American Airlines

What It’s Like to Fly American Airlines Business Class on the 787

By  | 

I flew on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner back in 2012 when they first came out. But that was on United in Economy. I had yet to experience the 787 business class. My spa weekend getaway in Bangkok was the perfect excuse to use systemwides to upgrade my American Airlines and the phone agent was determined those upgrades would be on the 787 from Chicago to Narita.

aa flagship lounge chicago wine rose

After a mini rose tasting in the American Airlines Flagship Lounge Chicago with friends, we were ready to board! First impressions: very light and spacious. Lots of overhead space. Not ideal if you’re traveling with anyone.

American Airlines Business Class 787 interior

american airlines business class 787 ord-nrt overhead space

I was in 3A, one of my friends was sitting across from me in a backward facing seat, which actually allowed for more visual contact than sitting next to each other. See my tips for picking seats on the 787.

american airlines business class 787 ord-nrt seat 3a

American Airline’s business class seat is a little narrow, but has plenty of leg room.

Forward facing seat with chest restraint and "pop up" armrest

Forward facing seat with chest restraint and “pop up” armrest

american airlines business class 787 ord-nrt legroom

Lots of leg room in Dreamliner business class

Backward facing seats have more storage than forward facing seats. And I didn’t dig having a chest restraint in addition to the belt across the waist.

Decent amount of seat controls and I loved that you could view the map on the handset and keep the big screen for entertainment or just turned off.

american airlines business class 787 ord-nrt seat controls

american airlines business class 787 ord-nrt map on handset

They brought drinks around pre-departure so we toasted our Bangkok trip with champagne.

american airlines business class 787 ord-nrt toastTurns out we needed it.

american airlines business class 787 ord-nrt on tarmac delay

Our flight was over an hour late departing Chicago due to storms and we had a 2 hour connection in Narita. If we missed that flight, we wouldn’t get to Bangkok until late the next day, which would punch a big hole in a 48 hour vacation…

Trying not to stress about the flight delays.

Before I knew there were flight delays out of Chicago

Fortunately 60 minute connections are legal even for coach passengers, but it was a little stressful sitting there trying to formulate a plan B.

Eventually we took off and I dug into my Cole Haan amenity kit (red accents on the way out, blue on the return) with CO Bigelow toiletries. Nice 🙂

american airlines business class 787 ord-nrt cole haan amentity

Then came the food service. Warm nuts and another glass of champagne.

american airlines business class 787 ord-nrt warm nuts

The menus arrived, and even though I’d pre-ordered, I was rather tempted by Japanese Meal entree. But, turns out its either everything or nothing. You can’t mix and match like you can (or used to be able to) on ANA.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So, western meal it was! First up, a surprisingly good watermelon and Thai chicken dish.

american airlines business class 787 ord-nrt watermelon appetizer

Then the Peppered Beef Filet with truffled mac and cheese and haricots verts that I had pre-ordered. It looked AMAZING. It tasted ok, still fairly full from the Flagship Lounge, I wound up leaving most of it.

american airlines business class 787 ord-nrt beef filet mac and cheese

Got a picture of my friend’s Mochi chicken with roasted mashed sweet potatoes, baby bok choy, and white sesame seeds. Looked pretty good!american airlines business class 787 ord-nrt mochi chicken

The dessert options didn’t really appeal so I went with the cheese plate.

american airlines business class 787 ord-nrt cheese plate

So one major complaint with the 787 is the window shades, or lack thereof. I liked that even when they were dimmed I could still see out. What I didn’t like is the cabin crew could automatically dim them which meant I had to keep fussing with it to get it lighter in order to take pictures.

american airlines business class 787 ord-nrt window lighting

We flew up the coast of Alaska and it was breathtaking though very blue!

american airlines business class 787 ord-nrt Alaska view

And then it was never quite dark in the cabin even at full dim, more of a ghostly underwater feel. Still, I slept well for a couple of hours and then decided to explore the galley snacks. A nice presentation.

american airlines business class 787 ord-nrt galley snacks

american airlines business class 787 ord-nrt snack presentation in galley

american airlines business class 787 ord-nrt beef snack

As with most long premium cabin flights, the focus tends to be on the food. Before landing we were served a light meal that came with a radish salad, surprisingly good carrot cake, and an entree. I’d pre-ordered the broccoli and red pepper strata which felt like the breakfast foods my internal clock was expecting.

american airlines business class 787 ord-nrt lite care

We landed in Narita about an hour late and in a separate terminal from out JAL connection to Bangkok.

american airlines business class 787 ord-nrt narita airport gateAn hour and 10 minutes wound up being more than enough time to get through security and get to our gate, even had time to hang out in a nearby loung for a half hour.

More from this trip

AA Flagship Lounge Chicago Review
5 Things to Know When Picking Seats on the 787
Mango Sticky Rice Blizzards Are a Thing

Full Disclosure: I may receive affiliate credit from links in this post or on this site which will help fund my travels. Thank you for your support!

Related Posts:

Living for the little (and big things) that make life so fun, especially mistake deals and crazy last minute weekend mileage runs across the world. www.twitter.com/klatravel

8 Comments

  1. Chris Guizlo

    Chris Guizlo

    June 17, 2016 at 1:27 am

    ANA Business on the 787 was a great experience!

  2. b

    June 17, 2016 at 1:42 am

    Did you buy two separate tickets for AA and NH?

    • Keri Anderson

      June 17, 2016 at 2:35 am

      Thank you for catching that! I typed ANA but meant JAL.

  3. Ryan

    June 17, 2016 at 2:58 am

    American 787 Business looks cheap compared to the competition.

  4. Matthias Schwarz

    Matthias Schwarz

    June 17, 2016 at 7:33 am

    BA First on a 787-900 from SJC to LHR was a disappointment, at least compared to Asian and Gulf carriers. Not enough differentiation to Business.

  5. John Maly

    John Maly

    June 17, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    United from SFO to Taipei was a similar experience, and the 787’s auto-window tinting really helped manage light levels to pre-acclimate to the new timezone.

  6. Kurt Martens

    June 17, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    Just curious as I haven’t flown an American flag carrier in years; – I live overseas and travel nearly 100% on Emirates – is that plastic glassware they served pre takeoff drinks in?? Seems a bit … Cheap for business class?

    • Keri Anderson

      June 17, 2016 at 3:48 pm

      In my experience it’s been a mix, some of my pre-departure drinks have been in proper classware, others the cheap plastic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *