Four Trip Reports: LAX-HND-TSA/TPE-HKG-DFW - American/EVA/Cathay - First/Business/Economy Class - 787-9/A330/777-300

Hey IFC!

This is a four-part trip report series of my recent trip over the summer to Asia.

The Four Flights:

Airline Route Aircraft Class
American Airlines LAX-HND 787-9 Business Class
EVA Airways HND-TSA A330-300 Economy Class
Cathay Pacific TPE-HKG 777-300 Economy Class
American Airlines HKG-DFW 777-300ER First Class
Total Flight Time Total Distance Flown
29 Hours & 2 Minutes 15,415 mi/24808 km
  • In each trip I review the primary aspects of the airline’s amenities.

For every trip I’ll post a few photos and link the full video trip report.

image

Flight One:
[Flight Information]
Aircraft: Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
Registration: N831AN
Airline: American Airlines
Date: Early June 2019
Flight Time: 10 hours 30 minutes
From: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
To: Tokyo Haneda International Airport (HND)
Seat: 6L

Video:


American Airlines 787-9 Collins Aerospace Super Diamond Seat


Fantastic Wing View


Business Class Main Course - Beef Short Rib/Haricot Verts/Baked Potato

Summary:

  • The 787 is truly a fantastic aircraft to fly on. American Airlines’ was no exception. The business class seat manufactured by Collins Aerospace is a huge step up in terms of comfort, spaciousness, and privacy compared to the custom-made Concept D by Zodiac featured on American’s 787-8s and select 777-200s. The takeoff (in the video) was stunning with an amazing wing view and had condensation form over the wing. My location on the aircraft resulted in a fantastic engine roar of the General Electric’s GEnx-1B. Upon takeoff, we had a great view of California and headed towards the Bay Area. SFO, SJC, OAK, Half Moon Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, downtown San Francisco and more could be seen from the right side of the aircraft.

  • Shortly, we were served a multi-course meal consisting of an appetizer, salad, main course, and dessert. This meal was solid, probably near the best I’ve had. Just a heads up… if anyone flies on American’s business/first class, avoid the “Beef Filet” or Steak. Always go for the Beef Short Rib. I’ve had the steak/filet in the past many times. They usually always disappoint. However, American began updating their meals in the past year to include the short rib, which I have had three times. All three were absolutely fantastic. The dessert was a tangy and delicious passion fruit cake.

  • After meal service, I watched a few things on American’s solid entertainment system, and tried out the flat bed. Again, the seat was very spacious, especially for your legs. The footwell isn’t too constricting. After getting a few hours of sleep, I woke up and the flight attendants came around and offered a mid-flight snack. I chose some cold Udon Noodles which tasted alright.

  • About an hour and thirty minutes before landing, the flight attendants began waking everyone for breakfast and preparation for landing. The breakfast was a chicken over rice which tasted pretty good. Shortly after that, we began our descent into Tokyo Haneda. It was a rather cloudy and overcast landing, but it offered a solid view of downtown Tokyo and the Tokyo SkyTree. This was my first time visiting Tokyo Haneda for several years, so I forgot how beautiful the international terminal was.


Tokyo HND international terminal

Flight Two:
[Flight Information]
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300
Registration: B-16337
Airline: EVA Airlines
Date: Early June 2019
Flight Time: 2 hours 52 minutes
From: Tokyo Haneda International Airport (HND)
To: Taipei Songshan Airport (TSA)
Seat: 25A

Video:


Our A330-300 visible from the HND Airport observation deck


EVA Air A330-300 Economy Class Seat


EVA Air Economy Class food - chicken with rice/steamed vegetables


Final approach into Taipei Songshan with the Grand Hotel in sight.

Summary:

  • After staying in Tokyo for a few days, it was time to head to Taipei, Taiwan. We took the train to Tokyo Haneda. Tokyo Haneda’s international terminal features a nice observation deck that offers a solid view of the international terminal (one side’s view is restricted), the domestic terminal, and the center runway. I was able to spot our A330-300 that will take us down to Taipei Songshan. Security and customs were quick and efficient and we arrived at our gate in a few minutes.

  • Upon boarding, the cabin seemed rather fresh and clean with EVA’s light color scheme at every economy class seat. My initial impressions of the seat were moderate: pitch seemed pretty tight, but the seat was comfortable. My IFE screen was very slow, and the touchscreen function took a moment to register my actions. Soon, we departed and headed towards the runway.

  • After taking off, we encountered some rough turbulence. Service was momentarily delayed but the FAs came through to my row and offered meals. I chose the chicken with rice/steamed vegetables, which tasted alright. The turbulence really started to hit at this time and the FAs had to pause service again. After the FAs picked up the service items, I managed to get a bit of sleep but the cabin was noticeably hot. Shortly after this, we descended into Taipei Songshan, which offered an amazing landing. The Grand Hotel was in view. Upon landing in TSA, the famous Taipei 101 could be seen from the airport.

