(Update: 1 May 2016. I will fix the youtube links soon, there seems to be some small issues after the migration to the new version, sorry about that!)
Since this is Flight #1 of my upcoming crazy trip that will last for the next 9 weeks, I am going to do a detailed introduction of what this series will be all about. Beware, the introduction will go on forever… If you are only interested in the EVA Air flight review, keep scrolling down and start reading once you see photographs appearing! (Sorry about that, but I figured it’d be interesting to share how I pieced up the entire trip.)
[On my way to Changi Airport before flight BR216]
A few pointers before we proceed:
1. I intend to do this series semi-live; i.e. I shall type as I fly and publish the FR soon after arriving at a destination. I do apologise if there are delays but I will try my best to be as up to date as possible.
2. I will do away with my usual “timeline” style (see my past reports), otherwise it will take me much, much longer to get my reports ready.
3. Those square brackets in italics will give you an idea as to when exactly I was writing parts of the reports in this series, i.e. right now I am typing away as I make my way to the airport.
4. And lastly for now, my apologies for not catching up on those previous series of mine. Was so super busy in school and also, busy preparing for this massive trip of mine. (:
Alright, let’s go!
It all dates back to October 2015, when Qantas announced an enhanced partnership with American and offered double points promotion for flights from Australia to the United States. It really looked like a great offer, so after some research and planning, I hopped on the offer and got myself a round trip Qantas itinerary for May 2016, from Melbourne (MEL) to Los Angeles (LAX).
(Background info: I frequent the SIN-MEL hop on Qantas/Emirates and got myself a oneworld Sapphire status with Qantas last October)
Happy with my first ever transpacific flight itinerary in my inbox, I went on with life. And began to start planning how I should kill time on the 15-hours flights to and fro. Oh, I was kinda excited to be booked on the AA flight from Sydney (SYD) to LAX too! It’s a codeshare with Qantas and I was to be travelling on a QF flight number. How cool it is to fly coach in AA for 14 hours? (You don’t need to answer me…) I shall look forward to it.
Moving on, two months passed and near Christmas 2015, my friend and I began pondering on the idea of going on a short graduation trip together. He suggested Hong Kong, and I said “Why not add in Taiwan?” So after a few more conversations, we decided on an itinerary from 1 to 8 May 2016; for this round trip, the airlines we’ll ride on shall be CX and KA.
Alright, one more intra-Asia sector booked! Now, it was time to plan the details of my first trip to USA. I asked my mom if she would like to join me in LAX but she said if she has to fly by herself all the way to North America, she’d prefer not to. (Background info: My mom is based in Kaohsiung (KHH) so I actually get free accommodation there)
After further discussions with her, I decided to amend my flights to USA and fly out with my Mom from KHH. There were of course quite a lot of implications stemming from this decision: potential QF bonus miles lost, QF itinerary change fee which was AUD200, and the cost of another round trip air ticket from KHH to LAX. But hey, if I get to travel with and accompany my mom on these long, long flights across the Pacific Ocean, why not?
I managed to sort out all the math and reduced my “net loss” to minimum (I am an accountant by profession, by the way. Or maybe, in just a few more months, I will be). With regards to how we want to get to LAX, my mom told me to make all the final decisions and just let her know when I am done. Oh well, even if she didn’t give me the discretion to do it, I will. Haha!
So the QF/AA combination disappeared from my itinerary and a whole new set of itinerary was added in. Keen to guess what’s the new airline I booked us on? =P
Situation now is: the itinerary for my mom and I is a new one, my original itinerary consisting of the QF/AA combination had been turned into a voucher and was displayed on Qantas’ website as “VOUCHER”. I found it nice that QF allows this flexibility, despite at a cost of AUD200. Nevertheless, it was still better than cancelling the ticket altogether at a cost of AUD400. Now, with the “voucher” in my QF account, what should I do with it? Tell me, what will you do? I mean, any AvGeeks on this website would be excited at the thought of having an “airline voucher” right? It lets us run our imagination wild and start figuring out all the different kinds of routing possible. Woohoo!
Okay, wait. There’s a few rules though. I need to originate and return to Australia. It must be a return ticket, not a one-way ticket, not an open-jaw one. And, the last rule is an optional one, I need to find an itinerary that is “of the same value of the voucher or higher”, anything cheaper, I lose out; anything more expensive, I will have to key in my credit card number again; no prizes even if you guessed correctly which option I chose!
