Asia EVA Air Hyatt International Travel Toddler Travel Trip Reports

Home for the Holidays: 26 Hours to Taiwan with a Toddler Part 2 – EVA Royal Laurel Class Review

Saw this plane on the way to the gate. Wanted to switch flights so badly!
Saw this plane on the way to the gate. Wanted to switch flights so badly!

Here is Part 2 of our epic 26+ hours of travel to Taipei. You can find Part 1 here.

EVA Air Royal Laurel Class to Taipei

As I mentioned in the introduction, EVA straight up trolled us by throwing Hello Kitty in our faces as soon as we got onboard. Like, ha ha, Hello Kitty could be all up on this plane but she’s not so you just gotta watch her on TV!

Shut up Hello Kitty!
Shut up Hello Kitty!

I think EVA Air Royal Laurel might be the best longhaul business class product I’ve experienced. Everyone raves about the Rimowa amenity kits, which are nice, but I’m all about the pajamas. They are quite soft and comfortable and I got a size too small so they are very form fitting and flattering. They gave me two pairs, one for M, but they don’t fit her so more for me. Picture omitted due to over form fittingness :).

Unfortunately did not get a lot of pictures of the seat due to a crazy child (pictured here)
Unfortunately did not get a lot of pictures of the seat due to a crazy child (pictured here)

The service on the flight was excellent. The flight attendants were super accommodating, there seemed to be an army of them, and they were very attentive/helpful. Obviously it helped that the cabin was only 60% full but I think they were working their tails off regardless. The seat was also great, everything “made sense”, from the seat controls, to the storage comforts, and to the bed itself, which was very comfortable.

They had no problem accommodating our request to eat separately – M and I ate first (with Jess assisting the former) and Jess ate second. I would swing by the galley whenever I needed something but they seemed to always know what I wanted before I even asked. Cold milk? Check. More champagne? Check. Instant noodles? CHECK.

Instant noodles. Turnip cake not pictured.
Instant noodles. Turnip cake not pictured.

There were also some peculiar things that piqued my interest. Like someone was hanging out in the galley wearing pajamas. Was she a flight attendant who had something spilled on her? Flight attendant just a passenger on the flight? Random buddy? OK, I guess that was the only thing that was curious to me. But I will never solve this mystery!

The champagne was excellent (Veuve Cliquot La Grande Dame 2004)
The champagne was excellent (Veuve Cliquot La Grande Dame 2004)

I’ve seen a lot of complaints about the food in Royal Laurel Class (well, complaints is too strong a word but lack of enthusiasm). I didn’t really have any issues with it. Though I’d have loved to drink some Dom, the Veuve was a worthy alternative. The food was simple but I thought it was tasty and it definitely was satisfying.

The duck breast appetizer was my favorite part of the meal
The duck breast appetizer was my favorite part of the meal

The midnight snack was great and they had seaweed flavored potato chips. Honestly my only complaint was that I could have used some chocolate sauce with the ice cream. Oh, and Jess would like to add that that milk tea was good and the porridge for breakfast was great. I slept through breakfast.

That'll do.
That’ll do.

Everyone who has read my reports before know in-flight entertainment is big for me, but unfortunately I barely got to watch anything on the personal screens (more on that later). I did watch a HK Cinema rom-com which had a terrible ending. One of those, “that’s it?” kind of endings. I mean my goal was to brush up on my Cantonese, so I guess I accomplished that a little bit. “分手100次” is the title if anyone’s interested. But maybe just skip it…

EVA Royal Laurel Class Toddler-centric Review

Obviously I would have been a lot more comfortable and relaxed if I didn’t have a toddler climbing over me the entire flight. But EVA’s Royal Laurel Class helped make what would have been an unbearable flight into a decent one for M. I mean, she had a great time, so I guess I really mean for us.

Ready to ride!
Ready to ride!

We ordered M a children’s meal (which covered both dinner and breakfast). Both were way too much food for a toddler (maybe too much for any pre-adolescent), but it was good to have that alternative. Can’t really go wrong with spaghetti though it was a little too salty. Jess said breakfast was eggs with mashed potatoes WHAT? Wish I had been awake for that.

Semi-eaten children's meal, forgot to take picture before.
Semi-eaten children’s meal, forgot to take picture before.

We survived the flight by taking turns. I ate dinner first while Jess fed M the children’s meal, then I took over and put M to bed while Jess ate. Putting her to bed was a bit of a mess. I had been letting her sleep on top of my chest more (for naps and stuff) in anticipation of this very flight, so I started things off by rocking her to sleep and lying down with her asleep on top of me.

