I stumbled on the fact that American operated a domestic Dreamliner flight from Chicago and Los Angeles and I thought it would be a great opportunity to try it! This summer American operates one flight daily from Chicago to Los Angeles and vice versa with the 787-8. Lie flat on a 4 hr domestic flight? Yes please!
It’s actually quite interesting as this was my first American Airlines flight ever. I’ve been on about 70 flights and never flown American….lol
I know the seats are Business Class internationally, but domestically it’s American First. 🙂
Before the flight, I monitored this flight 2225 and noticed the intense and brutal delays this flight was plagued with. The American Airlines App stated this flight had a 35% on time arrival rate.
Thirty-Five? Ouch. Foreshadowing, no I sadly did not escape the odds and did end up in the 65% delay rate…. 🙁
At the Airport:
Check-In was quick at O’Hare, no more than a 5 minute wait at the First Class line. Passed security pretty quickly and got a quick bite at Chili’s Too. No offense, I really dislike how dated American’s Terminal 3 really is. Also it feels ridiculously packed (even more packed than Atlanta) and the bathrooms are very outdated. I put O’Hare at the bottom of the list of airports for me (along with certain LAX terminals).
I was really pleased when we boarded on time at 5:55 PM, but the delays started to kick in.
American Airlines 2225
Chicago (ORD) to Los Angeles (LAX)
Aircraft: Boeing 787-8
Scheduled Departure: 6:25 PM
Actual Departure: 7:40 PM (late)
Scheduled Arrival: 8:43 PM
Actual Arrival: 10:42 PM (late)
Short Review (score out of 5, 5 being the best)
Plane Atmosphere 4/5
Service In- Flight 4/5
In- Flight Technology 4.5/5
Seat Comfort 4/5
Lie Flat Function 4.5/5
Boarding was through the second door and the business class cabin is actually to the left and the right after boarding. American’s current 787-8 features 28 total seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. Five rows are in the front cabin and two rows are in the rear cabin. In between the cabins are the door, 2 lavatories and a bar (used on international flights, sadly not on this one). The right side of the lavatory is much larger as it is an accessible one.
On the Plane:
The most interesting part of this plane is that the seats on this 787-8 alternate between forward facing and backward facing. My seat 3A was a forward facing seat. Based on my research before the flight, I read that backward/rear facing seats have two side tables so you are in the middle of them, feeling more trapped in your seat, versus the forward seats where you closer to the aisle and only have a large side table closer to the window. Also, your head is closer to the aisle in forward facing seats but in rear seats they are inward. Both seem to have their pros and cons.
After I took my seat, the flight attendant came around to take drink orders for before departure. Of course, I ordered my Cranberry Apple + Ginger Ale “Signature” Drink. The best drink for all you under 21!
The flight attendant serving my row was a bit on edge. When a passenger asked him how long we would be delayed he responded “You know what I don’t know we’ve all had a long day” in a sassy tone. I mean I realize people might have bad days but it doesn’t mean you need to continue that sass to the other passengers…
Our flight was delayed due to thunderstorms that emerged about 5 miles away, which shut the runway down. So the pilot said we would have to wait, which ended up being about an hour before we left the gate. I started watching Eddie The Eagle during the delay on the ground which I will add is a great movie! We ended up departing just shy of 1.5 hrs late.
Interestingly, they only provided blankets (no pillows) and my seat had an extra seatbelt over the body like in a car. There’s 2 power outlets and 2 USB’s! Plenty of charging opportunities.
Shortly after takeoff the flight attendant came by with warm mixed nuts and hot towels. They provided headsets but not the nice noise cancelling ones on international flights (sigh). He was much happier and kind after takeoff.
I preordered the Filet with Lobster Mac and Cheese online before the flight. The only other option online was some cheese ravioli.
Turns out on board the only meal they had left was some sort of pasta dish, there was no meat option if you didn’t pre order!
But, my meal was not that appetizing. I had low expectations since it was a domestic flight and I’ve come to expect poor food on US domestic flights but this was a bit worse than I thought.
The beef looked very disfigured from just looking at it. More like a meatloaf than a “Filet” and the texture was very rubbery. The taste was poor, and was very unappetizing. The Macaroni was undercooked as well. The tomatoes and the green lettuce I guess was the better side of the meal but they put too much cheese on the salad.
After dinner a warm chocolate cookie was served and I thought it was delicious! Much better than dinner in my opinion lol.
The major plus is that the TV screen is large and has lots of shows and movies to watch. I watched Eddie the Eagle and Joy on this flight. There’s also Seat to Seat Chat, drink ordering, games and a really cool map! Wifi was offered on this flight- $12 for 2 hours, $17 for 4 hours and $19 for the whole flight. I wasn’t happy that they didn’t let me go on aa.com for free ugh.
The major negative of the entertainment is the darn controller! It is seriously a pain to use. First off, the controller and screen don’t work together as they overlap on functions. It’s super confusing as you could be browsing stuff on the controller but on the screen it is still playing your previous selection. Then, you have to change the controllers mode to switch back to be controlling the TV. Luckily, the tv is touchscreen so you could just control it from there… AND, the worst part is that the controller is poorly placed and your shoulder keeps bumping into it. I accidentally stopped my movie like 3 times….
To adjust the seat positions there’s a touch tablet. Luckily this one was a bit more user friendly than the controller.
The 787 is pretty awesome though! I do feel that the air feels fresher than other planes. Oh and window shades are gone. You can control it and it dims itself. And the new plane has all the lavatories with non touch yay!
The Seat Itself: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
The seat is pretty good in the lie flat position! I like that my feet didn’t have to go into a cubby so it didn’t feel restricted. It’s roomy side to side and it was long. I’m 5’9 and had about 4 extra inches of legroom lying completely flat.
Man, I can really stare at the person across the aisle face to face. Not much privacy here. I do not like the forward/reverse configuration at all.
And, the seat vibrates whenever the person behind—-well next to me facing backwards moves or gets up. It’s like a mini earthquake because the seats are connected. I wouldn’t like to be shaken up during a long flight if I was sleeping, but for this 4 hour flight I guess it was okay.
So since the seat behind me is facing backwards and our seats are glued together if he sneezes (which he did) it is literally right at the side of your face.
We landed around 9:30, which made the total flight (not including the initial delay) about 4 hours. But once we landed we were informed that our gate was occupied. We ended up waiting AN HOUR on the plane sitting on the tarmac waiting for a gate. Not too happy.
At this point I was thirsty and I wish they served drinks again. But I realize that technically you can’t get up while on the runway due to FAA regulations…
So at this time, I realized that this flight is really plagued by delays, due to airport weather, and gate slot issues at LAX. Sigh.
After we finally got off the plane after 6 hours, the bags came slow, as normal at LAX. What I didn’t appreciate was that half the planes luggage came out before Priority. I saw that other passengers seated in first were waiting extra long for bags just like me! I mean, flying first should get your bags out a bit quicker…..
Overall, beside the delays it was a good experience. Also I’m happy American is switching seats from the current Zodiac seats to new B/E Aerospace seats. The vibrations, the fact that the persons face is right next to you, and the award eye contact made across the aisle make this product a bit awkward. I did like the personal space that comes with it and the nice entertainment selection. I can’t complain too much for a short 4 hour hop, but on a 12 hour international flight these quirks could start to bother me intensively.