Inside (and Underneath) the New American 787 Dreamliner

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Last night I had the amazing opportunity to attend a customer preview event for the new American 787 Dreamliner.  The inaugural flight takes place next Thursday, but this week was a chance to explore the plane while she still has her new plane smell.

The preview event was held in a hangar on the east side of DFW Airport and American rolled out the red carpet for their invited guests with cocktails and appetizers catered by the Hyatt Regency DFW.  I enjoyed over two hours of exploring the plane while chatting with many of my frequent flyer friends, other consulting types (a few of whom I recognized from past flights or focus groups), and several of my favorite American Airlines team members.  We had the opportunity to visit with Boeing design team members about some of the features used in the AA fleet for their finish out.

And of course I snapped lots of photos to share.  Here are a few of my favorite details from the night with my commentary in the captions….

We all know jet engines are big... but these suckers are huge!

We all know jet engines are big… but these suckers are huge!

And they allowed the inside look into an engine too.

And they allowed the inside look into an engine too.

But surprisingly the wheels mechanism is more life-sized.

But surprisingly the wheels mechanism is more life-sized.

I've always wondered how far off the ground the belly of a jumbo jet is.  Now I know.  (For reference, I'm 5'9"  and this is directly underneath the fuselage.)

I’ve always wondered how far off the ground the belly of a jumbo jet is. Now I know. (For reference, I’m 5’9″ and this is directly underneath the fuselage.)

Suzanne Rubin, President of AAdvantage, introduces the new American 787 Dreamliner before giving a champagne toast.

Suzanne Rubin, President of AAdvantage, introduces the new American 787 Dreamliner before giving a champagne toast.

We started our tour from the plane's rear doors.  It made sense to see it from coach to cockpit.

We started our tour from the plane’s rear doors. It made sense to see it from coach to cockpit.

 

The very last row in coach.  I am not happy sitting there for 60 seconds.  I would not be happy sitting there for hours.  But if I HAD to, the recline is at least bearable.

The very last row in coach. I am not happy sitting there for 60 seconds. I would not be happy sitting there for hours. But if I HAD to, the recline is at least bearable.

Personal video screens at every seat.  Seats are 3x3x3.

Personal video screens at every seat. Seats are 3x3x3.

If you see your flight attendants heading back to the galley mid-flight, they may be headed to a back door instead... the crew rest area.

If you see your flight attendants heading back to the galley mid-flight, they may be headed to a back door instead… the crew rest area.

Up the ladder, behind the secret door, crew rest awaits.

Up the ladder, behind the secret door, crew rest awaits.

The crew rest area sleeps six on small divided pallets.

The crew rest area sleeps six on small divided pallets.

Ah... finally up to business class where I belong.  This is more like it.

Ah… finally up to business class where I belong. This is more like it.  My favorite seat feature is the Zero-G setting using NASA technology to recline into a cradled semi-fetal position.  I have trouble sleeping in reclined seats as I’m a side sleeper but this was really comfortable.  I felt very comfortable in that position.

Seats rows alternate forward facing/rear facing 1x2x1 with all seats having aisle access.  One of the plusses of the rear facing seats is work surface on either side of the seat - so MORE work space.

Seats rows alternate forward facing/rear facing 1x2x1 with all seats having aisle access. One of the plusses of the rear facing seats is work surface on either side of the seat – so MORE work space.

Here is a seat set up with a tray table - see, LOTS of room even in forward facing seats.  I like not having to put my laptop away while I'm eating.

Here is a seat set up with a tray table – see, LOTS of room even in forward facing seats. I like not having to put my laptop away while I’m eating.

On my way to the cockpit, I ran into Kazumi, one of my favorite AA flight attendants.  You may recognize her from the safety video.

On my way to the cockpit, I ran into Kazumi, one of my favorite AA flight attendants. You may recognize her from the safety video.

 

And here we are at the cockpit.  Lots of new plane smell up here too, even though this area of the plane has gotten the most use so far.

And here we are at the cockpit. Lots of new plane smell up here too, even though this area of the plane has gotten the most use so far.

No broken pilot seats here... unlike some of my planes recently.

No broken pilot seats here… unlike some of my planes recently.  And they have nice built in cup holders too!

One of the cool features is this video surveillance set up that allows the pilots to monitor various areas of the cabin while in flight.

One of the cool features is this video surveillance set up that allows the pilots to monitor various areas of the cabin while in flight.

And finally my favorite….

And hopefully your pilots won't do what I was doing in the cockpit last night.  Don't drink and fly, kids!

And hopefully your pilots won’t do what I was doing in the cockpit last night. Don’t drink and fly, kids!

I’m looking forward to my first flight on the new American 787 Dreamliner.  So far, I don’t have a flight booked but I may try to do a same-day change next week to catch the Chicago-Dallas inaugural if the stars align for me.  And if not, there are many interesting international routes to catch one of these babies on… Beijing (I’ll fly the week before the 787 comes on that route), Buenos Aires, and Tokyo.  And a little bird told me last night that London may be in the line up soon (unofficial, but something to wish for!)

About Jennifer Moody

Jennifer is a management consultant and avid volunteer. Her career and volunteer duty travels have helped her log top-tier airline and hotel status annually for the last eighteen years. In addition, she embraces the opportunity to maximize her vacation time by planning extracurricular trips that have taken her to over 60 countries and 48.5 US states. Although she averages 200 days a year on the road, she loves to return to “the homestead” in her native Fort Worth, Texas where she enjoys cooking, gardening, sewing, needlepoint, wine, and cocktail mixology.

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