Looking for the best seats on American Airlines‘ new 787 Dreamliner? I was on board for the first flight and took copious notes (and more than a few photos) to help find out which seats are the best and which will leave you wanting for more. Here’s where I will want to sit when I’m on the plane. (Click on any of the photos for a larger version.)
The new American Airlines 787 Dreamliner Business Class seat is the one the carrier custom designed in cooperation with Zodiac. It offers a fully flat bed and plenty of privacy, which is both good and bad. The seats alternate forward and rear facing and are set in a herringbone layout rather than in line with the fuselage. The seats taper at the top which means when fully reclined it can be a bit tight for passengers who are broader in the shoulders. A few folks on the inaugural commented on that, but there’s not much to do about that at this point. Fortunately when upright the seat back is a bit forward so not pinched in as tight.
For privacy the single window seats on the outside of the aisle are hard to beat. My favorites in the cabin are seats 2 or 4A/L. They are rear facing which means great views of the wing and engine out the window and all the comfort and privacy. Plus your head is against the window rather than on the aisle side. I’d generally aim for L over A if possible as the lav on that side is the larger, accessible one.
Seats 5D/H (the center pair) appear to be slightly shorter than the others on board but I didn’t have my tape measure with me to confirm. Row 5 is also adjacent to the “walk-up bar” area which is really just a counter where snacks are put out more than a bar. Still, there might be some noise issues there. Ditto for row 6 with the bar and the lavs.
In theory the center pair seats facing backwards (2/4/7 D/H) are the best when traveling with someone else. In those seats your head is close enough that you can reasonably talk and such. Assuming you can figure out how to get the privacy divider to go down, that is. No one could figure that out during the first flight.
The forward facing seats do offer the ability to lower the arm rest and create a bit more space but that also leaves you much more exposed to the aisle, something I try to avoid as much as possible.
With a 3-3-3 layout, even in Main Cabin Extra, there are not a ton of great seats in economy. Still, there are a few worth looking at if you have the chance. The outboard bulkhead seats (8A/B/C & 8J/K/L) have plenty of legroom and would probably be my first choice if I can get them.
The exit row at 19 also has plenty of legroom but the window seat is only a half window and only if reclined. It also seemed that the fuselage intruded a bit more at the shoulders there, though maybe that was just because of no window. There is plenty of leg room in the A/L seats, even with the exit door there. Row 19 does have the lav/galley issue to contend with should that be a concern of yours.
Rows 18, 29 and 30 have a different configuration than the others. The outboard seats are pairs rather than trios. For many couples traveling together this means no “extra” person in your row so those seats are desired. Alas, in the AA 787 layout there are some challenges with those seats. Row 18 backs up to the lavatories. They still recline but leaning back against the lav will likely be a less than spectacular experience.
Rows 29 & 30 are actually better than row 18 in my opinion because there is extra space next to the window seat which offers up storage once in flight but not during take-off & landing. The down-side of these seats is that they are all the way in the back so the last passengers to get off the plane, the window seat is not actually against the fuselage so if you lean against the wall to sleep that’s not going to work well and limited overhead bin space.
Because of the crew rest bunks overhead at the back of the plane there are no overhead bins in the center section there. That affects the last 3 or 4 rows but only over the center 3 seats. And, while the bins are much larger on the 787s than older aircraft the loss of those bins does mean potential for more trouble finding bin space for your bags.
Row 26 does not have windows because of the fuselage join point. The rest of the seats on board were pretty much all the same to me.
- Initial thoughts from the American Airlines 787 Inaugural Flight
- Friday Flyday: Timelapse of the Inaugural American Airlines 787 Flight
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