01. Introduction: To Taipei with Star Alliance and SkyTeam business class awards
02. United Airlines 737-900/ER first class San Diego to Los Angeles
03. Asiana A380-800 business class Los Angeles to Seoul
04. Incheon Transit Hotel
05. Eva Air A321 regional business class Seoul to Taipei
06. Grand Hyatt Taipei
07. The quiet serenity of Taipei during Chinese New Year
08. China Airlines Dynasty Lounge, TPE, Terminal 1
09. China Airlines 777-300/ER business class Taipei to Seoul
10. KAL Prestige Class Lounge, ICN
11. Korean Air A380-800 Prestige Class (business class) Seoul to Los Angeles
12. Delta Connection CRJ-700 first class Los Angeles to San Diego
I was such a happy and relaxed guy as I was walking down to the gate this morning. I had just experienced another awesome flight on Asiana Airlines from LAX to ICN the day prior, my night at the ICN Transit hotel went off without a hitch, and I was very much looking forward to my first ever flight on EVA Air. I love trying new airlines – especially Asian airlines since the service is usually so good that I’m almost convinced that I’m some sort of celebrity rock star or something. I don’t quite get that same feeling when flying in the States for some reason…
Before getting to the pics, here’s a quick video I put together showing my experience on this flight:
And now on with the trip report…
Seoul, South Korea (ICN) – Taipei, Taiwan (TPE)
Sunday, January 29, 2017
Duration: 2 hours 33 minutes
Seat: 2A (regional business class)
So there I was, hanging out at the gate with about 30 minutes to go until the flight started boarding when I realized something very important: I didn’t have a boarding pass. Yikes! I had been so busy that morning trying to get all the pics and video I needed for this trip report that I had completely forgot to get a boarding pass. That’s an embarrassing mistake I’m not comfortable admitting to anyone, but hey – it happens to the best of us.
I approached the friendly gate agents who were just getting things set up for the morning, and they told me that I needed to go upstairs to the transfer desk. Sounds easy enough, right? That’s what I thought too until I walked up to the nearest one to see that it wasn’t scheduled to open for another 45 minutes. Uh oh. These are the kinds of mistakes that grind good trips straight to a halt, and my heart sank as I realized that I might have screwed this one up pretty bad.
Thankfully, a friendly Asiana agent was walking by and saw me standing there looking alone and confused (any probably a bit sad). I explained my conundrum to her and, thankfully, she wasted no time getting behind that desk and printing a boarding pass for me. I was thankful beyond words for her help, and made a mental note to not be so stupid next time as I was walking back to the gate.
I found it to be a bit odd that there wasn’t a call for business class passengers before general boarding started – they simply made an announcement that it was time to board and everyone in the gate area got up and stood in line. To be honest though I couldn’t quite understand all of what the announcement was since only a portion of it was in English, so there’s a chance that I missed the call completely. No worries though – I’m not the kind of premium flyer who thinks he has to be the first one on the plane.
Once onboard, the first thing that struck me was how much it smelled like my old high school locker room. It stank. You know that feeling you get when you smell something bad and start worrying that it might be you and you didn’t even realize it until just that moment? I was wearing the same clothes I had on when I left San Diego two days ago, so yeah…I was giving myself a quick sniff as I walked to my seat just to be sure it wasn’t me. Thankfully, it wasn’t.
I hadn’t even sat down yet and I was already getting that rock star treatment from the flight attendants. One of them personally introduced me to EVA Air business class, and took the time to show me the features of the seat. She then returned with a hot towel, followed by a breakfast menu. This is how I like to start a flight!
I was feeling a bit rushed as I was getting situated, trying to get all my stuff in order before the other business class passengers came on board. But they never came. The sound of hearing that boarding door close with nobody else but me in that business class cabin was making me feel like quite a celebrity rock star again.
I never did check the status of the main cabin, but I presume that it was fairly empty back there as well. The gate area inside the terminal wasn’t that busy, and there didn’t seem to be that many people walking back to economy during boarding. It must have been because of Chinese New Year – which I did think was a bit strange, because back home in the US, holidays are usually the busiest times to fly. Seems to be the opposite here in Asia.
It was a dark and foggy morning as we pushed off the gate and taxied out to the departure runway (sounds the the beginning of a good novel, doesn’t it?). I was really hoping for sunrise departure pics, but I had a pretty good feeling that wasn’t happening this morning due to how dark it was out there still. Oh well – it was actually nice to put the camera down and just watch with my own eyes for once.
The sun did make an appearance once above the clouds though. And a glorious appearance at that – flying during the transition from night to day is always an amazing experience.
The phenomenal and very personal service I experienced on the ground while at the gate continued right where it left off as we were climbing towards cruising altitude. Another hot towel came before the meal service, and it should be noted that I was greeted by name at every interaction – even for simple exchanges. This is something I quite like, which definitely has a lot to do with that “feeling like a rock star” thing.
Breakfast was pretty good. Not the best meal I’ve had on an airplane, but decent and satisfying.
After the meal service I took advantage of being the only one in the cabin this morning and managed to get a lot of pics and video footage for this trip report. The flight attendants were a bit scarce during this time as well, so I was truly alone up there and free to do my thing. I’ve never quite understood the allure of flying on a private jet before this flight, but I started to get it as we made our way closer to Taipei.
Shortly after we began the decent, the lead flight attendant came by to thank me for flying with EVA Air today, and offered me some Chinese New Year souvenirs and a handful of individually wrapped candies. It was by this time that I was feeling that I really didn’t want this flight to end – I was being well taken care of, and I’m not going to lie when I say that it felt pretty good to be spoiled rotten like that.
The approach into Taipei was nothing short of stunning, and pretty much exactly how I thought it was going to be. We flew over some water, dodged a few mountains, and then skimmed the rooftops of huge factories in thick haze before landing at TPE.
So yeah. That was my first ever flight on EVA Air, and I was pretty much blown away by the top-notch cabin crew. Of course I realize that I probably received better service because I was the only passenger, but still – it makes me want to try long haul business class on EVA, and that’s all that really matters right? This flight gave me a quick taste of what EVA Air is all about, and I think I want more…