Well, of course I could’ve just used the voucher on my usual MEL-SIN round trip, book it on a more expensive booking class and earn some additional QF points from it. But since I prefer an itinerary that’ll be more interesting, more research was needed and I figured I should just settle my round trip between Singapore (SIN) and Australia first.
Let’s shelf the “flexible” itinerary aside for now since I really, really couldn't decide where I should fly to from Australia. I figured I should settle the easier decision first and make up my mind as to how to get to Australia from Singapore. I began searching for QF flights (as I’ve already done so numerous times in the past few years), but after a while, I just wasn’t satisfied with the ticket prices. Then one day, British Airways came into the picture! All along, I was aware about the fifth freedom route between SIN and Sydney (SYD), operated by BA15/BA16, of which SIN is the intermediate stop on this pair of flights between London and SYD. The only thing was – my girlfriend stays in MEL and that’s where I want to end up in whenever I mention “Australia”. A round trip itinerary on BA from SIN to MEL will usually cost a lot, since the SIN-SYD sector will be priced at full fare and the SYD-MEL hop will be on a BA flight on Qantas metal, and furthermore, this earns me only a pitiful amount of QF points.
What happened was, as I browsed through the Internet, whoever that’s “monitoring” my online activities and surfing habits must have figured that “this guy desperately wants to get on a flight to Australia but he is stingy and does not wanna pay much” … So a random advertisement appeared, showing an offer ticket on BA between SIN and SYD. I got curious, so I clicked it. And opps, a few moments later, I received an email from “someone” called “British Airways e-Ticket”.
[On board BR216, 1h 50min to arrival in TPE]
I am typing this at FL360 on EVA Air flight BR216. We are an hour plus away from Taipei. I’ve filled up two pages on Microsoft Word right now, and many of you must be thinking, “Hey Kevin, that’s it. Stop. How much longer are you going to take?” Sorry…! I think I am slightly-more-than-halfway through? Bear with me, at the end of this introduction you will know why this trip is one of an “AvGeek Style”.
Moving on, I got myself a BA ticket and finally will be in Australia around the second week of May 2016. Back to the “flexible” itinerary, I have decided to use the “VOUCHER” in my QF account to fly from MEL to KHH, meet my mom, and then off we go to USA. Question is – How? On what (airline)? Of course there’ll be QF – it’s a QF voucher. But QF doesn’t fly to KHH, the nearest it can take me to is HKG, thereafter it will be China Airlines (CI) or Dragonair (KA). But a CI-numbered flight on a QF itinerary means I won’t get to earn points and get my OW perks. KA? It’s just a little… Boring? So I explored other Asian destinations to head to, and then connect on one last regional flight into Taiwan. Long story short, I considered PEK, PVG, ICN, SGN, BKK and finally, Tokyo (HND/NRT). Japan won the bid, hehe. So I successfully converted my “VOUCHER” into this routing: MEL-SIN-HND/NRT-BNE-MEL. All on QF flight numbers, but the SIN-NRT sector gets me a fifth opportunity to sample Japan Airlines on this trip. Yay!
From Tokyo to KHH, I gave up on oneworld because JL was just too expensive. I thought of BR so as to earn some Krisflyer miles. But it was still a little expensive, and since it was me making the decision for myself. Why not add one more airline in this trip? Alright, CI got it. I booked a discounted economy ticket with no mileage accrual implication at all. Ah, whatever. I just want to fly CI, furthermore, the B747 flight from NRT to TPE made it even more tempting. So this itinerary connects me from Tokyo to Kaohsiung (and back) – NRT-TPE-KHH-NRT. Some of you familiar with Taiwan’s aviation situation may be a little sharp to realise something wrong – a domestic flight from Taipei to Kaohsiung?! Yes, it’s a real flight! That’s the twice daily shuttle between the two biggest cities in Taiwan; these flights can only be booked in conjunction with international flights. And I get to try it!
In the midst of all these, my sister is currently completing her internship in Macau. And mom asked if I want to accompany her for a short 3D2N in Macau? By now, you should know my response. “Why not?” A third Taiwanese carrier for the epic Graduation Trip – TransAsia Airways, KHH-MFM-KHH.
