American Airlines operate services between Dublin and Chicago with the relatively new Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. There are two classes of service, Flagship Business and the Main Cabin, which is what they call Economy Class.

Extra leg room seats are available at the front of the main cabin in a sub-class called Main Cabin Extra. You can pay for these seats or if you have high enough frequent flyer status, you can select them for free. These promise several more inches leg room over the standard seat.

AA209 – Dublin to Chicago (DUB-ORD)
17 May 2018
Boeing 787-8 – N812AA
Seat: Main Cabin Extra 8A
Departure: 09:55 Arrival: 12:00

After spending some time in the very nice 51st & Green Lounge after US Preclearance, it was time to board. Happily I was on pretty quickly which meant I could take pictures of the cabin without people in the frame.

All seats had a pillow and a blanket sitting on them and as is my usual procedure, up into the overhead locker they went along with my bag. I really don’t need these on a daytime flight.

Bulkhead Row in Main Cabin Extra

The choice Main Cabin Extra seats are in row 8, which is the bulkhead. You have more space at face height which adds to the feeling of space, plus two whole large 787 Dreamliner windows all to yourself. Pleasingly my feet only just touched the bulkhead at full stretch.

Remember here that I wear a 30″ leg in jeans and am 5’7″ or 170cm tall which means that if you’re taller, you’re going to hit the wall earlier than I do. Taller people can just put their feet up on it (which I hate!) like the guy in 8C. The bulkhead also features a screen.

American Airlines seem to have an announcement video for just about everything which is amusing. It’s effective as people tend to pay attention and do what they are told. Cabin crew hand out earphones before take off, or you can just use your own.

The Dreamliner Bathroom

Before we headed into the air, I headed for the facilities. A latte, a cocktail and a water in the 51st & Green lounge promised a cross legged taxi to the runway if I didn’t sort it out on the ground.

Discolouration is already evident in the sink. For some reason the cleaning products wreak havoc on this kind of sink, wearing it away so it looks dirty. Anyway, the bathroom on American is the same as on every other 787 apart from their brand of handwash.

Drinks Service

After the well produced safety demonstration video, we found ourselves in the air in short order. A drinks service is the first thing that happens and I decided on red wine.

Naturally I also had a water with it, because who knows when the crew will come back again? Mini pretzels are also provided which I prefer to the ubiquitous nuts.

Lunch Time in Main Cabin Extra

Not long after the drinks service, the friendly crew came around with the lunch service and I chose the beef option. When it is handed to you, it is a plastic extravaganza of wrappings and film.

In addition to all the plastic ever created being on one tray, it was a hot mess when it comes to arrangement. I sorted that out and then began the arduous task of unwrapping everything.

Happily, the meal was very delicious. The salad and dressing was tasty, the bread perfectly acceptable and the main meal was super. I really enjoyed it! The fact you also got a small dessert and some cheese and crackers impressed me. Well done, American!

Movies and Drinks… Or Is That Wi-Fi?

Once everything had been cleared away, the crew offered more drinks (“Yes, please!”) and then I checked out the movie selection. Screens come out from the arm rest in the bulkhead row and the selection was pretty good.

Some of my friends were travelling Amsterdam to Dallas on American, so I fired up the Wi-Fi. It cost me $19 for 4 hours or something, so I did that. We chatted merrily plane to plane via instant messaging for some time. Service was good, until Canada where it became patchy.

Ice Cream and Folded Pizza

Later on in the flight we received ice creams which was a nice touch. The Beckleberry’s rich chocolate went down a treat. Who says no to ice cream?

Prior to landing in Chicago, there is a second meal service which is best described as a hot snack. Folded pizza it is and I found it to be pretty damned tasty!

First I had a goat’s cheese and spinach which I liked. After a while I went down to the galley and received two pepperoni ones for my trouble. Definitely handy for soaking up the wine!

We landed in Chicago without incident and while waiting to deplane I took pictures of the inside of the overhead bins above. I quite like the fact they put that there to ensure people don’t steal others space.

Overall Thoughts

American Airlines Main Cabin Extra between Dublin and Chicago is very impressive. Leg room is quite decent and the wireless Internet works well. Entertainment options are very good, even though I didn’t watch anything in the end.

I thought the service from the cabin crew was excellent. They are efficient in doing drinks top ups while collecting the rubbish so that no-one really goes without, plus they are friendly and obliging when requesting extra items.

The highlight for me was the lunch, ice cream and folded pizza service. Food quality and taste was excellent, far better than I thought it was going to be. Presentation of the trays on delivery should be better though and American really should look at reducing the amount of packaging on the tray.

Have you flown the Main Cabin or Main Cabin Extra on an international flight with American? How was your experience? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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