Review: EVA Air 787-9 Economy Class from Vienna to Taipei Taoyuan

My most recent trip to Europe gave me a chance to try EVA Air for the first time. From Tokyo to Taipei, my family flew on the airline’s Boeing 787-10, the roundtrip from Taipei to Vienna was on the 787-9, and the return flight from Taipei to Tokyo on an Airbus A330-300.

Continue reading to see what my economy class flight onboard the EVA Air 787-9 was like. Rather than reviewing the night flight from Taipei to Vienna, I will be reviewing the (partly) daytime flight from Vienna to Taipei.

EVA Air 787-9 Economy Class
EVA Air Boeing 787-9 economy class.

Check-in, Lounge & Boarding at Vienna Airport

We got to Vienna Airport just after 10AM – a bit more than two hours before our flight’s scheduled departure time of 12:30PM. With both my wife and I being Star Alliance Gold members, we got into the priority check-in queue.

It took a few minutes until it was our turn. The check-in staff was friendly and printed our boarding passes and baggage tags in no time. Once done at the check-in counter, we had to stop by the bulk luggage counter to drop off a cardboard box that we were checking in.

In addition to the priority line, there was also a separate counter for EVA Air Infinity MileageLands Diamond members. Separately, there were three baggage drop-off counters and two regular economy class check-in counters, both with considerable lines.

Vienna Airport
Vienna Airport departures board.
EVA Air Check-in at Vienna Airport
Check-in counters.

While EVA Air – like other Star Alliance airlines – uses Terminal 3 for check-in, it uses gates in Vienna Airport’s older (but recently refurbished) Terminal 1 for departure.

As such, with boarding passes in our hands, we walked over to Terminal 1. There, we said bye to my parents and went through a security check.

Because we were traveling with my baby daughter, we were able to use a special lane for families which was completely deserted. There was also a fast track for Star Alliance members and other eligible passengers with just a passenger or two in line. The regular queue had a couple of dozen passengers waiting.

Vienna Airport Terminal
Terminals 1 and 3 are next to each other.
Vienna Airport Terminal
Terminal 1.
Vienna Airport Terminal
Priority lane.

Once airside, we tried going to Vienna Lounge, the airport’s newest lounge which I visited in the past, as the check-in agent mentioned we could use it.

When we got there, we were, however, turned away by the agent saying only EVA Air’s business class passengers could use it. She instead directed us to the Austrian Senator Lounge in Terminal 3 which we, as Star Alliance Gold members could use based on Star Alliance’s lounge access policy.

On the positive side, the lounge was past immigration. On the negative side, it was quite far from our boarding gate. In spite of that, we made the trek as I wanted to review it. Long story short, the lounge was nothing to write home about.

Because of that, if you find yourself in a similar situation, I would recommend skipping the lounge unless you are really hungry or visiting the Vienna Lounge using Priority Pass instead.

Vienna Airport Terminal
Duty-free shopping maze.
Austrian Senator Lounge (Non-Schengen)
The Austrian Senator Lounge was quite far from our departure gate.
Austrian Senator Lounge (Non-Schengen)
Austrian Senator Lounge.

We left the lounge around 11:35AM and about ten minutes later, we found ourselves in front of gate D27 where our flight to Taipei was departing from.

The waiting area was crowded but at least it was possible to move freely in and out of it. In the past, this part of Vienna Airport used to have a security check at individual gates rather than a central one. During those days, it was impossible to buy a bottle of water in the terminal and take it onboard, for example.

While waiting for boarding to start, I handed one of the gate agents my daughter’s stroller. Passengers were invited to board the plane at 12:05PM – 25 minutes before the scheduled departure time – and we were among the first to get onboard.

EVA Air Departure Gate in Vienna
Departure gate.
EVA Air Departure Gate in Vienna
Waiting area.
EVA Air 787-9 in Vienna
The gate didn’t offer a good view of the aircraft.

EVA Air 787-9 Economy Class Cabin & Seat

Currently, EVA Air has four Boeing 787-9s in its fleet. Each of them is equipped with 304 seats including 26 staggered seats in business (or Royal Laurel as the airline calls it) class and 278 economy class seats. While business class has four seats per row in a 1-2-1 layout, economy class has nine seats per row in a 3-3-3 layout.

Other than having fewer seats due to the shorter fuselage, the 787-9 cabins are exactly the same as those on EVA Air’s longer 787-10s. The 787-10s, for reference, seat a total of 342 passengers including 42 in business class and 308 in economy class.

