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legacyins
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Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2003 1:11 pm

BR 11-LAX To Taipei Royal Laurel Class

Sun Apr 14, 2013 6:12 am

INTRODUCTION

A couple of weeks back, a friend invited me for a visit to Taipei. It has been a couple of years since I actually visited and could not pass up the opportunity this time. As my home Airport is SFO, there are only two carriers providing nonstop service to Taiwan. China Airlines and EVA Air have been on this route for quite a few years. Both offer their own style of service using different gauge of aircraft. I am partial to EVA because I have flown them before to Singapore and Bangkok via Taipei from SFO. Plus, I wanted to try out their new Royal Laurel Class.

I scanned their easy to use website for the dates I had in mind. Unfortunately, both flights from SFO in Royal Laurel Class were sold out. I turned my eyes South to LAX to see if there were any seats available and was lucky to find one seat. I was able to find a seat back to SFO on my return flight. The whole booking process took about 15 minutes.

Now, I had to find a OW flight to LAX. I like Virgin America and always fly them domestically if the itinerary fits. I found a $105 USD fare with a four hour layover in LA. Since it is a short flight, I was only looking for economy. But, I also know, as the flight time gets closer, I could probably upgrade to Main Cabin Select for a nominal fee.

The night before departure, I checked in on the VX website. Sure enough, for $39 USD, I could upgrade to Main Cabin Select. In actuality, it was only $19 USD because I would have had to pay $25 USD in economy to have one bag checked and Main Cabin Select is for free.. I selected a seat in the bulk head and looked forward to the trip.

DAY OF FLIGHT

I am focusing on the EVA flight from LAX to TPE so I won't go into too much about the VX flight. It was a good flight. It left SFO on time and arrived into LAX about ten minutes early. It was a short walk over to TBIT where I waited for the EVA counters to open up.






FLIGHT: BR 11
Aircraft: 777-300 ER
REG: B-16709
Class: Royal Laurel
Seat: 9A

The Counters at LAX open about three hours before departure. I arrived at the counter and there was already a line forming for economy and one gentleman ahead of me in Royal Laurel.




On que, the side door opened and the check in crew made their way to their respective counters. there were two agents handling RL and I was prompted by one to come forward. She was pleasant but kind of impersonal. As I approached, she had her head down at her screen. I had my passport in hand and arm stretched out toward her. I heard her say, " Can I have your passport", and then looking up to see it in front of her. She verified my destination and confirmed my return to SFO. She asked how long I would be staying in Taiwan. I assume to determine whether I needed a visa or not. The computer sputtered out two passes. One for Boarding and the other for the Lounge. She informed me the flight would be delayed one hour due to an inbound delay of the aircraft. She gave me verbal directions to the Lounge and bid me a good day.

TSA was extremely light and it only took me ten minutes to get through. After dressing again after TSA, I found my way to the Lounge elevators.



I was not expecting much from the Lounge as I have read reports of it being less than spectacular. It is, however, a good place to chill instead of the sterile hallways of TBIT.






The lounge was impersonal. No windows and just rows of seats and a long food area for your needs. They did have a nice water wall to please the fund shui. The internet was running strong and I caught up on my email. About an hour brfor boarding, I decided to take a walk.

Today's flight will be departing from Gate 123. The sterile hallways of TIBT.



Along the way, I came across a few aircraft departing to all points across the globe.

British Air departing for LHR



EK loading up for their long flight to Dubai



Asiana Airlines to Seoul



Can you spot the wing walker on this Cathay 777?



I could see the new International Terminal rising outside the window. It will be a great improvement from the current Terminal and will be a showcase LAX should be proud of. The natural light flowing through the terminal will be amazing. Unfortunately, SFO still will have the best IT  

I made my way down to Gate 123 and waited to the side until the boarding was called. At about 5 PM, our flight was called .


A picture of our 777-300ER that will bring us across the Pacific.



The jetway to the aircraft.



I found my seat, 9A and took a quick shot as passengers were passing behind me.



Cubby hole for your feet when you go flat with your seat.




Control panel for the seat.



Welcome to Seat 9A




The new configuration for Royal Laurel Class has a 1-2-1 layout.



