Travel With Leo

American Airlines First Class Review 787 LAX to ORD

I recently flew to Los Angeles for a friend’s wedding and noticed that the 787 flew from LAX to ORD.

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Wedding at Hummingbird Ranch close to Los Angeles

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Amazing backdrop to the First Dance

I have never flown on the 787 before and why not do it in First Class to check out the International Business Class seat on the 787? I absolutely had no miles to redeem for this or any upgrades so my only option was cash. I wasn’t going to do roundtrip because it would be too much and I really only wanted to try it on one leg just to experience it.  So needless to say, I was surprised that it would only cost me an extra $200 one way to upgrade to First Class. Now what was interesting was that it didn’t matter what aircraft you wanted to upgrade on, it was $200 flat for every route, even for the A319 or B737. So I jumped on it!

Our journey started from the Enterprise Rent-A-Car center where we took a shuttle to LAX terminal 4. While we were on the shuttle we passed by the new Tom Bradley International terminal. I was so bummed that I wouldn’t be able to check it out. So many plane spotting opportunities!

We enter the terminal through the American Airlines Priority Area, I get my boarding pass from the kiosk and then we make our way to the Priority security line. It was fairly busy and it took us 15-20mins to get through security.

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Priority Check-In Area at Terminal 4 in LAX

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Waiting in the Priority Security Lane

Once we went through security, I was in for a pleasant surprise! As I looked at the Gate, it was number 155. And as I started walking towards the gate, I noticed that we were headed toward the new Tom Bradley International terminal! I was so excited!

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Making our way to the NEW Tom Bradley International Terminal

I did some plane spotting at various gates.

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Qantas A380

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EL AL 777 and United 787 in the background

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Cathay Pacific heading to Hong Kong

The terminal is gorgeous and huge. It was not that busy though since my flight was at 8am and it wasn’t peak time yet. The only other flight around us that was leaving was a Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong at 9am.

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The Terminal was quiet

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After some plane spotting, I waited at the gate.

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Waiting to board at the gate

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The line-up for the morning

First Class was called and I make my way to the 787. The cabin is in a 1-2-1 configuration so everyone had direct aisle access. My seat for the flight was 1L.

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My Seat for the flight 1L

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1-2-1 Configuration

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The California coast after take-off

Once I boarded, the flight attendant came around and asked everyone for drinks. I just got some orange juice. One thing I did notice about the flight crew was that some on the crew didn’t have much experience with the 787. I overheard at the gate area that some of the flight attendants were running late so I’m not sure if some were replaced with flight attendants that didn’t have experience with the 787. My flight attendant especially kept asking one flight attendant many questions about the seat and service on the 787. But overall the service was decent. It was about what you would expect for a U.S carrier.

There were no menus, amenity kit or noise cancelling headphones given. Which is what was I expected given this was a domestic route. They did though pass out pillows and blankets.

The food service was a bit a slow. They finally served breakfast an hour into the flight. The breakfast was ok. Everything was served on one tray and brought to my seat. One thing I did not like was that the omelet was in a little pool of water from the steam I’m assuming.

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Breakfast is served

Now on to the seat. The seat was not as wide as I thought it would be. When I put it into flat bed mode, I felt a little cramped in. I couldn’t take a nap because of the 3hr 30min flight time, but laying down in the seat was rather comfortable and I could get some sleep in this seat if I needed to. There is plenty of legroom and I’m 5’11.

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View from overhead the seat

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Plenty of room to stretch if your tall. I’m only 5’11.

There are two AC power inputs, two USB ports and 1 headphone jack.

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Power outlets and above that are the USB ports

There is a also a little unit that controls your seat and a controller for the IFE system. The seat control is great and it allows for various customizations of your seat settings.

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Seat controls, reading light and IFE controller

There is an adjustable armrest also that you can make go up or down.

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Adjustable arm rest on your left side

The tray is big which is nice.

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The IFE system worked great. The touchscreen TV will pull out on a touch of a button. You can control with the IFE by touchscreen or using the remote. Both touchscreens on the TV and remote were very responsive. The selection of content on the IFE was adequate and enough to satisfy many people. They had various movies, TV shows, games, music and my favorite, the flight map!

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TV in the “parked” position

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Controller comes in handy when in flat bed mode

One MAJOR downside of the seat is that you can feel the movements of anyone sitting in the seat behind you. Now, my wife was seating in seat 2L, directly behind me. I tested this and told her to make some movements and you could definitely feel it. So much enough, that if you are a light sleeper, you could probably be woken up if you seatmate does a sudden movement. This is a major flaw to the seat and I’m shocked that they didn’t think this through when making it. Luckily for American Airlines, they have stopped using this seat provider and the business class seats going forward will be made by a different manufacturer on 787-9.

I was excited to try out the shadeless windows on the 787. The windows are huge and the touch remote to adjust the light coming in was nice. But one downside was that going from light to dark, it took about 30 secs for the effect to fully happen. Also, at the darkest setting, there was still some light coming in. I hear they are working on these issues.

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787 windows with electronic dimmer

Being towards the front of the plane, the ride was REALLY quiet. It was great. Definitely a plus of the 787. The seat also had individual air vents which is nice if you get too cold or hot.

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Overall this is a good product and if you ever fly the 787-8 to any international route, you will have a good flight. I’m glad I finally got to enjoy a 787 flight and look forward to flying it many more times.

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