Wednesday, December 11, 2013

SFO - Taipei - Jakarta on EVA Airways

Intro: Baby M's First Trip to Indonesia
SFO - Taipei - Jakarta
Jakarta City Tour & Activities
Tatemukai
Namaaz Molecular Gastronomy
Conclusion

SFO - Taipei on EVA Airlines Royal Laurel Class

We arrived 2 hours early to SFO as is customary for an international flight, and I carried baby M using the Beco Gemini carrier, which made going through security a breeze since I could just pass through with her. We tried going to the EVA Air lounge but it was super crowded. Honestly, terminal 2 (domestic) at SFO feels actually nicer than the EVA Air lounge. :p We ended up staying only a few minutes in the lounge, grabbed a few bottled waters, and went to the gate for boarding.

EVA Air calls their business class product, Royal Laurel. They actually don't have first class seats. They only have Royal Laurel, Economy Deluxe, and Economy.  The seat configuration for Royal Laurel reminded us of Cathay Pacific: 1-2-1, with the seats at an angle.



We really like this configuration as it gives a little more privacy. The downside was that this type of seating doesn't allow for a bassinet. The seat does lie down flat all the way which was nice. They provided us with a pillow, blanket, noise canceling headset for use, an amenity kit, and slippers.


We decided to take turns carrying and holding baby M all throughout the flight. The first leg from SFO to Taipei was a long one, just over 11 hours.  It was really nice having that extra space to be able to comfortably take turns holding our baby, getting up when we needed to, and lying down to rest when one of us was holding baby M.


This was probably my first flight in a loooong time where I didn't watch any TV or enjoy the dining experience, because I was too busy carrying/holding baby M to make sure she didn't cry... Dan did get to watch a couple of movies though and ate complete sets of meals, he he... I guess this is the sacrifice of being a mom. :p  I must have been too tired and fell asleep during meal time, and by the time I woke up the meal service was done, and I was sooo hungry. So I asked for a snack and opted for the dim sum plate which was quite yummy. Afterwards I was still hungry so I asked for another dim sum plate. :)


Overall the seat, flight, and food were good...although I would have to say traveling with a baby totally changed our priorities and experience. Gone are the days (at least temporarily), where flying business involves sleeping for 6-7 hours, watching movies, and resting. Now our main priority is to keep baby happy at all cost, including less or no sleep for us. Thankfully baby M did pretty well for her first flight! A couple behind us told us how well behaved she was after the flight! Phew...

EVA Air Infinity Lounge, Taipei

After landing in Taipei, we went straight to the Infinity Lounge to get some snacks, shower, and some much needed rest. The lounge appeared to be very new and had a modern/club/futuristic decor to it.



We put our name down for the shower room because there was a waiting list. They gave us a buzzer, and we walked around to look at the food options. We didn't have to wait that long and were given keys to the shower room. The shower room was clean and adequate in size. They provided us with a clean towel, toiletries, etc. The one cool thing I noticed was the heated toilet seat.


We also checked out the Hello Kitty baby room where they provided diapers, wipes, and a nice sized changing table. We also used the room to wash baby bottles. The room could also be used to feed or pump if needed. Overall EVA Airlines scored by providing this much needed room for families!


By the time we each took a shower and got baby M ready for our next flight, the 3 hour layover had passed, and it was time to head to the gate for boarding. It's funny how time passed sooo fast in between flights when traveling with a baby. :)

Taipei - Jakarta on EVA Airlines

The plane from Taipei to Jakarta was noticeably older, with a 2-2-2 seating configuration. However, it was still pretty spacious. The flight was surprisingly pretty full. We got the bulkhead row and they actually set up a bassinet which was pretty useful. 


We were able to put baby M in the bassinet for a little bit which gave Dan and my tired arms a bit of a break. :p


Again, I didn't really watch any TV and preferred to sleep instead while I could.

Service was really good, and maybe a bit better than the first leg. The flight attendants were super understanding of us having a baby. One of the flight attendant introduced herself as a mom and that she would be more than happy to help out as needed which was much appreciated. One of the attendants actually took baby M for a little bit when she was really fussy while I was in the bathroom and Dan was struggling to calm her down.

Total flight was around 5.5 hours, and we were just ready to get to Indonesia! Once we landed, Dan & baby M lined up to pay for the visas on arrival while I passed through immigration and waited for them in the baggage claim area. Our bags were already waiting and we got out of the airport in no time.

Overall, we thought baby M did pretty well for her first international flight! We were really worried beforehand, mainly that she might cry for the whole flight. Thankfully she was pretty good, so hopefully that means more travel as a family in the future. :)

A couple tips when traveling with baby/infant:
  • While in airport, transport the baby with a carrier like Ergo, etc.  It helped us speed up going through security and one less thing to carry/push.
  • Bulkhead row is great because it's closer to the galley in case you need to ask for warm water to warm milk or make formula or quickly go to the lavatory for diaper changes.

6 comments:

  1. Hi Marcela, just found your blog. We are about do do the same trip on EVA with our 8 month old baby. Well its reversed - from Bali - TPE - SFO.. On the Taipei to SF flight we are in Royal Laurel class.. Im wondering what seats were you in? Do you recommend 2 middle seats or 2 aisles across? I know the layout is a bit strange, but what do you think is best for passing baby back and forth. Thanks!

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    1. Hi Cello. We were in seats 8 G (aisle) and K (window) on the second mini section of Royal Laurel class. I actually would recommend that configuration as opposed to the 2 middle seats as I feel that it's easier to pass babies back and forth. Let me know if you have any other questions!

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  2. These are really very useful tips on travel . We are waiting more and so nice your pictures

    henry thomas

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  3. hi there, came across your blog and this super helpful entry. My husband and I will also do that flight SFO-TPE with our 12 month baby. Exactly same seats too 8G and 8K! I was afraid about being to close to the bright and noisy galley and called EVA trying to change seats. They suggested I keep 8K as that is a bassinet location. I am doubtful about the existence of a baby bassinet on Royal Laurel, but they insisted that there is one at 8K. Can you please confirm this. Also please share your thought about sitting at those seats with a baby, or would you rather move to other seats. Thank you and looking forward to your reply.

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    1. Hi Quyen, I like being close to the galley so it's easier to ask for things (warm water for formula, etc). I don't believe it's possible to have bassinet on this particular flight. On our next layover from Taipei to Jakarta, we flew an older plane which as 2-2-2 configuration, and for that we did have a bassinet. But for this leg from SFO-Taipei 1-2-1 configuration, I can't imagine where they can put the bassinet.

      It was still a bit tight with a baby - but doable. All the seats are pretty much the same, so I don't think there's much of a difference. If you are connecting elsewhere, then definitely choose the first row since having a bassinet really helps.

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    2. thank you! did you find the galley to be too bright and noisy for baby to sleep or was it just fine? how about the closet opening and closing clicks, please?

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