Miami, no vice: Trip planning
EVA Air B77W Hello Kitty Business Class SIN-TPE
Decoding the lounge situation in Taipei
EVA Air B77W Business Class TPE-IAH
Red Roof Inn IAH Airport
United A320 Economy IAH-MIA
Renting with Sixt Miami
Element Miami International Airport
Miami, the Keys and everything inbetween
Jetblue A320 Economy MCO-JFK
Revisiting the EVA Air and SQ Taipei lounges
As I stepped off the aircraft I felt a sudden return to normality, as if the ghosts of Hello Kitty had been exorcised. I could now return to regularly scheduled programming.
The lounge situation in Taipei for Star Alliance Gold passengers is a bit confusing due to the sheer number of options there are. The Star Alliance lounge finder page would have you believe it’s very simple-
But when you get to the lounge area, you’ll see signs for the SQ lounge plus four lounge offerings for EVA
- The Infinity
- The Club
- The Star
- The Garden
Side note: I want to point out that the lighting in the Taipei airport is awful for photo taking. The interior of the terminal has little to no natural light, relying instead on the strong beams of overhead and spot lighting to illuminate things. Here’s an example of what I mean
You can see all those lens flares coming out from every light source. Any pro photographers can advise me on how I can reduce this effect (switching away from a Blackberry camera is not an acceptable answer)?
The EVA website isn’t very helpful in explaining the difference among the lounges or their access requirements
So, which of the 4 EVA lounges should you visit?
The Infinity & Star (Star Alliance Gold/Business Class Passengers + EVA Business Class)
I’ll start with these two lounges because they’re colocated. This is where Star Alliance Gold and EVA Air Business Class passengers will be directed to by default.
When you enter the lounge you’ll have the option of turning left and going to the Star, or right and going to the Infinity. The names of the lounges are indicative- the Star is meant for Star Alliance Gold card members who are travelling in economy. The Infinity is meant for EVA Air Elites (remember their FFP name is the quite awesome “Infinity Mileagelands”) and EVA Air/Star Alliance Business Class passengers.
The lobby also has a robot butler. I’m marking them down a few grades because the robobutler did not iron my shirts and give me advice about my career as a vigilante, as I understand all butlers should do.
If you’re like me (A Star Gold member flying EVA Air business) you’ll be able to access both lounges. I visited the Infinity first.
The food area has several different stations.
You can get yourself a slice of very weird pizza
There was as selection of hot dishes and salads.
There was a whole urn of sweet potatoes. I’m guessing this is a Taiwanese thing.
You can even make your own hot dog.
The highlight of the lounge for me was the serve your own Movenpick ice cream.
Apart from ice cream, there was a limited selection of cakes and such.
The soft drinks
And the hard drinks.
There is no champagne or sparkling wine available in the lounge. Instead there was a chilled white wine on offer. Could I make my own sparkling wine if I mix white wine and soda water? The enquiring mind wants to know.
I assembled my favourite vacation meal- mixed rice with soup noodles and a carton of milk. Yum.
And I plonked myself in front of the Tron Tree.
There was also a business centre in a corner with 3 computers and a printer.
The Star lounge is equally big, if not larger (which makes sense, given the sheer number of Star Gold members who might be flying in economy)
What I like is that unlike SQ and their Krisflyer Gold lounge, EVA has not created some subpar lounge for Star Gold passengers. The catering here is very much the same as that in the Infinity.
I’m going to point out only the items that were available here but not in the Infinity.
The main difference in the hot catering was the addition of one dish not found in the Infinity- fried rice and meatballs. Always a winner.
The biggest difference for me? The ice cream- the Star had Haagen-Dazs. I can’t decide if Haagen-Dazs is better than Movenpick. Don’t make me choose.
Oh but there was no vanilla ice cream here. So I guess Movenpick wins.
The business centre here had the same computers and printing facilities as the Infinity.
I asked for a shower suite and after a short wait got one. This was probably the coolest experience of all- there are 4 shower suites in the Infinity, each with a unique name.
I was assigned “Fantasy Flow”, and was very mature by not making any jokes about menstruation and/or diarrhea.
What was unique is that you are given a keycard to tap and open the shower room.
And once inside, you need to insert the key card to power on the whole shebang.
FYI the loo has a bidet. Fantasy Flow, amirite.
There are L’occitane branded toiletries in pump bottles in the shower.
Other amenities like toothbrush, razor etc were all readily available.
Overall I think the Star and Infinity are nice enough lounges to kill an hour or so, but not something you’d arrive early at the airport for. Both lounges felt really crowded to me, and unfortunately EVA has not really created quiet areas in the lounge for resting.
The Garden (EVA Infinity Mileagelands Diamond)
The Garden is a special lounge set aside for top tier members of EVA’s own loyalty program. It is not open to Star Alliance partner carriers so unfortunately I couldn’t explore it.
I can’t find too many reports on this lounge, but I understand that in addition to the regular buffet it also has an order by menu selection.
The Club (EVA Infinity Mileagelands Silver)
EVA, amazingly, even has a lounge specially built for its silver tier members. This is the second lowest rung, just above base. It would be like SIA building a lounge for Krisflyer Elite Silver members (qualification for EVA Silver requires 30,000 miles in a 12 month period)
This lounge is definitely much smaller than the others, but it ends up being a lot less crowded because of the relatively fewer numbers of EVA Silver members (as opposed to the massive number of Star Golds and Business Class passengers).
There is a small enclave of F&B options. From what I could see, the catering is very similar to that offered in the Infinity/Star lounges. The biggest difference was there was no ice cream, and a smaller selection of hot food items.
The selection of alcohol was still the same as in the other lounges.
The lounge has shower suites too and its own bathroom.
Regardless of what you think about the quality of the food and drink, it’s still quite something that EVA has gone and created a lounge just for its Silver tier members.
So that’s the lounge situation in Taipei for Star Alliance travelers. Now there was just the short matter of the 13 hour flight to Houston…