AA87 London Heathrow to Chicago O’Hare International (Premium Economy)
More Pleasure, More Business.
In this divided trip report
Part One: The Pleasure
- Part 1
- Two o’clock in the morning. I love this time of day. Honestly.
- The Cathay Pacific, American Airlines Lounges… and a five-hour delay
- AA87 London Heathrow to Chicago O’Hare International (Premium Economy)
- Crowne Plaza O’Hare
- A photographer’s paradise? The Central Camera Company
- Hyatt Regency O’Hare
- Airplane Art Extra: From the Balcony of the Hyatt Regency O’Hare
- Back to the Bunny, British Airways Lounge
- BA294 Chicago O’Hare to London Heathrow (World Traveller Plus)
- Wait. My Bag is Re-Flighted???
- Part 2
AA87 London Heathrow to Chicago O’Hare
AA87 London Heathrow to Chicago O’Hare International
Seat 8L Premium Economy (sold as Main Cabin Extra with Main Cabin Service)
American Airlines, Boeing 787-8
3953 Miles Flown, 20 Tier Points Earned, 988 Base Avios + 1,976 Bonus Avios
I was welcomed aboard and turned right. Now normally at this point – I would be passing my way down the aisle and through the business cabin into the Main Cabin. But this Boeing 787-8 is one of the ones that have been through a re-fit, so I entered into the Premium Economy Cabin (fitted where the rear section of business class was), where my window seat of 8L was waiting for me.
What a tidy upgrade.
Whilst we would get the premium economy cabin, we would get the Main Cabin service on AA87 that day – as the Premium Economy service hasn’t rolled out yet on the 787-8 fleet.
Looking at the seat… yes, it’s grey. Leather and grey. Totally original in the colour choice, but here we are. It’s by Collins Aerospace (B/E Aerospace) product that has been customised for American Airlines
That being said, the seat was comfortable to sit in, and later, to recline in. And at that point, the colour choice is moot.
Mains Power was in the seat in front, whilst a USB port was integrated into the IFE system.
There’s also an integrated foot bar too, and an adjustable headrest.
The cabin loaded up, with a fairly full load heading to Chicago (although there were some notability empty seats in Premium Economy.
With the plane delayed, doors didn’t close on AA87 until 13:15, and push back wasn’t for another 10 minutes later. Well, what was 15 minutes difference going to do at this late stage of the game?
Then the safety video played.
With that procedural bit out-of-the-way, our Boeing 787 set off on its way, passing the stricken plane that was meant to be taking us to Chicago.
The plane taxied past the old T1 complex, towards the T2 complex, passing some traffic on the way.
Thankfully, there was only a short delay for us, and our Boeing 787’s GE engines powered up for the 8-hour plus trip to Chicago O’Hare.
With the plane in the air, I desired the need for connectivity. Thankfully, American Airlines offers connectivity with Panasonic’s Ku connectivity platform. In the past, I’ve noticed this to be… I’m going to be generous here… slow.
Not so this time.
After completing the payment details, I was connected. Alerts starting coming in, and so on. So of course, after waiting for things to settle, I powered up the Speed Tester – and I was pleasantly surprised at the results.
With that done, it was time to explore the IFE system installed.
American Airlines uses the Panasonic X series – and in particular, the X3 series. As such, it has a rather fluid interface, with a reasonable amount of content.
I exhausted the comedy content quickly enough, however, and rather bury myself in a long film (something I find hard to do and switch off to a film these days). I therefore resorted to the Live TV channels. Thankfully (or not) BBC World was loaded on the system – so I could keep track of events at home
Meanwhile, the snack service appeared with city branded pretzels.
But first, how do you deploy the tray? Look for the button.
Onto the pretzels.
The was followed by drinks with the main service. A choice of lunch items were served (pasta or chicken).
Thankfully, the breakfast items weren’t loaded.
The BBQ chicken offered was reasonable, with the utensils not snapping when I used them (believe me – this has happened more than once in the air). The mash and greens were reasonably fresh too. Combined with the fresh salad, it’s not a bad combo.
The water bottle was kept for later (mainly as I had a reasonably sized bottle of water with me – and you never know when 330ml of water is useful… like when you get off a flight). As for the Apple Crumble… forgettable.
The crew took their time clearing down the cabin… and with how the day was going… I wasn’t exactly complaining. Heck, I was happy I was flying.
Every cloud has a silver lining
With an additional drinks run done, the lights went down, and the blinds were set to 50% darkness. Some set there to more darkness. I kept it at 50% – not that my seatmate cared.
And with that, I reclined the seat and found a comfy position to doze off for a few hours. With the way my body clock was – Every minute was welcome.
However, my body has this odd ability to sense when food is near … and I woke up as the crew were conducting the ice-cream service
My timing is sometimes impeccable.
Chocolate ice cream was offered – along with more Coke Zero. It’s just a thing to enjoy as the ice flows of Canada are outside, and Live TV is stuttering due to coverage issues.
Soon enough, our plane crossed over into Newfoundland and Canada.
Whilst the plane was making good progress, we were horribly behind schedule. And for me – I started to re-plan a few things that I would need to do on the ground. And yes, that mainly means shopping lists and checking things that I actually needed, rather than wanted.
With the plane crossing Canada, I tuned back into the Live TV system to be confronted with this… person
Wonderful. Can’t escape this… person… at 37,000ft now. The joy and curse of Live TV.
As the plane continued to cross Canada, I watched as the UK Parliament struggled to finders backside with both hands.
In fight entertainment? More like bun throwing.
With the last hour of the flight, the crew came around to do an arrivals snack service. This has changed from pizzas to folded pizzas to Montys Hot Boxes.. and so on.
This time we have pies. Mini Pies. These were offered as a vegetarian and a chicken option.
And when I say mini… I mean mini.
Well, it’s better than a kick in the teeth, isn’t it… but very small pies.
This was cleared down quickly enough – and with the plane closing in on Chicago, TSA Dan appeared on the screen.
Probably the one person that got funded during the Government shutdown. With that done, the cabin was prepared for landing. The 8 hours or so has flown by it seemed, with the plane taking a direct approach to O’Hare over Lake Michigan
At around 16:45, the AA87 touched down at O’Hare International.
However, this wasn’t the end of the flight. No by a long shot.
The plane taxied towards the international terminal, and then taxied straight past it, over one of the overbridges and finally to a penalty box spot.
It appeared that our gate was still occupied.
Again -there’s not a lot you can do in this situation, so like the rest of the plane, I cooled my heels for a bit.
At around 17:10, the engines on our plane powered up again, and we were finally headed to our gate at M11.
With a Viking letting us through.
With a final push, the plane approached the gate and powered down. With the seat belt signs released, we were finally able to get up and gather our items together.
It wasn’t until 17:18 that the doors were released on AA87, and we were allowed on our way.
I thanked the crew and tiredly headed into the wonder of Chicago O’Hare International Airport.
In terms of hard product, the new American Airlines seat is good for a premium economy seat. It’s comfortable for the long haul, whilst offering the additional space. A proper leg rest- as opposed to a foot rest – would have been welcome, and the tray table is confusing the first time you use it.
In terms of service for AA87, it was the traditional Main Cabin service, which American Airlines have got down to a fine art – and it’s a reasonable service in the transatlantic package. The crew were friendly enough – but the mounting delays took a shine off a reasonable flight.
Next: Off into the USA and the Crowne Plaza O’Hare
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