Because of the delayed flight departure, the flight crew was running around preparing for departure. They started the safety video while at the Gate.



We taxied out and lined up on 24L




Short story about this pic. The flight deck did the customary two "dings" to alert the flight crew to be seated. I saw this crew in the galley talking to her colleague. With my limited Mandarin, they were talking about their shopping trip to Costco. We lined up on the runway and they were still talking. The engines powered up and then panic sent in and they ran to their seats.



Climbing out over Redondo (?) Beach


Meal service started about 30 minutes after departure.



Way off in the distance, another aircraft heading toward a far off destination.



Starter of Salmon



Corn soup and garlic bread



Main course, Beef with potato chips



On our way over the Pacific



Amenity Kit. Nothing special but moisturizer and toothbrush and paste. I wish they included eye shades and ear plugs. They would have come in handy for sleeping.



About two hours out of Taipei, a light meal service was served.



Fruit Dish.



Philly Cheese Steak sandwich.



After 14+ hours, finally my journey is coming to an end.



Night lights coming into TPE.



After existing the aircraft, saw the lines of people going toward Immigration. Actually, it was pretty fast, only 10 minutes.


SYNOPSIS

EVA AIR is a quality airline and provides a good value for crossing the Pacific. The flight crew was attentive and was always available to my needs. As for the new Royal Laurel Class. I like the 1-2-1 seating. The seats are a little hard. I really did not sleep because it was a day flight but I would ask for another blanket to sleep over to soften the seat. I really do not fly for the food. It was fine but not great. We were late departing but made up most of the time in the air. I would fly them again and look forward to the day I do. Sorry for the picture quality, they were all from an iPhone.

[Edited 2013-04-13 23:37:41]
 
okapi
Posts: 161
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2006 11:15 pm

RE: BR 11-LAX To Taipei Royal Laurel Class

Sun Apr 14, 2013 8:03 am

Wow. What a nice sunday morning read with coffee! I've enjoyed your report about an airline we don't read much about.

Quoting legacyins (Thread starter):
The lounge was impersonal. No windows and just rows of seats and a long food area for your needs.

It seems this lounge is just a better waiting area than cattle park. What were the food and drinks options? Anything particular for Asian passengers or what is more generic?

Quoting legacyins (Thread starter):
Short story about this pic. The flight deck did the customary two "dings" to alert the flight crew to be seated. I saw this crew in the galley talking to her colleague. With my limited Mandarin, they were talking about their shopping trip to Costco. We lined up on the runway and they were still talking. The engines powered up and then panic sent in and they ran to their seats.

I've seen that scene happen many times before. Always fun to watch although I admit FAs should pay more attention.

While the food may not have been great, I'm absolutely in love with the design of EVA's tableware, especially the salt and pepper shakers. Overall, it seems you've had a good trip with a very efficient carrier.

Thanks for sharing!
 
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legacyins
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RE: BR 11-LAX To Taipei Royal Laurel Class

Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:58 pm

Thanks very much for your comments.

Quoting okapi (Reply 1):
It seems this lounge is just a better waiting area than cattle park. What were the food and drinks options? Anything particular for Asian passengers or what is more generic?

There is a self-serve drink and snack area. The drinks run the gamut – water, soda, juice, liquor, beer. The snacks are just that, snacks. You’re not going to get full eating there. There were finger sandwiches, chips, cookies, etc.

Quoting okapi (Reply 1):
I'm absolutely in love with the design of EVA's tableware, especially the salt and pepper shakers.

Yes, the presentation was nice. I hear Virgin Atlantic has or had salt and pepper shakers in the likeliness of little airplanes. I heard they were so popular, some people were taking them as souvenirs.
 
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kann123air
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RE: BR 11-LAX To Taipei Royal Laurel Class

Sun Apr 14, 2013 6:06 pm

Quoting legacyins (Thread starter):
the sterile hallways of TBIT.

Perfect way to describe it! I was thoroughly disappointed with TBIT on my trip last month on QF.

Nice TR! Hope to try EVA someday....
Now more than ever, moving forward with the new American.
 
