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Flying the AA Dreamliner 'Down Under': FSM-DFW-LAX-SYD, Dec '17, Y

Sun May 06, 2018 6:07 am

Hi everyone!

Welcome to the first installment of my Winter 2018 adventure to Australia and New Zealand. Over the course of about three weeks, I indulged in activities that I hold near and dear to me, including plane spotting with good friends, hanging out with other “non-nerdy” friends, and studying abroad in one of the most gorgeous parts of the world. With this being my first international trip without my parents, I learned a lot about myself as a feasted on the opportunity to do whatever I want, whenever I wanted to. :) This trip further cemented my lifelong love of traveling and aviation, and will go down as one of the best trips I have ever taken.

This report is the first of a three-part series, which will cover all the flights I took (nine in total!) and highlights of each activity I partook in. This report encompasses my flights to Sydney and my time in Australia, which consisted of what amounted to be an ‘enjoyable marathon’ of a whopping thirty-eight hours of travel time from the sleepy Fort Smith Regional Airport (FSM) in the wee hours of December 23rd, 2017 to Christmas Day morning Down Under. It would be my first time in Australia since March of 2013, and I was very excited to return.

ImageFSM-DFW-LAX-SYD gcmap by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
As usual, a big shoutout to gcmap for this

I woke up on the morning of December 23rd in what could be described as an excited high, one that I only feel on the day of departure of any trip I take. I rolled out of bed at approximately 4:30am and quickly double-checked all my belongings with my mom before loading up for the airport. Check-in bag, carry-on, and backpack in hand, I placed all my belongings in the back of our 2003 Honda CRV, and left for the airport.

After waiting in a small line for check-in, my turn finally came. I reached the counter and handed the agent my passport. After a few moments, the following exchange occurred:

Agent: “Do you have a valid ETA (an electronic visa) for Australia?”

Me: “Yes… why, is that not showing?”

Agent: “Nope. Do you have a printout of it?”

Thankfully, having had rough experiences at FSM with international travel (I was once told that my passport wasn’t valid because I hadn’t signed it), I had come prepared. I pulled out a crumpled printout of my valid ETA to Australia. After a few more minutes, I was given my boarding passes, and I hugged my mom goodbye and proceeded to go through security.

ImageDSC_1 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Definitely a boarding pass to treasure!

ImageDSC_2 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
A rather artsy snapchat story, even if I do say so myself

After a short wait time, I boarded my first flight of what was going to be a long and fun two days of traveling!

Flight #1
Route: FSM-DFW
Airline: American Eagle operated by Expressjet
Aircraft: Canadair CRJ-700
Registration: N608QX
Departure time: 6:58am CST
Arrival time: 7:58am CST
Flying time: 1 hour
Seat: 9D

ImageDSC_3 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
I’m ready to go!

After a quick taxi to runway 25, we whizzed our way out of Fort Smith and climbed into the deep, blue, cloudless morning sky. My adventure was officially under way!
ImageDSC_4 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
It’s a beautiful morning

After a rather uneventful flight and a bitter coffee, we began our descent into the DFW metroplex.
ImageDSC_5 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
One my most favorite places on Earth, delicately bathed in winter morning light

ImageDSC_6 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

ImageDSC_7 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
On base now over Hensley Field, an 88-year-old Naval Air Station-turned-ghost town. According to the article linked below, the Dallas PD likes to park its old cars on the dilapidated old main runway. Another fun fact: Nina Pham’s dog, Bentley, was quarantined at the airfield during the 2014 Ebola outbreak out of fears that he had contracted the disease.

https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/comm ... sley-field

ImageDSC_8 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Turning onto final now

ImageDSC_9 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Touchdown!

ImageDSC_10 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Taxiing to the end of Terminal E. Yup, you read that right. American Eagle Expressjet-operated CRJ-700 flights now operate out of the tail end of E. Not sure if I’m a big fan of that…

A few moments later, I let out a louder-than-socially-appropriate gasp of surprise when I saw this bird parked at E. Considering that I had a whopping eleven-hour layover, I decided that I would visit her at some point in the day.
ImageDSC_11 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

So, you might be wondering, why did I have an eleven-hour layover, and who in their right mind would pick an itinerary including one, especially with a transpacific flight following it? Well, good questions and fair points all around. I have several answers.

