This is the return leg of my EVA Air Royal Laurel Business Class award redemption I did in the summer of 2019. Read more about my full SFO-TPE flight experience or find out how I booked this entire roundtrip for only $50 in taxes! As the world begins to slowly open up, it might not be such a bad idea to start preparing yourself for post-covid travel so you can snag those points deals when a good one comes around!
This post will mainly be a photo story of my journey back to the States. Enjoy!
I started my return journey from Beijing, where I flew Air China Business Class (future article coming soon). There was a 6.5 hour layover in Taipei before my connecting EVA Air flight to Seattle. Even though the city was only 45 mins away and I really wanted to hop out for a bit, I decided to spend it at EVA's flagship lounge instead and got some (leet)coding done while waiting for my flight.
The lounge definitely is beginning to show its age (mainly because Taoyuan Airport's Terminal 2 is terribly outdated and Terminal 3 construction keeps getting delayed), even though I didn't have high expectations going in. In fact, the Plaza Premium lounge that anyone with a priority pass membership (e.g. included in Chase Sapphire Reserve and many other travel cards) is a better choice for most travelers in my opinion. I'll be doing a deeper dive into lounge options at TPE in a separate article.
Nevertheless, it was nice to have (free and delicious) food on demand, a relaxing place to get some work done, and the ability to take a hot shower before my long flight.
The return journey was largely the same as my SFO-TPE flight, where I covered my experience in more detail (you can read more about it here).
It's important to point out that outbound flights from Taipei get the (now discontinued) Rimowa amenity kit, as opposed to the Ferragamo one provided on inbound flights.
Veuve Clicquot champagne and Dintaifung noodle soup, wow!
Here comes dinner...
Probably the most amazing steak I've had in the air. The grilled onion was also REALLY good (argh I miss it so much...). Not pictured, but they have amazing garlic bread too!
There is a selection of on-demand hot food items that you can order at any time of the flight, which comes in handy when you have late-night cravings!
I basically slept for most of the flight. When I woke up, I was greeted with views of the Pacific Northwest, and even caught a glimpse of Mt. Rainier!
Touchdown to walking out of the terminal building at SEA happened in the span of about 20 minutes! Regularly, the arrivals procedure could take more than an hour.
One of the perks of using credit card benefits and points is that it can help you streamline your travel experience (for free!). Business class passengers (including those booked via points of course) get priority in deplaning, and having Global Entry (I got mine for free with Chase Sapphire Reserve) allows you to go through (largely) automated screening for immigration and customs. Since I was still a F-1 student at the time, I did have to go to secondary inspection, but even that was no more than a 5 minute process.
Interesting note: I had a fun chat with the immigration officer about benefits of Global Entry! She was definitely the nicest and most lively officer I've encountered so far! Hopefully we get more people like her :)
That's a wrap! Stay tuned for more travel stories in the near future and remember, you too can travel for free by following the tips & tricks I share on this site!
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