Flight Three:
[Flight Information]
✈ Aircraft: 777-300
✈ Registration: B-HNF
✈ Airline: Cathay Pacific
✈ Date: Early June 2019
✈ Flight Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
✈ From: Taipei Taoyuan International Airport (TPE)
✈ To: Hong Kong Airport (HKG)
✈ Seat: 63C

Video:


Our aircraft on this rainy day


Cathay Pacific 777-300 Economy Class


Cathay Pacific 777-300 Wing View in Hong Kong

Summary:

  • This was a less noteworthy flight. After spending a few days in Taipei, it was time to head home to Dallas/Fort Worth. In order to get there, we connected through Hong Kong. Taipei’s larger airport, Taipei Taoyuan, is located about 40 minutes from where I was staying.

  • Boarding was quick. My first impressions of the Economy Class seat were initially negative, as they were very old. However, once I sat in the seat, I noticed it was insanely spacious. The padding was rather worn though, minimizing the comfort. I unfortunately wasn’t able to secure a window seat… However, the IFEs had external cameras… or so I thought? Before taking off, the external cameras just… disappeared… has this happened to anyone? I still managed to film the takeoff/landing. We had a 40 minute delay on the ground due to surrounding storms at the time.

  • After takeoff, the flight attendants came by to offer meal service, which was a bag containing a hot breakfast item, a cookie, and lemon juice. The food was… alright. Either way, amazing that this is complimentary. Definitely miles better than the U.S. carrier’s short-haul service. We shortly descended into Hong Kong. The landing was probably one of the hardest I’ve experienced in a while… they really slammed the aircraft into the runway.

Now, here’s the fun part. After arriving in Hong Kong, we were supposed to have a layover of about 6 hours. However, our aircraft (inbound from LAX) was delayed 15 hours, resulting in a 17 hour delay for our flight

So… we stayed in Hong Kong for a night. Departure to Dallas/Fort Worth was moved from 2:20 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. the next morning.

Why was this delayed? No clue, probably the Mechanics Union issues at the time.

Flight Four: "The Unfortunate First Class Experience"
[Flight Information]
✈ Aircraft: 777-300ER
✈ Registration: N734AR
✈ Airline: American Airlines
✈ Date: Early June 2019
✈ Flight Time: 14 hours and 25 minutes
✈ From: Hong Kong International Airport (HKG)
✈ To: Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
✈ Seat: 2D


American Airlines 777-300ER arriving from LAX


Collage of the First Class Food (read below)

Summary:

  • As said above, this flight was delayed 17 hours due to “mechanical issues” (that’s what Twitter support said). This flight was VERY open as a result. Most passengers rebooked and took different routes to their final destinations. Boarding was quick and efficient. I wasn’t able to get a window seat again, but I still managed to film the takeoff/landing.

  • I’ve flown on American Airlines’ 777-300ER First Class once before, from Los Angeles to Hong Kong. The Flagship First Class seat is very open and spacious… it lacks privacy. However, the seat itself is very comfortable. The seat can be modified into different settings using the seat controls. The Flagship First Class seats can be arranged in a “work” setup. We departed on-time and took off quickly.

  • Now… as a result of the massive delay, there were no menus. There may have been a catering issue as well as we were not able to select our “Small Plates”. The first course came with almonds, which tasted… like almonds. This was followed by veggie chips and olives, and an absolutely delicious Caviar Tart. I believe American Airlines is the only airline of the US3 to serve caviar? (I mean, they’re the only one left offering international first class). The appetizer was followed by a “Small Plate” which I was not able to select. It was some mushroom/lotus vegetable plate… It did not taste good. After the small plate, I chose the Beef Filet, which was a huge mistake. Horseshoe leather. Very tough. This is why you opt for the Beef Short Rib. This was followed by a delicious custom-made ice cream.

  • After meal service, I watched a few movies/TV shows on American’s IFE system and got some decent sleep on AA’s flat-bed seat. After waking up, the flight attendant offered me a mid-flight snack, which was some kind of hamburger. It tasted good, though. About an hour and thirty minutes before landing, passengers were gradually woken up for breakfast. I had the American Breakfast which tasted great. After that, we descended and landed into DFW, 17 hours scheduled arrival.

Conclusion:

  • It was definitely a fun trip, and it’s great to experience different airlines as it gives you a new perspective on service…
  • American Airlines can be a hit or a miss, an amazing experience or a lackluster one.
  • EVA and Cathay are both great airlines, as expected from many Asian carriers.

Thanks For Reading/Watching

If you have any thoughts, comments, or questions, feel free to put them below!

Next trip report series… may be doubled the size of this 😉
(DFW-LAX-HND-HKG-XMN-PEK-HND-SFO-DFW)

You can find more trip reports here:

12 Likes

Unlucky, you got the old economy class. The new economy class seats are amazing and the monitor is really high quality (albeit it’s 3-4-3 so it’s a little more squished)

Overall, very very comprehensive report, well done! Thanks for stopping by at my home airport :)

1 Like

Sounds like a blast! Really detailed trip reports, great job!

1 Like

Thanks.

I’ve seen the new seats, they definitely look more updated than the ones I rode on, but it’s unfortunate for the 3-4-3.

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