Then comes the end of March 2016, things got so super busy in school and the final weeks of my final semester as a student were just pure madness. You might have realised that my itinerary now still has a gap between SYD and MEL. Just as I was about to fill it up with a Jetstar ticket, QF popped an email in my inbox saying “Double Qantas Points on every eligible Qantas flight, everywhere!” The promotion ends 5 April 2016. That’s it, QF got my loyalty, again! Let’s join the dots between SYD and MEL.
Hmm… There’s one last portion of my trip to complete now. My girlfriend and I have been eyeing New Zealand since late last year, and we wanted to be there right smack in the middle of winter. Just as we were about to book the daily Emirates A380 service into Auckland, Qantas’ double points offer appeared and snatched our loyalty. Without surprises, we will be travelling Qantas into Auckland and out of Christchurch in June 2016.
Two more domestic sectors in New Zealand had to be decided and since these are intra-NZ flights, what’s better than Air New Zealand? Here are the itineraries: - The crossing from North to South Island: WLG-NSN; and - The hop across the South Island: ZQN-CHC.
Once done with New Zealand, we will go back to MEL via SYD (and spending half a day in SYD). And then I will return to SIN to settle some errands in the first week of July, this shall see me clearing the return portion of the BA itinerary. Once errands are completed, I will conclude my graduation trip with yet another simple round trip to MEL, to spend some time with my girlfriend before work starts for good. Argh… (Anyway, the final round trip to MEL was booked under the QF promotion too!)
Oh…! There’s one last round trip that I added in after everything else was confirmed. And it was none other than this EVA Air itinerary! Kinda interesting that I am writing about the flight that I am travelling on right now. (Only thing is, as I come to the end of this introduction, we are 45 minutes to arrival. HAHA!) Sorry guys, for making you read so much.
Finally! I am done with the introduction of this series, everything adds up to this:
(Update: 3 May 2016) Around the last week of April, Taiwan-based UNI Air announced its final MD-90 flight’s schedule. I’ve never been on an MD-90, nor have I travelled domestically in Taiwan before. After checking the final flight’s schedule, I realised that it will take place on the very day that I will be in Taiwan! I wouldn’t be able to make it if it was a day earlier or a day later. I was extremely tempted to book a ticket on this flight from Kinmen (KNH) to Taipei-Songshan (TSA). After working out my budget and schedule, I decided to go! Since I’ll be arriving in KHH the day before after my trip to USA, I have to fly from KHH to KNH. For that short sector, I chose the cheapest flight on offer – a Transasia ATR72 service; yet another first for me!
Presenting to you my latest series… 2016 Graduation Trip – The AvGeek Style!
EVA Air BR216 Aircraft Registration: B-16721 Origin: Changi International Airport, Singapore (SIN) Destination: Taoyuan International Airport, Taiwan (TPE) Date: Thursday, 28 April 2016 STD/STA: 1515h (UTC+08:00) to 2000h (UTC+08:00) ATD/ATA: 1512h (UTC+08:00) to 1935h (UTC+08:00) Estimated Duration: 04 hours 45 minutes Actual Duration: 04 hour 23 minutes Flight Distance: About 3,212 miles / 1,996 km
The story begins.
School’s finally out and two hours after my last exam, I found myself in Changi Airport’s Terminal 3, checking in for an EVA Air flight to Taipei. There are two flights per day on this route, the earlier one departs at 1.50pm and mine leaves Singapore at 3.15pm. It would have been nice if EVA Air spreads out the two flights a little bit more, but I guess the demand must be there for them to fly two B77Ws to Singapore on an almost daily basis.
Check in took just about 10 minutes. Here’s my boarding pass and my Krisflyer card. That card’s basically useless, I am just bringing it as I can’t remember my SQ membership number.
After completing check in at row 8, I walked around the terminal a bit and headed through immigration at 2.13pm and 3 minutes later, I was airside.
Terminal 3 wasn’t very crowded in the middle of the day even though there were actually quite a lot of flights departing.
Do you agree with this?
After passing through the whole stretch of duty free shops, I proceeded on towards Gate B7. It wasn’t a long walk, but the wide corridor made Terminal 3’s airside much more comfortable than that of the other two terminals.
[Gotta stow my belongings now to prepare for BR216’s arrival in TPE!]
