We are reviewing 30 of the world’s leading international airlines for their family-friendliness. Our reviews cover the airline’s policies and service offerings that the average family will deal with when flying standard economy class. For more details on the Globetrotters International Airline Reviews and ratings referenced, please see the lead article.
EVA Air, the second largest airline operating out of Taiwan (after China Airlines) pushed their way in to the Skytrax Top 10 Airlines in 2015. As well as being one of the highest-ranked airlines with Trip Advisor customers, they also come in as the world’s 3rd safest airline according to JACDEC. I must say I was intrigued, an airline I knew little about but they have clearly been impressing customers. A glimpse of their specially branded Hello Kitty Jets and perhaps we have stumbled on to a family travel gem here? Let’s take a look at their policies first.
Base: Taipei, Taiwan
Alliances: Star Alliance
Skytrax Rating 2015: 9
JACDEC Safety Rating 2015: 3
Trip Advisor Rating: 84%
Slightly different to other airlines where they state the number of weeks gestation of your pregnancy at which restrictions apply, EVA Air choose to state the number of weeks you are away from your “date of confinement” – so let’s assume here you have a pregnancy due date of 40 weeks.
An expectant mother cannot travel during the last 4 weeks of the pregnancy (from 36 weeks), or within the first 7 days after giving birth. For multiples restriction applies from 8 weeks prior to confinement (32 weeks).
An expectant mother during the last 12 to 4 weeks of pregnancy (28 to 36 weeks) must obtain and complete a medical information sheet (MEDIF) within 10 days prior to flight departure. They also ask you to contact your local EVA Air reservations office at least 48 hours before scheduled flight departure.
Additionally, they recommend you bring a Doctor’s Diagnostic Statement verifying the expected date of confinement to the airport to avoid being denied boarding, and check travel requirements for expectant mothers at the diplomatic mission of your destination country before you make a reservation.
For health concerns, EVA Air does not accept infants 7 days or younger. EVA requires that a Medical Information sheet certifying readiness for air travel be provided for premature babies.
Infants (under 2 years)
An adult can sit with one infant on their lap. If there are two infant travelling with an adult, one of them must be 6 months or older and occupying a seat, which may cost as much as a child or an adult ticket. You must provide your own infant seat, such as one used in an automobile, and secure it to cabin seating. Note in Royal Laurel Class (First Class), infant or child safety seats are not accepted, and CARES harnesses are not available.
A limited number of bassinets can be reserved on all EVA Air flights for infants less than 8 months of age. This seemed very young so with some further digging we we’re able to provide the following information by aircraft with measurements rather than age;
B747 & A333: 81.9cm x 39.4cm – max weight 16kgs
B777: 2 sizes 70.8cm x 29.8 cm – max weight 14kg; 81.9cm x 39.4cm – max weight 16kgs; First Class 138-141cm
A332: 2 sizes 80.9cm x 32.8cm – max weight 14kg; 81.9cm x 39.4cm – max weight 16kg
A321: 70.8cm x 29.8 cm – max weight 14kg
MD90: 60cm x 30cm – max weight 10kg
In any event, they ask when flying with an infant that you contact them prior to flying with requirements for any baby food (available from 6 months to 2 years, not including powdered milk), diapers and bassinets, providing the babies date of birth and weight.
Children (2-11 years)
Two children’s meal options are provided to over two-year-olds; a soft meal and an ordinary child’s meal. Further information in regards to what to expect in the meals and on-board entertainment options, including kids packs, was otherwise limited.
Hello Kitty Jet
I’d be remiss of course at this point discussing EVA Air not to bring up Hello Kitty Jet. In partnership with Sanrio, there are now 7 specially decorated aircraft in their fleet operating various routes, mostly A330’s within Asia but also a B777 has been added to the fleet flying to Paris. (For anyone not familiar with Hello Kitty (how?) she is a cute and innocent cartoon cat first created by Sanrio in Japan in the 1970’s now a $7bn global empire covering everything from children’s purses to high-end luxury goods, and aircraft of course).
