My trip back to my native land of the Philippines in May of 2015 marked my first time back in over 8 years. When I first landed in Toronto all those years ago, before making my way to Montana for college, I immediately muttered two things under my breath:
- It's really cold (this was January, the dead of Winter)
- That was a really long flight (20+ hours from CMB > AUH > YYZ).
Fast forward to 2014 and my discovery of travel hacking: I could make this long flight back home in Business Class without selling all my earthly possessions!
The following was my experience with the longhaul segment of my flight to Manila (MNL) on EVA Airways Business Class from Los Angeles (LAX) to Taipei (TPE), most importantly, my first experience with a truly lie flat seat!
Airline: EVA Airways
Alliance: Star Alliance
Flight Code: BR1
Plane Type: Boeing 777-300ER
Route: LAX > TPE
Flight Time: 13h 30mins
Retail Price: ~$3,780
Points Price: 80,000 United Miles
Pre-Flight Lounge Access
Premium cabin passengers of this flight were invited to the Star Alliance Lounge at the Tom Bradley International Terminal (Terminal T) at LAX. With my invitation in hand, I walked in and acted extra cool, trying to not let my excitement bubble over. Booze, booze, food, booze, food, everywhere. 10:30pm, my watch said, so no better time than now to indulge in some adult beverages!
The lounge was contemporarily decorated with comfortable seating inside, and outside on a balcony overlooking the terminal mezzanine. There was even an open air portion of the lounge that would have been refreshing to use during the day.
The way to my heart is a buffet and an open bar, and I fell head over heels with this lounge. I made sure I imbibed on a multi-course bonanza of wraps, fried rice, goldfish crackers, ramen, beer, cocktails and wine while I was in there. Lounges are my kryptonite.
A friendly stewardess escorted me to my seat, and there it was, in real life, a lie flatbed seat! I've only seen them in pictures at this point, and now I had 13 hours in the air to finally feel it beneath me. Before take off, I was provided a "sleep suit" and an overnight amenity kit consisting of a hard case from luggage manufacturer Rimowa, a sleep mask, socks and other toiletries.
Following a quick change into my "sleep suit", I peered into the food and drink menu, and looked forward to even more food. Technically, it was 4:30am CST when I should have been fast asleep, and instead, I was getting way too carried away on my first Business Class experience! The cured sea trout starter was refreshing and very tasty, while I had just enough room to get the seabass from the main course down. A tip of the hat to the chef for both courses!
Deep breath, exhale. With all that food out of the way, it was time to tuck in for the night. The panel for the seat adjustments was too complicated for someone like me with a severe food coma, but eventually, I was able to poke and prod at enough buttons to get it to lie completely flat.
As hard as I tried, I could not get a good night sleep. The cabin was too loud (wish I had brought some ear plugs with me!) and too hot to be comfortable enough for sleep. I propped back up and watched the last Hobbit movie to make the time go by before the breakfast service began. Yay, more food! Oh, one thing, when they come around and ask what you would like for a "wake-up drink", go straight for the carrot juice. You'll thank me later!
Sleep deprived and sufficiently fed, we landed at Taoyuan International Airport 13 hours later at 5am local time. Hello Taipei!
Up until this point, my only experience with Business Class was flying between Sri Lanka and the Philippines on Singapore Airlines as a child, and things have significantly improved since then.
My Business Class experience with EVA Airways Flight BR1 was largely positive with my only complaint being the cabin being a little too hot during the sleep hours for my liking. Other than that, I enjoyed the service, food and hospitality of the staff a great deal, and appreciated the subtle design cues (eg. that beautiful table cloth) that made the cabin pop and less drab and gray.
Would I ever spend over $3,000 to take this flight? Probably not
Is this flight worthy of 80,000 (one way) United Miles? Most definitely
If you're looking to get over the Pacific from North America in comfort and style in a premium cabin with a Star Alliance partner, and wouldn't mind parting with 80,000 United Miles, then I would definitely recommend taking this Eva Airways flight from Los Angeles to Taipei in Business Class!