[It’s the night on 28 April and I just got off BR216]
As I was walking towards the boarding gate, a large group of BR crew from the inbound BR215. It’s nice to know that the crew has a layover in Singapore before returning to Taiwan on the next day’s flight. That’s definitely much better than having to turnaround immediately and fly back to Taiwan, because that will mean an almost 10-hours duration at work.
Arrived at Gate B7 around 2.22pm and went pass security checks smoothly. At about 2.30pm, I was already snapping many photographs of my aircraft! The triple seven is really such beautiful aircraft.
The aircraft operating BR216 was B-16721, delivered to EVA Air just February last year (in 2015).
As I was busy photographing the gorgeous EVA Air B777-300ER, an occasional visitor to Changi Airport appeared on the taxiway behind. It was an Air Mauritius A332, registered 3B-NBM, heading back home to Port Louis.
There was nothing wowing in the boarding lounge, but I guess the airport management learnt from the mistake made in the older terminals and added much more chairs/benches in the Terminal 3 boarding lounges. Good move!
An evidence of me working on this report; this was the ultra-long introduction! =P
Boarding commenced at about 2.57pm, I was in Zone 4 so I waited for a few minutes before it was my turn. Various Singaporean and Taiwanese newspapers were available on offer.
Fuselage shot. I was really looking forward to stepping on board this EVA Air aircraft. The last time I flew back to Taiwan on EVA Air was more than 6 years ago, after which my family begun to became loyal customers of all the LCCs in our region.
Cabin crews gave all of us a warm welcome on board. It sounded really welcoming in Mandarin, but just a tiny little bit robotic when they say it in English.
Let’s go down the hierarchy. From the reverse herringbone Business class seats, to the Premium Economy cabin, and finally my seat in Economy! Wow… I personally fell in love on first sight with the design of the Economy seats. While the Business and Premium Economy seats look a little dull, Economy looks gorgeous!
I walked down the aircraft to Row 62 and found my seat by the aisle.
Let’s take a closer look at the seat itself. The headrest was very comfortable! But I didn’t sleep on this flight so I didn’t really lie on it too much.
Pillows were pre-set on the seats and the FAs were actively distributing blankets. The blankets were of super high quality, but the cabin temperature was so warm throughout the flight, so eventually I didn’t need to use the blanket at all.
Different views of the legroom, which was pretty awesome.
This is the seat pocket. We’ll look at the contents a bit later in the flight.
I was also quite impressed by the new screens as they looked promising on first sight. It’s pretty much the same kind you see nowadays on many airlines, and if I am not mistaken, this screen is also used on Jetstar’s B787s.
The IFE was not turned on until after the safety video was played. Prior to that, it was the standard “Welcome aboard”, “Please fasten your seatbelt” and “No smoking” messages.
While the IFE wasn’t operational yet, there were some functions on the screen that could be used already, such as the screen brightness and volume adjustments. There was no remote control, so the crew call button and reading light switch were found in the touchscreen as well. The USB port was on the bottom left of the screen, and there were also power sockets available underneath our seats (no photos of it).
Some other messages shown on the screen that were more interesting: - Fold your newspapers after reading - Advertisements for the BR’s new route to Istanbul (it’s in conjunction with TK) - Switch on flight mode during take-off and landing (BR has joined the league of airlines who allow usage of small handheld devices throughout the flight!)
There were also multiple announcements promoting the inflight Wi-Fi, rates were quite reasonable so for those of you flying BR long-haul, you know you can remain connected to the rest of the world!
We pushed back early at 3.12pm (scheduled departure was 3.15pm) and started taxiing to the runway at 3.20pm. While taxiing, the main cabin screen showed the flight map (in fact, the flight map was switched on the entire flight).
Soon after the safety video was played, the IFE became operational. So let’s take a look at what’s on offer before we take off into the skies.
Movies selection were minimal – sadly.
The selections of music albums were much better. But since BR is a Taiwanese airline, it wasn’t surprising to find a large variety of Mandarin albums.
Another thing that surprised me (pleasantly) was the menu in the IFE! It was a nicely designed electronic menu and made me looked forward to the meal later. (:
And finally, the most important section of an AVOD!
And a video to show you how the flight map looks like.
That’s about it for the IFE. From my vague impression of BR’s previous generation IFE, this one’s definitely a huge improvement. But considering the variety of entertainment on offer, Emirates is still the champion without doubts.
[It’s Day 2 in Taipei, I shall complete the FR for my flight yesterday ASAP!]
