It is always a bonus when you get to experience First Class on an international aircraft on a domestic route, especially when I only had to pay an economy fare of $150.
American Airlines operates their ‘newly’ retrofitted 787 aircraft between Los Angeles – Chicago, with the following schedule:
AA 110 – Los Angeles to Chicago 9:45 AM – 3:53 PM
AA 2225 – Chicago to Los Angeles 6:20 PM – 8:35 PM
You can check on Google Flights when selecting first class fares whether it is a Standard Recliner Seat or a Lie Flat Seat.
The published fares for LAX-ORD round-trip in first class for the schedule above is $2,814 , NUTS right?
However if you purchase a separate one way ticket for example,
LAX-ORD One Way First Class is $2,372
ORD-LAX One Way First Class is (respectably only) $443
I’d probably just choose to purchase a one way first class ticket from Chicago (ORD) to LAX for the experience if you don’t have any upgrade benefits or miles to redeem. And just fly in Economy from LAX to Chicago (ORD) for as low as $150. It is after all only a 4-hour flight each way.
Booking the Flight
I had purchased a one-way Economy ticket Chicago (ORD) to LAX from Orbitz for $150 and used a Systemwide Upgrade from American Airlines (AA) to upgrade my seat into First Class for free without having to waitlist.
Systemwide Upgrade is an added benefit from AA if you hold an Executive Platinum status with the airline.
Oddly enough if I had purchase the same exact economy ticket from AA website it would have cost me around $300. So no thanks. This was one perfect example to always compare prices from different websites before purchasing an airfare.
AA 2225 – Chicago to Los Angeles
Departs 6:20PM, Arrive: 8:35PM
Duration: 4 Hours
Aircraft: 787, Configuration: 1-2-1 (28 Flat Bed Seats in First/Business), 3-3-3 (198 Seats in Economy)
Seat: 6A & 7A
We were seated in the mini cabin on seat 6A & 7A. Several seats are rear-facing but all seats have direct aisle access.
Full features on the entertainment system, convenient seat control & presets, auto-dimming windows and power outlets were satisfactory and sufficient!
The food was mediocre, not as good as my last First Class experience with AA flying from Chicago to Rome, although the warm pretzel bread never disappoints.
Overall & Tips
I was fully entertained for the entire flight thanks to the endless movie options and didn’t get to sleep at all. The fully-flat seat made the entire journey enjoyable, the service was attentive and efficient.
It would be worth it even if you have to pay the $443 discounted-fare from Chicago to Los Angeles. It probably won’t be necessary to fly in First if you will only get a Standard Recliner Seat.
Remember to compare prices online before booking your ticket!