Old Jun 20, 17, 12:20 pm
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: ORD + HKG
Programs: CX Diamond, AA exExPlat, BAEC Gold, HH Diamond, Hyatt Globalist, Starriott Gold, GE
Posts: 2,811
Thanksgiving MR: How AA's new LAX-HKG 77W service slays CX in J...or not? (+ Tokyo)

Because of the ambitious and spontaneous RTW adventure earlier ago, I had to delay posting about this a bit, but I'm still excited writing it now

Brief background about myself and this trip, I'm based in ORD as a college student. So I legitimately had to get myself out for thanksgiving or else I might starve And as a newly minted EXP then, what better way was there than to fly home using my coveted SWUs, given the low international fares, let alone help me on the quest to 200k EQM? It didn't hurt that the SWU was available for the outbound when I booked back in July.

HKG is an amazing city to MR to, but it's home for me. So I thought of hopping onwards to a nearby place for some R&R after a busy 10 weeks of school, and I had flights booked to BKK onwards using Avios before the ex-HKG taxes spiked up. Unfortunately, I soon learnt I had to be back immediately after break so, thanks to the leniency of the EXP desk as a result of a schedule change I ended up cutting my trip short by a bit rebooking my inbound departing on Sunday after thanksgiving. With the layover becoming short and this becoming more of a 'pure MR', I decided to go crazy and hop to TYO, my favorite city instead while at the same time 'maximize' more time in the air on CX, and just in case, relieve my disappointment if the AA flight to HKG fails splendidly.

Let's move onto the first sector. Wednesday before Thanksgiving. The crowds were...indeed bad, but I've seen worse:

There were some festive decorations around the terminal, but the mood of the check-in agent and the weather certainly were not. It's a pity that AA still can't sort out their IT issues for HKG-bound passengers so a counter visit was mandatory.

Thankfully, as there are more leisure travelers around Thanksgiving I assume, the PRE line was empty, and I was soon on my way to the ORD FL which will soon be closed down/replaced. My first thoughts, the golf carts outside and its low key entrance makes it look really exclusive, and the AAngels were a huge uplift from the weather and those at the check in counters.

I was told to not expect anything, but I was pleasantly surprised with the ambience (couldn't hurt that there were 10 pax at most) and the food/beverage offerings. The service was also attentive with attendants walking around from time to time. In my style I had just got off from class so I didn't hesitate to go ahead for a full lunch, and the food certainly didn't disappoint!

Am i the only one madly in love with the snack mix with peanut butter?

You can tell, I really ran away from school...not completely yet...

I intentionally booked myself on the afternoon 787 flight that goes on to AKL (or at least back then). Knowing how AA GAs love religiously boarding earlier, I walked out of the FL back door which landed me right at the gate for today's flight to LAX, K16. Obviously, I was too optimistic with AA's ops and we were told to not fill the line yet as there was an ongoing MX issue:

Another 788 headed to (I forgot)

They didn't bother with delaying the flight with 10-minute intervals and instead just kept us waiting until all of a second, voila, we will board now. Only to see FAs enjoying themselves and their phones in the J seats and shouting 'they're there!' upon seeing their self-loading cargo board.

American Airlines 1358
Chicago O'Hare (ORD) to Los Angeles (LAX)
November 23rd 2016
Estimated departure/arrival: 1505 - 1736
Actual departure/arrival: 1559 - 1820
Flying time: 3h 55m
Equipment: Boeing 787-8 N811AB
Seat 6A

First time in the 787-8 Zodiac seats. As my SWU cleared at booking, I was able to secure a 'non-shaking' seat in the mini-cabin, 6A. First thoughts, it looked stylish if just a bit weird. The reactions of the pax walking towards the back seeing these flat bed pods were priceless.

With the yin-yang configuration privacy was not the best, but storage was okay for a backward facing seat, with tables on both sides. The gadgets and monitors etc were fancy yet intuitive enough.

At least they didn't forget about the PDB despite the delay, as underwhelming as it looked like.

With 200+ pax boarding, naturally I toyed around with the most noticeable feature, the dimming window.

After what ended up in an hour long delay, we finally took to the skies, and the views were gorgeous out of this window seat as we cleared the cloud layers.

Turns out it was right to stock up at the FL, as it was close to dinner time now as the crew began their service, starting with nuts and pre meal drinks, while I turned on the live TV:

Dinner tonight would be stuffed ravioli with peppers in a thick creamy sauce accompanied by some cold cuts and a salad on the side. Thank heavens for pretzel rolls ex-ORD. The main was piping hot and not inedible, and so were the cold cuts, but the salad was rather vile.

At least we had the thing that never fails at AA to make up for it. Yum yum.

After the meal, I found the bathroom to be rather updated compared to most AA aircraft.

We still had a long way to go (well, relatively), so I set up my favorite IFE program 'Moving Map' on both the handset display and the main monitor and tried to take a nap. Unfortunately, unlike the 321Ts on JFK-BOS, we didn't get any pillows let alone kits, so that was rather difficult along with the lights staying on all the time.

Before arrival, I took a look at some other features on this fancy aircraft that I've never flown on before. I bravely asked the mean-looking and uninterested FA if I could shoot a few pictures, to which she actually chatted a bit with me after I told her it was my first time. After telling her I was connecting to HKG, she told me she just did the flight last week...'feels like hell. 250 people in the back.' Oh well

They didn't forget about mints. And you can see i) how much desktop space there was, or ii) how it wasn't really that far from my 'neighbor' across the aisle.

Soon, we landed at LAX and taxied to our gate without much further delay, and we made up some time en route as we pulled up less than 60 minutes late.

Oops..we haven't got to LAX-HKG yet. It turns out that I couldn't access the lounges so next up is almost straight away onto that flight
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