My EVA Air 747-400 in Seattle, after I landed
Typically, flying on the upper deck of a Boeing 747 is an exclusive affair. When the jumbo jet was first introduced, the upper section was a lounge for premium passengers. More recently, most airlines put premium seats up top. This means that most don’t have the ability to experience the upper deck. Unless you have the means, a job willing to pay, the miles to upgrade, or some extra luck, you’re relegated to the main deck.
However, there have been a few airlines that have configured their 747s with economy on the upper deck. Today, Air France, Virgin Atlantic, and EVA Air are the only ones to offer the option. With many airlines constantly upgrading their fleet, and the 747-400 thus being phased out, the ability to fly economy up top on the “Queen of the Skies” will soon be a thing of the past.
The upper deck of my Boeing 747-400
I recently had a flight home from Taipei (TPE) to Seattle (SEA) on EVA Air, and the airline kindly put me in business class (pretty much standard procedure when flying on press-related trips). At first, it didn’t fully make sense to them when I asked if I could give up my business class seat in the nose of the 747 for an economy seat on the upper deck. But that is exactly what I worked hard for; I was never as excited to fly in economy.
An EVA Air Boeing 777-300ER being worked on
During my recent trip to Taipei, I was invited to check out the Evergreen Aviation Technologies (EGAT) maintenance facility, but before I could check things out, I first had to get there.
You know how they say, “getting there is half the fun?” Well, in this case… it was. My hotel was located about 45 minutes from the airport, and I was told that I would have a car sent to pick me up — cool. I was greeted in the lobby and headed outside, but where was my car? I was told that we needed to walk down the block a bit, since they couldn’t find parking. That was odd, as there was plenty of parking right in front of the hotel, but okay.
Engine testing at EGAT in Taipei
Then I stopped to take some photos of a big tourist bus that had EVA Air’s livery on it. I felt it odd that the guy was going up to the bus. Wait a second… was this my ride? Sure was… my ride was a super sweet EVA-liveried bus all for me (and the driver… and my guide). I guess they had run out of vans and cars and didn’t want me to be left waiting, so they sent a bus. I was totally okay with that.
This was one of many things that showed how much that EGAT takes pride in attention to detail. A high level of precision is important when giving someone a tour, but way more important when working on an airline’s multi-million dollar aircraft.
My home for almost 16 hours with Hello Kitty
I was recently down in Houston to welcome EVA Air’s first flight, a Boeing 777-300ER, with a new Hello Kitty livery. After all the hoopla for the inaugural, I had a few hours before flying to Taipei, in Royal Laurel (aka business class) and I was excited. The Hello Kitty theme runs much deeper than just the fancy livery, and wanted to see what the full flight experience would be like.
The Shining Star Hello Kitty 777 arrives in Houston – Photo: David Parker Brown | AirlineReporter
By the time I arrived back at the airport, at about 10:30 pm, I had last showered at about 6:00 am and was about to take a 15hr 40min flight. My goal was to shower before departure — not just for me, but for those who would be flying around me.
Those in business class have access to the Executive Club in Terminal D, which was recently renovated, but it was lacking showers. However, since I had a business class ticket on a Star Alliance airline, I also had access to any of the United Club lounges. I looked online and saw that the United terminal E lounge was open until 11:30 pm and had showers — awesome!
Keep reading to learn how you can win a model of the EVA Air Boeing 777-300ER with Shining Star Hello Kitty livery…