- American Airlines (AA) 186
- Beijing, China (PEK) - Chicago O'Hare (ORD)
- Aircraft: Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner
- Depart: Sunday, 10:10am
- Arrive: Sunday 9:10am
- Seat: 2L
- Cabin: Business Class
Since I just wrote a full review of the outbound leg of this flight from Chicago to Beijing, here is an abbreviated photo recap of this return flight.
It was a smoggy morning in Beijing. I arrived about 3 hours before the flight and spent some time at the Cathay Pacific Lounge directly above gate E21, where AA186 was departing.
I boarded the same aircraft I had arrived on less than 12 hours before and turned left to get to the forward business class cabin.
I was seated in 2L for this leg, which is a rear-facing window suite. I prefer the rear-facing seats on this aircraft for several reasons:
- More private when sleeping (as your head is further from the aisle)
- More 'counter' space (rear-facing seats have a left and right counter, vs just 1 on forward-facing seats)
- No required shoulder belt for taxi, takeoff, and landing
- No one staring directly at you (though you will likely be staring at another passenger)
- More storage pockets around the seat
The very kind purser came around before takeoff to introduce herself to each passenger. She also sincerely apologized for the lack of Bose headsets that didn't make it on the previous flight, explaining that there aren't any available at Beijing Airport.
Drinks and warm nuts were served shortly after takeoff, followed by the meal service.
My special meal was unremarkable, though I appreciated the real olive oil and vinegar that was catered with this salad, as opposed to the fake "vinaigrette.
I found the wifi to be more reliable on this leg of the flight.
I got a solid night of sleep, with my body's internal clock still on eastern time. Before I knew it, we were just a couple hours away from Chicago and breakfast service was beginning.
The vegetarian (VGML) breakfast meal was disappointing, mostly because it contained cows milk (technically VGML meals should be strict vegetarian (vegan). The flight attendant who served me the tray also made a comment to the effect of: 'That's all they gave you?! Let me know if you'd like something else from the menu."
This was a very pleasant flight. The seat was comfortable and the service was warm and attentive. My only complaint would be that the food wasn't great, though that has been my experience in general when flying out of Beijing.