Back to the flight. Upon boarding, I realised that many of the crew members seemed extremely stressed and were executing their duties really carefully. Nonetheless, they were still very friendly and helpful. Later on during the flight, I overheard an air stewardess speaking softly to her colleague (they were standing right beside me while serving drinks) and complaining about how strict the “instructor” on board this flight was. After piecing up everything, I figured that this set of crew was probably being evaluated by the purser/instructor of this flight, the one who’s making all the announcements.
Indeed, she looked like a fierce lady but was of course extremely polite when serving passengers. Here’s the welcome announcement made by her. The next video is the full safety video.
It was a quick taxi and at about 3.30pm, we were lined up for departure from Runway 20C. One minute later at 3.31pm, off the ground we went, en route to Taipei!
The crew were released at 3.38pm and they sprung into action. First offering a pack of nuts to every passenger, and later the hard copy menu + Taiwan’s arrival card. The menu surprised me, as I wasn’t expecting the airline to prepare a menu each of Economy passengers, given that they’d already display it on the IFE. It was certainly a nice touch, and to award more points for BR, I thought the menu was fantastically designed. At this point, I must say I was really expecting a nice, or at least decent meal from EVA Air.
The service continued with all the FAs looking busy. They proactively offered drinks and attended to call buttons quite quickly as well. For this flight, however, many passengers looked tired and were all catching afternoon naps soon after take off. There wasn’t much noise in the cabin and very few people actually used the call button.
After we levelled off at FL360, the assigned cruising altitude for the rest of this flight, the captain came on the PA and made his welcome announcements, first in English and then Chinese.
This flight was really full, and I later learnt from the friendly stewardess serving our aisle that this is always the case on EVA Air’s Singapore flights. That probably explains why BR can operate two daily flights on this route on most days of the week. Out of the 13 weekly flights, 3 are operated by the Hello Kitty Shining Star aircraft. You’ll see more about BR’s Hello Kitty marketing strategy later on when I show you the seat pocket contents. When I say “more”, I mean it… =P
I took a short video of the cabin view from my seat, and thereafter continued to explore the IFE (see the second video below to get a sense of the pretty user-friendly IFE system) before settling on a Taiwanese variety talk show.
The headset quality was not bad too.
An early dinner was served about 1 hour after take off. I was pretty much having quite a high expectation about this meal right now, after seeing the nice hard copy menu and also the one on the IFE.
The bread was quite warm and wasn’t too hard, but I still didn’t finish it eventually.
For the drink, I selected Calpis (カルピス/可爾必斯), a Japanese soft drink that’s really common in Taiwan too. It’s a nice variation from the usual apple/orange juices.
For the main course, I chose the “braised pork with rice” and… It was bad. The sauce didn't go well with the white rice. The meat was so hard. And the vegetables were just meh… Oh well, shouldn’t have expected so much from Singapore airport’s catering.
I guess I will give BR one more chance on my return flight.
One last photo for the meal – the fruits, appetiser (corn and black pea salsa, which had a Middle-Eastern taste to it) and dessert (red fruit forest mousse cake). I finished everything but they were nothing to write home about. If not for the fact that I am writing this report so soon after the flight, I don’t think I’ll be able to throw in much descriptions.
After the meal service, the FAs came around offering oolong tea, coffee or normal black tea. I took a cup of oolong tea and the FA serving our aisle offered the hot drink with a smile! Really nice service by her. According to the rank insignia I saw on her uniform, she’s the deputy purser, and you could see that she’s more experienced and cheerful than the other FAs on board. I guess the rest were really quite stressed about the fact that an instructor was on the flight evaluating and nagging at them.
Another FA came around the cabin to clear our trays later; the entire meal service was completed in a mere 28 minutes. Good job, nice efficiency and pleasant service by the FAs!
After my tray was cleared, I started looking through the seat pocket contents. This part of the report’s gonna take you a while to read through. But I must say, BR does have quite a cool collection of duty free products – especially products targeted at avgeeks like you and I, or maybe… Just about anyone you can think of? You’ll know why in a while!
First up, the safety information card and the waste disposal bag that has quite a catchy colour scheme to it, in terms of its design.
Next, the duty free catalogue titled “EVA Sky Shop”.
