Thursday, 24 November 2011

Flying with EVA Air on the Boeing 747-400 Combi (TPE-HKG)

Welcome to my trip report on EVA Air's TPE-HKG flight!




I wanted to do this route mainly is to fly the Boeing 747-400 Combi. The Combi means a mixed configuration of passengers and cargo on the same deck. The cargo is to take up 1/4 of the deck located at the rear, this means the floor has to be stronger than the standard Boeing 747-400 passenger aircraft. From the home base, its difficult to know which aircraft would you be flying on, so hopefully on that day, I would get what I want and not a last minute equipment change, that would ruined my day!


Flight details
Carrier: EVA Air
Flight number: 855
Date: 21st Nov 2011
Routing: TPE-HKG
Seat number: 21A
Aircraft type: Boeing 747-4E5M
My 1st ride on this aircraft type and 1st airline to be flying the 747-400Combi
1st time on B-16409
Engines: General Electric CF6-80C2B1F
Line number: 1077
Registration: B-16409
Flight duration: 1 hr 21 mins
Schedule departure time: 1410
Actual departure time: 1430
Schedule arrival time: 1540
Actual arrival time: 1535
FL:350 Speed: 820km/h
Load factor for Y class: 90%
Departure gate: C5 (Terminal 2)
Arrival gate: 36 (Terminal 1)
Departure runway: 05R
Arrival runway: 07R



                                               Photos of the beauty.







How did this trip happen?

Initially it was only supposed to be just Taipei. I browsed through the website of EVA Air and came across an offer of S$370 plus the chance to fly the 747-400 Combi, I didn't think twice about it and decided to book it. I booked it in August and got the best seats for both of my flights, the 744M and the 332, I could or should have done both ways 744M, but still it was a good deal i feel. In addition, I really missed Hong Kong. The last time I came here, I didn't do much as I liked, so now this time being alone, I wanted to do some plane spotting and bus rides as well, trying out the latest models.

                        Photos of my trip to Taipei Taoyuan Airport.

Initially, I wanted to take the bus, but because I missed the bus, I decided to take the train instead and it was worth it.


I went to Taipei Main Station and took the HSR train from there to Taoyuan station. I can't remember how much it cost, but it wasn't expensive.





Once I reached there, there were a few check-in counters at the station. At that time, only China Airlines and EVA Air had counters over there. I went to do my check-in and hopped onto bus 705 to the airport. Hopefully there will be a direct train from Taipei Main Station to Taoyuan Airport, that will save all the hassle!









Once I reach the airport, I went to walk around the terminal.





































Reminds me of Qualityhunter's 'Book Swap', main difference is you can't do any swapping.

Before the flight

I went around to do some plane spotting. I found a perfect spot to photograph but the traffic of landing and taking off wasn't there. Still manage to catch some nice planes ! I will upload those photos later. Did some exploring afterwards, before making my way to the gate C5 where I spend the rest of the time photographing the landings and taking off and that included my plane, B-16409. I was so glad that there was no last minute equipment swop. Checking the previous flights on this, it was only operated by 74M, so that's great.

On board

Once the announcements were made, we got out quickly and made a dash to the queue and it took a good 20 minutes for everyone to be settled, at least for evergreen class, it was full. If you are V class (Economy class), you can fly on the Evergreen deluxe, provided there are seats. At the point of time when I booked, the entire lower deck was available to me for selection. I looked through seatguru.com and decided on 21A, the 2nd row from the very front.

                 The exciting part: Boarding an aircraft especially on a new type.





Rows 20 and 21 are my favourite rows when flying on EVA Air's Boeing 747-400 Combi. The ex-deluxe class is being sold as economy class, so remember to reserve your seat quickly to get these rows. 











What's inside the seat pocket?









At the toilet! 





I was tempted to climb up! 











The cabin shot of the front section of the lower deck.

















Time to leave, can I stay put? 







Service on board

Service on board this flight was once again disappointed with a couple of disillusioned crews. They maybe wearing the uniform, but looked out of place as their faces showed that they wished they were somewhere else. One of them who was serving coffee actually skipped my row (2nd row), (how can you miss it?) and went on to the 3rd row after giving both my seating partner and myself a quick glance. As this was a full flight and a short one too, it was perhaps a challenge for them and as a result, service went downhill ever since the doors were closed. Comparing with my last flight, it was slightly better but by a small margin. Even so, I was still disappointed and was expecting much better service than this. When the flight ended, only one of them bothered to greet the passengers goodbye, while the other was probably hiding in the crew's area. Service: 5/10

          Hot meal was served despite the duration of the flight: 1 hr 10mins!



Hong Kong noodles for lunch! It was dry, but wasn't too bad. At least there was some taste to it. The chicken salad tasted quite ok, I guess at that point of time I was hungry.

Seat comfort

Despite the old Evergreen deluxe seats, its was comfortable and I managed to stretched my legs without any obstructions at the legroom compartment. If I were to fly long haul with these seats, I think I would managed fine. Seats: 8/10

PTV

My PTV set was not working, it doesn't matter anyway. For such a short flight, I won't need to use it. It's an old PTV without AVOD (Audio Video on demand), reminds me of flights 10 years ago, the strangest thing is I couldn't find the remote control on the sides, strange! No ratings


                                                 Window-shot photos









This was the exciting moment. The thrill of charging down the runway and lifting off to the beautiful blue sky. 













Perfect day for flying!































Conclusion

I enjoyed the flight experience very much, no amount of money will be able to buy back such fond memories of it. At this time, the Boeing 747-400 Combi are being retired and currently left with only 1-2 aircraft. I paid only economy price for the Evergreen deluxe seat and what a bargain it was. This flight's service had a lot to be desired, it didn't come close to the likes of CX or SQ but today (July 2014), the airline is different. It has improved by leaps and bounds and I need to fly with the airline soon to check out how it is. If you are considering flying with EVA Air, fly either the MD-90 or the Boeing 747-400 Combi before they are gone. These 2 types will be even harder to find once retired.

Ratings

Website: 6/10
On-ground service: 6/10
Taipei Taoyuan Airport experience: 6/10
Cabin interior: 7/10
In-flight service: 5/10
In-flight meal: 7/10
Seat Comfort: 8/10
Aircraft condition: 10/10
Punctuality: 10/10
Overall rating: 65/90

Thank you for reading my trip report.


Cheers,
Charles

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