We’re not often impressed by airline customer service in economy class. But paying the equivalent of only $900 USD for return EVA Air flights from North America on a couple of trips to Asia turned out to be a bargain – and a pleasant flying experience to boot.
Writing this EVA Air review therefore wasn’t as difficult as we thought it might be.
EVA Air review: flights
In North America, EVA Air flies from Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto and Vancouver – offering non-stop service to Taipei, Taiwan. There are some 84 flights a week.
From Taipei, you can then connect to scads of cities in Asia.
These are the weekly flights from North America as of March 9, 2020:
Since we live in Victoria, Canada, we’ll focus on the departure cities closest to us – Seattle and Vancouver.
EVA Air Seattle to Taipei:
EVA Air currently has 5 flights a week from Seattle, using the Boeing 777-300ER.
In May, 2020, EVA Airways will add two more flights a week, bumping up the number of weekly flights to 12. The two additional flights will be aboard the new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.
EVA Air Vancouver to Taipei:
Up until recently, the EVA Air planes used for the Vancouver to Taipei flights have been Boeing 777-300ERs.
But on February 18, 2020, EVA Air started offering a special preview service of its new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the Vancouver to Taipei route. The Dreamliner operates this route until May 19, 2020.
Will the Dreamliner replace the 777-300ER after the “trial” period? That’s currently not known…
EVA Air Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner:
The airline has configured its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners to carry 304 passengers, with 26 in Royal Laurel (Business) Class and 278 in Economy Class.
What’s especially nice about these EVA Air planes is that the Economy seats are ergonomically designed and feature upgraded 12-inch HD touchscreen TV screens.
The Dreamliners also boast quieter cabins and cleaner air (with a higher concentration of oxygen, which helps you feel less tired).
EVA Air review: Check-in
It started with the ginger tea…
Both times, while waiting at the gate in Vancouver, EVA Air had a table (decorated with a large vase of fresh lilies) with complimentary help-yourself hot ginger tea and coffee. That’s the first time we’ve ever seen this service offered.
Other airlines, take note!
Hey, we got slippers!
But as we settled into our seats, we discovered green disposable slippers (really nice touch for Economy Class!), down cushions with washable cotton (not synthetic disposable) covers, and thick blankets that don’t create annoying static.
The sleep masks you get in Economy aren’t very good though, so you should bring your own. (We like the Eagle Creek Sandman brand – soft, really good coverage and they black out all light.)
How to have a better flight? Check out the carry-on essentials you need to take onboard!
EVA Air Economy seats
EVA Air legroom:
Boeing 777-300ER legroom
The seat pitch on the Boeing 777-300ERs is between 32 and 33 inches. (Seat pitch is the term used to measure the distance from the back of your seat to the back of the seat in font, i.e., a technical airline term for how much legroom you get.) Basically, this means you get 32 to 33 inches of legroom.
We liked that the seat configuration was 3-3-3 on our flights.
Some of EVA Air’s 777 planes have extra Economy seats, however, and they’re configured 3-4-3, with four (not three) seats in the middle row. (See here for details of the different EVA Air plane configurations.) That means a tighter fit. Too bad…
We hear that at least one North American carrier has reconfigured their 777s on their Asia routes to squeeze in over 100 additional seats in Economy, so Economy passengers are stuffed in like sardines.
And on Rouge (Air Canada’s leisure brand), the seat pitch is only 30 inches for European flights that we checked. No thank you…
Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner legroom
Interestingly, the Economy Class seats on the new Dreamliners have less legroom than on the Boeing 777s. Their seat pitch is 31 to 32 inches.
And it’s surprising how much difference an extra inch can make!
But there are only nine seats in a row (not ten), configured 3-3-3.
Best economy seats on EVA Air:
When selecting your seats, check SeatGuru.
The loos are also set far apart from the food preparation galley areas. And they’re kitted out with hand lotion as well as foaming soap.
The larger loos in the economy cabin got us smiling with cute vases of flowers and baby change areas too.
As well, we noticed that the flight attendants freshened the toilets constantly and kept them spotlessly clean (in contrast to flight attendants on U.S. and Canadian carriers, who won’t deal with any lavatory freshening).
EVA Air food
The EVA Air meals in Economy Class on our flights were nutritionally balanced and fairly healthy (as airplane meals go).
For dinner – a choice of fish and noodles or teriyaki chicken and rice, with an accompanying salad, hot bun and plate of fresh fruit slices (plus the requisite dessert cake).
For breakfast – perhaps a cheese omelette with sausage and potatoes or pork congee, plus no-fat yogurt, a bowl of cubed melons and hot croissant.
EVA Air inflight entertainment
Economy seats on EVA Air’s Boeing 777-300ERs have touch-screen TV displays 11.1 inches in size.
The movie selection is good and includes all the latest Hollywood blockbusters.
EVA Air Premium Economy
Want to treat yourself a bit?
If you can’t spring for lie-flat beds in Business Class (called Royal Laurel Class on EVA Air), you might want to try its Premium Economy Class. We hear this class of service is pretty good – if you’re not in the middle row.
These EVA Air Premium Economy seats are available on flights using the Boeing 777-300ERs (but not on the Dreamliners). The configuration is 2-4-2. Ergonomic seats are 19.3 inches wide and have a 38-inch seat pitch and extra-wide armrests.
Along with an upgraded food service, other onboard Premium Economy perks include noise-canceling head phones, Erno Laszlo or THANN amenity kits, large down pillows and soft quilts.
If you can swing it, check out Premium Economy on EVA Air.
Price? Can you use points?
EVA Air is a Taiwanese international airline.
For our flight to Bali (with a connection in Taipei), we had a choice of China Airlines (less expensive), Cathay Pacific (more expensive) and EVA Air.
On EVA Air, we could have flown for about $100 USD less than what we actually paid. But we chose to pay more to earn more Aeroplan points on Air Canada, which is a Star Alliance partner of EVA Air’s (hoping to earn enough Aeroplan points to earn back our Silver Prestige status on Air Canada – any perk is a blessing when flying these days.)
So, yes, you can use Star Alliance partner points to book EVA Air flights.
EVA Air rating and safety record
Other travelers like EVA Air too.
The World Airline Awards have rated it one of the 10 best airlines in the world.
EVA Air is also one of top 20 safest airlines to fly in the world, according to AirlineRatings.com.
China Airlines vs EVA Air?
Both airlines are based out of Taipei in Taiwan.
But China Airlines has a 4-star airline rating, according to Skytrax, whereas EVA Air has a 5-star airline rating for its onboard product and service (e.g., cabin and seat cleanliness, entertainment and attention to cabin safety).
We had a choice, and we picked EVA Airlines.
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We paid full fares for our economy tickets both times we flew round-trip with EVA Air and didn’t receive any special discounts. Nor has the airline paid us to write this EVA Airlines review or influenced us in any way here. This post consists simply of our own independent, unbiased thoughts and views. Images are courtesy EVA Air.