was a few minutes late. No biggie. Just as it is when boarding any flight in Taiwan, the process was smooth and orderly. Announcements were made in both Mandarin Chinese and English. It was kinda like boarding a flight in Japan (but everyone speaks Chinese).

Boarding an EVA Air 787-9 at the Taipei airport
Why so serious, Scott? You’re about to experience one of Asia’s finest regional business class products. Smile a little!
EVA Air 787-9 boarding door
I’m fairly certain that I cracked a smile as I was approaching the boarding door though. Even without peeking inside, I already knew that EVA Air is always good enough to turn any frown upside down.
Walking into the EVA Air 787-9 business class cabin
The business class cabin…with what appears to be Pepperidge Farm Goldfish pillows at every seat? Right on.
EVA Air 787-9 business class cabin
Okay. Not only does EVA 787-9 business class look better than I was expecting…it also smells nice. I was unprepared for olfactory stimulation today.

Seat overview

Remember the seats you saw in my EVA Air A321 business class review? I’m happy to report that the business class seats on the 787-9 are nothing like those. True – both products are officially classified as “regional business class.” However, the seats here on the Dreamliner are every bit as good as what you would find in any other really good long haul international business class cabin.

EVA Air 787-9 business class seat 6A
Seat 6A (mine!). Note that these window seats are staggered. In other words, the seats in the odd-numbered rows are located closer to the window. The seats in the even-numbered rows (such as this one) are located closer to the aisle.
EVA Air 787-9 business class Gudetama pillow
Oops. This is Gudetama – not a Pepperidge Farm Goldfish. Still, I declare it to be the most awesome pillow that I have ever seen in any business class seat anywhere in the world.
EVA Air 787-9 business class seats row 6
Speaking of declaring things awesome, I’m going to go right ahead and extend that same praise to the seats themselves. I like!
EVA Air 787-9 business class seat legroom
I quite like at the legroom as well. Basically, the important thing to know is that I ain’t seen nothin’ that I don’t like yet.
EVA Air 787-9 business class seat space and a leg room
That muffled screaming you hear? It’s Gudetama. Sorry little buddy – I’m trying to get an epic legroom pic here!
EVA Air 787-9 business class seat privacy
Privacy is fairly decent. Still, I highly recommend choosing a seat in an odd-number row (which are situated away from the aisle).
EVA Air 787-9 business class seat privacy panel
Good news! These privacy panels on the sides of the seats (similar to what you’ll find in Singapore Airlines 787-10 business class) provide excellent cover for spirited nose picking.
EVA Air 787-9 business class seat control panel
Not only do these seats look great, the tech is impressive as well. USB and electrical outlets are on the left – touchscreen seat controls (with one hell of an orgasmic massage function) are on the right.
EVA Air 787-9 business class seat control buttons
There’s another set of buttons down low (minus the scandalous massage button unfortunately).
EVA Air 787-9 business class seat storage compartment
*cautiously checks storage compartment* (for what exactly I’m not sure).
EVA Air 787-9 business class footrests
The footrest may look like a total afterthought, but it greatly contributed to my enjoyment of this experience.
SANspotter sitting in a EVA Air 787-9 business class seat
Gudetama, on the other hand, seems to be getting the short end of the stick here. At least I’m comfortable.
EVA Air 787-9 business class pre-departure hot towel
I am squeaky clean as well (thanks to the hot towels they handed out just prior to pushback).

The departure

We were 7 minutes behind schedule by the time they pushed us off the gate. No matter. The weather was nice, and the captain was predicting in early arrival into Seoul anyway, so there was certainly nothing worthy of scoffing at as we rolled to the threshold of runway 05R. Unless tardy departures really piss you off or something.

Jet bridge Taipei airport
Detached and ready to roll!
Pushing off the gate at the Taipei airport
Technically, we pushed before we rolled. Relatively close too on time too.
Taxiing out to the runway in a EVA Air 787-9
If you thought the pillow was interesting, you should’ve seen the safety video! Unfortunately, I missed most of it because the AvGeek in me couldn’t resist looking out the window instead.
EVA Air 787-9 departing off runway 05R TPE
I do believe this to be the Taiwanese equivalent of what we Americans call rockin’ and rollin’. Yee haw!

In-flight entertainment

For what is officially a regional business class product, the in-flight entertainment is pretty darn good. The screens are huge. Very bright. Most importantly, I didn’t find myself struggling trying to find something interesting to watch.

The catalog of movies and TV shows maybe isn’t quite as good as what you would find on a US airline, but it’s decent nonetheless.

EVA Air 787-9 business class video entertainment home screen
The video screens are quite nice in these seats. Note: if you want to see what ‘phenomenal’ looks like, look no further than my Starlux A350-900 business class review.
EVA Air 787-9 business class video entertainment main menu
The user interface is pretty good too. But if I’m being honest, that other Taiwanese airline is the winner of that competition as well.
EVA Air 787-9 business class movies, TV shows, and food menu
I was having a lot of fun scrolling through the vast catalog of TV shows and movies until I stumbled upon the dinner menu. Then I got hungry. Let’s eat!
EVA Air 787-9 business class remote control for video entertainment system
Of course, I was at the complete mercy of the cabin crew here, so the food will come it’s ready. At least I had time to check out the high tech touchscreen remote control for the video entertainment system.
EVA Air 787-9 business class noise canceling headphones
And because pan fried chicken takes a little extra time to get just right, here’s a detailed look at the noise canceling headphones. They sounded good!

