Passenger air travel finds itself approaching an interesting juncture in its history. Millennials, keen to cut costs and carbon, are opting to fly hand-luggage-only with no food service. Meanwhile, the levels of luxury and amenity in first have evolved beyond recognition, from lie-flat beds to personal sleep pods, private cinemas and shower spas.
And yet, between the haves and have nots (or rather wouldn’ts in the case of some millennials), the traditional lines that once determined cattle class and first are beginning to blur. Does my metal silverware put me in the upper echelons of upper class? Are extra seat pitch and lumbar support the stuff of basic business travel, or just standard economy rebranded?
On a spectrum defined by prestige pricing at one end and budget fares at the other, which cabin class – and indeed which airline – is best for me when booking my next flight? Sit back and relax; your Kenwood captains are here to help navigate the turbulent world of cabin upgrades, cattle class hacks and how to fly in style for less. And in an aeronautic marketplace roaring with jumbo names like Emirates, BA & Virgin, the airline we’ve chosen to illustrate our point may come as a surprise to some…
In 2017, I flew economy with EVA Air to Bangkok, Thailand. A journal entry from the time reads:
“At a cruising altitude of 31,000 feet with a groundspeed exceeding 1,000km/hr, the drama of the Himalayan scenery outside contrasted neatly with the calm Economy Class cabin of our EVA Air Dreamliner 777. Soft colour tones and contemporary furnishings created a relaxing vibe on board, while ergonomic seats featuring shape-memory cushions and bottom-cushion seat-recline added extra comfort to the spacious legroom.
We all agreed the high-resolution touch-screens of the Star Gallery entertainment system were the largest in-flight screens we could recall, as we selected from the wide-ranging on-demand film, music and gaming options. We enjoyed other features you’d expect to find in higher cabin classes too; not least the printed menus and metal cutlery that brought a touch of restaurant-style class to the meal service.”
Since then, this on-the-rise carrier has been one of our favourite airlines at Kenwood Travel. And after having experienced the pleasures of economy class first hand, we decided to take a closer look at the premium cabins to see why EVA Air is on the radar of flight aficionados from New York to Phnom Penh. And why it should be top of your plane plans too.
Elite and Evergreen Deluxe Class
EVA Air’s premium economy class takes the business class model and adds extra space, tasty flavours and branded toiletries for an all-round good time. The result is a space that satisfies business and leisure travellers in equal measure.
Take a look at some of the on-board features: simple yet stylish contemporary cabin design; high efficiency seat (38in by 19in ) for total relaxation; luxury overnight kit with ESCENTS brand aromatherapy products; plush pillow and blanket set; USB plugs & 110V AC outlets for connectivity; seasonal full food menu served with select wine or premium beer; state-of-the-art Star Gallery inflight entertainment system featuring 11in LCD touch screen with matching noise-cancelling headphones. And of course, in line with the airline’s growing reputation for customer care, the overall experience is brought together by the unwavering service of EVA Air’s highly trained, dedicated cabin crew.
“It’s probably my favourite airline. Economy class already feels like business, so the premium cabins are unbelievable; they make you feel like royalty. Which is fitting since the airline is owned by the Taiwanese royal family. Some travellers are still sceptical about EVA Air as it isn’t that well known yet. But the clients I do book with EVA Air absolutely love the experience. Good value too.”
– Scott, Kenwood Travel Asia holiday specialist
Royal Laurel Class
Fasten your seat belts. The in-flight features of the EVA Air business class cabin are so good they’ll make your head spin. Your seat becomes a comfortable sleeping space for a disturbance-free rest that will leave you refreshed on arrival.
But before getting your head down, don’t miss the terrific in-flight inclusions: award-winning wine and champagne choice (Gold Medal Cellars in the Sky Awards); five-star dining including hors d’oeuvre, chef’s special, sweets & bread, fresh coffee, Din Tai Fung and Haagen Daas ice cream; seats configured in reverse herringbone to maximise space; fully flat two-metre bed at the touch of a button (thoughtful touches like a cocktail table, coat hangers and a shoe cabinet add extra luxury to your personal space); exclusive amenity kit from a professional care brand; warm & cosy two-piece pyjamas (previously only available in first class), and Fiji brand water on request.
Before taking off with EVA Air, Royal Laurel Class guests may enjoy airport privileges such as exclusive check-in counter service with the brilliant EVA Air ground-staff team, and upgraded luggage handling complete with special tag for speedy baggage loading and unloading. Handy!