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EVA Air Super First HKG-TPE-LAX (Long)

Sun Jan 25, 2004 2:55 am

Dear all,

Here is my first major long haul flight report! I have the chance to experience the soon-to-be-extinct Super First Class service offered by EVA Airways. The meals are definitely beyond expectation and its Chinese food is among some of the best you can find in the sky. I think Asian passengers will like BR’s catering in general. However, the seats are fairly ancient and the entertainment system sucks. Anyhow, EVA offers a decent first class product, especially for the price it charges. It is not CX or SQ, but I think it beats any US airlines offering. Unfortunately, BR and CI are heading towards the elimination of first class. CI’s First class has suffered much lately and its F menus are almost exactly the same as business class with one additional choice of main course – no caviar… So I am glad that BR remains truth in serving a real first class product for now.

January 23, 2004
BR 868 HKG-TPE Lv1405 Arr1550
Boeing 747-400 Combi B-16406 with Classic Livery
The day began with an early check in at the Airport Express Station. Dragonair handles the check in for BR, and after a few minutes, my bags were checked through to LA and got all my boarding passes and lounge invitations. Yes I can confirm that EVA is now sharing the Virgin Atlantic’s Clubhouse. ANA uses the Plaza Premium lounge (also Swiss, Ethiopia, Kenya…). Well the VS Clubhouse was simple with a sofa area, a few computers, and a small buffet area, a bar, and a restaurant. You can order congee, dim sum platter, sandwich, and various items from the waitress. Everyone is copying CX’s serving style. The lounge was quiet, as all the BR flights left earlier. In terms of plane-spotting, it is an interesting day – SAA’s Airbus 340-600 (ZS-SND), CX’s 346 (HQC), SQ 773 (9V-SYD), LH 744 (D-ABVB), AC’s A343 in Star Alliance livery (C-FYLD) to YVR, and C-FGHZ to YYZ, MH 744 (9M-MPO), CI’s A340-300 (B-18802), MAI Myannar’s 734 or 735 (TC-APG), President Airlines’ Boeing 737-200 (YU-ANP), Air Japan/All Nippon (JA8356), and the ex-Spirit of Children CX 744 (B-HOX) at gate 64.

The load of our flight was extremely low, but the cargo capacity seems to be the reason for operating this flight. Boarding began at 1:31pm, and there was a passport check for passengers continuing to the USA. For the Combi, Super first and business class is located in the upper deck, and I was the only passenger in first class, and there were two passengers in business class. The usual action took place with newspapers, a pre-takeoff beverage, hot towels, headsets (noise-canceling) and printed menu. I settled on a glass of water and read some magazines while waiting for pushback. Door was closed at 2pm. We headed to Runway 7R for the usual takeoff. After a CX’s Boeing 777-300 (B-HNL) and a CI’s Airbus A300-600R (B-18881) took off, we took our turn and left a very misty Hong Kong at 2:17pm.

Due to choppy air, pilots did not turn off the seat belt sign. After reaching 34,000ft, the F/As swung into action right the way. Personal TV with very limited short subject programming began, followed by the light meal, which was served in one tray. A bit disappointed for first class! Of course, flying time was only an hour and nine minutes, but I would assume that two-course meal would be served with appetizer first, and then main course. I guess this is a light meal service, so everything is served at once. The tray came with my requested orange juice, and everything in the menu, as followed. The fruit selection includes watermelon, melon, cantaloupe and strawberry. Bread basket comes with sesame rolls, rye rolls, and garlic bread. F and J share the same basket. In terms of the mains, I originally wanted to choose the pasta option, but after I found out that it was a cold entrée, I had the sparerib entrée, which was fine for an afternoon snack. The dessert was nice as well – and the meal trays all used metal cutlery and the new BR’s flower-patterned china. Even the glass had a flower design on the other side of it… not just the usual EVA AIR label. Nice! I had a cup of Chinese tea after the meal tray was collected. The head purser came to pay me a visit and had a small chat. Soon descent began at 3:26pm, and we landed on the rainy R/W06 at 3:26pm local time. We parked at gate C4 a few minutes later. I spotted an Asiana’s A321 (HL7713) landed after us.