There were airplane models for all the different Hello Kitty themed aircrafts (and buses)! BR has indeed invested a lot on its marketing in conjunction with the Hello Kitty brand (“Sanrio”).
There were some other miscellaneous EVA and Evergreen branded souvenirs on sale. (Evergreen Group is the group that consists of EVA Air, UNI Air and many other companies across a wide variety of industries.) There were also many more aircraft models on sale – ranging from an A321 with normal EVA Air livery, and the B77W with the Star Alliance livery.
It was also kinda interesting that there were products limited on certain routes or aircraft type (i.e. MD90).
The coupon you can fill in to purchase duty free products, a shopping guide, and an advertisement on BR’s co-branded credit card with Citibank.
The Hello Kitty continues to appear in the next duty-free catalogue. This one catalogues products that are available for home delivery. You’d be amazed by the range of products available, I promise; keep scrolling!
Frequent shoppers travelling on BR can also download the two apps dedicated to EVA Air’s duty free shopping. Woah! An airline having two mobile phone applications just for duty free? A large part of their revenue must be coming from all these duty free sales.
This is amazing. BR actually offers a choice for you to buy the entire set of 7 Hello Kitty themed aircraft models! Are there any diehard EVA Air fans here? You know what to buy when you next patronise EVA Air’s home delivery duty-free shop.
The list of products goes on and on… Luggage, windbreaker, juice blender, teapot, frying pan (Yes, Hello Kitty branded…), Hello Kitty books and stickers for children etc.
Now, ANA won’t be happy if EVA Air starts selling more Star Wars products.
You know at this point, I was already beyond “amazed”. I don’t know if there are any other airlines who sell such a large variety of products? Let me know! But before that, the list has yet to end…
We still have scarfs from Taiwan’s History Museum, health products, instant soup, sparkling water, tea, noodles, rice, vegetable, seafood, beef, and more Hello Kitty products (this time it was some snacks).
At this point it’s worth reiterating that these things aren’t sold on board the aircraft, but rather on ground. But still, isn’t really cool that an airline is selling all these things? You know, if I am an EVA Air member, resides permanently in Taiwan and can earn points on purchasing all these things, I might really just become a “frequent shopper” with EVA Air!
We are done with shopping! Really.
Now, it’s what most of us would be more interested with, the in-flight magazine.
First, we see this interesting EVA Air + Star Alliance advertisement. It shows how a professional dancer (based in Taipei and New York) thanks the airline and its alliance partners for flying her around the world. She’s a Star Alliance Gold member with EVA Air by the way.
The contents page and another advertisement on Star Alliance – this time about the lounges. I’m not really a Star Alliance person so I don’t think I will set foot in any of these lounges in the near future.
This is yet another “organisation” related to the Evergreen Group, and therefore EVA Air – the Evergreen Symphony Orchestra. Their next concert in Taipei is on 12 May, anyone interested?
A sample of some of the articles in the magazine – introduction on food in Hanoi, highlights in Istanbul, EVA Air’s business class (aka Royal Laurel Class) and lounges introductions, a promotion about bonus mileage and a short description of the Evergreen International Hotels.
About the cabin crew ranking.
EVA Air is really proud of its Royal Laurel Class and I personally have heard lots of praises about it. Hope to experience it soon!
Hello Kitty aircrafts. Yes, again.
Information about usage of electronic devices.
EVA Air’s network map. We have (in sequence) destinations in China, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, Europe, North America and Australia.
EVA Air currently operates the B747, B777, A330 and A321. The B77W on this page has been updated with the new livery.
And lastly, an advertisement about UNI Air’s (not EVA Air) mobile phone app. Just how many applications does the Evergreen Group has? We counted four, so far.
Interesting, isn’t it? All the “seat pocket contents” of this aircraft. We are nearing the end of the flight and of this flight report. I know you must be saying “FINALLY…!”
Please don't get bored, alright? I will have so much more to share with all of you over the next few weeks!
Back to the flight, where were we? Ah, meal service just ended. So I got up and went to the lavatory. Yet another small surprise! It was huge (by Economy standards) and clean. And there was a flower! Products of the Canadian brand – Escents, could be found in the lavatories.
On the way back to my seat, I snapped the only window shot on this flight. The window size looks weird ‘cos this is the window on the aircraft door.
Cabin view from the back of the plane! You can see just how full the aircraft was. Anyway, BR’s B77W only has two pairs of couple seats at Row 73. The other version of B77W has 6 pairs of two-seaters, but not on this one.
