Representatives from EVA Air, along with Taiwanese media, recently came to Seattle for a special double delivery of a pair of Boeing 777-300ERs. They weren’t the first for the airline (actually, the 16th and 17th), but they were still special. They were the first ones to offer Panasonic’s new eX3 in-flight entertainment (IFE) system and Global Communication Suite (GCS).
I have always been a fan of the green and orange livery on the outside of EVA’s 777s, but now there is more to love on the inside.
“Our new Boeing 777-300ERs equip us to initiate significant changes in the flying experience we offer. We are going to make flying more fun and more comfortable than ever for our passengers,” said EVA Air Chairman K.W. Chang.
Passengers sitting in Economy Class and Elite Premium Economy will find larger touch-screen displays, at 11.1″ in size compared to 9″ previously. The Royal Laurel Class (business) cabin not only sports 16″ IFE screens, but also a 4″ LCD panel remote. Now you can play a game with your remote, while watching your favorite movies on the main screen (what you have always wanted, right?).
EVA will also be updating their IFE by the end of the year by introducing options to order meals and beverages as well as participate in duty-free shopping from the comfort of your seat.
It is always a great combo when an airline not only improves the seat back entertainment options, but also includes Wi-Fi access. Through the Panasonic GCS system, passengers will be able to stay connected to the world below, when flying at altitudes of more than 20,000 feet. There are two cost options for the Wi-Fi: one hour for US$11.95 (tax included) or 24 hours at US$21.95.
Of course, passengers need to keep their gadgets charged, especially given EVA’s long-haul network, and every seat has access to AC outlets and USB ports.
These 777s are also able to carry more passengers than previous configurations. EVA’s newest 777s will be able to hold 333 passengers, with 39 in Royal Laurel Class, 56 in Elite premium economy, and 238 in Economy. EVA was able to hold more passengers while still maintaining a nine-abreast configuration, but how?
“To ensure passenger comfort, EVA wanted to add more lavatories for Economy Class on its new Boeing 777-300ERs,” Mr. K.W. Nieh, Group Executive Officer – Public Relations for EVA Air explained to AirlineReporter. “It removed a row of seats from Elite Class, reduced size of a galley and closet and added a lavatory. In the process, it also added another row of Economy Class seats.”
It is becoming more rare to see an airline update their interiors and not go to ten abreast seating in Economy — a welcomed surprise from EVA.
With the new aircraft, EVA will be increasing service to North America starting on June 3rd. New York to Taipei will go from five times per week to daily; Los Angeles to Taipei will add three flights per week to the 17 already in operation; and EVA will raise frequency from both Toronto and Vancouver, from three flights per week to four.
Taking the double delivery wasn’t just about showing off the new interior, but also to help celebrate the airline’s 25th anniversary.
“EVA Air is a long-standing Boeing customer and we are honored to commemorate this historic double airplane delivery in celebration of our 25-year partnership,” said Ihssane Mounir, vice president of Sales, Northeast Asia, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “It is hard to imagine reaching this day without the leadership of K.W. Chang, and his vision to transform EVA Air into one of the leading global airlines in the world.”
When all delivered, EVA will operate a total of 22 Boeing 777-300ERs and they haven’t ruled out ordering additional aircraft.