AF 787-9 Dreamliner – Photo: Alastair Long | AirlineReporter
As far as airline journalism gigs go, I hoped that this would be a beauty. And it did not disappoint. I missed an opportunity to visit the Air France (AF) CDG hub experience in November 2015 due to a lost passport. However, AF gave me a second, even juicier, bite of the cerise with an invitation to try its business class product on board the airline’s recently arrived Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. We would fly out from London Heathrow (LHR) to Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) on 23 March 2017. You’d perhaps be forgiven for raising an eyebrow seeing a long-haul bird deployed for a painfully short 45-minute hop over La Manche.
Looking great, even under a stormy sky – Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter
Everyone remembers their first time. Their first time getting upgraded on an international flight, that is. For some people, it’s a splurge with miles. For others, it’s the result of hard-won top-tier airline status. Or a cash upgrade offer at check-in that is too good to be true. But no matter how it happens, your first time flying in first or business class is the highlight of any AvGeek’s flying career.
Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of my first long-haul upgrade – in a shiny new Dreamliner, no less. And yes, it was everything I wanted it to be and more. But the circumstances were a little unusual, because my upgrade wasn’t thanks to miles, or cash. I was upgraded because of a typhoon in the western Pacific.
This is NOT the ideal weather forecast for flying – Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter
Wait … what? Well read on for the backstory, plus plenty of photos and thoughts about my experience in United’s BusinessFirst 787 cabin. And once you’re done reading, share your own stories about your first times getting bumped up.
Flight deck looks so realistic! – Photo: Jason Rabinowitz | AirlineReporter
There are few things out there that given the chance to try for myself, I’ll jump at the opportunity. An hour in a level D Boeing 787 simulator is one of those things. In November 2015, Aeromexico cut the ribbon on its brand new 787 simulator, and last week it invited me down to Mexico City to experience it firsthand.
Level D means the simulator is as complex and realistic as it gets. Pilots are able to transition from other aircraft types such as the 737 over to the 787 and earn their type rating on these machines. Before I had my time in the right seat of the simulator, I’d have to sit in row 25 of a 737 to get down to Mexico City.
Between the extremely limited simulator availability and my little remaining vacation time (I used two of my three weeks for the year in March on a trip to Japan and regret nothing), I had to make the trip as short as possible. After much debate, I settled on taking a 9am flight out of New York JFK down to Mexico City, hit the sim, and then take the 1:20am flight back home the next day to get back to work.
An American Boeing 787-8 (N812AN) at LAX; the 787-9 is a stretched version of the -8
This story has been updated to include new information about the availability of premium economy and anticipated dates for domestic operations.
American Airlines today announced new details and routes for its newest addition to the fleet, the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (789), which is set to arrive in the last quarter of this year. While American already operates 17 Boeing 787-8s (788s), four of the stretched -9s, with new business class seats and a cabin configuration to include a new Premium Economy section, will be delivered by the end of December 2016, with a total of 22 on order.
The 789s will initially be based out of American’s home base, Dallas-Fort Worth Airport (DFW), and on November 4 will commence service to Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD) and Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU).
AirlineReporter has received exclusive details on the inaugural route the 789 will actually fly…