Review of EVA Air flight San Francisco Taipei in Business

Airline EVA Air
Flight BR27
Class Business
Seat 8A
Aircraft Boeing 777-300ER
Flight time 13:30
Take-off 08 Jun 18, 01:20
Arrival at 08 Jun 18, 05:50
BR   #11 out of 123 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 84 reviews
socalnow
By GOLD 2351
Published on 29th June 2018
Greetings Flight Report community and thanks for stopping by. I plan to share a series of flights that ticked off a couple of boxes on my airline nerd wish list. The first objective was to visit the second United Polaris Lounge to open, this time in SFO. Was United able to capture the excellent qualities of the ORD lounge in their second offering? The second objective was to experience The new Delta A350-900 and specifically the Delta One Suite product. Is a suite in J class a gimmick or substantive. With the goals in place let's have a quick discussion on how to accomplish them.

My trip on the Delta A350 would be of the NRSA variety so availability would dictate my route. At the time of this trip you could experience the A350 on DTW-NRT-DTW, DTW-ICN-DTW, DTW-PVG_DTW, DTW-PEK-DTW, and ATL-ICN-ATL. I honed in on the PEK route spotting good availability for a Saturday PEK departure. With this flight in mind I set about on getting to PEK, preferably on a Star carrier via SFO. The Polaris Lounge is available to United Business and First Class customers as well as those of Star Alliance members. As much as I enjoy a good lounge the idea of a TPAC flight in UA J was not a desirable one so I turned to the Star Alliance partners for help. I had United Miles to invest in this leg of the trip so I limited the scope of my search to J class as I don't find the UA F mileage redemption to be as good of a value. Of the Star carriers I would rank BR as my preferred J carrier with SQ and ANA coming in just behind. I located the BR space I needed to PEK but could only find it via LAX (although it was the Kitty flight so i was tempted). I set Expert flyer to watch the early morning SFO departures and 3 days before departure the email arrived that space was available on BR27. I quickly booked via united.com and prepared a whirlwind trip.

Carrier, route, equipment, class, lounge, and procurement method:



United Airlines - SNA-SFO - CRJ700 - Economy - No Lounge - United Mileageplus (No Report)
EVA Airways - SFO-TPE - 777-300ER - Business - United Polaris Lounge - United Mileageplus (This Report)
EVA Airways - TPE-PEK - 777-300ER - Business - EVA The Infinity and The Star - United Mileageplus
Delta Air Lines - PEK-DTW - A350-900 - Business - Air China First And Business Class Lounge T2 - NRSA - (Coming Soon)
Delta Air Lines - DTW-ORD - 717-200 - Economy - No Lounge - NRSA (No Report)
American Airlines - ORD-LAX - A321-200 - First - No Lounge - AAdvantage (No Report)

Check In and United Polaris Lounge SFO



The flight from SNA landed around 8pm and we deplaned at gate 84C. Seeing as though I had 5+ hours and I was hoping to get a different seat I decided to visit the EVA check in counter land side. I prefer window seats and I set an Expertflyer.com seat alert for same. I was alerted the morning before that 8A was available but I could no assign it as it was under airport control.

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There was no wait to speak with an agent. I was surprised that the counter was even open as the next BR departure wasn't until 01:00. I asked about 8A and the agent had to make a phone call. She informed me that there was a baby in 8K and would that change my mind about wanting 8A. My original seat was 10G so perhaps about the same distance from the baby so I continued to express interest in 8A. After conferring with another agent she finally presented me with a boarding pass for 8A.

The premium class security line was light and despite no TSA Pre I was through in about 10 minutes. I looked around for a directory to locate the lounge but it wasn't necessary as it's immediately visible from the checkpoint.

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As you enter the sliding glass doors there is a staffed desk to validate your credentials for entering the lounge. The female United staffer that I encountered took one look at my boarding pass and said I was in the wrong lounge. Her associate encouraged her to just scan it and see what the computer "said." Of course the computer and I were in agreement and was permitted to enter. The time was approaching 21:00 and she mentioned to me that the restaurant closes at 21:15 so be sure to visit there first if I would like a meal.

