In May I had the chance to fly American Airlines from Haneda (HND) to Los Angeles (LAX) on their 787-9. For the trip I booked a business class seat with a total flight time of approximately 9 hour and 40 minutes. The flight was scheduled to depart at 4:25pm and after a brief issue with a seat malfunction in business class, the flight left a few minutes past that.
American Airlines has 30 business class seats on their 787-9 in a reverse herringbone configuration with 4 across. They use the B/E Aerospace Super Diamond seat which I find to be both comfortable and spacious. For the trip I had a window seat on the left side of the plane since I was traveling alone and enjoy watching take-off and landing.
The seat has several small storage areas for items like a headphone case, small handbag, and cell phone, but nothing large enough for a laptop or shoes. The main storage area also contains the headphone jack, universal power outlet, and a USB port for charging.
The controls to adjust the seat and lighting are located by the armrest on a monochromatic touch screen. The tray table slides down from under the monitor area and has two positions. I prefer the ones that stow because I tend to hit my knee occasionally, but the slide down tray tables do provide a study table surface.
American Airlines provides Bose headphones (non-noise cancelling) in business class, but they do collect them about one hour before landing from all passengers. The in-flight entertainment (IFE) system has a colored touch screen controller that resides in the main storage area when not in use. The controller can either support functions on the monitor or be used to display its only media such as the flight map.
Shortly after take-off, the flight attends began the meal service which included 3 western entrée options and 2 Japanese options. The appetizer for all western options included tuna tataki, assorted bread, and a small salad with buttermilk dressing or vinaigrette.
For the main course, I selected the grilled beef filet with steamed vegetables, chive potato mash, and a mustard sauce. I found the beef to be very bland and tough to chew (I would not order again).
For dessert, I ordered ice cream and accidentally requested all the toppings. This included chopped nuts, fudge, cherry sauce, and caramel. The presentation was dismal, and the flavor was all over the place. (I will not order that way again)
About two hours after take-off the meal service was complete, the cabin lighting was dimmed, and most passengers settled in for the remaining 7.5 hours of flying. Each passenger is given pair of slipper and Casper blanket and pillow (no seat cover or pajamas on this flight). Each passenger is given a bottle of water at the commencement of meal service as well.
There is a small snack basket at the front of business class on top forward portion of seats 1D and 1H. The baskets contained a mix of fresh fruits, chips, nuts, and granola options. Additionally, American Airlines has a midflight snack option of Udon noodles and fresh fruit or chicken sandwich and potato salad, but I was asleep and opted to skip. Throughout the flight, drinks were replenished when necessary, but the flight attendants weren’t overly attentive.
One and half hours prior to landing, the crew started the breakfast service with two choices. The All American with scrambled eggs, roasted potatoes, bacon, mushrooms, and tomato. The other, which I opted for was a fresh fruit bowl with yogurt and muesli. Both options include a selection of breakfast pastries as well.
Something new that I hadn’t experienced on past travel returning to the United States was the Border and Customs Projection video on all IFEs that highlighted how the process works. The video lasted about 10 minutes and explained a lot of information that most frequent travelers would not find new but could be helpful to first time travelers.
The flight was smooth for most with only turbulence for a few portions. While the dinner meal was not very tasty, the service was professional, and the seat provided a great amount of privacy and comfort for the transpacific flight. I do appreciate that American uses Bose headphones, but wish they would use a noise cancelling model. Upon arrival in LAX, we deplaned at a remote part of the airport and had to be transported to the terminal via bus (American did have 7 buses and they left when full instead of waiting to be filled up which sped up the transfer).