Springing to Chicago – AA87 London Heathrow T3 to Chicago O’Hare International (Main Cabin Extra)
- Here we go… again (in more ways than one)
- Off to Heathrow
- Terminal 3 Oneworld Lounges (Cathay Pacific and American Airlines)
- AA87 London Heathrow T3 to Chicago O’Hare International
- The joy of US immigration
- Intercontinental Chicago – Magnificent Mile
- Travel Tech: Life with a Canon 50mm f1.2 (yes, it’s another walk around Chicago)
- Hyatt Regency O’Hare
- Travel Tech: SkullCandy Ink’d Wireless Headphones
- Airplane Art Special: From the Balcony of the Hyatt Regency O’Hare ** BONUS **
- Back to O’Hare, The British Airways Business Class lounge
- BA296 Chicago O’Hare to London Heathrow
- Delayed Arrivals and Homeward
- Short and Sweet
AA87 London Heathrow Terminal 3 to Chicago O’Hare Terminal 5
American Airlines, Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner.
Seat 8L, Main Cabin Extra
With the final barriers cleared, I headed down the jetway to the waiting plane.
I was welcomed aboard AA87 and headed to the first bulkhead row of the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner.
The seat… whilst I’ve sat in it before – it’s deliciously slimline, I’ve never sat in the bulkhead row before – and yes – it’s as tight as it looks at 17.2” wide (I know – I measured it). Whilst the pitch was over 40” (giving a lot of leg room), I was pinched in position.
That pinching got worse as the flight continued to load with three passengers with broad shoulders in the row. The net result is I was pinched into the bulkhead trying to maximise my room, and my shoulder angled so that the passenger next to me could get in.
Modern day contortion.
With the plane loaded for the run to Chicago, it pushed back on time – with the modified American Airlines safety video playing (with the cheering muted out).
And in case I needed a reminder of today’s pain…
With an on-time push-back, our plane taxied past Terminal 3, The Terminal 2 complex, and finally out towards Runway 27L
The engines spooled up, and the 787 lifted off into the sky for the 8 hour 30 flight to Chicago
With the 787 in the sky, I tried to relax… and promptly failed. This seat… is tight – there’s no nice way of putting it.
Instead I fumbled around for the IFE system and popped it on.
The IFE system is a Panasonic ex3 System – which is responsive to touch akin to using a tablet or smartphone – in other words – very smooth. There’s also a USB outlet in the screen that’s good for trickle-charging your phone.
The IFE System also feature live TV channels from around the world. Or in my case – a channel closer to home – correct – BBC World News.
There’s also other content too – the comedy content was good (allowing me to catch up with The Big Bang Theory) as well and Star Wars too.
The first service begun – with a drinks service. I might had drunk a little on the ground, but in the air – I’ll stick to cola and water… if anything to keep my liquid intake up, but mainly that my world isn’t totally alcohol centred.
And of course – there was Biscotti.
With a… compressed to work with, lets say that the bulkhead row seats felt tight, and with the tray table deployed… less that fun.
For killing time on the p;ane (as well as catching up on work email – I did say I was married to the office didn’t I?), I decided to pay up for the in-flight Wi-Fi.
There were three options for pricing – with a full flight option for $19. Whilst you can pay with a card, you can also pay with PayPal to speed up paying… and not spending hours digging out a credit card in flight
Speeds weren’t particularly brilliant across the pond with this Panasonic Ku configuration – with it only speeding up as the plane neared Chicago
However, it was fast enough for email, Twitter, and Instagram – the things I needed in the air.
With this being an early morning flight, the first service would be a breakfast offering – with a choice of Pancakes or Omelette. I went for the omelette – and I wasn’t disappointed at all.
So, the food – whilst the portions are a bit on the small side, they were cooked well, and had flavour. That scores points alone with some of the breakfast services out there. It was well cooked without being burned, and the fruit was fresh – always good to see. I’m also loving the addition of a mini bottle of water to keep later on in flight (a damn good idea), as well as orange juice.
It was a well-rounded tray – and in Economy class – it’s all you can hope for some days.
With the meal service complete, the cabin windows were dimmed, and the it began to descend into darkness – with the crew seemingly wanting the passengers to fall asleep and not disturb them.
Although the camera short 165 photos of this exact scene. Why, I do not know…
I took the hint, and feel asleep in my contorted state too. I slept lightly, sleeping through Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. It’s a reasonable cartoon, but 1) knowing the plot and 2) the awfully wooden acting in it acts as a sedative.
I woke up sometime after the movie finished – and in time for the ice cream service. One option was given – chocolate. That would do as they say… that would do.
The cabin itself was in what I call dreamliner blue – with the blue dimming of the windows casting an unearthly hue in the cabin.
And outside… the world was blue too.
More time passed, and as I watched more Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon …. as well as dealing with the joy of Outlook in a Safari browser (whilst I have a work phone – that doesn’t travel. In addition, I’m not replicating my work email onto my personal phone…).
Time enough that I noticed the lights coming up a bit, indicating it was time for the snack box service. American Airlines uses Monty’s Bakehouse for their in-flight snacks – and this is normally a good snack before dealing with the joy of US Immigration
The nice things about these boxes are is that they’re served hot – so they actually taste of something. Whilst the items are small, they fill a hole.
I took the chance to head to the small room in the quiet period before landing… mainly to do what one does in the quiet room, but to give my shoulders a workout.
They were begging for something at that point
After I returned to my seat, I strapped back in – in time for the arrivals video. Thankfully, this flight arriving at O’Hare wouldn’t need the beloved Blue Customs form, so there’s a lot less paperwork to worry about (and no need to carry a pen – which was in my shirt at this point).
Our plane begun its decent into the O’Hare area, with the plane vectoring past Chicago and into Illinois – with our plane landing towards the West this time.
Our plane landed with a reassuring thump on the ground, ending AA87’s transatlantic voyage.
With the plane heading the right direction, it was a short taxi off the runway and towards the International Terminal (Terminal 5)
Our plane made a beeline to M10 – and AA87 powered down, completing its flight
With the seatbelts sign extinguished, it was time to gather my items and stretch again (because… hell – I needed to) and steel myself for the joy of US Immigration
With the go sign given, I thanked the crew and headed off the plane.
Overall: Whilst the crew and the food were great aboard AA87 (and lets face it – I’m picky on airline food), the one let down is the plane in Main Cabin Extra in that bulkhead row. I’ve long said the 787 is too tight in economy in a 3-3-3 configuration, and 8 and half hours glued in that seat (with two other broad-shouldered people) was at the end quite painful and not pleasant.
I’ve flown American Airlines 787 before a few rows back. That was marginally better, but not by a whole stretch.
Sadly, it will take a brave CEO to rip out a 3-3-3 configuration and replace it with a 2-4-2 config. With the market moving to denser seating… expect 3-3-3 to exist for sometime, and to be squeezed in a Dreamliner.
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