First off, I love DFW. I have the ability to kill a significant amount of time at that airport, simply by walking through all the terminals and absorbing all the aviation-related happenings around me with delight. Secondly, my father was due to fly in at around 2pm, coming back from his birdwatching trip in Panama. Being an AA Platinum member and travelling internationally, he was entitled to Admirals Club access. I, of course, was more than okay with piggy-backing my way inside, despite being a lowly non-status holder and having the standard, run-of-the-mill “Credit Cardholder” stamped across my boarding passes.

ImageDSC_12 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Tracking Pops’s 737-800 as it approached southern Florida
I deplaned ship 608 and headed straight for the Skylink. After boarding it to head to Terminal D, I took my customary goodbye picture of the bird that had taken very good care of me all the way from Fort Smith.

ImageDSC_13 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

After a quick ride on the Skylink, I de-trained at Terminal D and promptly worked my way over to the Reata Grill, my customary spot for breakfast at DFW.

ImageDSC_7955 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

After breakfast, I strolled around Terminal D and checked out some heavy action. JAL’s daily Dreamliner to Narita had just pushed back.

ImageDSC_7955a by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

After a brief bout of Terminal D plane spotting, I grabbed a grande white chocolate mocha and headed over to Terminal E to check out the 744.

ImageDSC_7955b by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

ImageDSC_7959 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
I’ve been riding the skylink since it opened in 2005. I will never get tired of it or the views it offers.

ImageDSC_7960 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Well hello again, 608

ImageDSC_7962 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
What up, banana bird?

ImageDSC_7965 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Casually parked next to the Queen of the Skies

ImageDSC_7970 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Ahh… hello, gorgeous!

After gaping at her majesty for a few minutes, I decided to head back to Terminal D.

ImageDSC_7976 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Beautiful beyond words

ImageDSC_7979 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Looks like TWA is in town today

ImageDSC_7982 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

ImageDSC_7991 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Rare sight in DFW. Maybe an NFL charter?

ImageDSC_7996 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
By this time, my second Queen of the day had arrived, this one from London-Heathrow as BAW192

ImageDSC_7997 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
What a phenomenal airplane

I proceeded to chill in Terminal D, waiting for my Dad’s flight from MIA to come in. I noticed that he was flying on N986AN, an A321S that I had coincidentally spotted at XNA when it operated as a charter for the Florida Gator football team for their game versus the Arkansas Razorbacks in Fayetteville. In case you’re wondering, we won that game 31-10. Woo pig, baby.

ImageDSC_7997a by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

ImageDSC_7956 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
This Dreamliner later operated AA48 to Paris-CDG

After an hour or two of watching Netflix in Terminal D, I headed over to A to greet my dad.

ImageDSC_7997b by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Welcome, buddy![i]

After a quick hug, we proceeded to head over to the Terminal D Admirals Club. After a quick check-in, we chilled by the massive windows for a while, watching several stars-and-bars take off one after another.

So, remember the DL 744 parked over at Terminal E? Earlier in the day, I had alerted a buddy of mine, Mitchell Baird, about it, as I knew he was flying through DFW at the same time. He went over to its gate to check it out, and he started talking with a Delta agent who offered to take him on board. He proceeded to urge me and Dad to head over as fast as possible, and hearing of this opportunity, you better bet we high-tailed it out of the club and over to Terminal E. A few minutes later, we were walking down the jetbridge… to a Delta Boeing 747-400.

ImageDSC_7998 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
[i]Okay… so this is pretty cool.


ImageDSC_8009 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Not freaking out at this moment...

So to add to the coolness, this aircraft had just been retired from the fleet, and had just operated as a charter for the Seahawks for their game versus the Cowboys. It was scheduled to be flown over to Pinal Airpark a mere three days (three days!!) later. Its last commercial flight was DAL158, ICN-DTW.

ImageDSC_8019 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

ImageDSC_8023 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

ImageDSC_8029 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

After walking around the entire airplane, I wanted one last picture in the flight deck, this time with Dad.

