If you’ve ever flown first class or business class internationally — or been within smelling distance of the prime seats on long-haul flights — the comfort of the seat is far from the only upgrade you get.
The food is, with few exceptions, far better than what you get when flying in coach.
For travelers who aren’t looking to pay the hefty price for a premium seat, though, there’s about to be a far less expensive option that at least gets you premium food on one airline.
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Taiwan-based EVA Air is trying out a new service that allows a limited number of passengers in coach and premium economy to upgrade their meal to the food offerings passengers at the front of the plane enjoy.
At a cost of just $25 for the upgraded meal, it’s not an especially expensive add-on.
That’s especially true when you consider the food offered in Eva Air’s nicest cabins; one TPG writer specifically pointed to the food as a key factor in why he enjoyed his trip on EVA Air, after pre-ordering lobster for his flight.
Today, the airline’s premium meals are curated by Master Chef Huang Ching Biao and Evergreen Sky Catering Joe Huang.
One menu option includes Biao’s signature dish: steamed halibut with chopped chili paste paired with seasoned shrimp and lime vinaigrette, along with chayote vines salad with pine nuts and water chestnut cake with osmanthus for dessert.
On par with some of the prime meals you’ll find on international airlines, the meals are “elegantly plated,” the airline says, with tableware from Singapore luxury brand Luzerne.
A member of the Star Alliance, EVA Air flies to six U.S. destinations from its operating base in Taiwan including Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), Seattle/Tacoma International Airport (SEA), San Francisco International Airport (SFO), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). The airline also flies to Vancouver and Toronto.
The upgraded meal option will begin on flights departing on Oct. 1, and as of now, run through the end of the year.
How to upgrade your meal
If you’d like to try and upgrade your meal on an upcoming EVA Air flight, you’ll need to do it well before departure. Reservations for the high-end meals are available online 21 days prior to departure and up until 24 hours before takeoff.
There is a limit on the number of upgraded meals available, so the earlier you can make your reservation the better. The airline will offer a maximum of eight such meals in its premium economy seats and 12 in economy.
While additional fees can often be frustrating for passengers when they involve services like picking a seat or bringing a full-sized carry-on bag on board, this could be $25 well-spent since it ensures you a far superior dining experience on what’s sure to be a long flight for U.S. travelers.