What Is It Like to Fly EVA Air’s Brand-New Royal Laurel Business Class?
Our review of the 11-hour flight from Taipei to Seattle on board the Taiwanese carrier's Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner
January 2, 2024
Embarking on my return journey to the United States from Taiwan, I found myself purposefully booked on EVA Air’s Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner, an aircraft designed to showcase the airline’s newest Royal Laurel class Taipei to Seattle, unveiling the latest in business class sophistication.
During the first leg of my trip, I experienced the Royal Laurel service on the Boeing 777-300ER aircraft from San Francisco to Taipei, which was exceptional. This time, however, I was lucky enough to test the airline’s updated product on their brand-new Dreamliners.
I arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare and was impressed by the airline’s efficient and courteous check-in process. The agents quickly checked my documents and tagged my baggage, which took only three minutes.
After clearing security, I had access to EVA Air’s ultra-premium lounge, The Garden. This lounge is exclusively for top-tier passengers and features unique amenities, including an outstanding noodle bar.
I had the opportunity to savor a delicious pre-flight Ding Tai Fung beef noodle dish and a cold pint of Taiwanese beer.
As I prepared to board the flight, I was informed that boarding would be delayed by 20 minutes due to the unique circumstances of accommodating nearly 30 passengers in wheelchairs.
Boarding and Cabin
Upon entering the four-year-old Dreamliner, I was warmly greeted by the purser and my dedicated flight attendant, Shanice, who would be providing exceptional care throughout the flight.
My first impression was of pristine elegance; the cabin exuded the freshness of a brand-new aircraft, with an invigorating new-plane scent enveloping the space.
Stepping into the business class cabin was akin to entering a realm of sophistication. Elegance permeated the cabin’s ambiance, accentuated by its impeccable care and minimal signs of wear. The seat numbering, presented in a space-themed font, added a whimsical touch to the experience.
The Royal Laurel section of this aircraft featured seats crafted by BMW Designworks, thoughtfully arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration, ensuring that every passenger enjoyed direct access to the aisle. The color palette within the cabin exuded understated sophistication, with tasteful green accents enhancing the overall aesthetic.
There were three well-appointed bathrooms in the Royal Laurel cabin, with one located at the front and the other two towards the rear.
Taking my seat, I was handed the menu for the flight by the ever-polite and gracious Shanice. She introduced herself in flawless English and walked me through the intricacies of the seat’s various features, from the array of buttons to the well-thought-out storage spaces and power ports.
In due time, the pre-departure beverage was offered, and I opted for sparkling water, which arrived swiftly, along with a refreshing wet towel.
Shanice returned to confirm my pre-ordered meal from the app. Given the relatively short 11-hour flight, I chose to sample dinner and perhaps breakfast closer to our arrival in Seattle.
With a slight delay in our departure, we pushed back eleven minutes past midnight, approximately 30 minutes behind schedule. The powerful takeoff then took us on an easterly track from Taipei to the North Pacific for 11 hours and 10 minutes until we reached Seattle.
The cabin’s lights were dimmed during the flight, and Boeing’s signature mood lighting adorned the interior, creating a calming atmosphere. Stars on the ceiling added to the soothing effect.
About 20 minutes after takeoff, the cabin lights were gently turned on for the dinner service. The Dreamliner offers different lighting options to enhance the ambiance and soothe passengers.
After dinner, Shanice returned to offer turn-down service, transforming my seat into a cozy bed with plush pillows and warm covers. I drifted into a peaceful eight-hour sleep.
Once fully awake and after enjoying a pre-arrival meal, I rose from my seat and headed to the lavatory to change into my clothing. The airline’s pajamas proved to be incredibly comfortable and further enhanced my in-flight experience.
In contrast to the spacious lavatories on the Boeing 777, the Dreamliner’s restrooms were noticeably smaller. Nevertheless, the flight attendants diligently maintained them spotless throughout the flight. The bathroom was equipped with toothbrushes, mouthwash, soap, lotion for the face, and pre-arrival wash essentials.