ImageDSC_8030 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

ImageDSC_8036 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

ImageDSC_8038 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
What a magnificent bird, man

After bidding goodbye to N670US and the extremely gracious DL agent (who told us about how he was present for their retirement of the L1011), Dad and I proceeded to head back to the Admirals Club.

ImageDSC_8045 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Five maddogs? Soak ‘em up while you can.

On the way to the Admirals Club, we walked by D23, where my flight to LAX was posted. Catch me bringing up the rear of the upgrade list, lol.

ImageDSC_8046 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

ImageDSC_8047 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Upon entering the Admirals Club, I got a non-alcoholic Bloody Mary

ImageDSC_8048 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

ImageDSC_8050 by
Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
AAL280 from Seoul-Incheon taxis in after arrival. This bird, N825AA, would be the one I would be taking to the City of Angels

ImageDSC_8053 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
What up, gorgeous?

ImageDSC_8053a by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

After seeing my Dreamliner pull into her gate, I headed over to the showers to get a quick rinse before my flight to LA.

ImageDSC_8054 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

ImageDSC_8054a by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
These showers are pretty cool!

ImageDSC_8054b by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

After a rather long shower, Dad had some nachos and guac ready for me. I slowly mowed through them, all while enjoying the beautiful sunset.

ImageDSC_8056b by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

ImageDSC_8055 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

ImageDSC_8056c by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
My bags are ready to go! I am too!

Before heading down to D23, I made a quick stop at the bathroom. I took this terrible shot of LH’s departure to Frankfurt on my way there.

ImageDSC_8056 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

Soon enough, I said goodbye to the Admirals Club and stood in line to board my second flight of the day, my first flight on the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Dad came down to say goodbye and hugged me right before I enthusiastically pranced my way down the jet bridge and entered the aircraft.

Flight #2
Route: DFW-LAX
Airline: American Airlines
Aircraft: Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
Registration: N825AA
Departure time: 6:49pm CST
Arrival time: 8:19pm CST
Flying time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Seat: 33L

ImageDSC_8057 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
This is a pretty cool cabin

ImageDSC_8057a by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

ImageDSC_8058 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
What a gorgeous wing!

Soon enough, we pushed back from Terminal D and the safety video was played. I must say that after a rough initial opinion, it has gradually grown over me, and I may or may not somewhat like it now.

ImageDSC_8060 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

After a quick taxi, we blasted off into the deep, dark, Texas sky.

ImageDSC_8062 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

ImageDSC_8063 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

ImageDSC_8065 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
I’ve been to AT&T Stadium once. I never want to return. If you want to know why, look up the score of the 2016 Arkansas – Texas A&M game.

ImageDSC_8065a by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

After we left the DFW area, I proceeded to explore the AVOD, which I found to be surprisingly responsive. I’ve found it to be pretty laggy on certain aircraft, such as the 737-800 and A321S.
After a quick drink service (during which I got my standard airplane drink, a ginger ale), I closed my eyes for a little bit, and opened them right as we passed over Phoenix.

ImageDSC_8066 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

ImageDSC_8068 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

ImageDSC_8066b by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
I proceeded to kill some by watching Michael Scott’s shenanigans that some how never get old…

ImageDSC_8067b by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

ImageDSC_8067a by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

ImageDSC_8066c by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

ImageDSC_8066d by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Checking on my next flight’s status. Looks good so far.

ImageDSC_8066e by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Lovin’ on this mood lighting

ImageDSC_8067 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
After passing over the Sierra Nevadas, I began to see signs of civilization as we slowly began our approach into LAX

ImageDSC_8069 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr


ImageDSC_8070 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

Around this time, the captain came on the PA and announced that it was a clear evening in LA and she expected our approach to be a beautiful and smooth one. I savored every word of her charismatic announcement and enjoyed the breathtaking views I was being treated to.

ImageDSC_8074 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
How beautiful of a view is this?

ImageDSC_8078 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Passing over ONT

ImageDSC_8078a by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

ImageDSC_8079 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Have I mentioned that I love this mood lighting?

ImageDSC_8086 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Hey LA, you look just as beautiful as I expected

ImageDSC_8090 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
On short final now

After a smooth touchdown, we pulled off the south complex’s Runway 25L and turned north towards Terminal 4.

