Review: EVA Air A330 Business Class (HKG-TPE)

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Review Overview

While this angled-flat business class hard product would suck on a longhaul flight, I enjoyed the opportunity to fly EVA Air's A330 shorthaul, and had a great flight.


As I mentioned in the last installment, I paid a visit to the Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge at Hong Kong Airport, followed by the United Club. From the United Club I was able to see the EVA Air A330 that would be taking me to Taipei, as it pulled into gate 62 at around 12:35 PM.

While 12:35 PM was still a good 30 minutes before our boarding time, it was well beyond the scheduled arrival time of 12:10 PM, so it was no surprise when the ground staff announced a boarding delay of 5 minutes.

EVA Air Airbus A330 Hong Kong Airport

Sure enough, at 1:10 PM boarding was called. While I wasn’t first in line, I managed to be first onboard in the business class cabin, as everyone in front of me was an EVA Air elite.

Before I move on to the flight review, I should probably mention that I made a video on this flight, which you can find here:

EVA Air 868
Thursday, January 3, 2019
Origin: Hong Kong (HKG) Gate: 62 Dep: 13:35 (13:40)
Destination: Taipei (TPE) Gate: B8 Arr: 15:20 (15:35)
Duration: 1 h 45 min (1 h 55 min)
Aircraft: Airbus A330-200 Reg: B-16311
Seat: 9K (Business Class)

EVA Air has a large variety of hard products. Their 787 features their newest staggered business class product (which I’ll review on the inbound), their 777s feature reverse herringbone seats, some of their A330-300s feature flat beds, some of their A330-300s feature ex-Singapore Airlines angled flat seats, and their A321s feature recliners.

Then they have two A330-200s that feature EVA Air’s old longhaul product from many years ago (a variant of their 747 seat, which they pulled out of service in 2017), which my flight featured. It’s probably the worst out of all of EVA Air’s widebody hard products, though I certainly preferred it to an A321, which would otherwise be my only option.

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class

I was strangely excited to check out an objectively “bad” widebody business class hard product. As you’d expect, these are angled flat seats laid out in a 2-2-2 configuration. The cabin consisted of 24 seats, laid out across 4 rows.

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class Cabin

Man, this cabin was old. The prominent dark green faux colour tones and drab grey seats made the cabin seem way past its prime, and the tiny TV screens didn’t add much either.

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class Cabin

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class Cabin

As is my preference, I decided to select seat 9K, which was the right window seat in the last row of the cabin. Not only did it afford me a lot of privacy as no one was looking at me, people tend to select seats in the front of the cabin when they have a choice, which left me a row to myself.

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class Seats 9H and 9K

As far as angled flat seats go, the legroom was alright, and the padding rather comfortable.

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class Seats 9H and 9K

In retrospect I could’ve also chosen the bulkhead row, which was much more spacious, and featured a platform above the PTVs that served as a little storage space (as the seat otherwise has none). The right bulkhead window seats actually ended up being unoccupied, but I chose to stick to my own row, as I had it to myself.

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class Seats 6A and 6C

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class Bulkhead Seats TV

While I was at it, I also decided to check out the economy cabin, which featured seats in a 2-4-2 configuration.

EVA Air Airbus A330 Economy Class

I found the patterns on the seats quite intriguing, and the seats were wide enough though severely in need of padding.

EVA Air Airbus A330 Economy Class

I returned later in the flight to check out the economy cabin, where a good number of the seats were empty (the load was quite light on this particular flight). EVA’s A330 economy seats are quite bare bones, with standard recline and no USB ports or in-seat storage (I’m not sure if there’s power between seats). It reminded me of one of Thai Airways’ oldest A330 economy products.

EVA Air Airbus A330 Economy Class

EVA Air Airbus A330 Economy Class Recline

Back at my business class seat I found the intuitive seat controls to my right. One of my biggest complaints about the seat is that the seat controls were right by the area where you’d normally place your elbow, so it was quite easily to accidentally adjust your seat.

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class Seat Controls

To my left I found a side table (which is really where the in-seat storage stops at this seat, unfortunately).

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class Side Table

In front of me was a literature pocket, a coat hook, and a small TV screen. I was surprised to see that this was a touchscreen TV, which I certainly wasn’t expecting from this older plane.

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class TV Screen

Also to my left was a sizeable privacy divider, which was sturdy, but I’m not sure how much privacy it afforded (I didn’t need it on the flight, though, as I had the entire row to myself).

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class Privacy Divider

The tray table folded out of the side table. It was a good size, and quite sturdy.

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class Tray Table

Storage space in this configuration was limited to a small pocket underneath the side table. This area featured a power port, and I actually have no idea what the thing is on the right. Anyone have any ideas?

