EVA Air Economy Quick Review Taipei to Hong Kong

EVA Air Economy Quick Review Taipei to Hong Kong

Here’s a quick trip report on Eva Air Economy on a new A330 equipped with Wifi. If you’re interested in wifi prices then jump straight down to the gallery and view the photo.

Eva air is a 5 star Skytrax airline and was founded in 1989. It’s the alternative to the state owned carrier China Airlines. Here’s my quick review of the pros and cons of Eva Air economy class

  • Fast check in at online check in counters. Well staffed and no queue
  • Boarded at end of process so can’t speak for the priority boarding available but boarding was well managed into zones
  • New A330 with Wifi
  • Seat comfortable. Same seat on longhaul should be comfortable and not “bum numbing” Pitch was nothing special and OK for short haul.
  • Snack good for the short haul flight. Other airlines don’t even provide a tray. Metal cutlery on one sector and special Hello Kitty tray and cutlery on their special Hello Kitty themed plane! Organic and filtered water towel included on the tray
  • Entertainment system was good but limited English new releases. Did also have European new releases though.
  • Nice cockpit display on moving map
  • At seat USB
  • Gate to gate entertainment. Loaded early so no boring taxis and waits on the ground!
  • Use your mobile device at all times!

Overall a very decent experience in economy on this short flight, you can see why they deserve the 5 star Skytrax rating.

Anata No Warehouse.

Anata No Warehouse.

Arcades are usually bright and loud, an assault on the senses with cheery music and gaudy lights. Anata no Warehouse (Your warehouse) in Kawasaki is a different breed. Step through it’s ominous doors with me.

The creators of Anata no Warehouse took great care in its construction. The outside is murky and deliberately worn, a stark contrast to its cleaner neighbors. Inside, the entrance lies on the first floor, along with parking. Step through its automated doors (parking side), and you’ll be transported to the seedy underbelly of Hong Kong’s infamous (and now extinct) Kowloon Walled City. Take the elevator or escalator up to the second floor, and be amazed at the level of detail.

There are five floors altogether. The first floor is parking and entrance/exit. The second floor is a mix of retro and modern arcade systems, including driving games, beat em ups, RPGs, and UFO catchers. This floor is the most impressive. Every inch has been made to look like Kowloon City. Dim neon signs in kanji light up the top half of the room, old posters scatter the walls, and there are even props you can take photos in, including a street food market and an apartment complex entrance. Look up, and you’ll see tattered clothing crisscross the ceiling, listen carefully and you’ll hear sounds of a long dead city. The decor alone is a reason to go. But, if you love games, you won’t be disappointed in that respect either. The place is like a tardis, it seems like you’ll never reach the end. Each floor is the same in that respect.

Once you tire of this floor, head up and check out the others. Whilst sadly the same theme isn’t carried up, each floor has its own set of features and entertainment. On the third floor, you’ll find a huge bank of medal games. The purpose of this game is to simply drop medals (you’ll find machines dotted around that allow you to change yen into medals) into a machine that continually pushes them forward. It’s oddly cathartic, but not for the impatient.

The fourth floor is all about billiards and darts. Speak to the staff at the central desk to get the equipment needed (darts, balls, cues), then take your pick. Again, it’s a big floor, you won’t spend much time waiting around.

The fifth floor is an internet cafe that serves food, but you have to be a member to use it. It can only be reached by elevator.

There’s no limit on how long you can stay. Anata no Warehouse opens at 9.00am and closes at 11.45pm, and it has free parking. You pay as you play, so be sure to take cash with you. There isn’t much in the way of food, but you will find vending machines scattered throughout for drinks. There is a restriction on age. No under 18’s are allowed. There is disabled access in the form of elevators, though if you are entering and have mobility issues, use the street side entrance as it’s level. Smoking is permitted inside, floors 3-4 get especially smoky, and ventilation is limited.

Overall, I really enjoyed Anata no Warehouse. It’s unique and has a lot of arcade games I enjoyed as a child. If you’re in Kawasaki, I recommend a visit. You can find it here.

Airline review: Skymark airlines.

Airline review: Skymark airlines.

Skymark is a LCC (low cost carrier) serving Japan, with it’s hub airports being Tokyo, Fukuoka, Kobe, and Okinawa. They also fly to Nagasaki, Kagoshima, Nagoya, Ibaraki, and Sapporo, but how do they stack up compared to the other LCC’s? Let’s take a look.

Website.

