Date: Oct. 3, 2002
Airline: EVA Air
Flight No.: BR31
Aircraft: B747-400 Combi
Class: Evergreen Deluxe
Seat: 22 HK
Origin: EWR – Newark International Airport Terminal Two
Destination: TPE – CKS Taipei International Airport with a stop at SEA – Seattle Tacoma International Airport
Origin Gate: 62
Scheduled Departure: 11:50pm Oct. 3, 2002 local time
Actual Departure 12:35am Oct. 4, 2002
Schedule Arrival at SEA: 2:05am Oct 4, 2002
Actual Arrival at SEA: 2:40am
Total Flight Time: Approximately 5 hours
Scheduled Departure time from SEA: 3:35am
Actual Departure: 4:14am
Schedule Arrival time at TPE: 7:10am Oct. 5 2002
Actual arrival time: 7:55am
Arrival Gate: C1
Total flight time: Approximately 12 hours
This is will my first trip report on a.net and please excuse my grammar mistakes, since English is not my mother language. Thank you.
My mother and I took the free shuttle bus from Flushing, Queens to EWR. The bus left Fa-Da Bakery at exactly 8:30pm as scheduled. We arrived at EWR about an hour later, it was scheduled for 50 minutes but we hit some traffic by Holland Tunnel and we were delayed for 10 minutes. No big deal. The flight would not leave without us anyway because the shuttle bus was provided by the airline. There were a total of 10 passengers on the shuttle bus. People were waiting in line for check-in as we walked into the terminal but most of them were waiting for the Economy class. There were 8 counters available so the line moved very quickly. The check-in counters are separated as follows: One counter for Standby or for Information, two counter for Super First Class, Super Business Class, and Diamond, Gold, and Silver Card Members, two counters for Evergreen Deluxe Class and three counters for Economy Class passengers. I requested an upgrade to the Super Business Class by using the certificates for my mom and myself but was denied due to a fully booked business class today. I told him no problem because I could use these certificates to upgrade on the later flights. We were done with check-in a little after 10pm. My mom, her new found friend, she took the same shuttle bus with us, and I didn’t want to go to the gate yet and we still have almost 2 hours before the scheduled flight. We walked to the only Duty Free Shop on the 2nd floor that was open, the girl at the entrance asked us to show our boarding passes, I knew we couldn’t buy anything because this portion of our flight was considered a “domestic” flight, I told the girl we just wanted to browse the store, she didn’t care and let us in, but 2 seconds later, her manager came out from the back and started to yell at us to get out of the store. I told him very nicely that we know we can not buy anything and we only wanted to browse the store before our flight, he said very rudely “no, get out”. I was not very happy with his unprofessional manner. My mom told me to cool it since we don’t want to get these airport personnel mad in fears of post 9/11 scares. I was going to get his name and report to the airport manager but decided not to in order to avoid any trouble.
We decided to go through the security and wait at the gate. There were about 8 TSA agents doing the security check with two metal detectors. There were no waiting and we were able to clear the security fast and smooth. There was an SAS flight to Copenhagen in Gate 63 so there were a mixed of Asian and European travelers at the gate area. Another Duty Free shop was available for us to browse without any incident.
The inbound flight from SEA was late. It arrived at the gate at 11:20pm instead of the scheduled time at 10:50pm. Boarding was announced at 12:00am and as usual, passengers with special assistants, First class, Business class, and Diamond, Gold, and Silver card members were asked to board first then Evergreen Deluxe passengers and lastly, the Economy class. There were 5 TSA agents at the gate randomly picking passengers for inspection. Newspapers, both English and Chinese, were available on a table outside the door at the end of the air bridge. We were met by two smiling F/As greeting us as we entered the plane through door 2. We showed our boarding passes and were directed to go left for our seats. On the way to our seats, we met another F/A and she asked us if we know where our seats are. I told her yes but she still accompanied us to our seats. She asked my mom if she needed any help storing our carry-on luggage on the overhead compartment, I declined again and thanked her. She left us and went helping other passengers as we settled down to our seats. On each of our seats, we find a small pillow, a blanket, a headset wrapped in plastic bag and slippers. Boarding for this flight was quick and smooth, the door was closed at 12:20am and pushback was at 12:35am. I looked around and only 80% of the seats are occupied in the Evergreen Deluxe Class. Warm towels were distributed to the passengers as captains briefed us what our flight would be. EVA Air employed foreign nationals pilots but has a Chinese-speaking pilot flying as well. The briefing was first done in English by the captain then Taiwanese and Mandarin by the co-pilot. If the co-pilot does not speak Taiwanese, the Chief Purser will translate it to Taiwanese.