The lounge is on two levels. The check in desk and entrance is on level one and the bulk of the seating, dining, and bar are on level two. Let's look at level one first. Just past the entrance to the left are the escalators and to the right elevators. There is also a large seating area further past the conveyances as well as shower suites and nap areas.

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First floor seating and beverage station.



Shower suite. There was no wait and the staff were very friendly and eager to offer amenities. Note that razors are not available yet due to some issue with the airport and security. The showers themselves are new and clean, water pressure is good, temp is good, and ventilation is also strong.



I wasn't going to take the time to nap but I asked if i could see the space. I verified there were no guests in the nap area to disturb and was given a tour.



Let's go upstairs. The second level is quite a bit longer than the first. One end is an area called The Studio and the other end terminates at the dining room. Once you reach the top of the escalator to your left will be seating, ticket assistance desks and The Studio, with additional seating.



The ticketing assistance positions.

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General seating leading to The Studio.



"The Studio" appears to be used for storage.

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The restrooms and shower areas featured constellation lighting on the ceiling supporting the Polaris theme.

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If you make a right at the top of the escalator you encounter the bulk of the lounge and most of the good bits.



The seating all over the lounge is diverse and comfortable. There must be 4 charging options for each seat. I prefer these "cubicle" type seats.

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Further down the hall is the bar, buffet and restaurant.

Bar.

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Buffet area.



Sandwiches and small plates. keep in mind it's 22:00 so the offerings during peak times probably differ.



Salads.

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Noodle soup station.



Some leftovers from the United club.

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Beverage station.

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Coffee and tea station.

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I admired the blow glass light fixtures at several spots in the lounge.

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Dining room entrance.

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I was greeted at the entrance by a friendly "manager looking type" and offered the seat of my choosing. He brought me the food and beverage menus and some water. He indicated that the server would be with me shortly.

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The beverage menu.



The dining menu.



The female server was smiling and friendly and offered to start a drink for my. I opted for the Paper Plane remembering that I sampled several variants of this drink in the ORD Polaris lounge and enjoyed them. This on was nicely balanced and flavorful as well.

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During my stay in the dining room there were 8 other patrons dining all of which, save one, were seated when I arrived. The room probably had the capacity for 30 or so.

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I ordered the shrimp cake for a starter and the Polaris burger for a main. I was really inclined to try the cioppino but I was hesitant ordering a bowl of various shell fish, at closing time, in an airport lounge. I'm getting quite conservative in my old age. The server asked if I wanted this coursed out or all at once. I opted for the former.

The shrimp cake was first and true to the menu it was crispy. The plating was beautiful and the lightly pickled garnishes were complimentary.

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In between courses I slipped in an order for the United Polaris Old Fashioned and it was a good example of the drink. Quality ingredients and even handed balance.

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The burger sounded great on paper, and elements of it were, however the beef patty was a rather institutional variety. I was asked how I wanted it cooked which is certainly a premium touch. It was perfectly tasty but not next level, craft burger wise. The chips were quite good, well seasoned and appeared freshly made.

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The service in the dining room was exceptional. Even though they "close" at 21:15 there was never any rush to clear the place out. My server offered dessert and drinks. I don't know the policy but it appeared they would stay as long as passengers wanted to stay.

I visited the bar in my remaining time in the lounge. One of the bar tenders, Michael, is a home distiller and we had a nice chat on the subject. Turned out we even had a mutual acquaintance, a former bar keep at the SFO Centurion lounge who is a master as well. I sampled a couple of Michael's cocktails, a whisky sour and the other escapes me, and also had nice chats with some friendly passengers as well. It really is a treat that United made the effort to staff the bar with an expert mixologist who takes care in his craft.



BR27 SFO-TPE



I left the lounge at the advertised boarding time and made the 4 minute walk to G95 where boarding was underway.



Boarding through L1 even though my seat is close to L2 due to the line in the L2 jet way.

