Eva Air Boeing 777-300ER in flight – Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren | JDLMedia
Another week, another flight. This time my adventure started at Los Angeles International, with a ticket in hand on EVA Air to Taipei. The occasion? To give the carrier’s Royal Laurel (RL) business class a good, thorough testing.
With no line present at the Royal Laurel Desk, check-in was quick and simple. A staff member escorted me to the lounge, managing to whisk me right past the hulking mid-day security line. This does not appear to be a normal procedure for RL passengers, though the premium line looked to have a 15-minute back-up.
EVA utilizes the finely appointed Star Alliance lounge in LAX, thanks to being part of the alliance since mid-2013. Time was short on this visit, though long enough to snag a finger sandwich and a few deserts.
Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren | JDLMedia
Boarding began on time, and I quickly squirreled away my bags above my seat: 1A. A selection of juices and water was on tap for pre-departure drinks. I went with apple, my new favorite as of late.
A TWA Boeing 707 freighter on Runway 25R at LAX – Photo: Jon Proctor
Here’s a little background about a wonderful encounter I had with racing legend Andy Granatelli in the late 1970’s. At that time, I flew for Trans World Airlines on their Boeing 707 and 727 aircraft.
In April and May of 1978, my regular assignment (trips for the month) was to fly a 707 freighter from Los Angeles to Indianapolis. Typically, we would launch very late in the evening around midnight, and arrive in Indy at around 6:00 am local time. A day-and-a-half later, we’d fly a return flight to Los Angeles at 6 pm. That gave us a 36-hour layover in Indy. On our first trip of the month, I got to the airport quite early, as I had been on vacation the previous month and had lots of accumulated paperwork to attend to. At about nine in the evening, I bummed a ride with a TWA mechanic from the hangar to the TWA cargo facility on the other side of the airport – probably the most harrowing part of my three-day trip.
As we arrived at the air freight terminal, I noticed two large box vans – both painted with the legendary STP logo. The TWA mechanic and I walked over to the vans and looked inside… one was filled with tires, crated engines, tool boxes, and other motor racing equipment. The second van had two Indy 500 race cars inside!
There are many great aircraft that come and go from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) everyday. This video, made from our friend SpeedbirdHD, is a great combination of aircraft from an All Blacks 777 to a Lufthansa 747-8I.
My Comfort Class seat on my Turkish Airlines Boeing 777-300ER out of LAX
When I first saw I was booked in Comfort Class on Turkish Airlines, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew it was a premium economy product, but that could mean anything from a few inches of extra leg room to having an almost-business-class experience.
Being able to check out the product during my recent flights to and from Los Angeles to Istanbul, I was impressed overall by my whole experience. I enjoyed the comfortable seat, my amenities, the delicious food, and the access to the in-flight entertainment (IFE) system. However, I felt let down by the service that I received during certain points of my trip, which left me wanting a bit more.
Turkish Airlines’ Boeing 777-300ER sitting at Istanbul
It was nothing that horrible, but just added up enough to make me disappointed overall about the experience. I think some of the things could easily be avoided or changed to make the passenger experience a bit better, and make people who feel like they shelled out some additional money for a premium product feel a bit more special.
One of the main reasons that I was flown to Istanbul was to work with Turkish to help them look into the future of their business – and part of that was related to customer service. I am grateful to work with an airline wanting to learn, and I hope that they are listening.