Tuesday 6 September 2016

Flight Review: American Airlines Economy 787 Dreamliner - Auckland to Los Angeles

So here's a recap of our recent Economy flight from Auckland, New Zealand, to Los Angeles, USA after a marvellous few days in Auckland in August 2016.

We drove up to the quiet Auckland Airport on a Monday afternoon, and drove into the Hertz Parking lot directly opposite the front doors of the airport to return our car. The good people at Hertz allowed us to just park in any spot, walk up to their kiosk and sign a few papers, and we were gone in minutes.

We took a few last breaths of the fresh New Zealand winter air and headed inside to our flight.

The Auckland airport is small but spacious, and you are immediately greeted by a huge Dwarf from Lord of the Rings as you exit the arrivals area. That's a welcoming sight to see! :D

There's also a information centre (known as I-Site) right beside this statue with tons of brochures and information, and there are many of these centres located all over New Zealand.

After heading through the security lanes quickly and painlessly, we headed to our gate for our first glimpse of the American Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which would be our plane for this flight. We've heard a lot of great things about this plane and were excited to experience it!

The rows in this plane were designed with 3 seats on each side and 3 in the middle. At the back of the plane, there are two rows of 2 seats on each side of the plane, and 3 in the middle. As usual, we chose the set of 2 seats at the back of the section on one side, since you can recline all the way and not have to worry about the people sitting behind you, and we didn't have to share our seats with a third person.

Another cool thing is that there's no bathrooms at the back of the plane, only the galley, so you won't have to worry about people walking in the aisles too much. The proximity to the galley may be bothersome, however.

Usually I never really find being near to the galley to be too bothersome, but this flight was an exception as I'll get to in a bit.

The windows on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner are super cool with dimming buttons instead of a sliding cover. As you can see in the photo above, we dimmed our window to the darkest setting to compare to the non-dimmed setting, and it darkens considerably to a dark blue colour.

These windows can be manually controlled, however once you're in the air, all of the windows are automatically dimmed to their darkest setting. Technology, amirite? :D

The entertainment system was an absolute dream. The screen uses a very responsive touch screen system similar to what you'd expect on your own tablet. Too many times have we experienced airplane touch-screens that you have to press really hard or else it never responds!
The remote was not needed at all, because with the slightest touch you could control your screen however you liked.

There was also a 3-pronged power outlet, and the usb plug and audio jack was located right beneath the screen, which was lit up in blue so you could easily find it in the dark. All in all, this system was state-of-the-art.

The movie selection was also awesome. They had new releases as well as many categories of international films, and if you weren't going to sleep much like me, you could very well watch all three Lord of the Rings films! Not like.. I did that or anything..

The plane felt spacious even though the leg room was as small as you'd expect on economy, and I also liked how the economy seats were separated into two sections, so you didn't feel like you were in a sea of people all the time.

Shortly before takeoff something interesting happened. There were two ladies sitting on the left side of the middle row of seats beside us at the back of the plane, and a flight attendant came to them and told them that they had to move. They were moved, and then other flight attendants came and stored some blue baskets with supplies underneath the seats.

Yeah, the flight attendants kind of claimed that row to themselves, it was really odd. Throughout the flight they used these row of seats as their break area, and I couldn't help but notice as they took turns having their meals there, opening their bags for items, or watching a few minutes of a movie. They weren't subtle about it at all, either, and were chatting pretty loudly among themselves near those seats for the whole flight. It was pretty bothersome since I was sitting in an aisle seat next to them.

I'm not sure if this is normal protocol for flight attendants, but I found the whole thing kind of unprofessional. At some points they had brought out some important-looking documents and were working on them on the tray tables, and sometimes left them there to my surprise. Aside from this, their service was still good except for a few minor things that could've happened on any other flight.

But back to the flight: After the usual safety demonstrations, we were airborne!

We had one last look at the rolling grassy hills of Auckland that we loved so much.

And soon we were flying among the breathtaking landscapes of New Zealand before heading into the clouds.

After reaching the proper altitude, flight attendants handed out menus. We had already ordered the the Muslim Meal, but we had some of the same items.

And here's the drinks menu. Mm, Canada Dry.

My next task was a dire one: Identify all the scenes in Lord of the Rings in Hobbiton which we saw in our tour at the Movie Set in Matamata. Check! We crossed that bridge and went to the Green Dragon.

Check! We stood right there on that path in front of Bilbo's Hobbit hole.

The first thing we were served were some pretzels and a drink. Yay for generous servings of ice!

After which came our old friend, MOML, or MOSLEM MEAL. Gotta love that spelling! It's also so nice getting your special-ordered meals served first before anyone else.

It was.. surprise surprise, CURRY! You know what, even though it's weird that every muslim meal is curry, like we're all just curry-eating curry people, this one wasn't bad. It was curry beef, rice, and curry vegetables. To contribute to the stereotype even more: I liked it!

Then you got your bun, and a Mango Polenta Cake square, which was nice too, but what's this! It's from My Halal Bakery?! How nice!

A couple hours later we got a MOML Snack Box!

It was a club sandwich, methinks. It had a layer of chicken or turkey cold cuts, then bread, then cucumbers and tomatoes, then bread, then tuna. I didn't really like this, the tuna part being combined with other meat was kinda weird.

And then we were given ice cream! I have a feeling that perhaps we weren't supposed to be given these because of our special-ordered meals, but anyhow it was delicious. Coconut!

Nearing the end of the flight, we got our next surprise for breakfast: They only had 1 MOML, so they gave us that and a Veggie Meal.

I guess I didn't mind because I love vegetables, but there you go. Interesting observation: The Muffins were produced by the same company "Dessert Kitchen" as the cake we had in the first meal, but instead of "Your Halal Bakery" like it says on the former, it says "Your Wholesale Bakery".

The Veggie Meal had sliced potatoes, baked beans, and mushrooms and other veggies. I can eat this stuff every time. Yum!

The muffin was pretty standard, but the Apricot Soy Yogurt was really bad, it tasted like chemicals. I like soy products but that wasn't one of them. Nope.

My husband had eggs, spinach, chick peas, some sorta CURRY sauce (I for one think we didn't have enough curry on this flight) and a chicken sausage. Then the same muffin I had, and fruit (regular) yogurt.

And then we were landing in the sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles!

All in all, it was a good flight save the noise from the Flight attendants in the seats next to us. I loved the plane layout and the entertainment system, and I hope to fly on this type of plane again!


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  1. What seats did you choose in the 2 section?

    1. We always choose two seats at the very back of the plane, or at the back of a section, so that there aren't any seats behind us. We like being able to recline our seats without bothering anyone.

    2. Thanks! Does that mean row 30 reclines all the way then?

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  3. I will be in these seats this summer on the way to Europe. My kids will,be in the three row and my wife and I in the first row of 2 seats. My wife was wondering if there is a lot of engine noise in the rear of the 787.

  4. Hi really enjoyed the blog. I'll be off to LAX on the same flight in a few weeks so interesting to see what it'll be like.