Photo mini review: American Airlines 787 Dreamliner Business Class Beijing to Chicago

Photo mini review: American Airlines 787 Dreamliner Business Class Beijing to Chicago

Flight info

  • 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

Intro

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.

 Beijing Airport tarmac

Beijing Airport tarmac

 American Airlines 787 Dreamliner at Beijing Airport (PEK)

American Airlines 787 Dreamliner at Beijing Airport (PEK)

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.

 AA 787 Dreamliner business class seat - rear-facing

AA 787 Dreamliner business class seat - rear-facing

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
 American Airlines 787-8 Dreamliner business class suites - forward and rear-facing

American Airlines 787-8 Dreamliner business class suites - forward and rear-facing

 Dreamliner dimmed window 

Dreamliner dimmed window 

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.

 AA 186 Business Class monitor - IFE

AA 186 Business Class monitor - IFE

 Beijing Airport (PEK) tarmac traffic during taxiing

Beijing Airport (PEK) tarmac traffic during taxiing

 Takeoff through the smog

Takeoff through the smog

Lunch

Drinks and warm nuts were served shortly after takeoff, followed by the meal service.

 Warm nuts and hot tea - AA Business Class 787

Warm nuts and hot tea - AA Business Class 787

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. 

 Vegetarian (VGML) special meal lunch appetizer - AA186 PEK to ORD

Vegetarian (VGML) special meal lunch appetizer - AA186 PEK to ORD

 Vegetarian (VGML) special meal - lunch entree - AA186 PEK to ORD

Vegetarian (VGML) special meal - lunch entree - AA186 PEK to ORD

Wifi

I found the wifi to be more reliable on this leg of the flight.

 Satellite wifi options onboard

Satellite wifi options onboard

 AA 787-8 Dreamliner Panasonic satellite wifi speed test

AA 787-8 Dreamliner Panasonic satellite wifi speed test

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.

 View from the dimmed 787 Dreamliner window

View from the dimmed 787 Dreamliner window

Breakfast

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."

 Vegetarian (VGML) special meal - breakfast - AA186 PEK to ORD

Vegetarian (VGML) special meal - breakfast - AA186 PEK to ORD

 AA 186 landing in snowy Chicago

AA 186 landing in snowy Chicago

Key takeaways

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. 

Other reviews from this trip:

American Airlines Flagship Lounge O’Hare Airport

American Airlines Business Class Chicago to Beijing

Westin Beijing Financial District

Cathay Pacific Beijing Airport (PEK) lounge

American Airlines Business Class Beijing to Chicago