Used towels were collected by the F/A as we began to taxi to the runway. We waited for 2 arriving flights and at 12:47am, we were at the end of the runway ready for take off. After 36 seconds of rolling, we took off. At 12:54am, the captain gave the signal to the F/As for cabin check, and all F/As got out of their seats and went to the galley to get our drinks ready. 10 minutes later, drinks were offered to the passengers, since our seats were in the nose section of the plane, we were serviced first, we pre-selected our seats and being served first was one of the reasons we have chosen these seats. My preferred seats are 25 AC HK because no other seats are in the back of row 25, last row before the doors. As the F/As came to collect our emptied drinks, we were reminded that the menu for our supper is located in the seat pack in front of us. At 1:25am, supper was served. The selections were:
Stir Fried Beef with XO Sauce or Hoki Fish with Lime and Ginger
Ice Cream Bar
I had the beef.
You can see the pictures for some of the meals on this trip at www.airlinemeals.net under EVA Air.
Evergreen Deluxe class offers PTV for each seat; the movie programs were turned on around 2am as we were finishing our supper. The program inside the in-flight magazine, Verve, was confusing and till this date, I still don’t know how to figure out what program is what. I preferred the old program list where you know what film you would be watching before it starts. This time I had to see the films on my screen first and then go to the program list to figure what other films are being played. Movies for this segments were: Men in Black II, About a boy, The prince and the Pauper, A Pinwheel without Wind (Chinese), A Variety Show (Chinese), Travel show and Cartoon, and my favorite, The Airshow on channel 9. The music channels were available from the beginning. We had 8 channels to choose from, a mix of Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese, American pop, classical, European Pop and others. I watched About a boy and my mom was sleeping. About 2 hours before landing, most of the movies were finished and the F/As came around for the 1st time to serve water and juice. I remembered they used to come every hour on the hour. I guess there are cutbacks of budget and services. Don’t get me wrong, water and juice are always available in the galley for self-service. At 2:30am Seattle time, 5:30am NY time, the captain announced that we would begin descend soon. 10 minutes later I could hear the landing gear being extended. We landed at SEA at 2:40am local time. I could see construction crews on the other runway as we landed. The thought of SQ crash in TPE came to my mind. 7 minutes and 30 seconds after we landed, the plane parked at gate S12. Only one door, Door #2, was open for deplane. We waited for the Super First Class and Super Business Class passengers from upstairs to get off first then we got off the plane and lastly, the Economy Class passengers.
As we deplane, we were given a transit card to use for reboarding later. My mom and I went to the Duty Free store, the only store that was open at that time in the terminal. My mom got some makeup and we were checking the cigarettes prices, wow, what a difference between what they sell on the plane and in Duty Free shops. We were able to pick up the merchandise right at the counter, no more gate-side pick up. We wondered around the empty terminal to pass time. We didn’t want to sit down because we have another 12 hours of flight time later.
At 3:40am local time, about 60 minutes after we landed at SEA, the plane is ready for boarding again. The boarding was smooth and quick again and TSA agents were by the gate randomly picking passengers from the group again. We had a different crew for this segment and was met by two smiling F/A as we entered the plane. We again were met by another F/A as we were trying to get back to our seats. She asked us if we remembered where our seats were and we told her yes. An overnight kit consisted of, a travel size toothbrush, toothpaste, hand lotion, eye-shed and a hair brush, was placed on our seats along with our previous pillow, blanket and a brand new headset. Brand new slippers and menu were placed in the seat packet in front of us. The door closed at 4:00am local time and push back was at 4:14am. Since it was very early in the day, we were the only one for take off. After 43.55 seconds of rolling, we took off from SEA International Airport Hot towels and drinks were served immediately after we reached the initial cruising altitude. Every seats in the Evergreen Deluxe class was occupied, I guess we picked up more passengers from SEA. The sheds were lowered as requested by the F/A. About 1 hour into the flight, at 5:00am SEA time, refreshments were served. The choices were:
Porkloin with Sweet Soya Bean Sauce or Chicken with Tomato Herb
I had the Porkloin. PTV movies were available again at 5:30am SEA time; I am listing all the available shows now in addition to what I had before because the programs begin every 2.5 hours. Minority Report, Bad Company, Unfaithful, Copycat Killers (Japanese), Made for TV movie: Kill me later, NBA International Special, Life is Stranger than Fiction, Documentary: Vision of a City, Traveler’ Tales, and MTV.