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I'm in 8A, the first seat in the second J cabin. It's a good seat with the extra storage shelf by virtue of the bulk head. I was not disturbed by galley and lav activities as the curtain is think and long. There is decent storage (although much is marked to not be used for take off and landing) and an average size foot well. I will note that this is the older version of this seat with the dated video controller.



I was quickly greeted by the flight attendant taking care of this section. She addressed me by name and welcomed me aboard. She offered pajamas and a beverage to start. I requested the champagne and gave her my size request. She was back shortly with champagne, water, oshibori, and a small chocolate. A second visit brought the sleep wear, slippers, and amenity kit.



I took a trip to the lav to don the sleep wear.



Back at my seat and very amused by the sleep pants I reviewed the menus.

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First up the beverages.



The food offerings. I had pre-ordered a beef stir fry dish on the EVA website.



About this time the mother and infant sitting in 8K came around offering a gift to each passenger as to ease any inconvenience she may cause. While I find it totally unnecessary I was very impressed by the gesture. For the record the baby cried a few times, as babies do, but she seemed to be easily consoled by her mother or grandmother and was no bother to me.

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The airplane is all buttoned up and ready to depart. Seems like the Air Canada next door is a RON.

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I dozed during taxi and takeoff so I don't have any idea which runway we used. I awoke to mood lighting a star filled cabin and service was beginning.

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The headphones to enjoy the IFE.

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Service starts promptly with the canapes. Cajun chicken with herb cream on taro and ham mousse on baguette. Both are fine and are a welcome accompaniment to the excellent Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 2006.

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The table is set after the canapes are cleared. Awesome table linen.



The appetizer of lobster creme fraiche with pesto grilled scallop and salmon roe is served. It's lovely presentation matches the quality ingredients. The roe has a good snap and the lobster is no trending towards rubber. It's a perfect tasting portion for this time of night (morning). I must say I was surprised how many passengers stayed awake for the meal service. Perhpas that's a reflection of the quality EVA catering.

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Even though the cabin is full the service seems very well timed. In the section covered by my flight attendant there are 8 seats and probably 6 passengers dining so that helps. Dishes are hand delivered and cleared with precision. The beef main course is offered next. While it lacks in presentation the tender flavorful meat made up for that shortcoming.

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As much as I could stay with the VCLGD all flight I requested the Chateau Haut Condissas 2011, Medoc, Bordeaux which was abundantly drinkable.

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Dessert was a simple affair but, again, a quality experience. I definitely lamented the lack of a cheese offering but given the hour I suppose it's forgivable.

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After the meal was cleared water bottles were distributed.

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I setup my bed and attempted to get some shut eye. The bedding was comfortable and included a pad to cover the seat. The duvet was fluffy and luxurious feeling. Thankfully the cabin temp was moderated to the cool end of the spectrum. Sleep was difficult despite all of these creature comforts. I think my body was confused as it was nearing the time I would wake up at home. I surrendered after a few hours of dozing off and on.

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So, what to do on a long haul T-Pac when you can't achieve meaningful sleep? Try the snack menu! I requested the stir fried noodles with pork and vegetables. It turned out to be a very satisfying dish when combined with the chili condiment.



A trip to the lav revealed that some extra amenities were provisioned.



Flying trough the night allows for opeing the window shade without disturbing anyone in the cabin. I saw a spectacular lighting storm around Japan. It tooka bout 100 shots to capture the lightning.



After some window gazing and napping ina n out through some IFE programming breakfast was offered. The table was set and oshibori presented.

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Fruit, yogurt, and musclei to start.

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I know, boring western breakfast. It was an oddly tasty airplane egg dish. The meats were not for me but the sauteed spinach was enjoyable.

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EVA offers proper coffee drinks as well so I enjoyed a cappuccino.

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After breakfast was complete I enjoyed the views from the window, again happy I was able to sit in 8A.



I've spotted the island.

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We flew past the airport and made a 180 degree turn to setup the approach.



Taxi tot he gate was brief and we parked next to our twin.

