Most passengers are going to be flying in American Airlines 787 economy. In fact, for the inaugural Dallas – Chicago flight on the aircraft I flew in coach myself. I flew up front for the return, Chicago – Dallas. That way, I could experience both and compare.
I flew in seat 10J, which is a ‘Main Cabin Extra‘ (extra legroom) aisle seat. And it was perfectly fine.
The extra legroom does make a difference, compared to regular economy.
As for width — there are 9 seats across in economy, and the plane has a narrower fuselage than the Boeing 777. I’ll be honest, that’s tight.
American has gone to 10-abreast seating on their 777s, like many other airlines (such as Air France and Emirates) have. But they leave Main Cabin Extra (and some main cabin seats on the refurbished 777-200s) as 9-abreast. With extra legroom and traditional shoulder room, economy is fine for most.
The 787 is tighter in terms of width, though they help to soften that somewhat with narrow aisles. Net net I think of 9-abreast 787s in economy as similar to 10-across 777s. They’re becoming the standard, but I don’t want to fly them at least longer than I have to.
On a short Dallas – Chicago flight they’re perfectly fine, of course! And I had the luxury of sitting in Main Cabin Extra, meaning several inches of additional legroom which helps create a greater sense of personal space.
One other observation about the American Airlines 787 economy on this aircraft is that you’re not awash in a sea of people. There are two sections to the cabin, neither is especially large, and the plane just doesn’t go back that far. For me one of the toughest things about long flights in economy is the sense of being surrounded in close quarters by so many people and I like the smaller plane as a result.
The American Airlines 787 economy seat itself has a touch screen video monitor with movies, air show, news and other features.
It has a controller as well, and power at each seat. That’s in addition to the plane being equipped with Panasonic’s inflight internet which is satellite-based and thus designed for connectivity even over water.
The Boeing 787 has larger windows than other aircraft (and a push button dimmer feature) which creates a greater sense of openness and spaciousness, even if it’s an optical illusion, I’ll take what I can get in when I’m flying the American Airlines 787 economy!