American Airlines has started taking delivery of its first Boeing 787 Dreamliners, and just announced it will put the planes into commercial service for the first time this spring, starting with domestic flights in May and international routes in June.
That will make American the second major U.S. carrier to put the Boeing widebodies into service; United is already flying more than a dozen 787s, and has about 60 more on order. There are no 787s at Delta right now, or in its immediate future.
If you’re an AA regular and would like to be among the first to sample the new aircraft, here are the details: The first American 787 flight will operate between Dallas/Ft. Worth and Chicago O’Hare starting May 7; international routes on the 787 deployment schedule include DFW-Beijing starting June 2 and DFW-Buenos Aires beginning June 4. More routes will be added during 2015 as additional Dreamliners join the fleet, American said.
The American Airline 787-8s will have business class and economy cabins, providing 28 fully-flat Business Class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration; 48 Main Cabin Extra seats; and 150 regular economy seats. The Main Cabin Extra and regular economy seating will have a 3-3-3 layout. (No first class on these birds.)
Business class will feature both forward- and rear-facing seats to allow direct aisle access for all passengers, and AA’s 787 business cabin will offer a walk-up bar with snacks and drinks. The aircraft will be equipped with satellite-based WiFi, and all seats in both cabins will have AC power outlets and USB jacks.
American has ordered 42 787s, with options for another 58. Although American is well behind United in deploying the new wide-bodies, it is perhaps fortunate in another way: It didn’t have to go through all the angst and schedule disruptions that United and other early customers suffered due to the problems of 787 batteries overheating and sparking fires — a situation that took months to correct. See our Trip Report: ANA’s 787 Dreamliner to Tokyo
United currently operates 787s on some routes linking its U.S. hubs, and on select intercontinental routes, mostly between the U.S. and Asia, like Denver-Tokyo, Los Angeles-Tokyo and Los Angeles-Shanghai. Most recently, United deployed the newest Dreamliner model — the 787-9 — onto its LAX-Melbourne route, making it the world’s longest Dreamliner flight.
Check out our popular report from last year about flying on a brand new United 787.
There was some speculation last year that Delta might turn to Boeing for an upcoming order of new widebodies, including 787-9s and 777-300ERs, but instead Delta went with Airbus. The Atlanta-based carrier ordered 25 Airbus A350-900s — the manufacturer’s newest twin-aisle aircraft — and 25 A330-900neos, a deal worth an estimated $6 billion.
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