Hong Kong to Taipei
Light Meal
Hors D’oeuvres
Fresh Fruit

Main Courses
Stuffed Spareribs with Spring Onion Stem Brown Sauce
With Kailan heart and Steamed rice with green peas and carrots
Chicken Soup with Dried Mandarin peel and Red Dates
Penne Pasta with Prawn and Scallop

Tiramisu cake
UCC Freshly Brewed Coffee and Selection of Teas

Wine list
Duval-Leroy Femme de Champagne 1993

Burgundy White Wine
Domaine Laroche Chablis Grand Cru “Les Blanchots” 1999

German White Wine
Franz Kunstler Hochheimer Kirchenstuck Riesling Spatlese 2002

California White Wine
St.Supery Meritage White Napa valley 2001

Bordeaux Red Wine
Chateau Rauzan-Segla 1997 Margaux Second Growth, Grand Cru Classe

California Red Wine
Geyser Peak Reserve Alexandre Meritage 1998

Australia Red Wine
Stonehaven Limestone coast Shiraz 2000 South Australia

BR 12 TPE-LAX Lv1840 Arr1400
Boeing 747-400 B-16412
I had quite a bit of layover, and headed to the Evergreen lounge. The first class section has reopened, but I like the Premium Laurel lounge better. However, due to my earlier arrival times, the PL lounge was no opened yet. I was too lazy to venture out to the PL lounge later. The buffet was the same as before, but the selection was not too my taste today. I had some sandwiches, a bowl of seafood chowder, and some cookies, followed with some juice and soft drinks. I settled in one of the four internet-connected computers, and then read a bit. I shopped a bit at the duty free… nothing too interesting! I headed out to the gate about fifty minutes prior to arrival. It was quite chaotic, as there was an additional passport check. Fortunately (or Unfortunately), there was no additional carryon manual check like when I flew from TPE to LAX about a year ago. The lounge was packed with passengers, as this flight was leaving with a full load in the back. First class had four passengers. Terminal two was mainly filled with EVA Air’s planes – B-16463 heading to SFO, and B-16402 heading to SEA and EWR – all with the new livery. TPE was raining pretty hard as of this point, but we pushed back on time, despite late boarding at 6:17pm. I liked this updated first class arrangement better, with the first class cabin returning to the nose section. The seats were like the old super first class, but with a so-called cabin divider by the side of the aisle seats – not too useful and private. There were two F/As serving the four of us, so service was efficient. A pair of cotton slippers was already placed at each seat, and then there were the newspapers spread at the buffet area. I grabbed some newspapers (no LA Times), and the F/A came with a choice of orange juice or water as pre-takeoff beverage. Then a leather amenity kit, and a leather case with the noise-canceling headsets were passed out as well, followed by the printed menus. The pilots then announced the new security policy – no congregation at the galley area. Door was closed soon and we pushed back five minutes behind schedule. After waiting for a BR’s Boeing 767 parked at one of the C gates, we headed towards Runway 06. We took off at 6:57pm.

Flying time was ten hours and thirty-two minutes. The routing was rather simple, after passing Okinawa, we headed West directly heading to LA. A very southern course – we did not see any land till we made our turn towards LAX after reaching the coast of Santa Barbara and the city of Camarillo. We climbed all the way to 39,000ft. It was quite choppy after takeoff, and got really choppy at the final four hours of the flight. The seat belt sign was on for half of the flight.

Food is definitely the strength of EVA Super first class. The menu is exclusive with four different dinner menus to pick from – two Western menu set, a Chinese set, and a Japanese set. 2 of us picked the Western menus, and the rest had the Chinese menu. The meals were served in courses – very impressive. No tray was used with individual setup. At 7:29pm, our choice of beverage was served with a plate of dried fruits – interesting, but I like the old canapé or nuts better. Anyway, the Dom Perignon was good, but the F/As are not too attentive with refilling champagne or water glasses. I had the chef’s exploration, but had the lobster entrée from the Winter celebration menu, rather than the salmon entrée.

The appetizer was a mixed of both “Winter” celebration and Chef’s exploration. A whole tin of Imperial’s Beluga caviar was served four kinds of breads/crackers, and there was a second plate of condiments and a piece of the Duck Liver terrine. The bread basket had some nice warmed twist rolls, wheat rolls, and garlic bread. Then the Artichoke soup came with chopped sweet peppers inside of a rich creamy soup. Then the salad, which was a mesclun green salad, came with a choice of sesame, lemon juice, or mustard dressing. The sorbet was never served, and then I had the really nice lobster entrée. The sauce was too strong for me, but there are abundant of lobster chunks. Then the F./As pushed out the cheese and fruit cart, with a choice of Gorgonzola, Camembert, and Gouda cheese. There are carrot & celery sticks, crackers, almonds, macadamia nuts, and walnuts on the side. The fruit basket had oranges, bananas, peaches, grapes, and star fruit (I like sliced fruits better). I had some grapes. And then I had the nice dessert with a poached pear and a pastry with pistachio nut mousse on the side. The mango sauce was nice. Then I had a cup of English tea and a box of Godiva thin chocolates accompany your tea/coffee order – Milk, 50% and 72% Dark Cocoa were available.

