I’m an anxious flyer, always have been since a bad bout of turbulence when travelling as a kid. Who knew all I needed to get over my 21 years of flying fear was a hypnosis session and one flight with EVA Air?
EVA Air ranked 9th in the ‘Best of the Best World’s Best Airlines in 2021’ by AirlineRatings.com, and 7th in SKYTRAX’s ‘World’s Top 10 Airlines.’ After travelling with them, it’s undoubtedly clear why they are so highly regarded in the world of travel. EVA Air is currently serving 64 destinations over four continents and this experience was a return trip to Thailand.
Pioneers of Premium Economy Class to the UK market, EVA Air offers 3 classes of travel: Royal Laurel Class (their business class), Premium Economy Class and Economy Class.
Flying EVA’s Royal Laurel Class
Checking in for Royal Laurel Class was seamless and everyone was tremendously friendly. In your own exclusive queue, we are greeted at check-in where our luggage was promptly taken off us. A quick trip through fast-tracked security with more welcoming smiles and you are in the heart of Heathrow airport. With Royal Laurel Class you also gain access to an Executive Airport Lounge. I chose the Lufthansa Lounge, which is just a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of a busy Heathrow. Yet in this calming utopia, you can’t hear a thing from the outside world.
I will be honest that I’ve never travelled business before, but after my luxuriate experience, I can understand the appeal of the luxury it provides. The longest flight I have ever taken seemed to flash by in the blink of an eye with the pure relaxation on board.
Boarding the plane was a very calm and serene experience. We were welcomed by the well-presented and friendly crew who showed me to my seat. Immediately, my jaw hit the floor as I saw how much room I had to myself. These spacious, wide set chairs (21.2” to 25.2” in width), are fully adjustable to suit your comfort, including an adaptable headrest and an electric customizable lumbar support, which is great if you’re 31 going on 95 like me. With an expansive amount of leg room and a collection of buttons to control these 2-metre-long chairs, at first, it is a little confusing, but once you have found your feet, you find your perfect prime position and can unwind completely. The seats have ‘cheat’ buttons that take you from sitting and preparing for take-off to fully reclined and ready to snooze. Set out in the formation of 1-2-1, with separators in between for optimum privacy, you have plenty of USB ports, an international plug socket, ample storage space for your travel essentials and a reading light.
On my seat, I find a super soft duvet, a big fluffy pillow and comfy noise-cancelling headphones. I pop my carry-on luggage in the overhead storage compartment, which has an abundance of space for my belongings and airport shopping. It even has a mirror which is great for checking you have all your belongings as you get off the plane. As I take my seat, I can already feel my worries and anxieties melting away as I use my refreshing hand towel and sip my welcome drink of sparkling wine.
I would love to talk about take-off, but due to my tranquil state, I barely noticed us leaving the ground. Once we are in the air, we are offered complimentary overnight bags that are packed full of essential and indulgent goodies. I eagerly peeked inside and found everything I would need, including a super soft adjustable eye mask and a handy lens cleaning cloth. Inside a smaller bag are toiletries provided by Salvatore Ferragamo which include a hand cream, body lotion and lip balm.
When it’s nearly time to retire for the evening, our Air Hostesses offer their guests pyjamas and cushioned slippers by Jason Wu, a Taiwanese-Canadian fashion designer and artist. These super stylish, warm and soft-to-the-touch pj’s come in a variety of sizes. With pockets, a drawstring hood and drawstring waist features, they were perfect for stretching out my legs on the plane, and sleeping and are so chic I will most definitely be using them as loungewear at home. I’m then asked if I would like a mattress put on my seat, which I happily agreed to. It transforms the already restful seat into a plush bed, and I notice myself yawning in anticipation of my snooze.
As I recline 180 degrees at just the touch of a button, I look up to the ceiling of the aircraft and see calming blinking LEDs resembling a starry night above me. I pop on my ergonomic, noise-cancelling, soft padded headphones to omit the lull of the engine. Playing the soothing vocals of Frank Sinatra, I softly drift into the land of nod, feeling the most content and peaceful I have ever felt on an aeroplane.
Flying EVA’s Premium Economy
On the way back from Thailand, it was time to experience EVA Air again. Whilst checking in for Premium Economy, you have a separate check-in queue, so waiting times are diminished. They also confirmed my dietary requirements, which I thought was a lovely touch. A quick shout out to the EVA Air Lounge in Bangkok, which deserves an entire review itself. Its stylish elegance oozes sophistication and is a great way to start your relaxing experience on a perfect, stress-free note.
