EVA Air - London Heathrow to Bangkok (Return)

Profile picture for user T5

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19 years 9 months

Posts: 6,503

On Wednesday 16 March, I jetted off to Bangkok with EVA Air on my stupidly long annual holiday to Thailand. Unfortunately, there are no photos, due to my camera packing up whilst away. Was an interesting trip with a huge surprise on the return leg. ------ London Heathrow to Bangkok - Flight BR68 Wednesday 16 March - 9.30pm EVA Air was another totally new airline for me and I was looking forward to sampling what it was that they had to offer. Having always flown Thai Airways in the past and being very satisfied with the outstanding service that they offered, EVA Air had to perform well in order to win my custom in the future. The flight was number 68 and it was operating one of the five-times weekly service to Taipei (Taiwan) but via Bangkok (Thailand) where I would be jumping off to spend a month in the sun. The flight was due to depart at 9.30pm from Terminal 3 and, as per usual, we arrived extra early to try and secure some good seats. We arrived in Terminal 3 departures shortly after 5.30pm and went to check-in zone D, checking in opposite the Thai Airways and Air Mauritius desks and next to us was the desks for JAL. In all, there were four check-in desks for the flight; one for SuperFirst/SuperBusiness, one for Evergreen Deluxe and two for economy. Unfortunately, this leg of the trip was going to be in economy class. The desks were completely free from passengers, apart from a child who was travelling alone to Taipei. We checked in quickly and were issued boarding cards. Because the seats, as always, were pre-assigned, we had no say as to where we could sit. We had been given the entire middle row of row 47, seats D, E, F and G. Our baggage was once again overweight. EVA Air only allows 20kg for its economy passengers but didn't seem to mind that each one of us was over by a good 7 or 8kg. Anyway, the check-in agent told us boarding would commence at 8.50pm. Time ticked by slowly in the Terminal 3 departure lounge. The place never changes. There are no windows to peer out of and there is always some sort of building work going on, so its probably the worst terminal at the airport. By 9.00pm, hours after arriving at Heathrow, there was no information on the screen for our flight - none whatsoever. A few flights which were departing after ours, such as the Thai service to Bangkok at 9.35pm, were all having final calls put out for them. By about 9.20pm, we were called to board the aircraft at Gate 24, about a 10 minute walk away. It was clear that the aircraft would not be departing on-time this evening. The sight of gate 24 was terrible. Nobody was being allowed into the gate area, so a lengthy queue had formed outside, causing problems for other passengers trying to get past. By now, it had gone 9.30pm, and we really should have been in the air, but we stood queuing for almost half an hour, when the queue started to move. Once we got to the front of the queue, there was further chaos. Passengers were not taking seats in the lounge, they were going straight through to board and in no particular order. Looking out of the window, I could see an EVA Air 747 in the old colours sat a fair distance away, so buses were used to drive people to it. Nearing the aircraft, I could see that it was registered B-16409, and it was a Combi aircraft, where the rear section is a cargo area. The aircraft itself only seated about 270 passengers. Stepping off of the bus, we started to climb up the rickety steps to the aircraft. Smart crew members dressed in green stood and greeted us and then guided us to our seats.Row 47 was one of the last rows. Looking through the curtain at the back, there was a wall. It seperated the passengers from the cargo. We appeared to have everybody on board but the aircraft didn't move and there wasn't a single announcement put out until after we had pushed back at about 10.25pm. We were briefly welcomed on board and then shown a safety video. Once this was complete, we were just taxiing onto runway 27L, behind a British Airways 747-400. It was 10.34pm when we took to the skies. We had departed one hour late. As the aircraft sped down the runway, the overhead lockers above shook violently and a piece of plastic fell from the ceiling and struck my hand, causing no injuries, but it was a bit of a shock. The crew were informed after takeoff and they were slightly concerned, too, but also ready to adminster first aid if necessary(!!) The drinks trolley was rolled out into the economy cabin and as you would expect, a number of all-inclusive drinks were available to choose from. I kept mine to one side so I could enjoy it with my meal which I could smell heating up in the galley behind me. It took quite some time for the meals to appear and the wait certainly wasn't worth it. We could choose from chicken with pasta or beef with noodles. I opted for the pasta and wasn't too impressed. It had little flavour and the presentation was appalling. Once the meal trays were collected up, there was one further drinks round and then a duty free trolley. Passengers were asked to close their window blinds and the lights were dimmed so that passengers could get some shut-eye. I wasn't tired and can never normally sleep upright, but on this occasion I did. I fell asleep half way through 'Finding