Their website is pretty good, easy to use, and with language options including Japanese, Chinese. Korean, and English. They have a map of destinations, information on each airport they serve, as well as a simple fares search. Booking through their website directly will give you the best deal for your flight.

Booking options.

You can either book online, over the phone, through a travel agent, or at an airline counter, and payment can be made by credit card or cash. You also have the option to pay at a convenience store if you book online (payment must be made by 2200 on the day before departure or the reservation will be cancelled).

Fares.

Skymark are pretty competitive when it comes to pricing. They have a range of fares, so you can choose one that suits you. For a list of fares see their website here. Although Skymark prices are low, they aren’t as cheap as Peach and Vanilla, but if you’re looking for good service as well as a good deal, I’d take Skymark over Peach or Vanilla any day.

Customer service.

They out-perform Peach and Vanilla in this department by a large margin. Staff are always helpful, informative, and quick to assist if there’s a problem. On a recent flight to Nagoya I was warned my flight might be diverted to Tokyo Haneda due to poor weather conditions. Accommodation had been put on standby (it was a late flight), as well as transport the next day. Luckily my flight made it to Nagoya, but I was impressed at the flow of information, the professionalism of the staff, and at how quickly Skymark made alternate arrangements.

Aircraft.

They hold a fleet of 26 Boeing 737-800’s, and are recognisable by the blue and white with star logo. The aircraft is modest in size, but it’s clean, the seats are reasonably comfy, and leg room isn’t too stingy either. As all flights operate within Japan, no flight is longer than around 3 hours, but you can buy food, drinks, and gifts on board.

Conclusion.

If you find yourself needing a flight within Japan, I’d recommend looking at Skymark over Peach and Vanilla. They offer a more reliable service, better customer care, and more options with their fares.

Airline review: Peach.

Airline review: Peach.

Peach destination map, taken from their website.

Peach is Japan’s first (but not only) true LCC (low-cost carrier) airline, with hubs at Osaka (Kansai International), Tokyo (Narita), and Naha, but flying to 17 destinations within Asia, including Seoul. It was founded in February 2011, and took up operations in March 2012, and since then has been a popular choice for cheap flights. But what’s it like to actually fly with them? Let’s review.

Cost.

One of the most attractive things about Peach is their low-cost. Much like the LCC’s of Europe (EasyJet and Ryanair), Peach offers a “no frills” approach to getting you from A to B. This means seating is basic and you pay extra to book seats (more for emergency door seating), there’s food but you pay extra, and service isn’t as attentive as it would be with say ANA. I’ve found that the earlier you book, the cheaper it is, but they also do regular sales on flights to their popular destinations (Tokyo for example) and these can be an absolute steal. I also like that in certain places they offer added extras, such as onward travel by train (from Narita airport to central Tokyo is long and can be expensive, the discounts offered on the flight are pretty good).

Comfort.

In this instance, it really is “you get what you paid for”. Don’t expect oodles of leg room and über comfy seats, and you won’t be too disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t terrible, but if you’re used to flying high quality airlines such as ANA or JAL, this will seem like “slumming it” somewhat.

Service.

Again, it isn’t on a par with the big carriers, but it isn’t awful either. The staff are mostly still really polite and helpful, with most speaking a decent amount of English (and with some multilingual speakers). My biggest issue so far with Peach is that they aren’t too great at communicating with their passengers about delays. On a recent trip from Taipei, the flight was initially delayed about an hour, but only one announcement was made and it was hard to hear. In the end, the flight was almost three hours late, the gate was changed with no communication (thankfully only to a gate close by), and with only a further one or two scratchy announcements the entire time. Cue lots of frustrated passengers constantly hassling the staff, and you’ve got for a miserable wait.

Further information.

Peach flies to destinations in China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand, and has talked about plans for destinations in Vietnam and other parts of South-East Asia. The cheapest way to book is through their website www.flypeach.com or through price comparison site www.skyscanner.net. They offer two types of fares; “Happy Peach”, designed for budget travellers unlikely to change their travel arrangements, and “Happy Peach Plus”, for travellers who may need some flexibility in their ticket, with no time restrictions and no extra fees for changing the booking (aside from the difference in price). It also includes free seat reservation and one free checked bag (on “Happy Peach” both of these services cost extra).

In summary.

Overall, they really aren’t a bad little airline. They certainly make exploring South-East Asia that much more affordable, and if talks of further destinations are to be believed, the continent will be even more affordably accessible.