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See more

Verdict

EVA Air

8.4/10
Cabin8.5
Cabin crew8.5
Entertainment8.0
Meal/catering8.5

United Airlines United First International Lounge

8.5/10
Comfort8.5
Meal/catering8.5
Entertainment8.5
Services8.5

San Francisco - SFO

7.8/10
Efficiency6.0
Access8.0
Services8.5
Cleanliness8.5

Taipei - TPE

7.8/10
Efficiency8.0
Access7.5
Services7.5
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

The Ground Service: I was pleased the counter was staffed earlier than i expected. I was also thankful to be able to move in to a window seat. Seemingly insignificant but to an airplane geek so important.

The Lounge: United have done it again. This is a great lounge experience and probably as good as it gets for J passengers in the USA. Despite the predictably bad service from the UA employees at the front desk the contract lounge staff were all excellent. The restaurant is solid with the service making up for what is likely mediocre food. The adult beverage program is impressive.

The Cabin: One of the best J products around, in my opinion. The cabin is somewhat dated and plastic but the seat is comfortabel in both lounging and bed positions. Storage is ample. The window affords decent privacy in bed mode.

The Crew: This is only my second long haul on EVA and I was again impressed with the caring and precise service provided. I was addressed by name and always greeted with a smile. The quality was bordering on the level of service you might find on JAL or ANA.

The Food and Beverage: I mark EVA way above average in terms of J catering. There are several examples of premium ingredients and premium wines that are right at home in an F cabin.

Overall: You'd be hard pressed to find a better way to cross the Pacific Ocean in Business Class.

Thank you for reading and happy flying.

Informations on the route San Francisco (SFO) Taipei (TPE)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 3 reviews of 2 airlines on the route San Francisco (SFO) → Taipei (TPE).


Useful

The airline with the best average grade is with /10.

The average flight time is 13.0 hours and 45.0 minutes.

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15 Comments

  • Comment 452503 by
    rbix SILVER 55 Comments

    Wonderful trip report as always, Socalnow! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I have to say, according to what you've said in this report, it definitely shows that BR is an excellent airline! Hopefully, I can get the chance to try it out sometime soon! Happy travels!

    • Comment 452519 by
      socalnow GOLD AUTHOR 737 Comments

      Greetings Rbix and thank you for the kind comments. I know you are an dedicated CX flyer but I think the BR product is very competitive. I need to get on a CX long haul in J for a comparison. I read CX is revamping their J service so maybe I will wait until this refinement is complete. I hope you give BR a try too. Thanks again and happy flying.

  • Comment 452504 by
    hometoyyz SILVER 311 Comments

    Hey Socal… thanks for sharing another fun-looking adventure, and again, one that’s just my style in motivation and execution. I look forward to watching it unfold.

    I’m blown away by the Polaris Lounge, to be honest. United took a lot of (well-deserved) heat for the crawling pace at which they’ve opened additional Polaris Lounges, but it’s good to see that at least they took that extra time to get the details right. It has a really nice decor, reminding of me in style of higher-end CX and SQ lounges in overall feel. Beautiful, and it looks like well-executed too.

    The drinks look lovely, and that shrimp cake. Oh my. A thing of beauty.

    And then the lovely BR 77W J experience. Sigh. Probably the thing I miss the most since migrating away from Star Alliance is BR J… the way YYZ-TPE would open up reliably about 14 days out, making it a fantastic and reliable way to plan last-minute mileage-burning adventures. Sigh. And perhaps sigh again.

    Given my current loyalties, I wish CI would consider competing with them on this route, but alas, I fear that’s not too likely, since BR YYZ-TPE and AC and BR YVR-TPE probably just about have Canada-Taipei locked down. But would be nice to see a CI 77W or 359 (and ample CI award space) arriving into T3 at YYZ.

    Wow! Those pajama pants are very…. different from the old drab-coloured BR jammies. I kinda dig them though. I found the old ones fitting a little small for me… how does the new gear complain?

    Interesting to see that the long-lived, and much-marketed EVA Rimowa amenity kits are a thing of the past, although it look like the satchel-style bag could be quite useful.