Taipei to Los Angeles
Same Wine List except Champagne
Cuvee Dom Perignon 1995

Winter Celebrations
Tid Bites to Accompany Your Aperitif
Dry Apricot, Dry Pear, Raisins, Dates
Caspian Iranian Beluga Caviar
Artichoke Cream Soup
Seasonal Salad with your choice of dressing
Honey Melon Mint Sorbet
Sauteed Lobster in Sauterness Wine sauce and Pommery Mustard
Served with Roasted Colorful Vegetable, Tomato, and Saffron Tagliarini
Cheese and Seasonal Fresh Fruit
Whole Roasted Anjou Pear with Cinnamon and Pistachio Layer
UCC Freshly Brewed Coffee
Served with Godiva

Chef’s Explorations
Tid Bites to Accompany Your Aperitif
Dry Apricot, Dry Pear, Raisins, Dates
Duett of Rabbit Saveurs Terrine with Olives and Whole Duck Liver Terrine with Champagne
Artichoke Cream Soup
Seasonal Salad with your choice of dressing
Honey Melon Mint Sorbet
Paper Bagged Roasted Truffle Salmon Served with Red Skin Potatoes
Cheese and Seasonal Fresh Fruit
Whole Roasted Anjou Pear with Cinnamon and Pistachio Layer
UCC Freshly Brewed Coffee
Served with Godiva

Chinese Cuisine
Tid Bites to Accompany Your Aperitif
Dry Apricot, Dry Pear, Raisins, Dates
Trio Gourmet Delight on Cucumber Boat
Double Boiled Silk Chicken Soup with Date and Ginseng
Marinated Wild Yam with Perilla and Lemon Juice
Steamed Cod Fillet with Chamomile and Ruby Sauce
Served with Mixed Seasonal Vegetable and Chicken Rice
Seasonal Fresh Fruit
Red Mung Bean and Coconut Milk
Selection of Chinese Tea

Japanese Style
Monkfish Liver with Mixed Vegetables

Hors D’Oeuvres
Japanese Egg Roll
Skewered Sweet Black Bean
Herring Roe

Clear Soup
Glutinous Rice Roll Stuffed with Duck

Smoked Tuna, Ark Shell and Smoked Salmon

Stewed Yellowtail Fish with Turnip

Main Course
Rolled Beef with Green Onion, Asparagus and Turnip
Steamed Rice with Perilla Powder

Miso Shiru
Japanese Sweet and Fresh Fruit
Green tea

After the dinner service, lights were dimmed, and most of the passengers watched videos. The entertainment system was not too interesting with six channels of movies and short subjects – no games or AVOD system. I read some more and then took a nap. Water bottles (Evergreen brand) were passed out during mid-flight. There was no snack menus on the shorter eastbound flight, but I am sure that there are cookies and cup noodles if request. However, I think BR should set up a snack counter in the little buffet area located in front of the first class galley. The F/As did not do much beverage run, and indeed the F cabin was left empty during the last half of the flight (I guess all of us were sleeping).

Anyway, about two hours prior to arrival, lights were turned on and the F/As passed out hot towels. Of course, there were some moderate chops hitting us at that moment. I had to hold on to my glass of Soya milk (indeed it spilled a bit) – turbulence was bad for about ten minutes – thankfully they did not serve the soup at that point. The F/As took our breakfast orders – I had the Din Tai Fung menu. First, fruit was served – very beautiful presentation, and the fruits were fresh and sweet. It had some apple slices, melon, watermelon balls, papaya, and grapefruit chunks, and then bread basket was passed out with our choice of croissants, Danishes, and wholemeal rolls. I had some Danish. Then the soup and Pork Bun were served. The chicken soup was nice and filled with chicken meat. The Pork Bun was a bit too dry, but you can’t complain much due to the aircraft conditions – things got dried out quickly. Then the Juicy Pork Dumpling was served in a nice bamboo steaming container (very Chinese). The dumplings tasted better on the ground (I highly recommend the Di Tai Fung restaurant, if you ever visit Taipei), but not bad at 39,000ft – but I can have more than three dumplings (six will be better, if you ask me). Then a dessert – the black sesame flaky pastry was served with my request of a cup of Oolong tea. The breakfast service was not rushed like other airlines – served course by course and the other Chinese passengers had the porridge, with the Indian lady having the Western breakfast. I was impressed with this breakfast service. Here is the full transcript!

