Most of far east asia is unfortunately still closed (Taiwan, Japan, China). However, South Korea is open, and fairly easy to visit now. Before your trip, make sure you apply for your K-ETA online. As of August 2022, you also need a pre-departure COVID test (PCR max 2 days before, or Antigen max 1 day before your flight). You’ll also want to apply for a Q-code online (so that you don’t have to fill out the health declaration by hand). At this time, you also have to take an arrival PCR test. Be sure to make a reservation in advance (read more about that below).
Note: Requirements and restrictions may have changed since writing this post. Be sure to check the latest guidelines yourself.
Throughout the COVID pandemic Taoyuan airport has felt pretty deserted, and this trip was just the same. With Taiwan still being completely closed for non-Residents there still really isn’t much activity at the airport. Unfortunately, again, I missed my chance to try to Hello Kitty themed checkin area since I only remembered after already having checked in. Maybe next time!
The lounge experience at TPE has improved some what. The only lounge available today was The Star, which is the main EVA lounge for business class and Star Alliance gold passengers. Even though I was traveling in EVA Business (Royal Laurel Class), The Infinity lounge was not open (I’m not sure if it’s still temporarily closed, or just not open at the time of my flight).
Anyways, at least there was a proper selection of food, drinks, snacks, and alcoholic beverages available today. During all of my previous visits during the past 2 years, the only thing served was a bottle of water. The food was good, with the BBQ ribs being the highlight. Definitely worth trying!
After spending some time in the lounge it was time to head to the gate. Boarding was quick and smooth as the flight didn’t seem to be too full today.
EVA is currently operating a 787-9 or 787-10 Dreamliner on this route. It’s always a treat to fly wide-body on such a short route (just over 2 hours of flight time).
Although I’ve flown EVA Business quite a few times in the past, this was actually my first time trying their new Royal Laurel Business Class cabin used on the Dreamliners. Although I still think the older 777-300ER cabin is good, this definitely felt like an improvement.
As usual, EVA service is fantastic, and I was quickly offered a pre-departure drink for which I choose a glass of Champagne. Always a great way to start a trip!
EVA still doesn’t offer physical menu cards, so you’ll have to ask the crew or check the menus available in the IFE.
Today I went with the teriyaki chicken, which I’m pretty sure I’ve had several times before. Not bad, but nothing too special either. For my after meal beverage I chose to have a nice cup of Taiwanese Jin Xuan oolong tea.
The remainder of this short flight went by fast, and we were shortly arriving into Incheon airport in Seoul, South Korea.
As of August 2022, arrival PCR testing is mandatory for all arriving passengers. There are several test centers available at Incheon airport.
There are two queues, one for reservations and one for walk-ins. Unfortunately I didn’t have a reservation and had to queue up for quite some time. So, be sure to make a reservation online at Safe2GO before to skip the queue. It doesn’t seem to matter what time your reservation is. If you have a reservation you skip the main queue.