    Nice touch by the new parents in 8K, and I’m glad Sophia had a pretty good first flight — who am I kidding — BR J is a FANTASTIC first flight. Nice touch, too, that EVA’s noise-cancellers probably meant Sophia wouldn’t have been too much of a distraction even if she had a rougher flight.

    Glad to see BR continues to offer great champagnes in J. And that odd but compelling table cloth.

    Catering looks definitely to EVA standards. I have to admit that not sleeping all the way on Asian flights to try out the snack menu is a favourite thing of mine when sleep does not come easy. Because two fairly large meals in the course of a flight just isn’t enough!

    How were the fruit? I remember BR’s fruit so vividly. It’s always a cut above. That and the rock-sugar swizzle stick distributed with cappuccinos. About the only time I put sugar in my coffee, because how could I not? (Except, perhaps, to just munch on the sugar stick like candy….)

    I’m just living vicariously through you at this point, I’m afraid.

    Lovely shots on approach, and I agree with you wholeheartedly about the merits of BR J. I miss it so… but I’m afraid I’m a good 70k or more Aeroplan points away from trying it again. Sigh.

    Looking forward to the rest of your series. Thanks again for sharing this one!

    • Comment 452520 by
      socalnow GOLD AUTHOR 737 Comments

      Mr. Hometoyyz it's great to hear from you again, it's been so long. I really appreciate your thoughtful comments.

      "United took a lot of (well-deserved) heat for the crawling pace at which they’ve opened additional Polaris Lounges, but it’s good to see that at least they took that extra time to get the details right. It has a really nice decor, reminding of me in style of higher-end CX and SQ lounges in overall feel. "
      -I certainly dished out my fair share of the critique. The gap between ORD and SFO made me think they had scrapped the whole concept. Now EWR and IAH are up and running (or close).

      "Wow! Those pajama pants are very…. different from the old drab-coloured BR jammies. I kinda dig them though. I found the old ones fitting a little small for me… how does the new gear complain?"
      -I love the pants. They are a bit snug as I only used the pants and wore a t-shirt up top. I'm also on the + size so that's not really a knock on EVA as much as me.

      "Interesting to see that the long-lived, and much-marketed EVA Rimowa amenity kits are a thing of the past, although it look like the satchel-style bag could be quite useful."
      -Miss the Rimowa...

      "How were the fruit? "
      -Funny you mention that. It was perfection. The perfect example of each variety. Uncanny.

      Thanks again for the notes Hometoyyz and happy flying.

    • Comment 452522 by
      socalnow GOLD AUTHOR 737 Comments

      " Probably the thing I miss the most since migrating away from Star Alliance..."
      -Does this mean you haven't tried the Air Canada Signature Suite? I'm very curious about that lounge. The entry is so restrictive(and borderline offensive) I doubt I'll ever experience it.

  • Comment 452514 by
    dreamweaver888 60 Comments

    What an absolutely marvelous trip report on what looks to be a 5-star experience on BR! Thanks!

  • Comment 452584 by
    757Fan 462 Comments

    Great photos and report - it looks like you had a great flight with EVA. The food looks delicious!

  • Comment 452594 by
    pokcay 64 Comments

    Greatly written report, enjoyed reading it, looking forward for more!

  • Comment 453326 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4475 Comments

    An amazing report as always! Wow, thank you so much for the very thorough review of the new UA SFO Polaris Lounge. It seems so huge. I love the decor--some elements remind me of Cathay's lounges in HKG, notably the marble walls with signage. I'm so happy that finally the US carriers are FINALLY stepping up their J lounge game. Between the UA Polaris lounges and the AA Flagship lounges, US carriers are offering Intl J pax a lounge experience comparable, if not better in some cases, than Euro and Asian carriers. Pretty soon, I'll be able to stop making my "U.S. lounges are crappy" sweeping generalization, and that's a very good thing!

    Looks like BR provided an excellent TPAC J experience. Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 453965 by
      socalnow GOLD AUTHOR 737 Comments

      Thanks for the note Kevin. With UA and AA rising what will DL do? Skyclubs are generally nicer than United/ Admirals Clubs but no where near a Flagship or Polaris Lounge. Thanks again and happy flying.

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