Western Style
Cold Drink
Strawberry Energizer, Champagne, Juice, Soya Milk
Hot Beverages
Jasmine, Oolong, Tan-Kuan-Yin, English Breakfast, Darjeeling, Earl Grey, Japanese Green Tea, Camomile Tea, Mixed Berries tea, Soya Milk, UCC Coffee, Decaffeinated Coffee, Cappucino, Café Latte
Fresh Fruit Plate
Choice of Bread
Selection of Bread served with Butter
Main Course
Cheese Egg Souffle
Sauteed Mushroom and Apple Stew
Cherry Tomato
Garden Salad

Chinese Style One
Selection of Chinese tea
Fresh Fruit Plate
Energizing Soup
Double Boiled Beef Broth with Red and Black Date
Main Course
Savory Porridge with Conpoy and Gingko Nuts
Kai Lan Flower with Sesame Sauce
Pork Hoss
Salty Chicken
Pickled Root
Meat Balls Flavored with Bonitos
Crystal Shrimp Dumpling with Sea Urchin
Pan Fried Savory Dumpling with Chive Filling

Chinese Style Two
Din Tai Fung
Selection of Chinese Tea
Fresh Fruit Plate
Relish chicken Soup
Pork Bun
Juicy Pork Dumpling
Crust Pastry with Sesame Seeds

It was a beautiful morning and soon the bright California coast was in sight – beautiful afternoon at LA. Descent began at 4:55am TPE time, and soon we landed on Runway 25L at 1:29pm LA local time. Of course, there were a few planes pushing back at the Tom Bradley terminal (a SQ’s Boeing 747-400 9V-SMY and a QF’s Boeing 747-400ER (VH-OEH). We headed towards gate 105 a few minutes later, passing by a Korean’s Boeing 747-400 (HL7412), a China Airlines’ Boeing 747-400 (B-18206), and parking next to Varig’s MD-11 (PP-VQG). We finally got to deplane at 1:42pm – not bad for a towing gate and Tom Bradley. As I deplaned, I saw a bunch of Varig’s passengers reboarding their continued flights to Sao Paulo – quite a number of Japanese passengers. The US Citizen line was deserted and I was checked in a few minutes. I guess we missed all the earlier arrivals, except the Asiana flight, but it was not chaotic as planned. No agricultural check for me today and I was out at the curbside in twenty minutes – not bad for Tom Bradley.

I hope you like the report!

Posts: 83
Joined: Sun Oct 20, 2002 10:59 am

RE: EVA Air Super First HKG-TPE-LAX (Long)

Sun Jan 25, 2004 7:09 am

Excellent Report!

I was upgraded to Super First Class from Evergreen Deluxe Class about 2 years ago, but it was just an intra-Asia flight from BKK, yes, it was a double upgrade and I loved every minute of it.
They did not have Dom Perignon back then but the service was still outstanding! I believe it was the same plane as yours, B-16412, I was seated in 1A.
I am also glad there were no manual carry-on check at the lower level gate anymore, it was very annoying. I heard no other airlines did that at TPE, just EVA Air.

Glad you enjoyed your flights....


Posts: 665
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2001 12:35 pm

RE: EVA Air Super First HKG-TPE-LAX (Long)

Sun Jan 25, 2004 7:36 am

Nice report!

I'm glad you enjoyed your flights. I've never had the chance to fly Super Business or Super First, but it sounds great!

The last time I flew EVA to H.K., they were still using the ANA lounge. The Virgin ClubHouse sounds better than the old one.

What's interesting was that I was at LAX last night, but I was picking up a friend on BR 16.

Posts: 835
Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2003 2:24 pm

RE: EVA Air Super First HKG-TPE-LAX (Long)

Tue Jan 27, 2004 10:32 am

AWESOME REPORT!!! very thorough, and it's great that TBIT was able to get you out so fast.

Posts: 1703
Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2001 5:19 pm

RE: EVA Air Super First HKG-TPE-LAX (Long)

Tue Jan 27, 2004 10:44 am

Excellent trip report . I am still hoping to see a EVA Air A330 trip report, haven't seen one yet.
Airliners is the wings of my life.

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