ImageDSC_8094 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
It’s a busy evening at LAX

ImageDSC_8097 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
What up, T4

On my way out, I thanked the captain and complimented her on the approach and landing. I proceeded to ask for a view of the cockpit, to which she graciously accepted.

ImageDSC_8100 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

ImageDSC_8103 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
What a beautiful flight deck

After disembarking, I took my customary goodbye shot of 825 from the T4-TBIT connector.

ImageDSC_8105 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

I had never been on the T4-TBIT connecter before, and it had been a while since I had visited TBIT, so I decided to head over for a quick stroll. I had about an hour before boarding, anyway.

ImageDSC_8106 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

ImageDSC_8107 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Fancy schmancy…

ImageDSC_8108 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
How’s it goin’, TBIT?

ImageDSC_8109 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Shortly before departure to Guangzhou, China

ImageDSC_8110 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
A similarly whale-sized beast was prepping to head in the other direction

ImageDSC_8111 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Loving on TBIT’s iconic ceiling architecture

ImageDSC_8112 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
The 777-300ER is the definition of handsome

ImageDSC_8113 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
What a vast array of destination cities!

ImageDSC_8115 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
…now in a cooler departures board

ImageDSC_8114 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
”Phyllis Arnott” would be operating QFA12 to Sydney tonight.

ImageDSC_8116 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
”Hudson Fysh” would be flying QFA94 to Melbourne

ImageDSC_8118 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Have I mentioned how cool this departures board is?

After strolling around TBIT for a few more minutes, it was time to head back to T4, as boarding time was about 30 minutes out.

ImageDSC_8119 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

ImageDSC_8120 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Nice!

ImageDSC_8122 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Honestly surprised that AA wasn’t flying this route already…

With about 20 minutes to go before boarding, I elected to snag a wrap to satisfy my mild hunger. I was only able to finish about half of it.
ImageDSC_8123 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

I walked over to gate 48B and stared in awe at the screen saying “Sydney, Australia”. I have flown over 200 flights in my life but I will never get over the pure thrill that comes with being about to board a long-haul, flagship international flight.

ImageDSC_8124 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Check out that standby list!!

I wandered over to the window, where I got my first look at N823AN, the majestic bird that would be taking me across the mighty Pacific. Boy, she looked gorgeous!
ImageDSC_8125 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are now ready to begin the boarding process for American Airlines Flight 73 with nonstop service to Sydney”
ImageDSC_8126 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Now boarding ConciergeKey members…

ImageDSC_8127 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Ooooh boy, it’s time to go!

Flight #3
Route: LAX-SYD
Airline: American Airlines
Aircraft: Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
Registration: N823AN
Departure time: 10:43pm PST
Arrival time: 8:43am
Flying time: 15 hours
Seat: 29L

ImageDSC_8128 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Taken during my last few seconds outside an airplane for the next fifteen hours

Upon boarding, I asked the friendly F/A if I could take a look at the cockpit. She granted my request, and I strolled right inside the ultra-modern flight deck of the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.
After introducing myself to one of the reserve pilots and the F/A, I was invited to take a seat in the captain’s seat, where one of the pilots sitting in the back took my picture.

ImageDSC_8130 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
I guess I was just a *little* excited at that moment…

Shortly after my picture was taken, the captain walked in the flight deck and introduced himself. He proceeded to mention that “we’re pretty heavy tonight” and that the takeoff roll down runway 25R was going to be “quite long”. I was beyond-words thrilled to hear this straight from the mouth of the highest-ranking crewmember on this mighty, Flagship route of my favorite airline in the world.

I proceeded to head to seat 29L, where I met my seatmates for the next 15 hours. Seated in the next two seats next to me was a couple from Florida heading Down Under for vacation. They were very nice, and I was thankful to be seated next to them for the long haul.

After a quick pushback and engine start, we slowly lumbered our way all the way down to the threshold of runway 25R. I listened to LiveATC the whole way down, and heard the following transmission:

“Good evening American seventy-three heavy, taxi full length”

“Full length, American seventy-three heavy”

There was no way we were intersecting that night.

ImageDSC_8133 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
What’s up, AirCal?

ImageDSC_8134 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
At this time, my good spotter friend Bernie Proctor (who I stayed the first two days with in Sydney) was tracking me… Thanks for the screenshot, Bernie!!