Neverland' for more than 6 hours. I woke to find a stewardess with a tray of EVA Air's own-branded pot noodles, so I couldn't resist one. Not far behind was another stewardess with a tray of juices; apple, orange and tomato. Once finished eating, I dozed off again and woke to more food. By now, there was less than three hours until landing. On previous flights, we would be served a hot breakfast at this time, but EVA Air served another hot dinner, but due to having poor memory, I cannot remember what the choices were, but I don't remember anything too bad about it, so it must have been alright. For the last few hours of the flight, the crew offered more and more drinks and handed out the appropriate immigration paperwork to passengers who required it. One last film was shown, one starring Robin Williams, and by the time it had finished, our descent into Bangkok was beginning. Out scheduled time of arrival in Bangkok was meant to be 3.55pm but due our late departure, we didn't touch down until 4.25pm. However, the aircraft got to the terminal quickly and we disembarked. Those passengers travelling on to Taipei were told to get off of the aircraft and to wait at the gate because boarding for the onward flight would begin 30 minutes later. Once we proceeded into the terminal building and into immigration, I could see out of the window, our aircraft. The huge cargo door at the rear of the aircraft was open and cargo was already being offloaded. ------ Bangkok to London Heathrow - Flight BR67 Thursday 14 April - 12.55pm Normally, we would leave our hotel at about 7.30pm in order to get to the airport for a flight at around 1.00am. On this occasion, our flight was a lunchtime one, due for departure at 12.55pm, so we hit the road for the 2 hour 30 minute journey at 8.00am. We arrived at Bangkok's Don Muang Airport just before 10.30am and made our way to check-in. There were many desks open for a number of EVA Air services to the USA, UK and Taiwan. The queues at London desks were by far the worst. This time, we were flying Evergreen Deluxe (a free upgrade) and when re-confirming the flights in Thailand, we requested two lots of two seats, with windows. The Evergreen Deluxe cabin on the 747 is in a 2-4-2 configuration. As you might expect, we were seriously overweight again, with all of our bags just over 30kg each. Our entitlement for travelling in Premium Economy was 25kg. But no excess bagagge charges were made. We were assigned our boarding cards for seats 39H, 39K, 40H and 40K. The departure lounge is a pleasant one at Bangkok. Natural light pours in through the many windows, which overlook the gates and the rest of the airfield. The usual traffic was in and movements were dominated by Thai Airways. I looked out of one window and say a Phuket Air rustbucket taxi past - a 737-200 which had clearly seen better days. After filling up on Kentucky Fried Chicken at the airport, our flight and browsing the shops for a few minutes, it was already time to board the aircraft at a gate which was only a few seconds away. The scene at the gate was a very familiar. A massive queue of people - like we had seen at Heathrow the previous month. The queue did not appear to be moving. EVA Air staff walked up and down the queue, calling out for anyone travelling in First or Business Class to board first. Once they had everyone they needed, the aircraft was ready for 'General Boarding'. If this was a queue of 150 or so passengers boarding a 737, I could accept it, but this was nearly 400 passengers boarding a 747, so there was one huge rush. Ideally, the aircraft should have been boarding by row numbers. Only when I walked down the jetty could I see what aircraft we were on. It was in the new colours and was registered B-16462, but it was not a Combi aircraft, just your average 747-400. I later found out that this aircraft was the one that was involved in the landing gear accident at Heathrow last year. Once eventually on the aircraft, I found my seat, which was in the second to last row of the Evergreen Deluxe cabin. It was extremely comfortable and with 38" of seat pitch, I couldn't have been any happier. On my seat was a blanket, a rather chunky pillow and a little wash bag, complete with toothbrush, toothpaste and moisturiser. Parked to our right was an Il-96 of Aeroflot, painted up nicely in the newer silver and blue colour scheme. That pushed back at about 1.15pm and departed. By 1.20pm, it was our turn to pushback. Because to our left there was a building, we couldn't push out that way, so the aircraft was pushed completely out of the area that we were in, onto one of the main taxiiways. The engines took a moment to start up and we began to taxi. On the taxiway next to us, a PB Air ERJ-145 shot past and we turned onto the same taxiway and taxiied behind it. Once at the runway, it was just the one aircraft to depart ahead of us before it was our turn to go. As we turned onto the runway, parked away from the terminal, I could see a Boeing 747-4DY of Thai Airways. It was wearing the new colours and looked terrible. Once airborne, an announcement was made to inform us that the entertainment would shortly be starting, so I pulled my PTV out of the armrest and flicked through the channels, but got nothing. No audio channels and no video channels. I assumed that the entertainment hadn't started, so gave it five minutes or so and tried again. When I realised that everyone