Our descent into Seattle proceeded smoothly, and the 787-10 gracefully touched down on the runway 40 minutes behind schedule. After 11 hours and 14 minutes of traversing the North Pacific, we had successfully completed our journey.
The seat itself is a marvel of design—spacious and comfortable. Its controls, conveniently located on the left side, offered three settings for different phases of the journey: takeoff, relaxation, and rest. Additional buttons provided seat massage, lighting adjustments, and a “do not disturb” option.
To the side, two different power ports—universal and USB—and headphone jacks were within easy reach. Adjacent to these controls, the remote for the in-flight entertainment system awaited, positioned below a pop-out reading light and a storage area complete with a mirror.
The seats, adorned with plush padding, provided excellent comfort. Thanks to the direct aisle access, navigating in and out of my seat, even for a trip to the restroom, was a breeze. The massage function offered a delightful perk, elevating the in-flight experience.
The tray table, located within the substantial armrest, was impressively robust and stable. What’s truly noteworthy is its flexibility, allowing you to adjust it forward and backward, providing the freedom to dine in an upright or reclined position per your preference.
The in-flight entertainment system featured a sizable, high-definition touchscreen within easy reach from your seat.
EVA Air’s amenity kit, provided by Giorgio Armani, was a revelation—a culmination of essentials, including toothpaste, lotion, and a hairbrush, with the unexpected addition of a keyholder and a small pouch for carrying credit cards. The attention to detail in this amenity kit was genuinely remarkable.
The pajamas provided by Taiwanese-Canadian fashion designer Jason Wu, a self-proclaimed Jetsetter, were a revelation in comfort. Wu’s goal of marrying form and function to enhance the passenger experience was undoubtedly achieved.
Food and Beverage
Thirty minutes post-takeoff, the in-flight service commenced with a tantalizing prelude of cream cheese and a mushroom appetizer, accompanied by an egg crêpe roll filled with smoked duck and apricot compote. These bites were exquisite, further elevated by a glass of 2014 French Crozes-Hermitage red wine—the same I had enjoyed on my inbound flight.
A gazpacho jelly with Spanish ham followed, served beautifully on a circular dish. The visual appeal matched the exquisite flavors, blending the subtle gazpacho jelly with the bold notes of the Spanish ham.
Shortly after, the main course arrived: a succulent pork belly served with steamed white rice and vegetables. It was one of the most delicious and delicate dishes I have ever had on a plane.
Given the late hour, I decided to skip dessert. As my table was cleared, Shanice returned to prepare the turn-down service. My seat transformed into a luxurious bed, and with the addition of a second pillow from the empty neighboring seat, my comfort level soared. The remarkable seat, cushion, and cover combination allowed me a profound seven-hour sleep.
With two hours remaining flying time, Shanice came by to serve the pre-arrival meal, featuring a plate of cheese, Spanish chorizo, marmalade, and vegetables. Following this, an elegant quiche filled with cheese, edamame, and other vegetables graced my table, each dish exquisitely presented.
The level of detail in every culinary creation was astonishing. Both courses were accompanied by freshly brewed Illy coffee. A fruit plate followed, offering a refreshing conclusion to the meal.
About ten minutes before our descent into Seattle, Shanice returned with a distinctive drink from Taiwan—a glass of milk with Taro.
She eagerly encouraged me to try her favorite national beverage, sharing her enthusiasm for the fact that EVA Air had only recently introduced it, just a month prior.
Bidding farewell to the remarkable crew, I disembarked the aircraft and entered the new SeaTac arrivals facility. Here, in contrast to other airports, one must collect their checked baggage before proceeding through customs and border control.
Overall, I must express my immense satisfaction and astonishment at the impeccable, convenient, and stress-free experience of traveling with EVA Air. Their new Royal Laurel product, available on the 787 fleet, is a pinnacle of excellence.
The modern and comfortable seat, paired with remarkable amenities like the pillow, cover, and posh amenity kits, collectively deliver an outstanding hard product. The service provided by the flight attendants, marked by their attention to detail, politeness, and exceptional English proficiency, sets EVA Air apart from its competitors.
Without hesitation, I intend to choose EVA Air for my future journeys to Asia.