On the Ground: I was eager to experience EVA’s Royal Laurel cabin, upgraded last year. Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport is one busy place; as the airline’s hub, many flights depart at the same time and even with several premium check-in counters, there was a wait. The staff was friendly, courteous and extremely helpful. Once I reached the counter, check-in was quick.
Pre-Flight: I did not see any priority security lanes, and the process was long and arduous — more a fault of the airport than the airline. After duty-free shopping, I headed to the EVA lounges, true oases of calm located upstairs. The Infinity lounge — recently renovated, clean and modern with twinkling lights in the ceiling — was crowded, but I found a seat and a plug and grabbed a drink from the large selection of beverages and food (Asian and Western options). I didn’t have much time there, but I got some work done and changed for my flight. With more time, I would have tried the shower facilities.
In-Flight: Each seat in Royal Laurel is private and personal, a step away from a suite with a high back and side. I was happy to be in a window seat in the 1-2-1 configuration, pleased with the ample storage and large ledge by the window. I stowed my bags, keeping my laptop, reading material and other amenities accessible from my seat. The brand-new Rimowa amenity kit, a comforter and pillow were all waiting.
My flight passed quickly. I kept busy with movies from the generous entertainment options, work and sleep in the lie-flat bed. Before dinner, I enjoyed a glass of Dom Perignon Vintage 2003. The menu offers two regular dinner options and a healthy choice. The appetizer was a stuffed egg with caviar served aside a pan-seared scallop with tomato salsa on asparagus and lettuce, followed by Italian minestrone soup and a salad. For my entrée, I selected braised pork spareribs wu shi style. Cheese, fruit and ice cream or mousse followed. I paired all with a Chassagne Montrachet Vielles Vignes 2010. Flight attendants provided snacks and small meals throughout the flight; I enjoyed a savory potato cheese tart when I woke up hungry. Before landing, another meal was served; I chose the Western selection: fruit, bread, penne with mushrooms in a pesto cream sauce with a chicken patty wrapped in bacon.
The Experience: EVA, now a member of Star Alliance, met all my expectations. From beginning to end, my flight was top-notch. It’s a good sign when a long flight seems to pass in the blink of an eye.
- Less than 10 minutes for check-in
- Friendly and helpful agents
- Priority tagged bags
- Airport lounge
- Complimentary in-lounge food
- Priority boarding
- Helpful and courteous flight attendants
- Pre-flight beverage service
- Pre-flight newspapers and magazines
- Extensive on-demand menu
- Self-serve in-flight pantry
- Amenity kits
- Lie-flat seat/bed
- Mattress and comforter
- In-flight menu with three entrée choices
- Top-shelf wines and liquors
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