My tray was cleared 25 minuets later and after they clear all the trays from the cabin and just before the lights were turned off; duty free cart was being wheel around the cabin. We did not buy anything at this segment. I fell asleep watching the airshow. Water and juices were offered every hour on the hour on this segment by F/As walking around the cabin. We crossed International Dateline about 5 hours into the flight and we still had 7 more hours to go! We were traveling 539mph and at 39,000 ft. I was in and out of my sleep most of the time and around 6 hour into the flight, instant noodles were served. I don’t remember how I got up, I guess the smell of the instant noodle woke me up. The smell filled the whole cabin and most people got up and have their table/trays set up waiting for the noodles. I was hungry too. I watch a movie and fell asleep again since you really couldn’t do anything except sleep. I got up for bathroom couple of times during the flight. Since the seat configuration for Evergreen Deluxe Class in the 747-combi is 2-4-2, I don’t have to worry about waking up some stranger in order for me to go to the bathroom, I only had to wake up my mom or vise versa. We switch seats every few hours. I was able to chat with some of the American passengers while waiting in line for the bathroom. There was a group of doctors and nurses going to Chaing Mei, Thailand on a medical mission. Some of the nurses have never been to Asia before so they were pretty excited and were trying to converse with the F/As, but the F/A could not understand them well so they turned to me and start conversing with me. This was how I found out they were all doctors and nurses. I told my mom about them after I got back to my seat and I felt very safe for the first time because I knew if I ever get sick on the flight that I am in good hands.
I watched one more movie, a Chinese movie if I remember correctly, and also the airshow was on my mom’s screen so I would never missed where we are exactly at that moment. She was sleeping again. Fell asleep again and was awaken by the smell of food being prepared in the galley. It was about 2.5 hour before we land and most of the passengers, including my mom and I were fully awake. Sheds were slowing opened by the passengers. I was getting hungry as the smell of our breakfast filled the cabin. It was funny to see other people had their table/trays out ready for the meal like the instant noodle snack. I had my table/tray out too and I felt like a kid waiting to be served. The captain came up to the mic to wish us a good morning and gave us an initial detail of TPE’s weather, time and an estimate time of arrival. Finally, about 2 hours before we land, at 5:45am TPE time, breakfast was served. At this time we were just above Japan. I was able to see land below us. I missed Mount Fuji though. The breakfast selections were:
Chinese Style: Asparagus with Dry Shrimp, Dried Pork Julienne, Minced Pork Congee and Fresh Fruit
Western Style: Fresh Fruit, Boiled Ham and Cheese, Strawberry Yogurt and Vegetable Omelets with Pork Sausage.
I had the Western Style.
All of the sheds were opened as requested by the F/A as they handed out the breakfasts. The first PTV movie program was available again. I watch a movie and some variety show in Chinese as I ate my breakfast. Trays were cleared about 30 minutes before we land. Our Purser announced that the PTV program will be end soon and headsets would be collected after the program ends. Mint strips, like the Listerine strips available in the States were given out after headsets were collected.
At 7:30am TPE time, captain was on the mic again and thanking us for flying EVA Air, he also let us know that we would begin our descend into TPE in 10 minutes. I could hear the wheels down again at 7:53am and we landed in CKS Taipei International Airport at 7:55am about 40 minutes late. The plane parked at Gate C1 in Terminal II, the farthest gate to the immigration area, we took our long walk to the immigration counter and waited 30 minutes for our luggage even though we were the only arrival flight at that time. No problems at the custom inspection station and we saw our friend waving at us as the doors to the arrival hall opened.
All in all, flights were good on this leg of my trip, but EVA Air’ Evergreen Deluxe Class services have been going down every year for 5 years. I have to say the F/A’s attitude has changed the most, for incident, they did not say “you are welcome” when I say “Thank you” or no more bowing at the end of each flight. For those people have never flown EVA before, the F/As bowed to the passengers for thanking them flying EVA Air and the passengers would then clap their hands to show the appreciation and the a job well done for the F/As. It was funny to see that at first but their service was really good in the beginning, I guess they knew they couldn’t deliver the same services as 10 years ago so they let that little extra bow go. I found out later from one of my friends who know someone works for EVA Air. The reason why the services have been bad is due to cutbacks of F/As for each flight. When I come to think of it, I realized that it is true. They used to have 13 F/A for the 747-400 combi’s international flight and now they only have 10. 10 people are trying please 272 passengers for 12 hours is hard to do. I guess my expectation was a little too high.
I hope this is not too long and boring. I will complete my other portions of the trip report soon.