American Airlines 787 Dreamliner flew its first commercial route yesterday and I was on board going to and returning from Chicago. On the inaugural flight I enjoyed my economy class seat in 16H, but on the return flight I was able to upgrade to business class with help from the Booking Guru Award Service.
The celebration in Chicago was much smaller than the events in Dallas and there were no speeches or special announcements about the plane we would be flying on. There was a small table with water and Garrett’s popcorn and customers received the same amenity kit while boarding the flight which included more popcorn, a challenge coin, tablet cover and a few other little goodies. Boarding and this flight seemed much more calm and normal, as people were either tired from all the excitement on the inbound flight, or not as many people were booked on this flight for the experience.
— David Wilson (@2lnr) May 8, 2015
After boarding, I stopped by the cockpit to say hi and see inside!
On the American Airlines 787 inaugural return flight, I was assigned seat 5H and was surrounded by multiple Executive Platinum and AVGeeks who had flown up to Chicago on the inaugural flight. Many of us who were in the forward cabin were in economy on the inaugural so now we were all excited to test out the new business class seat on the return!
After a few laughs, playing musical chairs, and trying to recover a phone case which fell behind the seat, the crew was able to finally close the cabin door (2L) and we departed Chicago on time and after a water cannon salute. As many of us in business class knew each other, we were all talking and hollering over the privacy dividers (which are locked in the up position) as we tried the seat and commented on different aspects of the plane. We had multiple seats electronics fail on us, but thanks to a fellow passenger (David Wilson), we quickly were able to reset them by taking the cushion off and holding the reset button.
A view of the cabin, My seat, foot rest, and powerports/passport holder (2 universal power ports and 2 usb chargers)
If the seat power fails, remove the botton cushion and hold the reset button for 5-10 seconds
The business class seat on American Airlines 787 looks small at first glance, but once inside the seat it’s actually more spacious and comfortable than it looks. Most airlines have configured their business class cabin in a 2x2x2 configuration, but American Airlines brags that they have the most spacious seats in the industry as their business seats are 1x2x1 with all aisle access and alternate forward and rear facing. Like Daniel who flew business class on the 787 inaugural, I had a reverse facing seat and found 5H to be very comfortable. I also discovered for a cheap thrill: during takeoff if you loosen your seatbelt you will slide off your seat!
There are plenty of air vents in business class and each business class seat has two LED lights above that have four different light settings. There’s also an additional reading light in the seat mounted on the wall.
After testing out my seat and a forward facing seat, I must say I very much prefer the rear facing seat. I find the rear facing seats to be more spacious and more private. Forward facing seats have an adjustable arm rest between the seat and the aisle similar to what is found on the 77W business class seats. However rear facing seats have solid work stations between the aisle and the seat, which is instead against the fusel lodge/middle area on forward facing seats. This work station provides for a larger barrier between the aisle and when sleeping provides greater privacy. Also rear facing seats have additional countertop space as there is also space next to the privacy divider.
Overall service was good but was interesting. We could tell that the crew was stressed so service was slightly disjointed as they tried to learn their way around the new plane. Lunch orders were taken on the ground and once it was safe to move about the cabin drinks and warm nuts were delivered. I ordered a jack and coke and instead of it being premixed I received to mini bottles of jack, a cup of ice, and the soda can. Lunch was then delivered and two other FAs walked through the cabin offering wine and another with warm bread. When ordering i asked the FA if she could remove the chicken from my salad as I did not want it, she told me I could remove it myself. When dinner was served the chicken was served on the side. I was happy that it wasn’t on the salad, but was not impressed by the lack of professonalism. Finally trays were cleaned up and dessert was offered. We had two options: the AA cookie or chocolate cheesecake. I opted for the cheesecake which was truly heavenly!
There is a walk up bar in the center of the business class cabin behind row 5 and before row 6. Due to the short duration of the flight between Chicago and Dallas, the bar was not being utilized. A few other flyers and myself decided to set up our own bar instead!
The American Airlines B787 Business class offers a solid product and is a great addition to their fleet. Daniel flew business class on the inaugural flight, and has another perspective and more photos! Overall, the plane is extremely quiet and energy efficient and the airline did a great job designing the forward premium cabin. The only problem right now is that the privacy divider on the center seats is locked in the up position, making it difficult to converse with the person next to you. I guess American has decided that couples need to be separated while flying and talking on the airplane is now prohibited <wink>
Overall, I would highly suggest booking a ticket on this plane, as it truly is the most spacious business class product on the 787 and blows the competition away! Well done American!