Flight Report: Bangkok to London with EVA Air
Bangkok Suvarnabhumi to London Heathrow in EVA Air Business Class (Royal Laurel)
Bangkok Suvarnabhumi is a secondary hub airport for EVA Air with all but one of the carriers services into Europe (Paris CDG) stopping here on flights to / from Taipei Taoyuan. EVA Air has a large presence of its own uniformed staff here in Bangkok and for all customer facing services (e.g. check-in, transfer, arrivals, lounges and boarding) expect to be handled directly by the airline.
EVA Air operates its own lounge in Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport and this was recently renovated to a new design concept available in its other lounges at its home base in Taipei. The décor is very modern with dark carpeting, upholstery and marble combined with trendy light columns, mirrored walls and lots of natural daylight – it is striking and memorable. The lounge was moderately busy but still plenty of seats available – there are various seating options and most have power sockets within easy reach. There are also a couple of electronic massage chairs in a private alcove. The lounge catering is fairly extensive and provides hot and cold Chinese, Thai and western food styles in a dedicated buffet area. There is a full self-serve bar service (wine, beer, spirits) as well as the usual soft drinks and juices – a nice local touch is the fresh coconuts available. Other facilities include showers, a small business centre and a decent range of local and International reading options. The WiFi is password protected and works well.
The boarding service was efficient and uses two airbridges here so premium customers should not find queues a problem.
AIRPLANE & CABIN FLOWN
Business Class on this Boeing 777-300 flight was approximately 90% full.
EVA Air Business Class from Asia to Europe permits 40kg checked luggage (max 32kg per item) and 2 x 7kg carry-on baggage items per customer.
Business Class is split into 2 cabins with flatbed seats laid out in a spacious 1x2x1 inward herringbone configuration. This provides excellent privacy and personal space – particularly for the window seats and I would recommend these if you are travelling alone. Seat storage is generally well provided for and you should find that you can keep most of what you need (laptop, iPad, books etc) for the flight with you without having to keep getting up and down to the overhead lockers. There is an ottoman / footrest under the television screen but unless you are very tall you will find this can only be used when the seat is reclined or in the flatbed mode. The IFE screen size is approx. 15 inches and given the proximity to the customer is more than sufficient for decent viewing. It functions with both touchscreen and hand held controls.
Business Class on EVA Air’s Boeing 777-300
CABIN & TOILETS
The cleanliness and presentation of this Boeing 777-300 was excellent – the design utilises fairly dark hues of green and grey for the seat covers, trims and carpets and this works well with the lighter, main cabin panelling. It is fairly modern and the ambience is relaxing. The Business Class cabin offered 3 toilets, 2 in the middle galley and 1 at the front, all of which are large size. A range of 4 different Harnn amenity products are available the quality of these is good. The washroom maintenance standards were excellent and well presented on each use.
After a late pushback, the flight departed Bangkok about 40 minutes late and arrived 40 minutes late into London Heathrow at 20.00hrs.
FOOD AND DRINK
Boarding drinks offered shortly after being seated. Sparkling wine, water and various juices were available and these are served with a small Godiva chocolate. After take-off, menus are distributed and your meal / beverage order is taken by the cabin staff – whilst the first service is not advertised as dine-on-demand, it did not seem to be a problem to ask for a slight delay to starting the service. For the main meal, to start there is an appetiser, soup and salad course and you may choose to have all 3 of these options if you are particularly hungry. There are 3 entrée options and to conclude there is cheese (4 options), fresh fruit, opera cake and ice cream – again, customers appear to be able to choose as much or as little as you want.
Prior to laying the tablecloth, the staff serve the first beverage from the galley and will also offer a canape selection – on this flight this included smoked duck roll and a shrimp mousse. After the table is laid, the meal service proceeds in a course-by-course format and concludes with a trolley of desserts, cheese and fruit. Food quality standards are generally high and well presented – the stuffed chicken wings (Thai style) entrée was very good and overall, even for a bigger appetite with the amount of food available you should not go hungry. If you are peckish mid-flight, there are 3 hot snack options as well as a galley display of biscuits, cake and potato chips and prior to arrival there is another meal service which includes a salad, entrée (3 choices) and fruit.
Canape service (BKK to LHR)
Stuffed chicken wings, Thai style (BKK to LHR)
EVA Air offers a decent selection of Hollywood, Asian and other movies. There is also a reasonable array of TV series from the US and Europe, as well as music and games. The noise cancelling headsets provided in Business Class work well.
There is also a decent selection of newspapers and magazines which cover most popular genres.
On boarding, a duvet and pillow is available on the seat. The pillow was a large and soft, and the tartan duvet is also most comfortable. For additional sleep comfort, dark blue pyjamas are offered in a range of sizes and the quality of these is good. Hot towels were served fairly regularly throughout the flight around the meal services. The amenity kit case is designed to look like a classic Rimowa suitcase and I have only previously heard of these being offered in First Class by other airlines. The interior product offers all of the essentials with products also provided by Harnn and include lip balm and moisturiser.
The cabin staff offer a good balance between efficiency and general dialogue and communication. English language skills are fairly strong and the staff can handle most requests without any issues. The staff were attentive throughout the flight and outside of the main meal service they offered beverages frequently. Overall, the staff complement the service systems well and this is one of the nicest flights taken between Asia and Europe recently.
Arrival into Terminal 2 at London Heathrow was 40-minutes late. The arrival gate in the satellite building was a 15-minute walk to immigration and I was in arrivals with hand luggage only within 20 minutes.
This was a nice, comfortable flight and the Boeing 777 product stands well against major International airlines. The flatbed seat comfort is good and the pyjamas provided for this 12-hour flight are a nice touch. The quality and quantity of food was excellent and you should not go hungry between the main meal services and the mid-flight food options. EVA Air seem to have made a lot of improvements recently and the product and service standards are very competitive for this region.
Next flight review..