American 787-9 Business Class In 10 Pictures

Filed Under: American, Travel

Update: Read my full American Business Class 787-9 Sao Paulo To Los Angeles review.

On Monday evening I took the 12hr15min flight from Sao Paulo to Los Angeles on American, and in this post wanted to share my initial thoughts. What made this flight interesting was that it was operated by a Boeing 787-9 featuring B/E Aerospace Super Diamond reverse herringbone seats. This is American’s newest type of business class seat, and it’s different than the reverse herringbone seats they have on the 777-300ERs, which I’ve flown a countless number of times.

American has 30 business class seats between doors one and two on the 787-9, in a 1-2-1 configuration.

I found the cabin to be beautiful, and have a slight preference for this reverse herringbone seat over the one they have on the 777-300ER. Why? I like where the seat controls are, I like the enclosed storage, and I prefer the finishes, which are much sleeker. This business class cabin looks similar to Virgin Australia’s, which is quite a compliment.

American has decent amenities in business class. The highlight of these is the Bose headphones they distribute. Even many top airlines don’t have headphones that good in first class, let alone business class, so American deserves credit there.

This flight also featured Casper bedding, which I think is just alright.

The Cole Haan amenity kit was solid, with CO Bigelow toiletries.

This flight departs late at night, and I appreciated how quick the service was. The meal service was done less than 90 minutes after takeoff, which is awesome. Service began with drinks and mixed nuts. There was something off with the mixed nuts, as they were bizarrely chewy. Also, maybe I missed something, but when did American downgrade their business class champagne? Until recently they served Lanson Black Label Brut, while now they serve Moutart Brut. While that champagne still isn’t cheap (though not as expensive as Lanson), I didn’t at all like the taste. Is this a new change as of March?

The appetizer, salad, and main course were all served on one tray. The starter consisted of black-eyed pea hummus (is there a hummus shortage in Brazil, or what’s with the portion?), a side salad, and then for the main course I selected the Brazilian sea bass moqueca. The fish was exceptional. Not only was the fish flavorful and moist, but the sauce it came with was delicious.

For dessert I selected cookie crumble ice cream. While American’s desserts are basic, you can’t go wrong with ice cream.

I got a solid seven hours of sleep. I love that US airlines consistently have individual air nozzles, since on other airlines I tend to get too warm, which wakes me up. Upon waking up I spent some time working, as American has Wi-Fi on their 787s. It’s reasonably priced ($19 for the whole flight) and has no data caps.

Breakfast was served 75 minutes out, and I selected the scrambled egg crepe, which was good as well.

Service on this flight was inconsistent, as is often the case on American. I described in a separate post how one flight attendant was average, and the other was exceptional.

This was a really solid flight on American. The amenities were good, there was wifi, excellent entertainment (though I watched “Brad’s Status,” which I thought was horrible, especially the ending — anyone feel similarly?), individual air nozzles, simple but tasty food, one very friendly flight attendant, and American’s newest business class seat.

  1. It looks like all the seats are forward facing. What with the Forward / Rear facing seats on the 787-8 and also on some 777s (although it looks like those are disappearing) ?

  2. I really like the 789 business seat, especially since the screen doesn’t swivel (so you don’t have to stow for takeoff/landing). I’ve traveled to Brazil for work maybe 6-7 times in the last 18 months, and the business seats on AA’s 773 and 789 are a large part of why I switched loyalty from DL to AA. AA has the most comfortable business seats in the US-Brazil market, in my opinion.

    Plus, sometimes it’s fun to upgrade to Flagship First on the 773 😉

  3. @Pierre — the business seats on AA’s 773s and 789s are all forward-facing. On the 788s, they all alternate. And on the 772s, you could get a cabin with either all forward-facing or alternating — but those are both refurbed (i.e., AA is not retrofitting any cabins with alternating forward/backward-facing to all forward-facing).

  4. I guess the intention was to serve the nuts warm, but somehow they messed it up and by the time they got to your seat they had been re-heated three times and yet were cold again

  5. does american still serve Bollinger in their lounges?

    if so, does this mean they’re essentially serving worse champagne in flight than on the ground???

  6. @ ray — They sure do. Though arguably that was already the case, as I’d say Bollinger is better than Lanson. They’re one of the few airlines to serve better champagne in lounges than in the air.

  7. I am not a fan of this seat. The side table area opens and has a recessed compartment. This lowers the height of the foot space for the seat behind you. My feet just don’t fit vertical in that compartment. I find this seat confirming compared to 77W.

  8. @Lucky
    Quite a difference from you last time in Brazil, right? I think it was still in the old T2 terminal

  9. The ending of “Brad’s Status” was super weak. They could have simply ended it with the concert performance or something, but the final bit of dialogue followed by the kid singing “lose yourself in nature” was pretty lame. Or awful, depending on how strongly one feels.

    Oh, and the 787 biz class pictures make it look like a fantastic offering.

