Hello and welcome to this next report in the series. We're almost finished with this series with this Transpacific flight bringing us back to the U.S. This will be the second report on the site on the AA 787.
Here is the full routing with all reports in this series:
So here we are at Tokyo Narita. When connecting at NRT, you must go through a security checkpoint–it is always efficient and the security staff are always friendly and helpful, which moves things along quickly.
After going through security, we have a little over an hour before boarding time so we headed to the JAL First Class lounge.
The friendly agents at reception welcomed us to the JAL First Class lounge, which was accessible thanks to my AA Executive Platinum/oneworld Emerald status. There is an adjacent Sakura Business class lounge accessible to Business class passengers and oneworld Sapphire status holders.
The decor is pleasant and there are nice views of the tarmac. It was calm and not crowded, which is always nice.
I was not initially aware, but I realized I was in the smaller of the two JAL First lounges, when I couldn't find the famous sushi bar that the main First lounge is known for. I was disappointed, but because we didn't have a lot of time before boarding, I decided it wasn't worth going to the other concourse. So we made ourselves comfortable in the restaurant section for a quick bite to eat.
I wasn't terribly impressed with the food selection, but there was plenty of champagne so I was happy. Although, after two great experiences at the Qantas First lounge in Sydney, with its table service, great food menu, and spa, this lounge was underwhelming.
We got to the gate just as boarding was about to begin.
Quick shot of our bird.
My seat for the next 12 hours. In the first row of the second Business cabin, it is one of the backwards facing window seats.
Bose headsets and the amenity kit are pre-placed on the armrest
Legroom is great, as is to be expected with full-flat seats
On this flight, the FA handed out menus. On the majority of my recent AA long-haul Business class flights, the menus were already at the seat.
Pre-departure drinks follow just behind.
Let's take a look at the menu.
4 Entrée options plus a Japanese meal option is very impressive.
The Japanese meal looks very appealing. I had remembered from one of NGO85's reports that Japanese meals have to be pre-ordered and it totally slipped my mind.
Decent champagne. Castelnau was also served in BA Club World from Sydney to Singapore. Nice to see AA hasn't tried to pass off Prosecco as "champagne" since my JFK-CDG flight last summer
AA 787 safety card. I'd always thought the AA 787 would be my first dreamliner experience. I am fortunate that within a few days, i got to try the LAN 787-9 and not the AA 787-8. I went to having never flown the 787 to flying both variants within 2 days :-)
AA was still doing the Heritage amenity kits. Funny to think that US Airways is already "retro"
The high-tech seat controls.
Our friendly FA made a second pass with pre-departure drinks. More champagne? Alright, twist my arm ^^
After boarding was completed. One of the flight attendants came around and popped out the IFE screens for the safety video.
In the meantime I put on the airshow. Like on the 77W, it is the latest generation. One cool feature of this latest generation airshow is that you can preview the route that you will be flying.
Once the doors are closed, the Safety video begins.
We pushed back from the gate on time.
And after a reasonably short taxi time, we were off.
11 hours of flight time today.
WiFi is available on the 787 fleet, but I did not buy it as I intended to sleep. Also, I'd previously had a bad experience with the WiFi not working for the majority of a Transpacific crossing.
The in-flight entertainment is top notch. You can browse through movie titles on the touchscreen smartphone-like remote control as you watch the airshow up on the main screen.
Or, of course, you can do the opposite and have the airshow on the remote control, while watching a movie on the main screen. So many AvGeek-friendly options :-)
View of the front Business class cabin as the cabin service begins under the soft glow of the mood lighting.
The service starts with an apéritif and warm nuts. I usually like to begin with champagne. If you're counting, it's my 3rd glass–not counting the several glasses I had in the lounge ^^
During the drink service, the FA inquired about my meal choice. I asked if it was possible to order the Japanese meal even though I hadn't pre-ordered it. She said I could, and I was not disappointed with my choice.
Here is the appetizer course. Yes, that is just the appetizer!
Beautifully presented–I was very impressed, and it was delicious. I had another glass of champagne, along with some green tea–I felt it would be appropriate ^^
Then came the main of grilled red snapper and miso soup, also very good.
There was so much food, I was stuffed after that meal. But I did have some tart, just for some sweetness.
And a cognac digestif afterwards.
After the meal I watched the Amy Schumer movie Trainwreck It was funny, in a silly way
I got up to get a drink during the movie and the bar was all set up. I was still too full from the dinner so i didn't take anything, but there is always a nice spread.
After the movie, I fell asleep and slept a good eight hours. I didn't wake up until we were about 2 hours from landing in Chicago.
For the pre-arrival meal, there was a Japanese chicken dish option or a Western breakfast. I went for the Western breakfast. A Frittata with potatoes, a side salad, and cake–nothing terribly fancy, but it did the trick.
A pre-arrival video was played as we started out descent into O'hare.
Having been in the warmth of Australia and New Zealand for the past 3 weeks, I had almost forgotten it was winter back home.
There it is, the reminder…snow.
Here we are over the beautiful lakefront of Chicago
Nice view of International Terminal 5 on landing, with a nice line-up of widebodies
We got to the gate about 5 minutes ahead of scheduled arrival time.
Disembarking was quick being near the door, but immigration was a mess with a lot of international arrivals in the early afternoon hours.
Thanks a lot for reading and see you soon for the last segment in the routing!
JAL First Lounge
Tokyo - NRT
Chicago - ORD
A great flight aboard AA's 787-8. I hadn't previously been able to judge all of the benefits of flying the 787 on the short hop on the LAN 787-9 from Auckland to Sydney, but I definitely felt the difference on this long flight. The higher cabin pressure and higher humidity are some of the features of the 787 that help battle fatigue and jetlag. I felt very well rested after sleeping for almost the entire flight and didn't feel remotely dehydrated as I normally do on long-hauls. I normally drink a ton on water to avoid feeling dried out on long flights, but noticed that I hadn't even finish my one water bottle on this flight. I arrived in Chicago feeling well-rested.
The seat itself is very comfortable and offered a good amount of space and privacy despite facing the aisle. I don't mind facing backwards and I did not find it difficult to look out the window. On the contrary, the backwards facing seats are closer to the window than the forward facing seats. While the 787 seat is not as spacious as the 77W cirrus seats, I can't say that it felt cramped. AA worked with Zodiac Aerospace to create this mixed Forwards/Backwards-facing Herringbone/Reverse-Herringbone configuration in order to fit more seats into the Business class cabin. That being said, it is not going to be as spacious, but I found it perfectly comfortable.
The catering was very good overall, and I really enjoyed the Japanese meal. I love the bar area that can be found on the 787, 777-300ER, and refurbished 777-200ER fleets. The food and beverage offering at the bar is very good and one of the highlights of flying AA long-haul premium cabins. The service was attentive and friendly.
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