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class Storage Space

Overall, I thought the seat would’ve been well-equipped for a longhaul business class product 20 years ago, but by this point the seat was well past its prime. Aside from the angled lie flat position and the tiny, low-resolution PTV screen, the amount of storage was comically low. I certainly thought the seat was more than enough for a one-hour flight, though this seat used to fly longhaul until just last year. Fortunately these planes seem to be banished to sub-2 hour flights these days, as FlightRadar24 suggests.

Provided at my seat was a large, supportive pillow (which I would’ve been happy with on a longhaul flight).

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class Pillow

At my seat I also found headphones in a case. I don’t think I’ve seen that on any other airline in business class.

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class Headphone Case

While the headphones weren’t noise cancelling, they were otherwise easily the best headphones I’ve received onboard a plane. I used them briefly to browse the entertainment system, and the sound balance was really impressive. No, these aren’t better than my Bose pair; but they’re certainly far from crappy economy class headphones!

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class Headphones

For such an old hard product I was surprised to see the new Airbus overhead monitors, though there were no air nozzles provided.

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class Overhead Panel

I was filming when I was at my seat, so I didn’t receive my pre-departure beverage until around 20 minutes later. Instead of giving you beverages off a tray, EVA offers pre-departure beverages to order, which is another small touch that I love about the soft product. The inflight manager Emily came to my seat, greeted me by name, took my pre-departure beverage order, and also took my meal order (that was supposed to happen, though I didn’t receive a menu, since I was filming when they passed the menus out).

I asked for some champagne, but they only served sparkling wine on the ground (due to taxes). The sparkling wine was, kindly speaking, on the acidic side. While not undrinkable, it was too sour, and not very pleasant.

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class Pre-Departure Beverage

Another flight attendant soon came by with slippers and a blanket. I don’t know where my picture of the blanket went, but it was plush and quilted. Meanwhile, the slippers were so plush and fancy that I brought them home.

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class Slippers

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class Slippers

When Emily realised I didn’t have a menu she quickly brought one over, which read as follows:

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class Menu

The menu also came with a drinks list, which read as follows. I was very impressed by the alcoholic beverage selection, though unfortunately the non-alcoholic selection was less appealing (though still not half bad):

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class Drinks List

When the flight attendant took my meal order, she asked “and would you like anything with your meal?”. She then acknowledged that I’d gotten sparkling wine instead of champagne for my pre-departure beverage, offering up “maybe some champagne?” I appreciated that!

Soon the door closed, and I was thrilled to see that I had row 9 to myself. Sometimes choosing the last row in the cabin really pays off!

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class Empty Seats!

Shortly after the door closed, the captain came onto the PA to announce our flight time of 1 hour and 10 minutes. Afterwards the safety video played. While the screen was touchscreen, it was quite low resolution, which was unfortunate.

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class Safety Video

EVA Air’s safety video is quite artsy, which I like.

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class Safety Video

We pushed back at 1:40 PM, and passed a few heavies on the way to the runway. Hello, Korean Air 747-8!

Korean Air Boeing 747-8 Hong Kong Airport

Hello, Singapore Airlines A380!

Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 Hong Kong Airport

We also passed an Etihad A330. Prior to this flight I wasn’t sure if Etihad was operating A330s or 787s to Hong Kong anymore, so I guess this was somewhat of a confirmation.

Etihad Airbus A330 Hong Kong Airport

Furthermore, we also passed Philippine Airlines and KLM heavies. KLM operates a 747 to Hong Kong a few days per week, though today wasn’t one of those days.

Philippine Airlines Airbus A330 Hong Kong Airport

KLM Boeing 777 Hong Kong Airport

We got to runway 07R at 2:10 PM, and swiftly departed from Hong Kong Airport. Unfortunately it was quite a foggy day, though we did get some good views of a Kalitta Air cargo 747.

Views upon Takeoff Hong Kong Airport

Cruising above Hong Kong Airport

After takeoff I briefly tested my seat in the angled flat position. The angle was quite steep, though I was able to lounge comfortably, mostly thanks to the seat’s good padding. I don’t think I’d have had quite a solid night of sleep in this angled flat seat, though.

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class Bed Mode

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class Bed Mode

As I’d mentioned earlier, the flight attendant took my meal order on the ground. I’d ordered a roasted cod fillet with pesto crust. While not perfectly cooked, it was plenty flavourful, and the pasta was good as well.

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class Meal – Roasted Cod Filet with Pesto Crust, Assorted Vegetables and Orecchiette

It was served with some fresh fruit, as well as a tasty opera cake. The opera cake was mellow in sweetness but otherwise quite decadent.

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class Meal – Fruit and Opera Cake

This was served with some (slightly soggy, unfortunately) garlic bread.

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class Meal – Garlic Bread

As mentioned earlier, my meal was served with some Champagne Delamotte Blanc de Blancs 2007, which I, unfortunately, didn’t really care for. This champagne goes for ~HK$530 a bottle, but it lacked the crisp and fruity aromas that I associate with champagne. Ultimately EVA Air serves Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 2006 champagne on their longhaul flights, which retails for around twice the price, so it should be substantially better.

