American Boeing 787 To Operate Chicago To Tokyo Narita As Of August 18, 2015

Next week American will be commencing commercial service with their Boeing 787. For the first several weeks, American will be operating the 787 exclusively between Dallas and Chicago. This way they can familiarize their crews with the plane, get pilots their required takeoffs/landings, work out any kinks, etc.


After that, American will be launching longhaul 787 service, as follows:

  • Flights between Dallas and Beijing starting June 2, 2015
  • Flights between Dallas and Buenos Aires starting June 4, 2015
  • Flights between Dallas and Shanghai starting June 26, 2015

Up until now, those are the only three international routes which have officially been announced. However, American has now confirmed their third international Boeing 787-8 route. Per the @americanair Instagram, American will begin Boeing 787 service between Chicago and Tokyo Narita as of August 18, 2015.


The aircraft change will apparently be loaded for bookings made as of Sunday, May 3, 2015.

This is a route which presently operates 5x weekly, so I assume the frequencies will stay the same. Theoretically the one downside to the Boeing 787 is that it doesn’t feature a first class cabin. That being said, the route was previously operated by a Boeing 777-200, which featured American’s super old first class product, and angled business class product.

American’s old 777-200 first class

In business class this will represent a huge improvement in product, as American has fully flat seats with directly aisle access on the 787, while many of their 777-200s still feature their old business class product. So it will be great to be guaranteed the new business class product.

American’s 787 business class

American’s 787 business class

American’s 787 business class

I think Chicago to Tokyo Narita is actually a pretty logical route for the 787. It’s a route which is heavily served as it is. The route is flown by American, ANA, Japan Airlines, and United. American and Japan Airlines have a joint venture, while ANA and United also have a joint venture. Presumably American is hoping to “skim” more of the premium market with their seats, rather than focusing exclusively on capacity.

Then again, if you’re paying for first or business class, I’m not sure why you wouldn’t just fly ANA or JAL

Japan Airlines first class snack — you won’t get this on a US airline!

On which route would you like to see American’s new 787?


  1. i bought today business on a 787 Dallas Shanghai for late June. Seat map loaded too. So I guess they have more routes.

  2. I’m fairly confident they aren’t using a 787 because they want to focus on premium cabin travelers, it’s because they want to focus on not losing as much money on the route.

  3. Actually, American also announced the 787 on their DFW-PVG route beginning June 26. Thus the ORD-NRT route is American’s 4th international destination.

  4. would love to fly this to Buenos Aires. Too bad AA wont’ release any saver award space.

  5. If I have a ticket already booked for AA 153 from ORD to NRT that was scheduled for the 777-200 but travelling after August 18, does this mean now it will be on the 787?

  6. @Lucky do you know if AA will install toliet bidets on their 787 airplanes? I knew ANA did that even for toliets in economy class.

  7. Also, @Lucky, which airport terminal you think is the best? I personally hate large airport terminal like Beijing , Dubai or Narita airport. Smaller airport like JFK (no gigantic terminal) or honda airport.

  8. Does that mean the 787 will ferry between DFW/ORD while this route operates (I assume they wouldn’t just sit it on the ground the two days per week they aren’t flying it to NRT)

  9. I’m confident I’ve seen AA’s 787 at Heathrow a couple of times throughout April! I know it won’t yet be scheduled there but I wonder what route it was operating! Landing around 2 pm.

  10. They’re flying this on dfw-ord longer than just a few weeks. I’m booked on it in late June.

  11. Also the premium capacity nets lower on the 787 than the 777-200, despite the new product

  12. Hey Ben,
    How do I post links in the comment for some reason every time I paste a link it doesn’t appear in the comments.
    For example I wanted to tell you about a recent article I read which mentioned that Boeing had discovered hairline cracks in 40 of its dream liners
    With things like this happening should I reconsider flying on the 787?

  13. Phillip, it is only doing test flights to LHR, It won’t and hasn’t operated passenger services to LHR.

  14. Phillip, it is only running test flights to LHR. It will not and has not operated passenger services to london.

  15. Besides the lower prem cabin ratio, another reservation I have on AA’s 787 is the backward-facing seats. Not sure how that will play out.

  16. Lucky – your implied seat counts are wrong. AA’s 788 has *MORE* economy seats than their old (pre-retrofit) 772s. The old 772s have 194 economy, 37 angle-flat business and 16 flat first. The new 788s have 198 economy and only 28 business. So, I don’t see the 788s as a good move towards premium capacity; it’s a way of maintaining the economy section at a much lower cost.

  17. @ BigDaddyJ — Perhaps more accurately I should have said that they’re actually trying to offer a semi-competitive product, as opposed to the 777, where surely there wasn’t much premium cabin demand.

  18. @ HansGolden — As noted, the ratio is higher on the 777 than the 787. That being said, there’s nothing “premium” about the premium seats on the non-reconfigured 777s.

  19. @ Chandan Bhat — I wouldn’t worry. If there’s a serious safety issue the plane would be grounded. I certainly feel comfortable flying it.

  20. @ Angus — Yeah, they’re operating DFW-ORD service on the plane for quite a while, so I assume that’s partly how the positioning will occur.

  21. @ Miles — Presumably you’d get the option of a refund for the fare difference, a refund altogether, or a routing change. That being said, I’d almost choose American’s 787 business class over American’s old 777 first class.

  22. @ Fada — No bidets, unfortunately. Would be nice, though! As far as terminals go, guess it depends what part of the world we’re talking about!

  23. Also, I heard from some LAX-based crew that some Asian routes will be moved to LAX after they upgrade the ‘bridge’ in T4/TBIT. DFW-HKG and DFW-ICN might be the first few routes being changed to LAX-HKG/ICN. Any idea on that? thought it’d be an interesting move, given the long reach of 787 and their growing LAX base.

  24. Surprise surprise not a single day of saver space.

    P.S. Lucky are you doing trip reports anymore? I mean we are still waiting for Qatar’s 787 and TAP Portugal from last year.

  25. @ Terence — I wouldn’t trust anything you hear from flight attendants. LAX expansion to Asia wouldn’t surprise me at some point, though I wouldn’t count on it anytime soon.

  26. I’m still wondering why AA made this change. I frequently fly from Chicago to Tokyo on AA 153/154 in economy and business on their 777-200. Going takes 12-14 hours and coming takes 10-11 hours with the occasional super tailwind pushing the 777 to Chicago in 9+ hours. Few days ago I flew on the new AA 787 economy class to/from Tokyo and was very disappointed. Everything was smaller and much tighter. Regardless of all the hype about the 787 cabin tech, it is small and it is uncomfortable. The economy seats do not forgive. You are surrounded, tightly enclosed and always being bumped by people and things in the aisle. Since the debut of 153/154 years ago, AA had this route booked solid everyday- a definite squeeze on the 777. Now the 787? It sure has the new plane smell, but it’s a downgrade from a 777-200!

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