I have just spent over half an hour enjoying the luxury of a first class section entirey to myself, and the best part of it is that it was on one of the newest airliners in the world.
Co-Pilot Greg Gearing, who flew the 777 up from Dallas and back by 5:30 this afternoon, took me through the entire aircraft, and in fact allowed me to roam it freely while he did the exterior inspection.
The airplane, a Boeing 777 - 200, was the 3-week old N781AN.
A 4-bunk crew rest area has been added between First and Business class, I've never seen this before (except of course on 747-400s).
The new First Class sleeper seats are amazing, each has it's own enclosed area and leans back to be completely flat.
As always, American's FAs were very friendly. A very nice lady was reclining in one of the aforementioned seats when I was aboard, and upon seeing that I had completed my inspection of the cockpit, she offered to get me a beverage. This is the second time an AA flight attendant has given me a beverage while touring.
The airplane was only 3 weeks old, so it still had that new-car/new-airplane smell.
EVERYTHING IS PLASTIC, the ceiling, the chairs, the walls, it smells like plastic through and through.
As with most 777s, First class was 2-2-2, Business was 2-3-2, and Economy was 2-5-2. The Economy seating was big enough for my legs, and I have above-average height, but it was tight and wouldn't have been good for moving around much at all.
For those who don't know, the overhead bins are amazingly large, I could probably have fit inside.
The computer suffered a glitch and stopped reading the nose gear's tire air pressure, so they had to send some maintenance guys outside to do a manual check.
The co-pilot who escorted me on the tour couldn't for the life of him get the Business Class TV screens to pop up from the arm rest despite a large sign reading 'PUSH', which is in fact how you get them out.
The captain complained of the logbook not being properly written in and not having high enough pay, but he was a friendly guy (spent the entire time in the cockpit).
On a scale of 1-100 for passenger comfort and enjoyment, I'd give the airplane a 92, especially for those First Class seats.
All the economy seats had the little video screens, and the Business and First class had the bendable head rests.
It was a great way to spend more than half an hour at ORD!