EVA Air 787-9 Economy Class
Economy class cabin.
EVA Air 787-9 Economy Class
Looking toward the front.

EVA Air advertises its 787 economy class as having 31 to 32 inches of seat pitch. Since we were traveling with my daughter as a lap infant and reserved bulkhead seats so that we could use a bassinet, we had considerably more legroom than those in regular seats.

Also, for some reason, unlike regular seats, the seats in bulkhead rows were not only equipped with a touchscreen but also an in-flight entertainment controller.

Under the screen, there was also a USB-A charging port. There were also charging units (consisting of a USB-A charging port and a universal power outlet) under the seats. There were two such units per row of three economy class seats.

EVA Air Boeing 787-9 Economy Class Legroom
Bulkhead row legroom.
EVA Air 787-9 Economy Class
IFE controller.
EVA Air 787-9 Economy Class Power Outlet
Power outlet.

EVA Air Flight 66 Pre-Flight Service & Departure

Upon boarding, an above-average blanket and an average economy class pillow were waiting on each seat. There were also earphones.

Not long after that, the cabin crew handed out slippers to those who wanted them.

EVA Air Long-Haul Economy Class Amenities
Earphones, pillow, and blanket.
EVA Air Long-Haul Economy Class Slippers

At 12:27PM, we were welcomed onboard by the captain. He mentioned that our expected flight time was 11 hours and 30 minutes and that we would be first cruising at an altitude of 33,000 feet before climbing to 43,000 feet.

The aircraft doors were closed at 12:32PM, and at 12:38PM – eight minutes behind schedule – we were pushed back. In the meantime, a safety video was played.

We took off from Vienna Airport’s runway 34 at 12:56PM.

EVA Air 787-9 Wingview
Ready to go.
Vienna Airport
Vienna Airport.
EVA Air 787-9 Safety Video
Safety video.

EVA Air Long-Haul Economy Class Lunch

With the flight departing just after noon, lunch service began shortly after the seatbelt signs were switched off at 1:06PM.

First, though, one of the flight attendants came to set up my daughter’s bassinet. While I won’t go into the details here, in a separate article, I wrote in detail about flying on EVA Air with a baby if that is of interest to you.

The lunch service started with a pack of rice crackers which was served about 20 minutes after take-off. Not long after that, a drink service followed. I got a cup of Coke Zero.

EVA Air Long-Haul Economy Class Pre-Meal Snack
Nuts and rice crackers.
EVA Air Long-Haul Economy Class Drink

The meal itself was served another 15 or 20 minutes later. The menu, which could be accessed through EVA Air’s app before the flight, read as follows:

  • Appetizer: Smoked salmon with creamy potato salad
  • Main: Chicken ragout in Zurich style served with rosti potatoes or braised pork in Taiwanese style served with braised egg and steamed rice
  • Sweets: Seasonal fruits and Viennese apple strudel

Both my wife and I went with the chicken which not only tasted good but was also sufficient in volume. In addition to the appetizer, main, and sweets, a bread roll was served too. I also asked for some more Coke Zero – this time for an entire can – to go with the meal.

Later on, hot coffee and tea runs were done too. I had a cup of the latter.

Overall, the meal was very enjoyable.

EVA Air Long-Haul Economy Class Lunch

EVA Air 787-9 In-Flight Entertainment System

The seats on EVA Air’s 787-9 were equipped with decently sized touchscreens. In our row, rather than being on the seatback in front, the screens were stored between the seats.

Unlike on the short-haul flight from Tokyo to Taipei, on this long-haul flight, as mentioned earlier, earphones were ready at each seat during boarding.

The selection of content wasn’t as great as on, for example, Emirates or Qatar Airways, but there was more than enough content to keep one entertained even on a long-haul flight.

EVA Air 787-9 In-Flight Entertainment Home Screen
In-flight entertainment system.

There were over 60 movies ranging from Hollywood blockbusters all the way to Asian options.

The selection of TV shows wasn’t nearly as good. That said, more or less each of the limited number of TV shows that was loaded on the system had a good number of episodes available.

As usual, there were also some music (and even audiobooks and podcasts) and games. I spent a good portion of the flight playing 2048 (a fun puzzle game) and a travel trivia game.