else around me was chuckling at their PTVs, it was clear that my sister and I had ended up with faulty televisions, so called for some help. I rang the call button and waited. A member of the crew came out from behind a curtain and assisted another passenger and then returned. I pressed many times before someone actually bothered to assist us. Even the crew struggled to get it working again, so we were without our televisions. Due to problems communicating with one stewardess, we spoke to the flight Purser, Emily, who was very pleasant. All she could suggest was that she moved us to two spare economy seats at the back of the aircraft where we could watch something. What was being shown in economy was not something which interested us, so we said no. She explained that the flight was full so there was little she could do. The only solution was to reset the inflight entertainment system which would have affected every passenger on board. Since the entertainment had been going for a good 15 minutes, it would mean that everybody's entertainment would start again and they would have to watch that same 15 minutes again. She said that once the first films had finished, she would do it, but that was 2 hours away and there was no guarantee that it would work. She then resorted to asking other passengers who weren't watching their PTVs if they would mind swapping seats, but nobody was interested. The Purser was in a no-win situation. Either way, she was going to have unhappy passengers, so she offered us glasses of wine and champagne whilst she tried to work something out. Fortunately, two passengers upstairs in Business Class had accepted upgrades to First Class and two Business Class seats had just become available, so the Purser came back and told us that we could go and sit upstairs. We were led up the stairs and into Business Class where there were only 16 seats. I sat in the second row (row 7) next to the right hand window. Once sat down, we were fed and watered constantly, right until the end of the flight. Trollies weren't used and a member of the crew would approach you with a notepad and pen and take orders for food or drinks that you would want. A trolley of cheeses was passed through the cabin, but they didn't have Dairylea cheese triangles, so I had to pass! My main meal towards the end of the flight came and it was presented brilliantly. The starter was a plate of fruit. That was cleared away and next came my multi-coloured pasta and chicken in mushroom sauce. It was all served very nicely on EVA Air crockery. The only downside was that my meal had to be eaten with cheap, plastic cutlery! Afterwards, we were offered fine wines and coffee and some small chocolate tarts. After the main meal, I was completely full and couldn't cram another thing into my mouth. Anyway, at 7.00pm, the Captain came on and announced that we would be landing in 15 minutes, bang on time at 7.15pm. Being in Business Class, I didn't want the flight to end. By 7.10pm, he said that there was lots of traffic, so we would be on the ground at 7.30pm instead. At 7.25pm, we slammed down onto runway 27R and within a few minutes, arrived at gate 23. The 16 Business Class passengers and 8 First Class passengers disembark the aircraft first. We walked down the stairs and all the curtains, which lead to the Evergreen Deluxe cabin, were closed. These were opened once all the passengers from upstairs had left the aircraft To sum it up... Overall, a good set of flights. One thing I didn't like was the fact that boarding both flights was a free-for-all. You don't board by row numbers, you board by class, so hundreds of passengers rush at once to get onto the aircraft. Would I fly EVA Air again? I'd prefer not to. Even having sampled Economy, Premium Economy and Business Class, Thai Airways is still my preferred airline for travel to Thailand. However, I wouldn't be disappointed if my next flights to Thailand are with EVA. By the next time I go, EVA will have the 777-300s on the London Heathrow to Bangkok to Taipei route and the economy cabin will be equipped with PTVs. EVA Air's inflight entertainment is by far the best I've ever come across.
Original post
Profile picture for user Future Pilot

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16 years 2 months

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Fantastic report Michael, a very enjoyable read! :D :cool:
Profile picture for user bmi-star

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15 years 7 months

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Excellent detailed report there Michael! The PTV problem work out better for you in the end!
Profile picture for user LBARULES

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16 years 5 months

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Brilliant report Michael, bet you were damn glad your PTV didnt work! :D
Profile picture for user BigJet

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15 years 7 months

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Vey nice report good reading!

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14 years 11 months

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Great report
Profile picture for user SHAMROCK321

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15 years 8 months

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A brillaint report, Very detailed like I like te to be.