At this point I thought I was golden – she could sleep, I could sleep, everybody happy. Alas, the best laid plans…about fifteen minutes later she woke up and basically kicked me out of the bed (which was really comfortable btw! Forgot to mention that before). I sat on the side of the seat with my legs half hanging out in the aisle for a little while.

I then realized that I could kind of sit at the head of the bed since she’s so short. It wasn’t great but at least it was a semi-natural position to sleep in. So I just sat there as she rested and watched The Fellowship of the Ring on my tablet (thanks Google Play for the free movie!). At some point, I even managed to fall asleep resting my head on my knees.

The setup to watch M while sleeping
The setup to watch M while sleeping

After some unspecified amount of time (lost track of time really quickly on that flight), I tried to readjust my position – this led to the inevitable toddler wake up screaming while still sleeping situation. Yikes. I think we managed to keep this under five minutes although who knows it could have been eighteen hours like in Contact.

At this point, Jess took her and calmed her down and put her back down on her seat. I took this time to finish aforementioned terrible ending HK rom-com, after which Jess and I switched spots so she could get some sleep. I managed to get a seatbelt on M so at that point I started rotating back and forth between sitting next to her and sitting in one of the empty seats in the cabin. I managed to finish Gravity on my tablet (Google Play free again), but started getting pretty tired.

The difference between a lie-flat bed and laying a toddler down in coach is you still have somewhere to sit, sorta
The difference between a lie-flat bed and laying a toddler down in coach is you still have somewhere to sit, sorta

M eventually woke up with about 3 hours to go in the flight (which ended up being almost 4 due to a landing delay). At this point I finally got to use the lie-flat bed for real and I had two very nice hours of sleep. This sleep was punctuated with faint recollections of a toddler peering over the center console wearing headphones and singing, though I can’t be too sure of that.

She be jammin
She be jammin

Anyway, I was on M duty the last hour of the flight and at that point I was so tired that I finally caved. M isn’t allowed to watch any TV at home besides football (both American and World versions), but I just gave up on life and flipped on one of the fifty Hello Kitty movies they had on IFE.

Of course these videos were in Japanese with Chinese subtitles so I didn’t bother giving M the headphones, instead I read the subtitles as fast as I could and just made up a story on the fly. I do now know that Hello Kitty does not like eating vegetables, if only I could figure out how her parents magically convinced her to start eating them!

Hello Kitty, the best distraction of all
Hello Kitty, the best distraction of all

Oh, and as I had mentioned in the introduction, EVA also provides diapers on request. The medium diapers we asked for were size 4 Huggies (5 diapers). The diapers kind of backfired a little because Mickey Mouse was on them and even though she has never heard of him M is now constantly asking for “little mouse” diapers. Luckily she is not above falling for the old bait and switch!

"Little mouse" diapers
“Little mouse” diapers

Taiwan Immigration and a Jet-lagged Toddler at the Grand Hyatt Taipei

A few final notes because I feel they fit better here than elsewhere in the trip report. We had to wait 15-20 minutes or so for our gate checked stroller – life of a parent. That obviously negates the benefit of getting off the plane first. M did get a chance to run around though.

Stretching those legs
Stretching those legs

What negated the negation was the fact that Taipei Taoyuan has a priority line for seniors and people traveling with children! So when we got to immigration we only had to wait for one other group before we went through.

Another nice thing about Taipei Taoyuan is at baggage claim there is a guy stacking bags on the conveyor belt for easier access. Sometimes it really is the little things that makes the travel experience pleasant.

After a generous relative drove us the hour to the Grand Hyatt Taipei (M conked out), we checked in. The first thing M saw when we walked in was the gigantic Christmas tree: “Waooooow!” Check-in was quick and painless at 1230 AM.

We then entered our suite which is one of the nicer rooms I’ve ever stayed in. I’ll have a full review on the Grand Hyatt Taipei later, but what’s relevant here is that M was running around exploring the room like a crazy person and we were all hungry.

Late night
Late night

So how better to end a long day (and change!) of travel than to order some Wonton noodle soup from room service? It did not disappoint.

Final Thoughts

Our journey to Taiwan ended up being the marathon I was expecting. Thank goodness we were flying in business class: real props go to those who survive with lap toddlers in coach. We’re all still recovering even three days later, but glad to be here. EVA and Grand Hyatt Taipei are da bomb!

