American Airlines (AA) operates a daily 787-9 Dreamliner service from Sydney to Los Angeles. We sky tested the highly acclaimed Flagship Business to check out the American difference.

I’d never flown internationally with AA before, so this was my first taste of the in-flight experience, and I was excited and curious to finally try it out for myself. Here’s what I experienced on my flight over to the City of Angels.

 

CHECK-IN AND PRE-BOARDING

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Sydney we love you…

Flying Flagship business means priority check-in at Sydney International Airport Area A.

American Airlines connect through to 190 U.S cities so is an excellent option for an easy onward journey. I was connecting through to Denver from LAX, so my bag was checked all the way through with a priority bag tag.

You can take up to two pieces each weighing 32kgs in Business plus your carry-on on this flight which is extremely handy as you’ll likely end up filling your bags (as I did) from all your stateside shopping. That’s a total of around 80kgs which is absolutely huge compared to many other carriers.

Thanks to automated passport control and a smarter-designed flow, getting through immigration at Sydney airport is now a whole lot easier and quicker. And thanks to an express card that helped me jump the lines even faster, I was soon in the comfortable Qantas International Business Lounge which all American Airlines Business Class passengers can access as part of the Oneworld and Qantas codeshare agreement.

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The sleek American Airlines 787-9 Dreamliner

The flight also leaves from gate nine which is directly under the lounge, meaning even more time to enjoy another coffee (Or a glass of bubbles) before you hop, skip and jump – depending on how many drinks you did have in the lounge on to the plane.

The take off this morning took us up through a sparkly Harbour and over Sydney Harbour Bridge in what felt like a very special fly by in style.

 

THE SEAT

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The Business Class cabin configuration on the American Dreamliner 787/9 is in a 1-2-1 set up with 30 reverse herringbone Super Diamond seats, and all aisle access which makes moving around easy thanks to no “excuse me” moments you may have on other airlines as you step over people to exit your seat.

I was in seat 1L which is the first front seat in the cabin on the right. It’s a truly fantastic place to be, and I loved sitting there as I felt utterly cocooned in my little piece of aviation paradise.

All of the window seats mean total privacy for passengers as they face outwards to not one but two! Of the famously oversized Dreamliner windows that every avgeek will love.

The suite is one of the best I’ve flown in with a stylish neutral, grey and dark wood finish and clean lines. They say that great design should go unnoticed to the common eye and it’s undoubtedly the case here as every element has been considered and brilliantly designed. Cables tuck away neatly, the ergonomics of the seat don’t cramp you, and overall the space just feels roomier.

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There’s tons of storage to put all your stuff too with an overhead bin to yourself as well as plenty of top space for your phone and gadgets. In the central console, you’ll find a USB and international power charger as well as an entertainment controller that doubles as an extra screen if you need it.

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The comfy fabric and leather seat reclines to a fully lie-flat bed and even with my long legs (I’m 6 foot 5) means I can stretch right out comfortably which is sweet music to my ears.

When it’s time to go to sleep, there’s also an extra doona you can pop on which adds another layer of comfort, and later in the flight when I do lay the bed flat for around 7 hours of shuteye, it feels even sweeter.

 

THE ENTERTAINMENT

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Once settled in your seat, you’ll find a pair of Bose noise-reducing headphones waiting to enhance your viewing of the massive LCD monitor that features hundreds of movies and TV shows as well as Live streaming TV channels.

You certainly won’t be bored that’s for sure.

I flew on the day of the UK Royal wedding and as an ex-pat Brit found it pretty cool to watch all of the pomp and circumstance live at 40,000 feet. #royaltragic alert.

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Control your viewing…

There’s a Cole Haan amenity kit which includes C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries and a pair of stylish grey and blue cotton ‘Casper’ pyjamas to slip into which you can take home too. They’re so comfy I’ve been wearing them ever since.

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The Cole Haan Amenity Kit

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Your comfy ‘Casper’ pyjamas await…

The plane also has Wi-Fi capability for a price ($US19 for whole flight) with “seat chat” available for those that can’t be bothered to get out of their seat to talk to a friend or well, perhaps start a conversation with a stranger if they’re feeling adventurous or amorous.

 

THE SERVICE, FOOD AND DRINKS

The Queensland prawns with salad and Chardonnay dressing

The excellent service starts as soon as you board with a welcome glass of Nicolas Feuilette Brut Reserve Champagne and an airport cleansing hot face towel to settle you into the next phase of your journey.

Cheery flight attendant Rob then took my order from the menu for lunch (The meal service happens as one though can be ordered to eat later if you wish) and a delicious meal was served around 40 minutes after take off.

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I had the Queensland prawns with salad and Chardonnay dressing to start and then the chicken curry with cauliflower and yoghurt which was subtly spiced and tasty. For dessert, I went for the raisin bread pudding which was deliciously syrupy sweet along with a cup of coffee and some precious quiet time to read the morning paper and daydream looking out of the windows.

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The raisin bread pudding

If you’re still feeling hungry along the way, you can order in your seat from the dining menu or get stuck into the snack box in the galley.

This flight is a day sector, so as you cross the dateline you travel back in time to arrive before you left the same day. This never fails to spin me out as a concept, so I always find it’s essential to plan my in-flight sleep time well or risk hitting LA already worn out.

I always set my clocks to the local destination time immediately after taking off and try and follow that sleep wise as a rule. On this flight, I took an early mark once the cabin lights had dimmed with the aid of a sleeping tablet and hit the hay around 2200 Los Angeles time knowing we’d be landing at around 0630.

By the time I woke, we were around three hours out of LAX, and it was time for breakfast. I chose the American Breakfast with scrambled eggs, Canadian bacon, roasted potatoes and coffee which was tasty and a hearty way to pump up the energy levels for the day ahead and my onward journey to Denver.

 

THE VERDICT

I’m a big Dreamliner fan, and the American Airlines 787-9 is one of the best I’ve flown in for cabin design, ergonomics and overall level of comfort.

In the name of a balanced review, I would normally be highlighting something I didn’t rate highly but honestly, aside from a fellow snoring passenger, I couldn’t find fault in any detail of this flight.

The crew were friendly and efficient, and overall it’s an excellent option to get to the states and then beyond. I would choose to fly American Airlines again in a heartbeat.

 

THE DETAILS

Flight: American Airlines AA72 Sydney – Los Angeles
Departs Sydney daily direct: 1015 – Arrived LAX Tom Bradley 0632 local time (The same day I left)
Flight time: 13 hours 30 minutes
Seat: 1L Business Class
Find out more: www.americanairlines.com.au

 

READ: #travelforlife: Simon Dodd, American Airlines GM Australia & NZ

READ: Qantas threatens to end Dallas route if American Airlines deal doesn’t go through

Have you flown with American Airlines before? Share your thoughts below.