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class Champagne

The crew on this flight were a treat. They were friendly and bubbly, and there wasn’t much of a language barrier (given how much my Chinese has deteriorated recently, I choose not to embarrass myself with it outside of class). They also addressed me by name (“Mr. Alvin”), which was a nice touch.

Afterwards I decided to check out EVA Air’s Star Gallery entertainment system. There was quite an extensive spread of movies, including 28 new releases; I also found the music selection to be quite satisfactory, especially considering the age of the aircraft. EVA Air certainly isn’t skimping on their entertainment system here!

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class Entertainment Selection

Ultimately I decided to turn on the airshow for a bit, which was somewhat more standard, providing limited interactivity.

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class Airshow

I was sure having a lot of fun, especially having half the cabin to myself!

Yours Truly in EVA Air A330 Business Class

Soon the captain came onto the PA, thanking us for flying EVA. He advised that we’d begin to land in about 10 minutes. Sure enough, around 15 minutes later, the crew got the cabin ready for descent.

In between the two announcements, I decided to check out the lavatory. It wasn’t special by any means, but it did provide moisturiser and cologne from Harnn (there was no branded Harnn hand wash, though).

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class Lavatory

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class Lavatory Harnn Amenities

Once I returned to my seat I was also provided with a hot towel.

EVA Air Airbus A330 Business Class Hot Towel

While Taipei was somewhat overcast, flying over the coastline gave us some decent views of the island’s west coast.

Views upon Landing into Taipei Airport

We descended into Taipei Taoyuan airport and touched down at roughly 3:25 PM.

Views upon Landing into Taipei Airport

It’s hard to miss the fact that you’re in Taiwan, due to the huge Taiwanese flag plastered in front of the terminal.

Views upon Landing into Taipei Airport

Upon arriving we saw many China Airlines heavies, including a China Airlines 777 and A350. China Airlines’ longhaul cabin interiors look stunning, and I sure hope to give them a try in the future.

China Airlines Boeing 777 Taipei Airport

China Airlines Airbus A350 Taipei Airport

I was confused as we taxiied into Terminal 1, as EVA Air typically uses Terminal 2 out of Taipei Airport. Apparently Terminal 1 is used as an overflow terminal for EVA, as the two terminals are closely connected. Both and my arrival and departure gates were situated in Terminal 1 (they were next to each other, actually), so it would be quite a haul to the lounge, which I planned to spend some time in before my return flight.

On the way to gate B8 we passed an AirAsia A330 in a UFC livery.

AirAsia UFC Airbus A330 Taipei Airport

We parked next to a Scoot 787, which I really want to try in the future (though  it’ll be a while – I’ve heard mostly terrible things about Scoot, so I’d like to try them alone, and they no longer fly 787s to Hong Kong anymore).

Scoot Boeing 787 Taipei Airport

When I got off the plane I was pointed towards the Terminal 2 immigration area. After walking with the crowd I realised the signage for my departure gate was pointing the other direction, so I followed the signage towards the Terminal 1 transfer area. The entire process was painless – the immigration officers started the X-ray machine for me, and shut it off after I was through – and within a minute I found myself back in the departures hall, where I found my way to the EVA Air Infinity lounge (with a bit of help from Ethan, a fellow YouTuber, who lives in Taipei).

Bottom Line: EVA Air A330 Business Class

Obviously I got EVA Air’s worst widebody business class hard product on this flight. EVA Air’s oldest A330-200s aren’t exactly a joy to fly – the seats are angled, the storage is inexistent, and the PTVs are crap. This is obviously a decent seat for an hourlong flight, but even for a 3-4 hour regional flight I’d have taken issue with the lack of storage space at this seat (at least within Asia – I’d be thrilled to fly this on an intra-European flight). I had an empty seat next to me on this flight, and I can’t imagine enjoying this flight quite as much if I had a seatmate. I’d do everything in my power to fly a 787, 777, or even A330-300 instead when flying EVA Air in business class.

Otherwise, this flight provided a taster into EVA Air’s amazing soft product. While some elements of the service were inferior to what the airline provides on their longhaul flights (such as the champagne), the amenities were all quality, including the thick, marshmallow-y pillow, the quilted blanket, and the quality headphones. On top of that, the food was good (not great, unfortunately, on this segment), the service was excellent, and I was impressed by the alcoholic beverage selection – I didn’t think the non-alcoholic selection was half bad either.

This flight was a crappy hard product away from an outstanding experience, so I was looking forward to my 787 flight, which I was connecting to.

Read more from this trip:

Have you flown EVA Air’s A330-200 before? How was your experience?

1 comment

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed the review, and with multiple photos to boot, felt as if I was on the aircraft. Good stuff!

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