It’s time for another Snapshot, this time focusing on the passenger experience aboard American Airlines 99 on their Boeing 787-9 between London Heathrow and Chicago O’Hare in Main Cabin Extra (economy class with extra legroom)
In case you’ve forgotten how we do travel write-ups on Economy Class and Beyond, we have two major travel writing styles:
- Trip Reports – These are full deep-dive reports taking you into the experience, the small things… as well as the big things!
- Snapshots – These are bite-sized reviews that show you the product in some gentle headlines (and normally, only images shot on the phone)
Today, we’re on the Snapshot. The full in-depth review is coming… once your editor and writer get a weekend or two to write it.
Check-in formalities were conducted online to gain access to the boarding pass. With that complete, bags were dropped at Zone D at Heathrow Airport to complete the process.
Fast Track security was used at Heathrow Terminal 3. This allowed me to clear the security process in under five minutes from entry to the departure lounge.
The Cathay Pacific and American Alines lounges were used at Heathrow Terminal 3. It’s nice to have a choice of lounges when flying for a change…
Cathay Pacific Lounge…
American Airlines Lounge
Boarding was from Gate 30, in the first right satellite at T3. Boarding was well underway by the time I got to the gate.
The aircraft I flew was an American Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. No big picture of the aircraft, sadly.
These are Weber/Safran Seating Model 5751 slimline seats, configured 3-3-3 arranged with a 34″ pitch in Main Cabin Extra. I was located in the bulkhead row, with a toddler and family. The aircraft went out very full.
Pushback and Taxi
Our aircraft pushed back early, but was caught in deaptures traffic out of Heathrow. Departures were on the South Runway, heading towards London.
American Airlines uses a Panasonic ex3 in-flight entertainment system, loaded with films, TV series and so on, as well as Voyager Map (the precursor to the ARC map system). The IFE system needed excessive force to be released, as it had jammed earlier.
It’s amazing what a rubber mallet can fix.
Inflight Wi-Fi was provided by Panasonic Avionics and their Internet Service Provider solution. This was offered at $25 for two hours or $35 for a full flight.
Speeds were reasonable out of the United Kingdom, with coverage good enough to stream a lot of YouTube videos streaming at 720p.
Food and Drink
The first meal was unusually a lunch service rather than a breakfast service, with Chicken in black bean sauce with rice and more beans (with a pasta option). This was served with a salad, bread, cheese and a brownie.
During the flight, a service of ice cream was offered (and was missed).
A pre-arrival service of a wrap and drink was offered.
Our flight landed 15 minutes early at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, landing on one of the far-north runways. This meant there was an extended taxi time to Terminal 5.
Once docked, we were ushered into the Immigration hall – which is still very much a building site.
Upon arriving at the immigration line, it was one switchback worth of passengers to be processed. With the US Border Patrol agent happy, I entered the luggage hall. Baggage delivery was pretty quick. This allowed me to complete the customs formalities and exit the secured area.
It took 30 minutes to get from the airplane exit to the arrivals area.
The full review of American Airlines 99 to Chicago is in production and is coming soon!
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