The American Airlines 787-9 Dreamliner Is Bookable & I Got A Great Deal

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UPDATED 1 September 2016 – Inagural 787-9 flight now scheduled for Dallas – London on 4 October.

American Airlines added its soon-to-be delivered 787-9 Dreamliners to its schedule in the early hours of Sunday morning (10 July) with the new aircraft set to be tested on the Dallas – Los Angeles route from 6 October. The new Dreamliners will then enter into service on two of the airlines long-haul routes, Dallas – São Paulo and Dallas – Madrid from 4 November.

That all sounds great and straightforward except that this is American Airlines I’m writing about so there’s was bound to be a screw up somewhere along the line…..and there was.

For over three days after the new Dreamliners appeared on all the seats (outside of Business Class) were still grayed out on the seat maps and were unavailable for selection.


This was annoying.

I had found a really good fare that would allow me to try out the 787-9 Dreamliner on three separate segments but booking it would mean breaking one of my few firm travel rules – I absolutely will not book a flight if I can’t see what seat I’m going to be in (seat selection at the time of booking is one of the frequent flyer benefits I value most).

Luckily for me American still appears to allow 24hr seat holds despite their announcement back in April so I locked in the fare and kept renewing the hold every day in the hope that the airline would release seats for selection on its new Dreamliner before the fare increased.

HOLD-OPTIONAmerican Airlines still offers a hod option

I’m Booked On The New 787-9 Dreamliner

At some point on Tuesday afternoon American finally opened up the Economy Class seat maps on the new Dreamliner routes and I was finally able to book the fare I had been holding since the weekend….and I’m pretty happy with it.

The Itinerary:


The routing gives me three separate chances to try out the new 787-9 Dreamliner and, on top of that, also allows me to try out the refurbished 777-200 aircraft too.

The routing will see me flying a total of 19,938 miles…..

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 01.41.04

…and will cost just $802.26:

COST-SUMMARYTwo out of the three 787-9 flights are red-eyes and, on those, I’ve wait-listed Systemwide upgrades to hopefully allow me to try out the new Business Class product. I’ve deliberately not requested an upgrade on the Madrid – Dallas daytime flight as I’d like to see how good (or bad) the new American Airlines Premium Economy product is.

Why Seat Selection Was So Important

The new American Airlines Premium Economy cabin will be free for Executive Platinum (EXP) and Platinum AAdvantage members until 2017 (by which time I assume the airline hopes to have figured out how to code its reservation systems to allow it to price the seats as a separate cabin).

American Airlines Premium EconomyMy plan was always to select the new Premium Economy seats on each flight so, at the very worst, I’d have a bit of leg room if (when?) the upgrades don’t clear. But with just 21 Premium Economy seats on each Dreamliner, I didn’t want to book the flights before I could see what was and wasn’t available.

On top of that, not all Premium Economy seats will be the same.

From what we’ve been told so far it would appear as if the first row of Premium Economy is the place to be. These seats will have the full leg rest……

American Airlines Premium Economy

… opposed to the other Premium Economy seats which will just have this:

American Airlines Premium Economy

There will only be 6 seats in each 787-9 Premium Economy cabin that will be truly desirable….

American Airlines

….as no one really wants a middle seat. The rest I expect to be a small improvement on Economy Class….which isn’t exactly a high hurdle to clear!

Luckily I’ve managed to book one of those 6 seats on each of my three Dreamliner flights so I should be ok 🙂

AAdvantage Earnings

This trip has both high and low points when it comes to AAdvantage earnings….and boy is the low point low!

First the positive:

American Airlines still awards 1 Elite Qualifying Mile (EQM) per mile flown regardless of the cabin you fly in or the cost of the ticket so, with a trip length of 19,938 miles I will earn 19,938 EQM at a cost of just 4.0 cents per mile.

Now the bad news:

Under the old AAdvantage rules (the ones that become obsolete on 1 August) I would have earned 39,876 AAdvantage miles.

Under the new rules I’ll earn just 7,128 – That’s just 18% of what I would have earned had the trip taken place in the first half of this year. Ouch.


Bottom Line

I’m really looking forward to this trip although I do have all my fingers crossed that the upgrades come through. Not only do I not like the idea of two red-eyes at the back of the plane but I’d also really like to review the 787-9 Business Class product….I’ll be disappointed if I miss out on that.

Regardless of what happens with the upgrades I’m guaranteed to try out the new Premium Economy product and I’m going to be very interested to see what that’s like. I’m already on record as saying I don’t have high hopes for it (I expect it to be overpriced for what it is) but let’s hope American Airlines proves me wrong!

Featured image: American Airlines 787-8 via Wiki Commons Media