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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 6 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 23
OUTbound! It's twins! EVA Air gets double 777 delivery
Arts & Entertainment
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OUTbound! It's twins! EVA Air gets double 777 delivery

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

The arrival of a child, a much anticipated pride and joy, is something worthy of cheer. But welcoming two at the same time calls for an all-out celebration.

This is exactly what EVA Air did on May 21 when it claimed ownership of its twin babies; it celebrated in grand fashion. And by babies, I'm referring to a pair of brand spanking new 777-300ERs that just came off the assembly line at Boeing's manufacturing facilities in Everett, where the culminating ribbon-cutting and delivery reception took place.

The Taiwan-based airline, which operates non-stop flights from Sea-Tac Airport to Taipei, expanded its family of 777-300ER aircraft to 17 with its recent pick-up. It still has seven on order and is hoping to finalize a contract for six more aircraft beyond that. If all goes according to schedule, its 777-300ER fleet will expand to 22 overall.

In-flight WiFi will be available on the new aircraft, allowing passengers to access the service on their electronic devices once an altitude of 20,000 feet is reached. Usage fee is $11.95 USD for one hour, or $21.95 USD for 24 hours. Limited SMS roaming gives passengers the ability to send and receive text messages on their personal mobile phones; costs vary depending on individual wireless phone providers' roaming charges.

EVA becomes the first airline to install Panasonic's latest in-flight entertainment system, eX3, featuring a substantial amount of film, television and audio programming, as well as video games, geographical maps and viewing options for children. The Lego Movie, Her, Walking with Dinosaurs, Anchorman 2 The Legend Continues and The Monuments Men are some of the current theatrical film releases being shown on EVA Air's eX3 Star Gallery entertainment system. Personal screens for Elite (Premium Economy) and Economy cabins has increased to 11 inches, while Business Class (Royal Laurel) passengers can enjoy their selections on 16-inch screens with individual remote controls to play games and watch movies simultaneously.

Given the opportunity to tour one of EVA's 777-300ERs prior to take-off at Paine Field Airport, I was immediately greeted with that new car smell upon boarding. Of its three cabin classes, Royal Laurel is at the front of the plane with evergreen-beige colored seats positioned in a 2-2-2 configuration. Aside from gourmet meals and world-class wines, business class passengers are treated exclusively to sleeping pajamas, amenity kits with personal essentials (toothbrush/paste, hand lotion, comb, etc.), Fiji bottled water and roomy 26-inch seats that recline 180 degrees and extend to 79 inches with personal reading lights, private stowage space, side table for snacks or reading material and duvet/pillow sets.

The Elite cabin can accommodate 63 passengers in a 2-4-2 configuration with a seat width of 18.5 inches at a 38-inch (127 degree recline), while those in Economy will find their seats in a 3-3-3 configuration with a seat width at 18.3 inches and 33-inch pitch (104.7 degree recline).

EVA Air's top brass, including Chairman K.W. Chang and President Allen Cheng, flew to Seattle for the delivery, along with 30 Taiwanese press members who represented television, print, radio and online media outlets. But it wasn't all about work; an overseas trip provided everyone with a chance to explore Seattle. While media reps took a city tour, dined on fresh seafood at the Crab Pot, went shopping and embarked on a cruise around Elliott Bay, the airline execs played golf under sunny skies and visited the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit at Seattle Center.

Both planes were flown back to Taipei, the airline's main hub, and began immediate rotation into EVA's long-haul flight service. Chairman Chang actually piloted the first aircraft, which departed Paine Field Airport early evening on May 21.

If traveling to Asia, consider EVA Air's 2:10 a.m. departure from Seattle, permitting you to work a full day and still have ample time to check in at the airport, with a 5:30 a.m. (next day) arrival in Taipei. The return flight departs Taiwan at 11:40 p.m. and lands at Sea-Tac at 7:30 p.m. Having flown EVA to Taiwan and Thailand, I can definitely recommend it for very hospitable service, on-time departure and arrival, well-stocked entertainment system, and the airline's premium economy product (Elite) beats its competitors soundly. For more information, go to www.evaair.com.

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