I landed in Taipei yesterday morning and had a wonderful flight from Los Angeles to Taipei on EVA Air. I needed to be in Taipei for a friend’s wedding this week, so I redeemed 32,500 United miles + $2.50 in taxes for a one way flight on EVA Air from LAX-TPE.
I booked the flight back in February on such short notice and there weren’t any Business Class saver awards available. I was low on United miles and burned through the rest of my balance with this redemption. A week ago, space opened up for Business Class, but it wasn’t for the dates I wanted since I had to be in on a specific date.
As the days crept up, anxiety built up on the thought of flying 14 hours straight in Economy Class. I’m a lowly Premier Silver on United which translates to Star Alliance Silver, but that did not help me in the online seat assignments. The first seat I was pre-assigned was in row 68! I logged onto EVA Air’s website and chose row 48 in the aisle which was much better.
I had a plan, to hit up LAX airport three hours before the flight to check in and “beg” the agent for a better seat. I checked the Star Alliance Silver benefits and the only benefit is Priority Waitlist, which is useless. I had a mission to be nice, smile, and ask politely. This is the same strategy I use to get better rooms with the front desk agent at hotels.
I approached the agent politely and said “Hi, how are you doing?” She said fine, thanks and I handed over my passport. As soon as she began typing, I asked, “Is there any way I can get a better seat?” She started typing away and asked me which I would prefer? I said I would like an exit row aisle and she had to pick up the phone to call her supervisor for approval. She saw the supervisor coming over to her and hung up the phone. She then asked her supervisor if it was okay, and he said yes, 45H. Score!
This was definitely a huge game changer as I was prepared to suck it up in a cramped seat. The agent surely didn’t have to do any of that, as I don’t have Star Alliance Gold status. Perhaps my Star Alliance Silver status helped a bit, but it never hurts to ask regardless.
As the boarding pass printed, I was shocked that I was still placed in Zone 5 (the last zone), even with Star Alliance Silver status. Anxiety built up as I’ve never boarded in the last zone. There was a fear that I would be forced to gate check in my carry-on luggage and I really hate gate checking any type of bag.
The boarding process was smooth and there was space for everyone’s carry-on bag since the flight was not full. This was my first time ever on Eva Air and I did not know what to expect on this flight. The first thing I noticed was that no one was sitting next to me, or the whole exit row for that matter.
I was surprised there was a pair of slippers as an economy class amenity.
The service was very standard in economy where a meal was served after the flight reached cruising altitude. There was a choice between chicken with rice or pasta. I went with the chicken, which seemed more like curry chicken. It came with steamed veggies, which was the perfect complement to the chicken.
Two hours passed by and I knocked out for a few hours. By the time I woke up, there was still 9 hours left on the flight. Every hour and a half, a flight attendant would pass by the aisles with a tray of water, orange juice, and apple juice. Snacks were also handed out in the same time frame. There was a back galley where snacks and liquids were set up for anyone to grab. I watched a few movies and went back to sleep.
Two hours prior to landing, the flight attendant served a breakfast choice of omelet or pork porridge and I went with the pork porridge.
There were two things that ultimately made this flight smooth and enjoyable for me, which was an exit row seat with unlimited legroom and no seatmates. I felt real fortunate, as it could’ve been worse. Next time I might not be so fortunate on a fourteen-hour nonstop flight.