  10. Funny that AA upgraded their Flagship First Champagne and downgraded it in J.

    I actually love Lanson–they have a unique house style because they block malolactic fermentation (so the resulting wine has higher perceived acidity and has more apple notes); I think it’s great value for money. I love Bollinger as well for their own rich, nutty, oxidized style (a la Krug and Pol Roger). I’d say Bollinger NV and Lanson Black Label are on par for quality, just different styles.

  11. The next 789s being delivered to American are being put on the LAX PEK and PVG routes at the end of this
    month. Can’t wait

  12. RE: Brad’s Status

    I did not mind the ending, though I can understand why you and probably many others hated it. I did wonder why Mike White (the writer-director) didn’t give his own character any lines (and came up with just some talk by other characters about his wedding, plus some quick cuts of him cavorting by the pool–White can act, as seen in HBO’s Enlightened!). The other characters Brad was comparing himself against (played by Michael Sheen, Jemaine Clement, and Luke Wilson) had some lines.

    It is a depressing film, but I enjoyed it on my AA flight from Chicago to Tokyo-Narita late last month.

  13. Moqueca is great!
    Plan a trip to SSA on one of the euro carriers that fly there and eat one on the floor

  14. The problem with AA Bose headphones is that the FAs are paranoid about losing any, so they collect them long before the flight ends. Not fun to be treated as a potential thief just because you are a passenger.

  15. The issue with the champagne is that AA specifically serves different PDB champagne from what they’re supposed to serve up in the air. I have had a number of flights lately in F and Biz where the menus indicated LPGS and Lanson, but have been served the regular PDB champagne. It’s unclear whether it’s a catering issue or whether the FA’s just thing champagne = champagne, but often the FA’s don’t know the difference. In one or two of those cases, I had asked for the champagne that was on the menu, and they were able to bring out the correct bottle.

  16. For me, at 6-6, I do not like the tray tables under the monitor. It is confining compared to the biz seats where the tray tables pops out from the side.

  17. @lucky

    Will you do a piece about what your ground experience looks like, since you don’t keep an apartment? When you get off the plane in the US is it the same as when you get off the plane in, say, Sao Paulo, or do you spend more of your time in the US and therefore do things differently (different class of hotel, stay with friends, etc)? Do you meet friends for meals when you’re in various cities?

  18. Does American not put the pillow and blanket in plastic wrapping? How do you know they didn’t refold the blanket from the previous guest and straighten out the pillow?

  19. Is this the type of plane they are using on the ORD-LHR run and do they just have the one J class cabin or is there a smaller J class cabin just behind? I do find it poor form though to be serving meals in business on a tray like in PE or Y.

  20. @Lucky

    What happened to the Indian-Vegetarian meals? I thought you set that as normal preference?

  21. Did you visit Admirals Club, Latam One World lounge, GRU Executive lounge? How did you like the new T3? Ive been asking you to review these for ages im SO EXCITED for the reviews.

    Next time you’re in Sao Paulo lets organize an OMAAT meetup, yea?

  22. @ schar — I did visit both of them, and will review them soon. T3 is such a great improvement over the other terminals. Will definitely have a meetup the next time I’m in Sao Paulo. Thanks for the interest. 🙂

  23. I plan on flying this plane from LAX to Japan. If I want to cozy up with my traveling mate, what seats are best? Window-Aisle or two middle Aisle? From your photos, it doesn’t seem that cozying up (I was planning it to be romantic trip in all respects) is gonna happen. Thoughts Lucky?

  24. Care to share how you paid for the flight? AA miles? British Avios? Cash? SWU? This is a miles/points blog right?

  25. I’ve been declining the warm nuts for a while now since they’ve become “chewey.” Not good at all.

  26. Gotta be honest I’m not a fan of this seat style – I’ve flown this and the Air Canada version and I really don’t like having my legs so constrained when in bed mode. I found it very uncomfortable to sleep in any orientation except flat on my back. Whilst the fold-out screen on the other variant is a pain to have to stow during takeoff and landing, I’d much prefer that to the coffin effect of this layout.

    This is why I don’t get the hate for the SQ “diagonal sleeping” layout. It’s basically the same as this but without all the constraints. You’re sleeping at the same angle but you have a ton more room for your shoulders and knees.

  27. Regarding “Brad’s Status”, I thought it was a super weird movie too! I don’t even remember most of it as it was rather forgetable and I only watched it a couple of weeks ago on a flight to Asia.

  28. I guess they are too cheap to serve you a hot option + fruits + yogurt for breakfast on a long flight?

  29. All this is great but its been a week since the last update on the SQ Suites TR. When may we expect that to be finished

  30. Chewy nuts are almost guaranteed to be moldy because of the moisture absorption. Stay away. I once had a plate of chewy mixed nuts and had a terrible sinus headache for hours. 🙁

    Sad day about Lanson, that’s my favorite on the ground and VS serves it in the lounges (in the air, I forget). I once got a whole bottle of Lanson from an AA FA once just for being the guy who said “please” and “thank you” in a premium cabin – great day for me, sad day for society in general.

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