It’s not just the livery on the outside that makes the Hello Kitty Jet experience unique but the whole flying experience. Passengers boarding in Taipei have a separate check-in area with Hello Kitty boarding passes and baggage tags. On board, branding covers everything from the utensils to the toilet paper, head rest covers to pillows. A special meal service is presented on Hello Kitty trays of course. Those wanting to know more specifically about the Hello Kitty service I found this site had a good in-depth review, as well as EVA Airs own Hello Kitty website which includes loads of interactive experiences to play with from home too.
Unaccompanied minors (UM’s) are accepted from at least 5 years of age and no older than 12 years of age. They don’t specify that you must use an escort service for UM’s, but state “for your child’s safety, consider EVA’s escort service”. This service is by request and comes with a fee. Note an escort can take children from as young as 2 years of age (and including young passengers 12-18 years of age) and can accompany up two children. You must contact reservations for this service, it cannot be booked online and restrictions apply when there are layovers or code share flights involved.
The standard allowance in economy is 20kg, or for destinations using the piece system 2 pieces of no more than 23kg each for adult and child tickets. Infants without seats are entitled to an additional 10kg of checked luggage or 1 piece of maximum 23kg under piece system.
In addition, for infants, a fully collapsible stroller or infant carrying basket or car seat can be checked as baggage, or accepted as cabin baggage subject to available space. (This reads as the choice of one of these items, but check with the airline in advance; most will allow a stroller AND an infant seat to be brought on board. There was no specification available on their website as to what equipment infants on a children’s ticket could bring.
Members of their frequent flyer program and Star Alliance members have additional allowances available dependent on their status. If flying code-share always check the allowances for both airlines as they may differ.
Frequent Flyer Programs
Infinity MileageLands is EVA Air’s Frequent Flyer program. They are part of the Star Alliance network. You can join children from 2 years of age, as long as a parent/guardian has joined as well. Mileage can be transferred to a nominated party but it is not clear whether there are charges for doing so. My interpretation of their rules is that any transferred points cannot be added to the transferee’s existing points, ie you cannot transfer points to another family member as a top-up. So what would the point be?
Our Globetrotters View
I am absolutely certain that regardless as to the service on board, if my daughter saw she was boarding a Hello Kitty plane she would be in a fit of uncontrollable glee, let alone all the little extras on board. This is clearly very clever marketing on their behalf, and frankly, I am surprised you don’t see more commercially branded aircraft around the world (apparently they have one of the highest payloads in the industry). I think the garish cuteness on absolutely everything might have me mildly nauseous after a fairly short period of time, but if the kids are happy and having an amazing experience, I’ll take it. These jets do only make up a small part of the overall fleet and routes, however.
Otherwise, policies are fairly standard for pregnancy and infants. It certainly would pay to ring the airline and check before making any assumptions on the bassinet situation as the sizes seem quite variable between aircraft. Information on what children can expect on routes not serviced by Hello Kitty Jet is lacking. As with most of the Star Alliance airlines, I find the frequent flyers program for families disappointing, if you can’t pool family points this completely lacks flexibility and can take a long time before you reap the benefit.
I am very keen to see what the fuss is about with EVA Air though; after reading our guest blogger Laura’s take on Taiwanese Family Hotspots I think Taiwan is rapidly moving up my “to do” list for 2017, I think the Globetrotters would be up for it too! Direct flights to Abu Dhabi on your upcoming schedule please EVA Air?
Have you flown pregnant or with infants on EVA Air? I would love to hear from anyone who has a first-hand experience flying with Hello Kitty Jet! What advice would you give to families flying with EVA Air?
Pin for Later
Disclaimer: The information provided on this page should be used as a guide only. It has been gathered from public sources and correct at the time of going to print (December 2015). Please consult the airline’s own website before booking any family travel with this airline. This review is not an endorsement of EVA Air services and I am in no way affiliated with the airline.
Don’t forget to check out our guide to first time flying with an infant – or if you’re making the brave step up, how to fly with two or more infants
© Our Globetrotters
Hello Kity Jet images ©evaair.com