EVA Airways Premium Laurel Class – Taipei to Manila (TPE-MNL) – A330 – Review

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Rating ★★★★

Premium Laurel Class? Huh?

EVA has a slightly confusing arrangement. They have Business Class, Premium Laurel Class, and Royal Laurel Class. What’s the difference?

EVA Airways Business vs Premium Laurel vs Royal Laurel

EVA’s Business Class features only on their Airbus A321-200 on Asian regional routes.

Premium Laurel is used on the Airbus A330 for Asian regional flights and some long-haul flights to the US and Europe. It’s a 2-2-2 layout over 5 rows. The 30 seats are not fully flat, but on short regional flights that’s not a big deal.

Royal Laurel is a 1-2-1 layout on the Boeing 777, and has better service all around, not just a better seat. If you’re booking EVA then check carefully which aircraft will be flying your route because the difference is quite big.

Premium Laurel can be a bargain, and is reasonable on points, and for a flight of 2 hours and 20 minutes the positives outweigh the negatives.

However, if your schedule allows you to pick the right flight, you can travel this route between TPE and MNL on the 777 as well as the A330.

That means if you do it right you can fly in Royal Laurel instead of Premium Laurel for exactly the same cost in points. See the section on booking EVA flights lower down this page.

EVA Airways Premium Laurel Class A330 TPE MNL
EVA Airways Premium Laurel Class A330 TPE MNL

My experience on EVA Airways Premium Laurel Class

The service was really very good. Friendly, efficient, welcoming. Although nothing special to look at, the food was actually delicious. The wine list was decent, and I was surprised to be offered a hot towel and Champagne as soon as I had sat down.

I was lucky to have an empty seat next to me, and the seat is comfortable, spacious, and private enough for a daytime flight.

I enjoyed the whole experience and went away feeling happy.

EVA Airways Premium Laurel Class A330 TPE MNL Dining Wok Fried Beef
EVA Airways Premium Laurel Class A330 TPE MNL Dining Wok Fried Beef

Check in and lounges at Taipei airport TPE

I didn’t have to wait at all to check in at the dedicated business class desk, and then it’s time to pick a lounge.

EVA has two lounges – The Infinity Lounge (pictured), and The Star Lounge. There is another EVA lounge called The Club, but this is only for Royal Laurel passengers.

There are several Plaza Premium lounges at Taipei Taoyuan International, which you can access with Priority Pass. The Plaza Premium Lounge in zone A has free showers and private day rooms that cost extra. You can get a discount on the day rooms if you join the Arrture Smart Traveller program.

All of these lounges are very big and have a large but only averagely enticing selection of hot and cold food, and plenty of drinks.

I had a look through the Plaza Premium lounges and then tried both the Infinity and the Star lounge. The EVA reception staff were happy to let my try both. 

I found that all of the lounges were very busy, but not the Infinity. I’m not sure why, because the access rules seemed to be the same. The food and drinks seemed broadly the same in each lounge, but it was an awful lot easier to find a relatively quiet place to sit in the Infinity lounge.

As you can see in the picture, the lounges are more about catering for large numbers of people with seats very close together rather than offering private areas, but they are still well presented.

In both EVA lounges there was Movenpick ice-cream, and hotdogs if you dare. Both lounges have showers. The Star lounge has a brighter decor but an equal lack of quiet seating areas.

The Zone A Plaza Premium lounge seemed just as busy as the Star, has a decent selection of hot food but a smaller choice of drinks.

You can find details of Priority Pass here, and Lounge Buddy is a great app to help you choose which lounge to use.

EVA Airways Infinity Lounge Taipei
EVA Airways Infinity Lounge Taipei

Boarding

Boarding was well managed, with business class, sorry, I mean Premium Laurel Class passengers directed down the forward air bridge. I was welcomed by a smiling flight attendant and shown to my seat. It was efficient and friendly and created a good impression to start the trip.

Seatmap & seating

The 2-2-2 seats are not the most modern but they are comfortable and have a quite appealing colour scheme and materials. They don’t go fully flat but they do have an LED reading light behind you, a handset remote control for the TV, and feel very spacious. There is a USB power socket.

Adjustment is by push-button in the armrest and allows the footrest to be controlled independently so you can get the position just right. The seat seemed clean and in very good condition.

For a short flight these seats are just fine.

EVA Airways Premium Laurel Class A330 TPE MNL Seating
EVA Airways Premium Laurel Class A330 TPE MNL Seating
EVA Airways Premium Laurel A330 seat map
EVA Airways Premium Laurel A330 seat map

Which seat is best?

The seats are 2-2-2. If you want aisle access with nobody climbing over you then you need to pick the centre D and G pair of seats.

On a short flight it’s not a big deal not having direct aisle access from the window seat, and there is plenty of space between the seat and the TV/footrest to make squeezing past your seat-mate less awkward, unless they’re fully reclined.

There is a small partition between the headrests of the seats which creates a feeling of privacy because you don’t really see the face of the person next to you out of the corner of your eye.

You may want a window seat for the views of the sunset as you arrive into Manila if you’re on flight BR277 at 15:30.

The front and rear rows (rows 6 and 10) are close to the toilets and galley where it may be a little less private. but I was in row 6 and never felt disturbed. I’d actually booked 7D in order to ensure aisle access, but the cabin was only 3/4 full and with 6A and C empty I took advantage.

