Fly American’s New 787-9 Before It Debuts Internationally

As I wrote about a few days ago, American will be adding the Boeing 787-9 to their fleet in the coming months, which has two major implications:

American-BE-Aerospace-Seat
American’s newest business class seat, debuting on the 787-9

American’s 787-9 international routes are now bookable

American’s first international 787-9 destinations will be Madrid and Sao Paulo.

American will commence Boeing 787-9 flights between Dallas and Madrid as of November 4, 2016. The flight will operate with the following schedule:

Dallas to Madrid departing 5:45PM arriving 9:55AM (+1 day)
Madrid to Dallas departing 12:20PM arriving 4:40PM

Furthermore, American will also commence Boeing 787-9 flights between Dallas and Sao Paulo as of November 4, 2016. That flight will operate with the following schedule:

Dallas to Sao Paulo departing at 7:00PM arriving 7:05AM (+1 day)
Sao Paulo to Dallas departing 10:55PM arriving 5:15AM (+1 day)

These flights are now officially bookable as 787-9s. That’s to say that they were bookable before as well since these aren’t new routes, but as of today the flights show as being operated by 787-9 aircraft

American-789

However, unfortunately it looks like the economy seatmap isn’t yet up for these flights, so you can’t yet reserve seats in economy — instead they all show as blocked.

American-787-9-1

While these are the first planes to feature American’s 787-9 premium economy seats, American won’t actually be selling those seats until sometime in “early 2017.” In the meantime they’ll be treated as Main Cabin Extra seats, so you can reserve them in the same way you’d reserve Main Cabin Extra. That’s a great opportunity for elite members to get a comfortable seat at an economy price.

American-Premium-Economy-1
American’s new premium economy

American will first fly their 787-9 domestically

While the above are American’s first international 787-9 routes, American will first be flying the planes domestically. That’s because they need to take delivery of several 787-9s before they can use them for longhaul flights, so they might as well use them for shorthaul flying in the meantime.

American will begin flying Boeing 787-9s between Dallas and Los Angeles as of October 6, 2016, with the following schedule:

AA2401 Dallas to Los Angeles departing 7:25AM arriving 8:41AM
AA2561 Los Angeles to Dallas departing 10:15AM arriving 3:20PM

Over time I suspect we’ll see a few more domestic routes operated by the 787-9 prior to the launch of international service.

I’d note that these flights are subject to change, so I’m not sure I’d make any big plans around catching that October 6 flight. However, if you do want to take the first scheduled 787-9 flight (as of now), there are some $97 economy fares on the flight.

American-Fare

More about premium economy upgrades

On their page about premium economy, American now says the following:

Upgrades from Main Cabin to Premium Economy won’t be available right away, but we’ll add this functionality later. Until then, you’ll be able to upgrade to Business Class from both Main Cabin and Premium Economy.

I genuinely don’t think American knows for sure yet what they’ll do with premium economy upgrades, though this does seem to hint at systemwide upgrades continuing to be valid for one cabin upgrades, meaning eventually they’ll only be valid from economy to premium economy, or from premium economy to business class.

Bottom line

American’s new 787-9 international routes are now bookable, though you can’t yet select premium economy seats. Ultimately this represents a great opportunity, as you’ll be able to book a premium economy seat at an economy price on these flights.

If you’d like to try American’s new business class or premium economy before it’s available internationally, you can book a flight between Dallas and Los Angeles starting October 6.

Has anyone booked their ticket to fly American’s 787-9 yet?

(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)

Comments

  1. May have to use my matched AB Gold status to snag one of these seats. 😉

    I don’t fly AA much, but I’d like to try out the new seat.

  2. Fyi: You’re wrong about the premium economy seats being treated as MCE. They’re blocked until 24 hours before departure, then released to the airport agents for assigning.

  3. Anyone notice the huge downtime AA’s aircraft spend on the ground in Sao Paulo ?
    Arrives @ 7:05 am and doesn’t turn around until 10:55 PM. I’m not aware of AA having any day or morning departures out of Sao Paulo. For bat a year they ran a day flight between JFK & Sao Paulo, but that was in 2012.

    Dallas to Sao Paulo departing at 7:00PM arriving 7:05AM (+1 day)
    Sao Paulo to Dallas departing 10:55PM arriving 5:15AM

  4. Paying 2,500 bucks for an economy seat between North America and Europe in the low season? Is AA out of its mind?????

  5. We have tickets booked on the MAD-DFW flight back in Late Nov. – they still showed as “blocked” for now; will be interesting to see what the system lets us choose when they finally unblock it. Anyone know when they will unblock the seats?

  6. @Beatriz I expect that much like when the new LAX-HKG route was being sold that the pricing/fare coding was still working its way and thus the default is the Y booking class you see above. It eventually became fine and I’ve been able to book a few non-full fare economy fares since

  7. I have an award ticket on hold (yeah, yeah, I know, a coach AAnytime award is a waste of miles, but I have my reasons) for the inaugural international flight on 11/4. Assuming I can confirm a PE seat, I have a rather silly three day weekend of flying planned to test out three new airlines for me – easyJet to LGW, Norwegian business class to BOS, then jetBlue back to Dallas.

    @George – I don’t think that’s how it works. Per AA’s website:

    Starting July 10:

    Book travel for November 4 or after from DFW to MAD or GRU

    If a seat is open in rows 9-11, choose it (fees may apply)

    If you’ve already booked travel for these dates, find your trip and select ‘change seats’ to move to Premium Economy.

  8. I’m confirmed on the DFW to MAD 11/4 flight but was not able to select a Prem Econ. seat this morning. Called the Exec Plat desk this morning and agent did a bit of research. She said that seat assignments were pushed back to 7/14

    However, this evening I logged into my account and I have been placed into an Prem Econ seat.

  9. @Lucky – on the topic of AA 787s, do you have any idea why the 787 on the DFW-EZE route seems to have been swapped out for a 777-200 with no explanation (at least none that I can locate)?

  10. I booked myself last night for a mileage run DFW/LAX/DFW for the $97-fare on both flights that have the new aircraft. I called the EPL desk and the agent didn’t even know the 787-9 was available for booking yet. She couldn’t reserve any seats either and had all seats blocked off as well. She couldn’t even tell me when those seats will become available to reserve.

  11. Marcelo, good luck with your mileage run. Even if you are and EXP you will only get around 1000 miles for the round trip.

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