American Airlines Business Class 787-9 Los Angeles to Shanghai

Having to pre-adjust my sleeping pattern to avoid jet lag, I tried not to sleep too much the night before. I got to the airport early and had breakfast at the Qantas First Class Lounge. About an hour and a half before departure time, I headed to terminal 4 and quickly stopped by at the American Airlines Flagship lounge.

In this series:

Flight Number: AA183
Route: Los Angeles (LAX) – Shanghai (PVG)
Schedule: 09:40 – 15:55 +1
Duration: 14h 15m
Aircraft Type: Boeing 787-9
Cabin: Business Class
Seat: 1L
Date: November 21, 2019

Boarding started at 8:50 AM through door 2L. The business-class cabin on this aircraft is located between door 1L and 2L. I assigned myself seat 1L, the window seat on the right side of the plane — gotta love the left turn. 😉

The forward cabin has eight rows of seats in a 1-2-1 direct aisle access configuration. Upon arriving at my seat, I found a blanket and pillow by Casper, slippers, amenity kit, menu, and Bang & Olufsen noise-canceling headphones. One thing I noticed, American Airlines 787-9 with super diamond seats do have personal air vents, which is excellent! Because I tend to get warm quickly.

The flight attendant working on my aisle welcomed me on board with choices of pre-departure drinks: champagne, orange juice, and water —I had orange juice.

The menu read as follows:

SMALL PLATE

Char Siu Chicken
Lychee salad

SALAD

Seasonal Greens
Edamame, feta, yellow sun-dried tomato

MAIN PLATES

Herb-Grilled Beef Filet
Twice-baked potato, bordelaise sauce

Pork Belly
Steamed vegetables, jasmine fried rice

Shrimp-Stuffed Eggplant
Sautéed vegetables, Shanghai black bean sauce

Butternut Squash “Carbonara”
Swiss chard, butternut sauce, cremini

EXPRESS MEAL

DESSERT

Traditional Ice Cream Sundae
Vanilla ice cream, hot fudged, butterscotch, seasonal berry toppings, whipped cream, pecans

Gourmet Cheese Plate
Fontina, dill Havarti, smoked cheddar

Seasonal Pumpkin Cheesecake Tart

MID-FLIGHT SNACKS

SNACKS

Chilled Shiitake Soba Noodles
Sesame oil, scallions

Roast Beef Wrap
Blackbean hummus, pickled vegetables, Asian slaw, spicy aioli, fresh fruit

Dessert
Fresh Fruit

LIGHT MEAL

Broccoli and Red Pepper Strata
Smoked chicken sausage, roasted potatoes

Chili Shrimp Bowl
Sautéed peppers, steamed rice

Brunch service commenced shortly after take-off. I pre-ordered Herb-Grilled Fillet, though I asked the flight attendant if I could have my meal served about three hours after take-off — she obliged. She brought me warm nuts served along with a glass of Bosinakis Winery Moschofilero Mantinia white wine, while I spent the first couple hours of the flight working.

A few moments later, my order was ready. But it wasn’t the beef filet I pre-ordered. It was Shrimp-Stuffed Eggplant. There was a miscommunication when the first attendant handed off her duty to the other flight attendant. He was very apologetic — which was unnecessary at all. I understand that sometimes orders got mixed up. Fortunately, I do like shrimp in general, so it was not at all a big deal.

The entire courses were surprisingly good, which was quite unusual. After dinner, the flight attendant came and offered some dessert. To finish, I have ice cream Sunday and Pumpkin Cheesecake. As usual, a fat kid gets to eat two desserts!

Once the brunch service finished, I took a dose of melatonin. To fight a jet lag, I tried to wear myself out and slept very little the night before. It helps me adjust my body clock to the local time at the final destination.

Mid-flight snack in the galley.

I managed to sleep for 5 hours. I thought that was pretty decent considering it’s a day time flight. I worked a little on my computer and ordered Chilled Shiitake Soba Noodles from the snack menu.

I browsed through the movie selections, though nothing looked appealing. So I just reclined and took a short nap. About an hour and a half before landing, the pre-arrival meal service began.

I had the Chili Shrimp Bowl. It was tasty!

About an hour before landing, the crews started to collect the headphones and offered disposable ones.

We landed in Shanghai ahead of schedule, though it didn’t help as arrival and immigration at Shanghai Pudong was complete chaos! There is no proper airside transit at this airport. Instead, you will have to clear passport control. Based on my understanding, my passport does not qualify for a transit visa. Certain nationalities can transit without visa (TWOV) with a confirmed onward ticket within 24 hours. In this case, they gave me a 24 transit visa, as there is no facility to remain airside. That said, I will probably avoid transiting at this airport again in the future.

Conclusion

I am surprised how above-average the flight was. Quite frankly, I had a very low expectation when flying American Airlines to where it’s becoming a norm rather than an exception. The flight attendants were friendly — again, this is quite unusual. Although not gourmet as described, the food was edible and tasty. At least they invested more in the appetizer with more protein. American Airlines loves to throw gimmicky “healthy” food by serving plant-based food items. I know it’s just a cost-cutting technique without being too obvious. Additionally, I’m glad they offered a different variety for the second meal rather than the usual cheese omelet or granola and yogurt.

In terms of the lounge experience on the ground, I think American Airlines does exceptionally well with what they offer at the Flagship Lounge. I wish they invested more in the in-flight product and service.

As I mentioned numerous times, I am breaking up with American Airlines. What they offer vs. what how much money I have to spend to maintain the status is just not worth it anymore. This flight was my second last long haul flight with American Airlines. I have one more trip with them next month. I can’t wait to see if I can have a proper closure of my relationship with American Airlines. 😉

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