EVA Air was formed in 1989 as the aviation arm of Taiwan’s Evergreen transport conglomerate. The airline flies exclusively international services while it has a smaller regional subsidy called Uni Air, based in Taiwan’s second city’ Kaohsiung. EVA Air began big with a mixed variety of aircraft types and the airline has always shown a particular focus on air freight which is able to weather the ups and downs of aviation better than reliance on passengers only. In addition to EVA Air Cargo, the airline also business interests in catering, maintenance, ground services and tourism. The business focus of the airline is essentially servicing Taiwan’s business and travel market. The airline has distinctive 1960’s retro logo and colour scheme which often hides the fact the airline is reasonably luxurious. The political tensions between China and Taiwan eased in 2008 and Taiwanese airlines were permitted to fly directly to mainland China. This now forms EVA Air’s most important market. The airline always spells its name in capital letters. By 2013 the airline hopes to join either OneWorld or Star Alliance.
EVA Air provides exceptionally good service in all classes. Taiwanese travellers demand quality and they get it from the airlines youthful and enthusiastic crew. Flight attendants are thin, attractive and attired in a businesslike green uniform. Crew are respectful and formal rather than casual or entertaining. Crew treat passengers like valued customers and promptly answer call buttons and provide extras upon request. The airline is particularly mindful of disabled people and even has a disabled restroom on board larger planes.
EVA Air’s focus is serving Taiwanese travellers and they do this excellently. The airline flies to 40 destinations from Taipei’s futuristic modern airport. The airline flies to 27 destinations in China, including both of Shanghai’s international airports. EVA Air’s services to Japan, South Korea, USA and Canada are similarly comprehensive. The airline flies to other Asian cities, many European cities and has a service Brisbane, Australia. When routes become unprofitable the airline withdraws so has served many other cities in the past.
EVA Air is competitively priced. Foreigners who may not know about EVA Air book because it can be cheap and are then surprised at the excellence of the airlines service. EVA Air is efficient, safe, generous with baggage and provides an excellent cabin experience. EVA Air is generally far superior to legacy airlines and often cheaper too.
EVA Air’s meal service is simply amazing! Budget travellers no longer used to a free meal are in for a very pleasant surprise as the airline provides cooked meals on all legs, even short hops to Hong Kong. On longer flights services are large and appetising. All meals are nicely presented and meals trays look packed. Catering is generally a delicious choice of local Chinese cuisine and Western options as well. Vegetarian travellers will be thrilled to discover their meal service is in no way inferior as EVA Air gives them equal priority. EVA Air is generous with their drinks service and top ups are cheerfully offered.
EVA Air’s Star Gallery inflight entertainment system, designed by Panasonic is available throughout the airline except in one or two older planes. The system has seat back enterainment units with 40 movies and more than 100 audio channels in Mandarin Chinese, English, French, German and Japanese. The entertainment system has plenty of games and films for children. ‘Verve’, the airlines magazine has interesting articles in Mandarin, English and Japanese. EVA Air certainly has not gone for the cheap option in entertainment.
EVA Air certainly believes that the journey starts long before you step on board their aircraft. Check-in is fast, efficient, friendly and polite. In China and Taiwan the airline has introduced self-service Kiosks and plans are afoot to extend the service. Baggage is handled with care and extremely carefully at Taiwanese airports. Baggage theft is unheard of while bags missing connections is extremely rare, making Travel Insurance a consideration rather than a priority.
EVA Air top class of travel is Premium Laurel/Super Business Class which when compared to other airlines resembles their First Class. Seats recline into beds and have plenty of leg room. The airlines meal service is restaurant quality. The airlines crockery is either retro or old fashioned; however it is brand new. The airlines Evergreen Lounges are quietly sophisticated rather than ostentatious. EVA Air was one of the first airlines to introduce a premium economy which they call First Elite.
The airline has Economy and First Elite/Evergreen Deluxe Class, which they describe as premium economy. However American, European or Australian travellers would find First Elite class resembling Business Class in airlines like United, Delta, British Airways, Lufthansa or Qantas. EVA Air’s ‘true’ Economy Class is better than most. Comfortable seats, excellent service, fantastic entertainment, generous meals and good ground service all thrown in.
EVA Air’s Evergreen Club loyalty scheme is aimed at the airlines local market and will be of limited interest to non-Taiwanese or frequent travellers. EVA Air is not yet a member of a global airline alliance however they have partnered their membership to many individual airlines and a large number of hotels, rental cars and other partners. However the scheme has a long way to go before it matches the all encompassing schemes offered by others such as Lufthansa’s Mile & More or Emirates Skywards.
EVA Air sets high standards for its management staff who are expected to deliver the goods. In an age of increasing corruption, incompetence and immoral behaviour in the aviation sector, EVA Air stands apart by retaining moral backbone in most areas of the company. Staff are proud of there employer and cannot be heard gossiping in the galleys which is a sure sign of rot at the top.
EVA Air has an excellent safety record and in more than two decades of flying has had only two incidents, neither resulting in a fatality. The airline buys new aircraft then maintains them to the highest standards. The airline appreciates that cutting costs in maintenance can ultimately be expensive, so they don’t. The airline has its own world class maintenance facilities and is expanding its service to other airlines.
An airline that provides an excellent service in every way at a very competitive price. EVA Air proves you do not have to move downmarket to be successful.
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