Taiwan, the world’s best secret island, is a place of paradise for foodies, party-goers, and wanderlusts. For those that knows Paul – who loves staying at W Taipei – I’m sure you’re aware how much he endorses this beautiful country.
How to visit this amazing place? Well, there are two main airlines to get here from Los Angeles: EVA Air and China Airlines. While both airlines have amazing Boeing 777-300ERs to cross the Pacific, there is a friendly public rivalry over the years between the two largest international Taiwanese carrier.
Which one is the better airline?! Well now, today is your lucky day. I, Chai Bear, will now give you the 101 (pun intended) analysis of EVA’s Royal Laurel and China Airline’s Business Class.
Round 1: Welcome Amenity Kit
Ok this isn’t even a close competition. EVA Air absolutely destroys China Airlines (and all other business class airlines for that matter) in this category. Instead of a normal pouch, every passenger gets gifted with a Rimowa suitcase! The picture below 100% accurately depicts my emotions towards each airline’s amenity kits.
As bears (and humans), we love to judge with our eyes. Thus, seeing EVA Air’s mini-Rimowa suitcase (pajamas included too!) as your souvenir for your long flight successfully gives you an awesome first/last impression of the airline.
Round 2: Business Seat
With China Airline’s new business class being less than two years old, this flagship carrier of Taiwan has an unfair advantage over EVA. China Airline’s new business seats to cross the Pacific is simply just too stunning and gorgeous.
Everything in this category is far superior to EVA. The side table is wider, the upholstery is more luxurious, the touchscreen T.V. is bigger (11 inch vs. 18 inch HD!), the command screen module is brighter (manual vs. 4.1 inch LCD touchscreen panel), and the pillow/blankets material feels more fluffy. Simply put, EVA’s cabin feels a little dated for the non-US airline industry.
Heck! There’s even space for me to sleep on the side if I don’t feel like sitting in China Airline’s fancy seats.
Round 3: Dining
No matter how gourmet the meal is on the flight, airplane meals just never tastes that appetizing to me. Maybe my palate is more dull at 38,000 feet? That being said, EVA Air knows its audience in this category with the three magical words: DIN TAI FUNG. Before your flight, you can even select your meal preferences online prior to check-in.
Yes, you read the third option under “Supper” right, there’s a Din Tai Fung selection for your meals! This might sound shocking, but I recommend to forego that option and select more expensive entrees instead. After all, Din Tai Fung is everywhere in the world now, so why not patiently wait and save the appetite for the original Din Tai Fung experience in Taipei. Nevertheless, it is a nice option to have for EVA Air.
Round 4: Alcohol
This is a tough one. If you are a fan of champagne, then EVA is the way to go with their free flowing Krug (used to be Dom Pérignon!) champagne. If you are a fan of scotch, then China Airlines is the way to go with their free flowing Blue Label and the award-winning Kavalan Single Malt Whiskey.
Nevertheless, China Airlines has a slight edge here since they feature a “sky lounge” with open bar in the gallery area.
Final Round: Overall Verdict/Service
Both airlines deliver an amazing Business Class experience. If all airlines are like this, First Class is honestly an unnecessary luxury. At the end of the day, all you need is an airline that makes you feel well-rested with not only a good seat, but with good travel services for your long flight. And overall, both airline always soar over my expectations.
There is no across-the-board winner. Just like our experiences with Singapore and Cathay, the customer service culture of Asian airlines are just too phenomenal. In the end, there is no wrong choice. As a guide, it all depends on your priorities for your travel experience. To summarize:
If you prioritize Rimowa & Din Tai Fung dining with a fantastic champagne, EVA Air should be your airline choice
If you prioritize a luxurious seat with a fantastic scotch, China Airlines is the way to go.
Ultimately, both airlines will give you an extraordinary 13-hour LAX – TPE flight. And both airlines will take you to an awesome destination: Taiwan.
Happy travels and I welcome you to see this amazing country.