ImageDSC_8135 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Passing some Star metal on the taxi down to 25R

ImageDSC_8139 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Now at the threshold of 25R. You can almost notice how 823’s wings were bending under all that fuel weight.

“American seventy-three heavy, RNAV DLREY, runway two-five-right, cleared for takeoff”

“Cleared for takeoff, American seventy-three heavy”

Slowly, our mighty dual GEnx engines roared to life, and after a very long takeoff roll as promised, we gracefully lifted off into the beautiful Southern California night.

“American seventy-three heavy contact SoCal departure, goodnight”

ImageDSC_8142 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

As we climbed through the night sky and distanced ourselves from the southern California coast, I unglued my face from the window and explored the extensive IFE selections. Being in a rather festive and cheery mood, I watched the entirety of Home Alone 2 for approximately the 100th time.

ImageDSC_8144 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Yup, there’s not much to see

ImageDSC_8147 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Watching Kevin McAlester get separated from his family down the H/K split at ORD will never get old…

ImageDSC_8147d by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Ahh… you’ve gotta love those vintage AA widebody first class seats…

ImageDSC_8147e by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
One generation of AA metal, being viewed on another, newer generation, all belonging to the same, great airline.

As soon as the McAlester family took off for Paris, dinner was served. The choice was pasta or salmon, and I picked the latter.

ImageDSC_8147f by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Presentation definitely lacked, but it wasn’t too bad

ImageDSC_8147g by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

ImageDSC_8147h by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Looks pretty dark outside

After dinner, I proceeded to close my eyes for a while. I woke up a few hours later and went to the bathroom when the couple next to me did. I tried my best to not bother them by only getting up when they did.

ImageDSC_8147i by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Seven hours down and less than half way there

ImageDSC_8147k by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

Now fully awake, I killed some time with the Big Bang Theory.

ImageDSC_8147l by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

ImageDSC_8148 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Looks beautiful outside

ImageDSC_8150 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

ImageDSC_8151 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

ImageDSC_8155 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Sunrise over the Pacific

It was around this time that the fact that I was alone, without my parents, on the other side of the world for the first time hit me. It was an exhilarating feeling.

ImageDSC_8165 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

Notice the two land formations below? After returning to the USA, I spent some time on google maps and discovered their identities. The one on the right is Vatoa, also known as Neda’s Island. It was only island of present-day Fiji that was visited by James Cook.

From Wikipedia:

“Vatoa was the only island of present-day Fiji visited by James Cook. The island as sighted on 2 July 1774. The next day, a Sunday, the Master and some of Cook’s crew went ashore, “thinking to speak with the people not more than 20 in number who were Arm’d with Clubs and Spears, but the moment he set food on Shore they retired, he left ashore some Medals, Nails, and a Knife ….. Near the Reef were seen several Turtle which occasioned my giving that name to the Isle.” Cook’s chart shows the name Turtle Isle.”

Some fascinating history, for sure.

ImageDSC_8167 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

ImageDSC_8166 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Now proceeding past Vatoa at FL380

ImageDSC_8168 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
I had to try out the 787-9’s international wifi, even if I didn’t want to pay for it

After scrolling through the extensive selections available, I settled on John Oliver. I had never watched his show before and I found it thoroughly hilarious.

ImageDSC_8169 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

Shortly afterwards, breakfast was handed out. Nothing to write home about, but nothing to complain about either. My seatmate purchased it and was able to stream an NFL game, live. I was quite impressed.

ImageDSC_8169a by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

ImageDSC_8170 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Not too far out now…

ImageDSC_8171 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Broad daylight outside while beginning our descent into Sydney

ImageDSC_8172 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

ImageDSC_8174 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

ImageDSC_8177 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

ImageDSC_8181 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Hello Sydney!

ImageDSC_8183 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

ImageDSC_8185 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Already plane spotting even before touchdown

ImageDSC_8188 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
What up SYD?

ImageDSC_8189 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
This Velocity beast whizzed past us while showing off her deafening reverse thrusters

ImageDSC_8194 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr

ImageDSC_8196 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
Pulling in next to this beast

A few moments later and an even fifteen hours after liftoff from LAX, we docked at gate 31 and ended our lovely transpacific voyage. As everyone got up from their seats, my seatmate realized she had lost her shoe; it took a few minutes of searching underneath the seats around us to find it.

