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Taipei - Taoyuan
- Plenty of space for laptop work
- Reasonable range of hot food
- Often busy in the evenings
- Less impressive than the 'real' business class lounge
- Fast WiFi
EVA Air's home hub at Taipei's Taoyuan Airport offers not one, not two, but four lounges: each designed to serve a different set of passengers.
A revent visit to Taipei afforded the opportunity to visit EVA Air's The Star lounge, which caters for Star Alliance Gold frequent flyers taking Star Alliance flights in premium economy or economy class (business class passengers are directed to another lounge, as are the airline's own highest-tier frequent flyers).
Here's a look at what The Star lounge has to offer.
Location & Impressions
Situated in the airport's international departures area (beyond passport control), you'll find The Star by taking the escalator upstairs in Terminal 2 just behind those passport counters, and which shares a reception desk with The Infinity lounge next door.
Compared to EVA Air's other Taipei lounges, this space definitely carries more of an 'older' vibe, through wood panelling and dark-coloured chairs...
... joined by floors and other furniture in a similar colour palate.
The buffet area stands the exception to the rule, kitted out with a more colourful design and better lighting...
... plus a themed ceiling overhead, almost reminiscent of a spaceship or galactic skylight, for something different:
The Star opens daily from 4:30am until 11:30pm, with no boarding calls except for delayed flights to minimise disruptions.
With four lounges at its Taipei Taoyuan Airport hub, EVA Air's The Star lounge primarily caters to the following guests:
- EVA Air Infinity MileageLands Gold members prior to EVA Air and Star Alliance flights.
- Other Star Alliance Gold frequent flyers departing on an EVA Air or other Star Alliance flight.
- United Club and Air Canada Maple Leaf Club Worldwide members prior to Star Alliance flights.
These travellers also have access to the Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge at the same airport under Star Alliance rules, while EVA Air and other Star Alliance business class passengers may also visit EVA Air's The Infinity lounge next door, which has an upgraded look and feel and more extensive dining options than The Star.
Additionally, EVA Air's top-tier Infinity MileageLands Diamond cardholders can visit the exclusive The Garden lounge nearby, while MileageLands Silver cardholders flying economy or premium economy may visit EVA Air's The Club lounge close by.
With all food and drink served via that futuristic buffet zone, you'll find a variety of hot options such as basil fried rice and stir-fried water spinach...
... along with chicken meatballs, penne pasta...
... Taiwanese meatballs, custard buns...
... rice vermicelli with vegetable julienne, Chinese cabbage tofu, mixed vegetables...
..... and a DIY rice noodle bar, with clear instructions.
Just take one of those white balls below with noodles and meatballs, pour in some soup, add any toppings from the nearby selection and you're all set:
If you're not so adventurous on the food front, you can also assemble a pork hot dog:
On the lighter side, there's a range of fresh salad ingredients...
... cheese and crackers...
... breads and spreads...
... and scoop-it-yourself Movenpick:
Beverage selections are more limited than in EVA Air's other lounges, with a small number of spirits at the bar, joined by machine-made espresso coffee, and wine and beer in a nearby fridge:
My mid-evening visit before EVA Air's Taipei-Brisbane flight found most of the working spaces vacant, giving a choice between tables in the centre of the room...
... working benches with AC power outlets facing back over the airport's check-in hall...
... and a business centre, with mood lighting, computers and printing facilities:
WiFi speeds for connecting your own devices sat around 32Mbps for both uploads and downloads, being more than sufficient for most travellers – even those streaming or downloading HD video.
While the working spaces of this lounge were almost vacant, most of the 'relaxation' zones were occupied until closer to boarding, when I was able to snap a few quick photos.
For the most part, you'll have a choice between a dark seat with a cocktail table...
... or a maroon seat with a cocktail table...
... unless you're planning to nap, in which case there's a small zone for this, but which remained occupied during my stay. Reading material is also available, including some English-language titles...
... and shower facilities are available: just speak to the staff to secure your place.
All things considered, with a reasonable range of food on offer paired with places to work and relax, The Star is the go-to lounge of Star Alliance Gold frequent flyers travelling in premium economy or economy class, and in that respect, the offering is fair.
But if you're perched up in business class, you'll be better-accommodated at The Infinity lounge next door, which features a much more modern design, extra space to relax, and broader food and dining options more on-par with the expectations of business class flyers.
Better yet, if you're an elite Infinity MileageLands Diamond cardholder, you can also visit The Garden with its noodle station, cocktail bar and generally quieter atmosphere, as The Star tends to be quite busy, particularly before the banks of flight departures to Europe and North America.
Chris Chamberlin travelled to Taipei as a guest of Star Alliance and EVA Air.