Coming soon...
Coming soon…

Other Posts in this Series

Introduction

United Domestic First and LAX Star Alliance Lounge

EVA Royal Laurel Class Review

Using Public Transportation in Taiwan with a Toddler

Visiting the Taipei Zoo

Eating in Taipei

Grand Hyatt Taipei King Suite Review

A Tough Flight with a Toddler

Public Transportation in Hong Kong with a Toddler

Typical Hong Kong Tourist Activities

Hong Kong Disneyland with a Toddler

 

Joe
Just an average joe trying to fly his family for less
http://www.asthejoeflies@gmail.com

10 thoughts on “Home for the Holidays: 26 Hours to Taiwan with a Toddler Part 2 – EVA Royal Laurel Class Review”

  1. Any tip to find for the Hello Kitty business award? I am trying to redeem united miles from Taipei to Manchester, NH. The first leg from TPE to NRT is Eva Hello Kitty plan. I can’t find any seats available in June (now is January). Is it too early to book (5 months in advnace)? Thanks.

    1. Hi Winnie-

      They are starting to fly Hello Kitty planes from IAH soon. If you want a longer option 🙂 But yeah, I was looking for NRT-TPE flights, I didn’t even see them open any a few days out. So I’d say keep checking, it’s never too soon to start looking. Good luck!

  2. Thanks for this post, my family is in the middle of planning a trip to Vietnam in May and are considering booking Eva Royal Laurel from LAX-TPE-SGN. My son will be just shy of his 2nd birthday by this trip, but I am going to use miles to get him a seat, if available. I was just curious about the experience with a toddler, since the seats on this plane aren’t directly next to each other. Did you receive any negative reactions from other passengers on this flight? Did you see any other young children in Royal Laurel?

    1. Hey Brandon-

      Don’t remember if I saw other kids, though there could have been – plane was full for the holidays. No negative reactions whatsover. It’s a bit tough because the seats aren’t together, that’s for sure, if she’s under 2 and you don’t bring the car seat on my guess is she might sit with you for takeoff and landing. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  3. Hi there, thanks for your review! I’m about to fly Eva Business for the first time with my 8mo baby and I had a few questions I was hoping you could help me with!
    1) Did you fly the midnight or afternoon flight? I saw that they accommodated your request to have you & your spouse do meals separately. Also, did you request that your meals be served separately prior to your flight (aka calling in to request) or did you just request that on-board?
    2) If you could do the flight over again, did you like your seat arrangement (next to each other) or would you do the same row (one sits behind the other)? I figured sitting behind my husband would allow at least one of us to get (semi) uninterrupted sleep time while we take turns watching without the baby seeing the other parent and getting excited.
    3) This is my first time flying business at all & after your Eva business flight with your kid, is there anything you wish you got to take advantage of but didn’t? Or anything you wish you knew about ahead of time?
    Thanks for your help!

    1. Phew Diana you’re making me go way back in the memory banks 🙂 I’m pretty sure we took the mid afternoon flight because we got there late at night. We just requested they serve separately on the plane, that’s a fairly simple request to accommodate. In terms of seating, after a few of these flights I think i give a slight preference to a shared aisle. Passing the baby over the center console is harder in practice than it is in theory, and there’s a lot of passing through the galley to assist. Though it’s still helpful to be able to reach over, pass water, etc etc. Consider how you and your spouse operate. If you have the type of baby who likes sleeping on top of you (2/3 of ours do) you should be able to get decent rest regardless of set up. In terms of eva tips, just my generic tips. Try to enjoy the flight as much as you can and don’t stress out too much about the baby. Even the worst will pass. If they offer you a third set of pajamas for the baby take it. Or ask for it if you’re bold (I’m generally too Asian lol) If you’re flying from lax swing by the hello kitty store. Bring a baby carrier even if you don’t normally use one. They will give you a set of diapers. It’s a great flight 🙂 good luck and I’d love to hear how everything went when you get back!

      1. Thanks for the tips! We just got back from Taiwan and your tip to ask for separate meal service was great! (Also necessary since our baby refused to stay in the bassinet haha). The EVA business class bassinet ended up being so high up the only way I would have been able to place my 9mo baby in is if I stood on my seat so we ended up not using it at all (except to store his stuff since my seat ended up getting so cluttered with all his belongings lol). We did a midnight flight on business eva and he ended up only sleeping 5 hrs out of 13 (eek!) but having a flatbed helped SO much to let him crawl around. No PJs for the baby but we also forgot to ask lol. We also ended up flying Eva economy deluxe from Taipei to Osaka and that flight was way more manageable since bassinet was eye level so we were able to let him sit in there and play while giving our arms a break. Overall, I learned I def should take the afternoon flight to help coordinate with his bedtime (by the time meal service was done it was already 4:30a which is 1 hr before his usual 5:30a wake up lol). Ironically we flew United economy back to sfo and compared to Asian airlines it was horrible (didn’t offer diapers or food or even the bassinet until we requested it) lol

        1. Great! Glad you had a good trip. Yeah I’ve generally found bassinets useless except for storage but at least you got to use one. Yeah, meal service is looooong. So you make a great point.

          Let’s not speak of United international economy…don’t want to scare the kids lol

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