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LAXintl
Posts: 20505
Joined: Wed May 24, 2000 12:12 pm

RE: BR 11-LAX To Taipei Royal Laurel Class

Sun Apr 14, 2013 7:21 pm

Thanks for that.

Have done EVA a few times myself, and have wanted try the new Royal Laurel Class.
I've always found EVA a bit under rated, or atleast not as well known. Overall I have found them good value and product.

I suspect when they formally enter Star the awareness of them will increase a bit in Star heavy locations like California.


For your TBIT experience, we are almost in the home stretch now. 3 of the new gates are already open, and the central big hall dining and entertainment area will be ready in a few months. Also there are all new lounges on the way, with EVA having eventual access to the new Star lounge. Should be a total new experience for travelers soon.
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
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legacyins
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Posts: 1836
Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2003 1:11 pm

RE: BR 11-LAX To Taipei Royal Laurel Class

Sun Apr 14, 2013 8:57 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 4):

How many gates in total will the new Terminal have when it is operational?
 
dc1030cf
Posts: 64
Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:27 pm

RE: BR 11-LAX To Taipei Royal Laurel Class

Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:06 pm

Very nice trip report. Looks like the New Royal Laurel Class is on the same par with Cathay's J Class. Both are much better than and a whole generation ahead of CI's "Fake" Class.
 
WROORD
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Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2009 5:36 pm

RE: BR 11-LAX To Taipei Royal Laurel Class

Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:52 pm

Nice report. I liked BR Hello Kitty check in and lounge at TPE, but did not have a chance to fly with them.

Quoting legacyins (Reply 2):
There is a self-serve drink and snack area. The drinks run the gamut – water, soda, juice, liquor, beer. The snacks are just that, snacks. You’re not going to get full eating there. There were finger sandwiches, chips, cookies, etc.

Seems much better than the AAdmiral Lounge and United Club at ORD I used a few times. You only get crackers and yogurt. No real food unless you want to buy it.

Quoting okapi (Reply 1):
The seats are a little hard. I really did not sleep because it was a day flight but I would ask for another blanket to sleep over to soften the seat.

You mean they do not give you any padding for sleeping?

I really do not fly for the food. It was fine but not great

To be honest with you the only thing that I would have ate was the fruit salad. Did they have any selection available?
 
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legacyins
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Posts: 1836
Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2003 1:11 pm

RE: BR 11-LAX To Taipei Royal Laurel Class

Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:57 pm

Quoting WROORD (Reply 7):
To be honest with you the only thing that I would have ate was the fruit salad. Did they have any selection available?

EVA allows you to book your meal before you fly. Besides the Beef, they offered a Fish dish and some kind of curry dish. The food was not the high light of the flight.

My return flight left TPE at 11:30 PM and I did not eat anything the whole flight. Granted, I ate a big dinner before going to the airport.
 
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LAXintl
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Joined: Wed May 24, 2000 12:12 pm

RE: BR 11-LAX To Taipei Royal Laurel Class

Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:42 am

Quoting legacyins (Reply 5):
How many gates in total will the new Terminal have when it is operational?

Your guess is as good as anyone as there are two big variables out there still to be decided.

The new TBIT north concourse is being built with a stub awaiting outcome of the decision on the north airfield study and if runways will be relocated, and if so by how much and in what direction.
This will dictate the eventual build-out of the TBIT concourse. Hopefully we have clarity on this by year ends as its being debated by the city council this month. So the new TBIT gate count can be anywhere from 17-20.

Second is the midfield satellite concourse (MSC) that will be linked to TBIT, Ground breaking is estimated in 2014 Q3, but its final configuration and gate types has not been decided either on, but 20'ish is the going estimate used on environmental studies.

So ultimately we are likely looking at 40 or so new international gates, virtually all widebody.

From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
CdnCactus
Posts: 235
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2013 11:50 pm

RE: BR 11-LAX To Taipei Royal Laurel Class

Tue Apr 16, 2013 2:52 am

Thanks for the report. I just did the YVR - TPE trip on BR and I'd agree catering is not their strong suit. I flew Elite on their 744 and while food was plentiful, it was REALLY bland, and I'm known to be rather easy going when it comes to airline food!

Everything else about my BR 9 trip though, was excellent.

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