Amenities

There aren’t any on this flight.

Dining

I was surprised to be offered Champagne. Some might turn their nose up at a relatively cheap brand but it tasted pretty much like Champagne to me… The menus is small and of course there’s only one meal service on a 2 hour flight, but it was delicious.

Well-cooked and tender beef, delivered quickly to my table at a perfect temperature.

The flight attendants did their job with obvious care and they did it right. Too often you get served your food and you’re still waiting for a drink, but no such annoyances here. Everything in the right order and with no waiting.

She took my order and returned immediately with my wine. She returned twice while I was eating to see if I would like more bread and to refill my glass.

The food may not look special, but it was very tasty and the service was as good as anywhere else.

EVA Airways Premium Laurel Class A330 TPE MNL Menu
EVA Airways Premium Laurel Class A330 TPE MNL Menu
EVA Airways Premium Laurel Class A330 TPE MNL Dining Menu
EVA Airways Premium Laurel Class A330 TPE MNL Dining Menu
EVA Airways Premium Laurel Class A330 TPE MNL Drinks Menu
EVA Airways Premium Laurel Class A330 TPE MNL Drinks Menu
EVA Airways Premium Laurel Class A330 TPE MNL Dining
EVA Airways Premium Laurel Class A330 TPE MNL Dining
EVA Airways Premium Laurel Class A330 TPE MNL Map
EVA Airways Premium Laurel Class A330 TPE MNL Map
EVA Airways Premium Laurel Class A330 TPE MNL Wine List
EVA Airways Premium Laurel Class A330 TPE MNL Wine List

IFE

There is a 15 inch touchscreen and a remote handset. Noise cancelling headphones are provided but I used my own so I can’t comment on them. There was a decent selection of latest release movies.

The flight

If you’re booking EVA Airways Premium Laurel class between Taipei and Manila on BR277 at 15:30, then choose one of the ‘A‘ window seats on the left for the best views arriving into Manila at sunset. The views leaving Taipei are nothing special, but the sunset can be quite nice.

EVA Airways Premium Laurel Class A330 TPE MNL Take Off Taipei
EVA Airways Premium Laurel Class A330 TPE MNL Take Off Taipei
EVA Airways Premium Laurel Class A330 TPE MNL Sunset Flight
EVA Airways Premium Laurel Class A330 TPE MNL Sunset Flight
EVA Airways Premium Laurel Class A330 TPE MNL Sunset Manila Arrival
EVA Airways Premium Laurel Class A330 TPE MNL Sunset Manila Arrival
EVA Airways Premium Laurel Class A330 TPE MNL Landing Manila
EVA Airways Premium Laurel Class A330 TPE MNL Landing Manila
EVA Airways Premium Laurel Class A330 TPE MNL Sunset Manila
EVA Airways Premium Laurel Class A330 TPE MNL Sunset Manila

How to book

Continuing with the silly names, the EVA Airways frequent flyer program is called Infinity MileageLands, but EVA is also a Star Alliance partner.

You can credit your flight to Miles and More, for example. Miles awarded are distance based. The Taipei to Manila flight in Premium Laurel would earn you 1462 Miles & More award miles, and the same number of status miles (depending on the exact fare code).

The earning rate at Miles & More is better than other Star Alliance partners, but will be less (4 miles per €) if you buy your ticket through Lufthansa.

You can book flights at EVA Airways.

For our Europe and US based readers, you’re more likely to have membership of Lufthansa Miles and More, United MileagePlus, Air Canada Aeroplan.

If you can find availability, the mileage cost with Miles & More will be 35000 miles + approx £25 tax. With Aeroplan it would be 40,000 miles, and 48,500 with United.

But wait! There’s something important you should know.

The flight from TPE to MNL is also operated using the 777 and that means Royal Laurel class, and it costs the same 35,000 miles.

But wait! There’s something else you should know!

At other times it’s operated with the A321, which means the crappy standard “Business class”. You’d be paying the same 35,000 miles and getting a much poorer experience.

If your schedule can cope, pick the flights operated with the 777 and get yourself some Royal Laurel treatment. If you have to take a flight on the A330, it’s really perfectly fine and on a flight as short as this you’re not missing all that much. Just avoid the A321.

EVA airways with Miles and more
EVA airways with Miles and more
EVA Airways United MileagePlus
EVA Airways United MileagePlus

Opinion

For regional flights in Asia the Premium Laurel seats and service are very good value. The 2-2-2 layout means some compromise, but for short flights it’s not really an issue. The staff were excellent, the food was delicious, and I consider it a bargain. When booking with miles, look for the flights on the 777 instead of the A330 and get a better deal.

FAQ

What's the difference between Royal Laurel and Premium Laurel?

Premium Laurel is used on the Airbus A330 for Asian regional flights and some long-haul flights to the US and Europe. It’s a 2-2-2 layout over 5 rows.

Royal Laurel is a 1-2-1 layout on the Boeing 777, has fully flat seats and better food.

What airline alliance does EVA Airways belong to?

Star Alliance.

Can you book EVA Airways with miles?

You can book through Star Alliance partners including Miles & More or United MileagePlus.

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