Early last year, I found a phenomenal fare for first-class airfare from Yangon, Myanmar to Los Angeles.
I had to first get to Myanmar.
So, after considering countless possible routings, I decided on Los Angeles to Taipei, Taiwan on EVA Air for my first leg.
Now, I’ve been on a couple long-haul flights in my life, but the 14-hour 45-minute scheduled flight between L.A. and Taipei was going to be the longest… by FAR.
So I splurged on the Premium Economy section. It was a decision I did not regret.
As a bonus, I’d be flying on my all-time favorite plane, the Boeing 777.
This was my first foray into Asia, and therefore, my first experience on an Asian airline.
First impression? Hello Kittys everywhere!
On the TV in front of me, on the flight attendant uniforms, on the cover of the skymall catalog, everywhere!
Now, I could see how some people would find that painfully obnoxious. But for a 29-year-old woman who’s scared of flying and about to embark on a 14-hour plane ride by herself, it was playfully soothing.
Before takeoff we received our amenity kit, which included a blanket, larger-than-normal pillow, slippers, headphones, lotion, and a dental set containing a toothbrush and toothpaste.
The worst part of the trip was my seat assignment, but I knew that going in. Because I had lollygagged on choosing a routing, the only seats that were left in the premium economy section when I booked were middle seats in the middle section.
It wouldn’t have been TOO bad, except the woman sitting next to me on the aisle didn’t really understand the concept of getting up out of your seat to let someone pass.
Anytime I needed to get up throughout the flight (have I mentioned that it was a 14-hour flight?) she would simply pull her legs up into her chest and remain in that position while I clumsily and awkwardly contorted myself and inched past her.
It was bad.
But besides her (henceforth known as the Cannonball woman), the seat ended up being a delight!
EVA Air’s Premium Economy seats recline in such a way that as the backrest slides back, the seat part slides forward along with a footrest, so you end up in a semi-cradled reclined position. More airlines should do this!
We departed about 30 minutes after our scheduled departure time of 11:45 P.M.
On first glance, I thought departing for a long-haul flight to Asia at midnight was strange. But it’s actually pretty genius.
You takeoff, have some dinner, settle in, hopefully sleep a bunch of hours, wake up, have some breakfast, and before you know it you’re beginning the descent!
Anyway, not long after takeoff, the flight attendants came around to take our dinner order. The menu included a selection of both Chinese and Western-style dishes and beverages.
I ended up going with the chicken curry dish from the Chinese menu and was quite pleased.
After dinner, I tried to settle in for some sleep but it just wasn’t happening.
So I played some games on my phone, read some of my book, and watched as the on-screen flight tracker ticked from over 10:00 hours remaining, down to the three-digit 9:59 remaining.
For some reason seeing that provided me with a huge sense of accomplishment. It’s the little things…
At some point I diverted my attention to the entertainment system and chose to zone out to the Ashton Kutcher CLASSIC, “No Strings Attached.”
Somehow I made it through the whole thing, but I WAS exhausted afterwards. (It was also about 6:00 A.M. L.A. time by this point, which might have had something to do with it.)
I contorted myself over Cannonball, stretched my legs, hit the restroom, popped some Zzzquil, and settled in for what I hoped would be a nice 7-hour slumber.
In reality, it ended up being seven hours of 15- to 30-minute naps interrupted every so often by either turbulence, other passengers, or just plain insomnia. But whatever.
A little more than two hours prior to landing, they turned the lights on and began breakfast service.
The choices were a broccoli and cheese frittata or an Asian-style dish, but I was still full from dinner so I passed and asked for just some tea with a croissant.
The turbulence seemed to get more intense at this point, but nothing too worrisome.
I contorted over Cannonball for the (mercifully) final time, and we descended into Taipei about 14 hours after departing LAX.
All in all it was a MUCH less painful experience than I had anticipated for a solo flight of that duration. And I will be happy to fly EVA again if my travels ever take me through Taiwan.