Lie-flat seats are the flavor of the month in premium air travel. Taiwan-based EVA AIR is the latest carrier to introduce fully reclinable seats in business class.
The airline is refitting its Boeing 777-300s with a whole new premium cabin – dubbed the “Royal Laurel Class” – at a cost of around $100 million.
On top of the lie-flat option, Royal Laurel passengers can erect panels around their seat to create a private enclosed space. Seating capsules are installed at precise angles, so that every passenger can see out the window without turning their head.
EVA is splashing out on luxury upgrades as it prepares to join the Star Alliance – a global airline network that includes United and US Airways – later this year. Frequent flier miles and a range of other benefits are transferable between member airlines, which should make EVA a more attractive option for international travelers.
The Taiwanese airline is popular with corporate jet setters in Silicon Valley, flying nonstop daily between San Francisco and Taipei. The first Royal Laurel cabins are already in service on that route, with the whole fleet due to be upgraded by March.