The food

Real talk: the food was just OK. As a matter fact, I think I enjoyed the meal I was served in EVA Air 777-300ER premium economy a little more than what was served on this flight. It was good (not phenomenal). Maybe a bit too processed if I’m being honest. 

EVA Air 787-9 business class appetizer
The appetizer hors d’oeurve: marinated seafood with lime vinaigrette and bamboo shoot salad.
EVA Air 787-9 business class dinner main course
The money shot main course: pan fried chicken breast with cherry brown sauce and gratin potatoes.
EVA Air 787-9 business class hors d'oeuvres
Shoot. Y’all know how much I love chicken, but I do declare the best part of this meal to be the bamboo shoot salad. That stuff was good!
EVA Air 787-9 business class fruit bowl
How much you want to bet that this fruit bowl was a leftover from the breakfast service on an earlier flight?
SANspotter eating in EVA Air 787-9 business class
No matter. I ain’t that picky.

Seat comfort

For a regional business class seat, it’s really hard to beat the ones you’ll find here on the 787-9. They are extremely spacious, with lots of room to spread out. Legroom is excellent. Overall width is more than adequate.

EVA Air 787-9 business class slippers
Remember how calming it was to watch Mr. Rogers don a sweater and slippers after coming in from the cold? This felt kind of like that.
EVA Air 787-9 business class seat massage button
Hmm. What do you suppose this button does?
SANspotter enjoying massage in EVA Air 787-9 business class seat
Oh good God. A massage function that tickles in all the right places!
EVA Air 787-9 business class seat privacy
Perhaps my only criticism about the particular seat that I was in is that there wasn’t much privacy. Next time, I’m choosing a seat in an odd number row (because those are closer to the window).
EVA Air 787-9 business class seats recline
And yes – these are fully lie flat seats. I didn’t go all the way though. 45 degrees with the massage function set to the highest level (and Gudetama providing lower back support) was just about perfect.

My only real complaint? I didn’t quite like the way that the seat pan angled down when in a slightly reclined state. I found myself trying to hold my a** up to prevent from sliding out – something I’d rather not do if I didn’t have to.

EVA Air 787-9 business class lavatory
Oh, and the business class lavatory? Not nearly as comfortable as my seat unfortunately.

The descent (and landing) into ICN

Those of you who had the strength to get this far into the review will be rewarded with some fairly spectacular sunset pics from the approach into Incheon Airport. Mother Nature really put on a show for us this evening. It was so good that I didn’t even notice that we arrived 17 minutes late actually.

EVA Air 787-9 business class cabin
Windows dimmed, cabin lights on. Welcome to flying in Asia.
EVA Air 787-9 business class dimmed windows
And to be totally clear (wait…is that a pun?), I wasn’t complaining about the dimmed window thing. Can you imagine how bright that sun would be coming through a fully clear window?
SANspotter getting blinded by sunlight in EVA Air 787-9 business class
Actually, it wasn’t all that hard to imagine as we began the descent into ICN.
EVA Air 787-9 business class pre-landing snack
A pre-landing snack to take my mind off the impending sunburn? Thanks!
View of sunset during approach into ICN
And before y’all start thinking I have something against the sun, I cannot deny that the sunset during the descent was pretty much epic.
View of sunset during approach into Seoul Incheon airport
You seein’ that sunset?!
Final approach into ICN
Quite a stark contrast to the winter wonderland you saw in my China Airlines 777-300ER business class review, right? I much prefer South Korea in the summer months, thank you very much.
Landing at Seoul Incheon airport in a EVA Air 787-9
Welcome to Seoul!
Taxi to gate Seoul Incheon airport
Always lots to see here at ICN during the taxi to the gate. Yeah, it’s mostly Korean Air and Asiana, but it still qualifies as “lots” IMHO.
EVA Air 787-9 business class passengers end of flight
So the question is: do I take the Gudetama pillow…or not?
US passport and South Korea entry card
Not. Especially considering I have no idea whether or not stealing Gudetama pillows in South Korea is a felony or not. At least I’ll have memories of a really good flight I guess.

Pros and cons of the EVA Air 787-9 regional business class experience

So. Was this the best ever flight that I’ve ever had to or from Taiwan? Honestly… Nope. Fly Starlux Airlines if you won’t settle for anything but the absolute best. That said, you won’t have to twist my arm to fly EVA Air in and around Asia again. This was a phenomenally good experience.

Pros

  • These just might be the nicest looking regional business class seats in Asia at the moment.
  • OMG that massage function!
  • Service from the cabin crew was lightning quick, extremely friendly, highly proactive, and totally professional.

Cons

  • I didn’t like the fact that they never turned the cabin lights off (including during takeoff and landing).
  • The seat pan angles down when the seat back is put into a slightly reclined position. It felt like I was almost going to slide right out – much like how pickles slide out of a hamburger if you bite into it wrong.

Comments (15)

  1. Michael

    June 22, 2024
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      June 22, 2024
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    June 22, 2024
  3. Ozzy

    June 27, 2024
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      June 27, 2024
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    June 27, 2024
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    June 27, 2024
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      June 28, 2024
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    June 27, 2024
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      June 28, 2024
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    July 1, 2024
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      July 1, 2024
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    July 9, 2024
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      July 9, 2024

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