I’ve been flying Elite Class from LAX to Taipei for a number of years. I rave about it to family and friends as the quality compared to economy, and more specifically U.S. airlines is so much better. People often ask me if it is really worth the extra cost to fly premium economy, my answer is always YES!
It typically costs me at least an extra $400 to book premium economy. My rationale for this expense is that I will be traveling for over 24 Hours on my way from home to my final destination of Bangkok and any creature comforts to make that journey more enjoyable is worth the cost. As long as I can afford it.
If I could afford a business class ticket I would certainly be flying Premium Laurel, but I can’t. Elite class is better than domestic first class, and equivalent to business class seats on a lot of U.S. based carriers – for half the cost.
Let’s take a look at what makes this class of service a no-brainer for me.
Check-in and Boarding
Check-in is easy when you are booked in EVA’s Elite class. There are a dedicated line and counter that has rarely been busy in all the times I’ve flown. With only 64 seats in premium economy, everyone would have to arrive at once for there to be longer than a few people waiting in line at the same time.
Another nice feature of traveling in Elite class is priority boarding. You are assigned group two boarding which gets to board right after the Royal Laurel (Business Class on the 777-300). It allows you to get on the plane, get your carry on stowed and settled in your seat before the mass of passengers in economy start to stream onto the plane. Both of these little perks lead to a low-hassle experience.
The premium economy class on EVA 777-300ER is setup in a 2-4-2 configuration (seat map). On long haul flights like this one from LAX to Taipei, I prefer an aisle seat. Actually, I’d rather not travel if I can’t have the aisle as I like to get up and walk about or use the lavatory without having to wake or climb over someone.
The seats are quite comfortable with plenty of legroom. The seat pitch is 38”, 5” more than in regular economy. They are also an inch and a half wider. This doesn’t sound like much, but it makes a big difference when combined with the wider armrest.
The seats have a decent recline, they are nowhere close to the lie flat seats in Royal Laurel but much better than economy. The headrest is able to be folded to support your head which takes away the need for a travel pillow which I find very uncomfortable anyway.
The seats come with a bottle of water, pillow, blanket, over the ear headphones, a small amenity kit, and slippers. There is not any additional storage other than the seat back pocket. I’ve been fortunate that I have had an empty seat next to me on both legs of the flight so not only does it seem roomier, it gives me a place to keep my stuff on the long flight.
I find that the Elite Class has abundant legroom as I mentioned earlier, which is a real plus. It really helps not only for your comfort, but if you are sleeping and someone needs to climb over you to get to the aisle, there is more of a chance that they can do it without waking you.
One thing I did notice that in some of the seats the in-flight entertainment box is placed under some of the seats restricting where you can place your feet. They have done a much better job of keeping these out of the way on the newer 777-300ER planes, but still something to be aware of.
USB Ports, Outlets, and Wi-Fi
Each seat in premium economy comes with its own power plug and USB port for charging your devices which are critical on a 14-hour flight. I was able to land with a full charge on all my devices.
EVA Air has onboard Wi-Fi available for a charge. While I never found a need to use it in the past, I did on this trip. Before I boarded my plane in LAX, I still had not heard a confirmation from my taxi company that they would be there for pickup in Bangkok and I reached out to a second taxi service. I was still awaiting replies from both when it was time to board.
Eva offers Wi-Fi service from T-Mobile. You can choose from a couple different packages. They offer a 1, 3, and 24-hour package. I opted for the 24-hour package at $21.95 since it was such a long flight.
I was skeptical whether or not the Wi-Fi would work well as we cruised across the Pacific at 37,000 feet. I was pleasantly surprised that it worked well and I didn’t have any issues with connectivity or speed.
A few hours into my journey I received contact from my taxi service and confirmed pickup in Bangkok. The $21.95 was well worth the peace of mind. While I don’t think I would need to purchase Wi-Fi again, it is nice to know it is there if you need to stay in touch or make arrangements while traveling.
It does restrict the type of internet traffic you can access, so no VOIP or Movie streaming (i.e. Skype or Netflix).
Service And Cabin Crew
The service the cabin crew provides on EVA Air is fantastic. They are attentive, accommodating, and always have a smile.
They are an international crew from several different countries which you can tell by the little flag next to the name on their badge. Most speak good English, and I’ve never had a problem communicating with them.
There are two dedicated lavatories in premium economy. I noticed they were always clean on the 14-hour flight, so I can only assume that the cabin crew cleans them periodically throughout the duration of the trip which makes a world of difference. They should get hazard pay for this, as I’ve seen the way some passengers treat the lavatory and it isn’t pretty.
Passengers in Elite Class are provided with a pair of slippers and a small amenity kit for the flight from LAX to Taipei. The slippers are small and flimsy, meant to keep your feet clean when you walk around the cabin and make a trip to the lavatory.
The amenity kit comes with eye cover, socks, ear plugs, a comb, toothbrush and toothpaste, and a few other small items like lip balm and moisturizer. This nice little kit goes a long way to making the long flight more enjoyable.
Food and Drink
The food and drink selection in premium economy is for sure a step above that served in coach. They serve you two full meals and several snacks and drinks throughout the flight from LAX to TPE. I’m sure they have the same service on all their long-haul routes from the U.S. to Taipei, but I can only comment on the legs I have flown.
My flight departed just before midnight and within a couple hours after takeoff, the crew was coming through the cabin serving drinks. You can choose from a variety of non-alcoholic beverages as well as wine, beer, and spirits. All of which is complimentary.
Then a full evening meal is served. They usually have a selection of a Western Meal and Chinese meal for you to choose from. I always go for the Western style as it suits my palate. The food is quite good as far as airline meals go and in good amounts that you are not left feeling hungry. After the meal, they’ll make another pass through for coffee, tea, or to refresh your drinks.
After they turn the lights down so people can get to sleep, the EVA cabin crew will make frequent stops through the cabin offering snacks, and glasses of water or juice. They also come buy with a small sandwich or snack of some sort, but you need to be awake at the time to partake.
If you get hungry or thirsty at any time during the flight you can always ring the bell for the flight attendant and they will take care of you promptly.
In the morning, the lights are raised and a meal is served two hours before landing. This is another full meal with either a Western or Chinese style breakfast.
Overall I thought the food was good for airline grub and in good portion sizes. I wasn’t hungry during the trip. I found the flight attendants coming through the cabin with juice or water at regular was very nice as I tend to get dehydrated while flying.
I really love the in-flight entertainment options on EVA Air. I’ve been flying them for a number of years and was impressed with the systems on the new 777-300ER. The screen is much bigger than the old system and very good quality. It looks like they have embedded an 11” tablet into the seat back in front of you. I rarely use the remote control now as the touch screen works so well on these devices.
The selection of movies is great. You get a combination of recent Hollywood blockbusters, classics, Asian movies, TV shows and more. I always check their website to see which movies will be played on my flight and make sure I don’t rent any of them before my trip as to limit my choices. On this flight, I had more hours of movies I wanted to watch than I had flight time. That is always nice.
I also enjoy checking my flight’s progress and the route across the pacific. The built in flight tracker gives you an exact picture of where you are as well as pertinent details of times and how much time you have left on your flight.
If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comment section below. I’m always happy to help.