Trip Report: Business Class on EVA Airlines Gudetama Sanrio plane Taipei – Tokyo Narita

 Pros
  • Cuteness Kawaiiiiii-overload!
  • Din Tai Fung catering!
  • Did you read what I just wrote? I said they have Din Tai F&#@ing Fung onboard!
  • Super friendly staff
  • Great lounges with hot food and pour-it-yourself liquor
Cons
  • Honestly, none. 

 

How I did it

I bought an open-jaw ticket (Taipei - Tokyo Narita, Fukuoka - Taipei) on EVA's website with my Amex card for USD$865 per person, so this half effectively cost $433. It would have been nice to somehow integrate this with our NYC–Taipei reward flight, but it was impossible for me to construct that routing on United.com (where all of my points for this flight were). To be fair, the itinerary we wanted was a bit strange (12 hour layover in Taipei inbound to have lunch with a friend, 3 day layover on the way back to hang out in Taipei), plus I absolutely positively had to be on a Sanrio character plane so I coughed up the cash. I credited the flight to my United account, where this leg earned 1009 miles (≈$20) in addition to the 1300 Amex miles earned purchasing this leg (≈$26).

 

Check-in and Lounges

Business class check-in was quick and easy. The check-in line for Economy was quite long, so springing for Business Class paid off there. We stopped to take pictures of the special Hello Kitty check-in counter after we were done just for fun.

As is the case in most of Asia, there are no priority security lines. The line in Taipei was incredibly long but moved very quickly so our time from arriving at the airport until we were in the lounge was about 45 minutes. If we'd been in Economy, it would have easily been an hour or more.

We had our choice of two lounges (EVA has four lounges at TPE), but confusingly they were both hidden behind a door that didn't have the name of either of the lounges on it. Also, make sure you know where your gate is before settling into the lounge, the walk can be long. 

The Infinity lounge was great – all the usual amenities plus a great hot and cold buffet and showers.


Taipei airport Hello Kitty/Sanrio check-in area

Taipei airport Hello Kitty/Sanrio check-in area

Taipei airport Hello Kitty/Sanrio check-in area

Taipei airport Hello Kitty/Sanrio check-in area


More Sanrio in the Taipei airport
There are two lounges inside this door (including the Infinity), neither of the lounge names is on the exterior!
You have your choice of two lounges, we chose the Infinity

Infinity lounge

TOTO Washlets in the lounge


Ice cream!

Full hot and cold spread

 

The flight

I think we were the only Business Class passengers who were actually excited about being aboard a Sanrio plane – most everyone else seemed to view it as a mild curiosity/annoyance. The flight attendants seemed genuinely happy that we were enjoying it so much. On both our Sanrio flights they loaded us down with all kinds of fun swag to take home with us.

Not to deconstruct the magic too much here, but aside from the plane's livery, several things get the Sanrio makeover: the boarding pass, the FA uniforms and badges, the safety info card and video, the slippers, pillow covers, barf "comfort" bags, tray and drink mats, drink stirring sticks and cocktail napkins, pens and playing cards, and the in-flight entertainment system.

Our A321 had recliner seats with 45" of seat pitch. For this short flight (3½ hours), that was more than fine. 


Gudetama A321
Gudetama plane

the slippers are very stylish
video
safety card

 
Pillows and seat covers in Economy

"comfort" bag
Pillow

 

Food

Service begins with cocktails and hot towels. As I mentioned in the intro, they serve Din Tai Fung onboard, so while there were other choices on the menu, I wasn't going to pick them. I had the soup dumplings, and it came with various appetizers and a very hearty chicken soup as the opener. The dessert was a red bean manju bun.

Gin and tonic with Gudetama swizzle stick

Chicken soup and appetizers
Din Tai Fung soup dumplings

Dr. K is very happy about his soup dumplings
Manju for dessert
Yes, I asked permission to take this photo.

Menus

(click to enlarge)
so cuuuute!
Wine
Chinese menu
Japanese Menu
Western menu
Beverages

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