EVA Air 787-9 In-Flight Entertainment Movies
EVA Air 787-9 In-Flight Entertainment TV Shows
TV shows.
EVA Air 787-9 In-Flight Entertainment Episodes
Episodes of a TV show.
EVA Air 787-9 In-Flight Entertainment Music
EVA Air 787-9 In-Flight Entertainment Games
EVA Air 787-9 In-Flight Entertainment Games
Trivia game.

There was also a fully customizable flight map.

This was another part of the in-flight entertainment system that I spent a considerable time using.

EVA Air 787-9 In-Flight Entertainment Map
In-Flight map.

EVA Air 787-9 Onboard Wi-Fi

The EVA Air 787-9 was equipped with onboard wi-fi. The pricing was on the higher side compared to many other airlines. On the other hand, it was the same as on the much shorter Tokyo – Taipei flight.

Four different internet packages were available, with each of them only being valid on the flight it was purchased on (i.e. not being valid on a connecting flight):

  • Lite Messaging Plan (4.95 USD): 30 MB data cap, texting only
  • Standard Plan (14.95 USD): 100 MB data cap
  • Business Plan (29.95 USD): 300 MB data cap
  • Ultimate Plan (39.95 USD): no data cap

Since I didn’t try the wi-fi, I cannot comment on the speed or reliability.

EVA Air 787-9 Wi-Fi

EVA Air 787-9 Lavatory and Amenities

The lavatories on the EVA Air 787-9 themselves were nothing to write home about. They were similar to what you would find on other airlines’ Dreamliners. That said, they were cleaned frequently.

Separately, while EVA Air – like many other airlines these days – doesn’t provide amenity kits in economy class, there was an above-average selection of amenities available in the lavatories.

On top of the obligatory soap, there were also Payot Paris-branded hand sanitizer, aroma mist with calendula extract, and body cream with rice extract. Dental kits and eye masks for sleeping were available too.

EVA Air 787-9 Long-Haul Economy Class Lavatory
Lavatory amenities.

EVA Air Long-Haul Economy Class Mid-Flight Snacks

Roughly five hours into the 11-and-a-half-hour flight, the flight attendants went through the cabin offering mid-flight snacks. They also passed through the cabin multiple times with drinks already poured into cups.

The two snacks that were offered included:

  • Malted wheat sandwich with tuna, cottage cheese, etc.
  • Banana

When I asked for both, I was told to only choose one (in the end, I ended up taking a sandwich and my wife a banana).

That said, later on, more bananas were available in the galley. That’s on top of other snacks like rice crackers and cheddar cheese-flavored crackers that were available in the galley during most of the flight.

EVA Air Long-Haul Economy Class Snacks
Mid-flight snacks.
EVA Air Long-Haul Economy Class Snacks
Snacks in the galley.

EVA Air Long-Haul Economy Class Breakfast

Another four or so hours after the mid-flight snack service, around 4:20AM Taipei time, the cabin lights were turned on and the crew started preparing to serve breakfast.

It took about half an hour from that point until we were served our meals. The choices included:

  • Chinese style: Braised beef dry noodles, chicken with spicy Szechuan sauce, and fruits
  • Western style: Yogurt, cheese omelet with grilled pork sausage and roast potatoes, and fruits

I went with the former while my wife chose the latter. The beef and sauce were good but the noodles were overcooked. The chicken side dish was a bit dry.

EVA Air Long-Haul Economy Class Breakfast
EVA Air Long-Haul Economy Class Breakfast
Western style breakfast.

Arrival at Taipei Taoyuan Airport

At 5:35AM, almost an hour before landing, the seatbelt signs were switched back on due to turbulence.

About 20 minutes later, the captain came on the PA and said that we were cruising at 39,000 feet and would be starting our descent soon. He also mentioned our expected arrival time and that it was 26 degrees Celsius and forecast in Taipei.

A video explaining the customs procedure in Taiwan was played around 6AM and then, at 6:27AM, we landed on Taipei Taoyuan Airport’s runway 05R.

We arrived at our parking spot at 6:36AM – six minutes behind schedule.

Taipei Airport
Welcome to Taipei.

EVA Air 787-9 Economy Class Summary

Both of the long-haul flights I flew with EVA Air – Taipei to Vienna and back – were about as enjoyable as it gets when traveling in economy class with a few-month-old baby.

The seats were fine, the meals were mostly tasty (and filling enough), and the in-flight entertainment system had a decent selection of content. The good selection of amenities in the lavatories was a nice bonus.

Overall, I wouldn’t hesitate to fly with EVA Air on a long-haul economy class flight again.

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