Which is a Better Choice: EVA Air vs China Airlines?
Several East Asian nations boast two major full-service airline competitors. For instance, Japan has All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines, while South Korea features Korean Air and Asiana. Similarly, Taiwan has EVA Air and China Airlines. How do the offerings of these two Taiwanese carriers measure up when considering their route network, fleet, and onboard services?
Hubs & Routes
China Airlines Wins
Eva Airlines' main hub is Taipei's Taoyuan International Airport, it also runs select international flights from Kaohsiung International Airport . Eva Air's flight portfolio is vast (64 destinations), with a concentration in East Asia, especially in: Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Korea, Philippines, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia. While they serve Cambodia, they exclude destinations like India and Polynesia.
Their international destinations encompass: The UK, Western Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand, Canada. Though they frequently employ code-sharing for many of their international and Asian routes, Eva Air does not operate flights to Scandinavia, Africa, the Middle East, or Russia. Nevertheless, as a member of the Star Alliance, EVA Air offers convenient connections with airlines such as Lufthansa, Thai Airways, and United Airlines.
China Airlines has a broad network that primarily spans Asia, with significant coverage in: Indonesia, Japan, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, Hong Kong. Additionally, they extend their services to Delhi in India, Guam in Micronesia, and Phnom Penh in Cambodia.
Route sharing, commonly referred to as code-sharing, is a notable practice for this airline. Essentially, it allows China Airlines flights to be operated by a partner airline's aircraft. Consequently, while they market specific routes, another airline might operate the actual flight. They maintain partnerships with numerous European, Chinese, and international carriers. Yet, they do not serve destinations in Africa, Russia, the Middle East, or Scandinavia.
Key Differences Between China Airlines and Eva Air:
- China Airlines services 130 domestic and 24 international routes, while Eva Air connects to only four domestic and 49 international destinations.
- China Airlines usually offers more budget-friendly fares.
- Onboard, Eva Air provides amenities like bottled water, overnight kits, and noise-canceling headphones, which aren't explicitly mentioned by China Airlines.
- Eva Air has been awarded a 5-star rating for its onboard services and customer support, while China Airlines holds a 4-star rating.
- Despite its expansive network, Eva Air's customer helpline operates only on weekdays. In contrast, China Airlines offers helpline services every day of the week.
Key Similarities Between China Airlines and Eva Air:
- Both airlines have loyalty programs to reward frequent fliers.
- Passengers can select from various cabin classes on both airlines.
- Both carriers are based in Taiwan and offer a mix of international and domestic flights.
- Both airlines are members of prominent global airline alliances.
- They have initiatives in place to curb carbon emissions and advocate for sustainable aviation practices.
It's a tie
Eva Air introduces the 'Infinity Mileage Lands' scheme for its regular travelers. Under this program, miles are earned for each journey undertaken with any Star Alliance affiliate. Mileage points can be exchanged for: flight tickets and seat upgrades, hotel accommodations, vehicle hire services, retail offers and discounts, extended baggage limits.
The program operates on a tiered structure. Starting off with a green card, members can progressively ascend to the platinum level. Progression through these tiers requires accumulating a set quantity of miles, and as members ascend, they gain access to enhanced benefits. Membership levels can be green, silver, gold, diamond. Upon attaining the Diamond tier, members enjoy: the privilege of ticket upgrades, complimentary choice of seating, assured reservations (valid up to 48 hours before the departure) and more exclusive benefits.
Membership to the 'Infinity Mileage Lands' program comes at no cost. Nonetheless, there's an option for members to buy additional miles or to extend their tier duration, valid for a span of two years.
China airline's loyalty initiative is termed the 'Dynasty Program.' Flying with China Airlines or any of its SkyTeam associates like KLM, Korean Air, Vietnam Airlines, among others, lets you gather 'miles.' Moreover, partnering hotels, car rental services, and certain credit card expenditures also contribute to your mile count.
Benefits accrued from these miles encompass: complimentary flight tickets and upgrades; VIP lounge accessibility; augmented baggage quota; special birthday offers; concessions or freebies from the onboard product selection. The program is structured in tiers : dynasty, gold; emerald, paragon.Each tier demands a specific mile accumulation for entry and offers incrementally superior rewards. Participation in the Dynasty Program is complimentary. To ensure uninterrupted membership, which auto-renews biennially, members need to amass a predetermined amount of miles in that period. Alternatively, you can purchase additional miles or upgrade your tier through payment.
Eva Airlines wins
China Airlines provides an online platform for self-check-in and managing bookings. If customers have queries, they can utilize the chatbot on the airline's website or reach out to their helpline. However, for those in Europe or Oceania, China Airlines doesn't offer a dedicated contact center, so the online chatbot is the primary means of communication.
On the other hand, Eva Air also offers an online help center that includes a portal for booking management. For issues that can't be resolved online, Eva Air provides a reservation hotline operational on weekdays. It's worth noting that, while Eva Air once accommodated walk-in passengers, this service was halted following the pandemic.
Eva Airlines wins
China Airlines offers Economy Class passengers a free baggage allowance of 30kg spread over two checked bags, with a combined total weight not exceeding 46kg. Additionally, passengers can have one carry-on weighing up to 7kg with dimensions not exceeding 9 inches in height, 14 inches in width, and 22 inches in length. Premium Economy passengers enjoy an increased allowance for checked baggage at 35kg each for two pieces, with a combined weight of 52kg. Business Class passengers get a 40kg allowance for each of their two checked bags, totaling 64kg, and they can carry two items as carry-on, maintaining the same weight and dimensions as the other classes. It's worth noting that short-haul flight allowances might vary, so it's advised to check online before traveling.
On the other hand, Eva Air allows Economy and Premium Economy passengers to check in two bags weighing a total of 46kg, with each bag not weighing more than 23kg. Their carry-on baggage restrictions remain consistent with China Airlines, permitting one 7kg bag. However, Business and Laurel Class passengers can check in two bags, each weighing up to 32kg, and are allowed two carry-ons, with each item weighing up to 7kg. Importantly, Eva Air has made recent changes to its baggage policies based on the ticket purchase date. Thus, passengers should verify the specific allowances tied to their ticket dates.
After evaluating both airlines on criteria like ticket pricing, baggage allowances, and loyalty programs, it's evident that EVA Air and China Airlines excel in different areas. EVA Air shines with its Star Alliance network and modern fleet, while China Airlines offers competitive pricing and generous baggage policies. The best choice hinges on personal priorities: price-conscious travelers might lean towards China Airlines, while frequent flyers may prefer EVA Air's extensive network.