The stylish design of this class of travel was contemporary and slick. When boarding the plane pre-laid in my seat, which is an impressive 19.5 inches wide, I found a swanky pillow, a soft blanket and a pair of headphones. I am instantly struck by the ample leg room in front of me as well as the copiousness of overhead storage, which matched that of Royal Laurel Class. With a coat hanger handily on the chair in front, a remote for your adjustable screen that pops out for ease of use and a chair that reclines to 121.2 degrees to be very specific, with a height adjustable footstool, I think to myself, ‘I’m going to be happy here.”
Soon after taking off, we are given wash bags with everything we need to feel fresh as we travel. As the passenger in front of me reclines, and to my joy, my leg room isn’t affected at all, the mood lighting is turned into relaxation mode. I find myself dropping the tension from my shoulders, letting out an exhale of breath as I melt into the ergonomically designed chair.
Food worth Flying For
Let’s talk about plane food…being a nervous flyer most of my life, I wouldn’t eat on a plane and even the smell of the hot food made me feel unwell, but not with EVA Air. I could feel my stomach rumbling as soon as I caught the aroma from the galley.
The main difference between dining in Premium Economy and Royal Laurel Class was the style of service. In Royal Laurel, there is elegance and flair, with each course served separately, accompanied by the most adorable miniature salt and pepper shakers. After every meal, you are given an individual prepacked ‘shot’ of mouthwash, which I personally thought was brilliant. With an impressive selection of drinks on board, there really is something to tantalise everyone’s tastebuds, it only felt right to go with champagne. In Premium Economy, everything was served at the same time and the quality of the food was consistently brilliant.
Before I caught my 40 winks, (ok I got about 6 hours, but that’s not bad going for an overnight flight), I was asked if I would like to be woken for food, and I, of course, said yes! Every dish, no matter which class, was flavoursome, and nutritious. Looking at the menu, which is available to browse on the screen regardless of where you’re sitting, there was a diverse appetising selection of meals.
In Royal Laurel, you have an expansive foldout table, which is great for working if you have some business to attend to, and it’s even better for spreading out the collection of food and drink you are offered. Once they have decked out your table with a stylish tablecloth, it’s time to begin your 4-course meal around 36000 feet above the ground. Although the table in Premium Economy isn’t quite the same surface area, you still have plenty of room for all your food, plus additional space in between your seats for your drink. This handy table is on a slide mechanism and also folds in half for your comfort, there is no one size fits with this airline.
Now, what is a long-haul flight for if not for bingeing brilliant movies as you soar through the sky? Entertainment on the 15.4” touch screens are the same across the whole aircraft.
In Royal Laurel class you have the exceptional noise cancelling, fully adjustable headphones that are so softly padded you barely notice they are there. In Premium Economy, you are given smaller noise-cancelling headphones that don’t offer the same comfort but drown out the natural plane noises around you, so you can fully be engrossed in their brilliant entertainment.
With something for everyone, you have all the entertainment you need literally at your fingertips. Genres of music to suit your mood, in-flight shopping, an interactive map for the avid aviation fans, games (where you use the pop-out remote as a games console…very cool). They also boasted a wide variety of TV shows from across the globe including dramas, comedies, lifestyle and documentaries. What was extremely enthralling, and what I spent most of my flight time indulging in, was watching their vast selection of movies. From world cinema, new releases, to romcoms, to classics, they really did have something for the film lover in everyone.
In a nutshell
Just try and keep me away from that runway! Travelling with EVA Air was pure luxury and I arrived at both destinations feeling relaxed and recuperated. Having the experience of travelling Royal Laurel Class gave me the opportunity to fully relax on a plane like never before, and I had the epiphany that even if I can’t recline 180 degrees, I’m still on the same aircraft, with the same natural plane movements, slight turbulence and I felt surprisingly serene. Boarding for premium economy, I felt just as calm and excited to travel, and for the first time in my life, I’m looking forward to booking my next holiday where I take a flight…Hopefully, it’s another carefree trip with EVA Air.
EVA Air is an award winning airline and a Star Alliance member that flies direct from London Heathrow to Bangkok and onwards to Taipei and Brisbane in oriental elegance. Travellers can upgrade from its generous Economy Class to Premium Economy and Royal Laurel for even more comfort and luxury.
To discover more, visit: evaair.com
London to Bangkok from £621
London to Taipei from £707
London to Brisbane from £783
(Current fares, valid for tickets issued before 31 December 2022)
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All imagery courtesy of EVA Air.