The carpet of the cabin was quite nice too, and it was also kept relatively clean.
I paused the variety talk show that I was watching, took out my MacBook and continued working on this report. (Eventually I didn’t complete that episode, haha!)
When I next looked at the flight map, it was around 6.33pm and we were about 55 minutes to arrival.
As it neared 7pm, the FAs went around the cabin to distribute one more round of drinks before landing preparation. And our captain also gave us the flight information updates at around the same time.
The seat belt sign was switched on again at 7.18pm so I stowed my MacBook and got ready for landing. Two different videos from the Taiwanese government were played – one on disease prevention and the other on declaration of goods.
While the captain said that there were gusty winds expected during our approach, the entire process was rather smooth and there was almost no turbulent-like feeling. The touch down on Runway 05R was quite hard and I felt (for the first time) the suspension on the landing gear working hard to reduce the impact of the landing.
All of us were instructed by the cabin crew to remove our headsets for landing (the same instruction was given for take off) and soon after, the IFE was switched off, but not the flight map. Upon landing, the satellite image showed Taoyuan Airport’s aerial view, quite cool!
We continued taxiing as the cabin service manager made her thank you announcement in Mandarin, English and Hokkien (the language commonly spoken in Taiwan called 閩南語 / mǐn nán yǔ).
We arrived at the gate 25 minutes early, and the time was 7.35pm. I disembarked from the aircraft at 7.42pm and took a photo of the legroom of the first row while disembarking; it looked quite good!
I have the “Speedy Immigration Inspection Certificate” so I was able to use the express counters and passed through immigration about 5 minutes after leaving the aircraft. Luggage delivery took a while and I was in the arrival hall at 8.03pm, just 3 minutes after the scheduled arrival time of BR216. So I guess we can give this flight a good score for punctuality.
I managed to catch the 8.35pm bus leaving Taoyuan Airport for a smooth ride to my destination.
And that’s it for the first instalment of this series, hope you’ve enjoyed reading and I will catch up with you after tomorrow’s EVA Air flight back to SIN.
[Signing off from Taipei, Taiwan]
I am guessing some of you may have questions to ask me, so I shall answer them here first. Anything else? Feel free to comment as I’d love to reply you!
FAQs Q: Are you treating FlightReport.com as your personal blog?! A: No way. This is an awesome website and I am just a small contributor! But I’ve been around since 2014 and I really want to contribute more here! The day before this flight, I suddenly thought to myself, where will be the best place to share experiences from this trip? Facebook? Nah… People don’t get it. Many just don’t quite understand why we love flying so much!
Q: How did you fund this trip! It’s crazy, yeah? A: I don’t mind saying that some portions were paid for by my parents! For example, my mom paid for the USA trip and the change fee, so that I will fly with her. xD But those $ are on loan and I made a rule to borrow from my parents at credit card interest rate. So I’ll be returning it to them with interest payments, they thought I was crazy, but I insisted that there’s no such thing as 0% borrowing cost in the world.
Q: How about the other itineraries? A: I paid from my savings! And frankly speaking, after considering most of the mileage that can be earned, the cost of the all the air tickets actually decreased by quite a significant bit. (:
(To be continued)
This report was completed on 29 April 2016 at 9.02pm (UTC+08:00). Full sized photographs of this flight can found at https://flic.kr/s/aHskz7cdhJ.
Singapore - SIN
Taipei - TPE
EVA Air’s new B77W impressed me quite a lot. The Economy Class seat was really nice and I think it will be very nice on a long haul flight too. Asking me to rate EVA Air isn’t very objective since this airline contributed to a lot of my childhood memory. When I was young, I used to fly BR a lot between SIN and TPE. But ever since LCCs penetrated the market, my BR flights were all substituted by 3K/TZ flights. Nonetheless, the crew members on this flight were pretty nice and did their job rather flawlessly. Meal was a disappointment. And entertainment was good and bad – the screen was awesome but the entertainment selection still needs a little improvement. On the overall, IFE was good still!
Changi Airport’s Terminal 3 is my most unfamiliar terminal in the airport. And the departure experience there was really comfortable for this flight! Everything went smoothly without hiccups.
In recent years, TPE's Terminal 2 has gradually been outperformed by Terminal 1.
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