After what seemed like a few minutes of waiting, I slowly trudged my way towards the front of the Dreamliner and, after a quick goodbye to the crew and a quick pat of N823AN’s carbon fiber fuselage, planted my foot on Australian soil for the first time in over four years. It felt good to be back.

ImageDSC_8198 by
Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
What a majestic aircraft

ImageDSC_8200 by Amrit Kannan, on Flickr
I had to get my customary shot of the bird that had just carried me across the biggest expanse of water in the world

I proceeded to walk past some duty-free shopping areas where a friendly SYD agent handed me a chocolate bar and wished me Merry Christmas. I thanked her and, after a quick visit to the self-service passport scanner and a brief trip through customs and immigration, I exited out of the airport and met up with my good friend and fellow airplane spotter Bernie Proctor, who I would spend the next three days with. Although he hadn’t seen me in four years, he was quick to recognize me, and after a quick handshake, we proceeded to walk to his car. Another spotter friend of his, Thomas Winklhofer, was visiting for Christmas, and the three of us elected to spot for a while before driving to his house. My time in Sydney was phenomenal, and I certainly cannot wait to visit again. I will chronicle my five days there in my next report, which will be highlighted by the next segment I took: SYD-AKL on LATAM’s J product on the 787-9.

My overall impressions of AA long-haul Y were generally positive, though nothing to write home about. The food was adequate and the seats were comfortable. I never felt terribly cramped on the 787-9. I certainly appreciated being granted cockpit visits on my two Dreamliner flights and talking to the very gracious pilots on both segments.

I’ll end with some incredible shots Bernie took of my arrival in Sydney. In my dad’s words, these shots were “vintage Bernie”.

ImageN823AN AA B789 16R YSSY-7650 by Bernie, on Flickr

ImageN823AN AA B789 16R YSSY-7654 by Bernie, on Flickr

ImageN823AN AA B789 16R YSSY-7659 by Bernie, on Flickr

ImageN823AN AA B789 16R YSSY-7666 by Bernie, on Flickr

ImageN823AN AA B789 16R YSSY-7678 by Bernie, on Flickr

ImageN823AN AA B789 16R YSSY-7692 by Bernie, on Flickr

ImageN823AN AA B789 16R YSSY-7682 by Bernie, on Flickr

Thanks for reading, and as always, comments are welcome and appreciated!

Amrit
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Re: Flying the AA Dreamliner 'Down Under': FSM-DFW-LAX-SYD, Dec '17, Y

Sun May 06, 2018 9:53 am

Great Report, Amrit!

Looks like a pretty fun ride. Great photos too! I envy you for getting the tour of that 747! :) I flew AA73 when it was a 777 flight, so it's nice to compare. Looking forward for more reports.

Regards,

InnsbruckFlyer
2018: LG B738, DH8D | LH A20N, A359, B744 | LX B77W | OS E195 (x2) | UA B738 (x2), B772 | W6 A321
 
AirbusA322
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Re: Flying the AA Dreamliner 'Down Under': nFSM-DFW-LAX-SYD, Dec '17, Y

Sun May 06, 2018 10:50 am

Welcome to our great Country!

Great read. Whilst the AA 787 looks good, take the Virgin 777 across next time, an absolute standout across the Pacific.
 
767747
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Re: Flying the AA Dreamliner 'Down Under': FSM-DFW-LAX-SYD, Dec '17, Y

Sun May 06, 2018 2:47 pm

Good report and photos! It looks like you had a great time. How awesome to be able to take a tour of the inside of the DL 744!

Thanks for sharing.
I love to fly!
 
lychemsa
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Re: Flying the AA Dreamliner 'Down Under': FSM-DFW-LAX-SYD, Dec '17, Y

Sun May 06, 2018 9:39 pm

I can't believe American serve that disgusting chocolate Brownie to Australia. Qantas is much better. Better catering an extra inch legroom./ The only good thing about american on this route is that they have new equipment.
 
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jaybird
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Re: Flying the AA Dreamliner 'Down Under': FSM-DFW-LAX-SYD, Dec '17, Y

Mon May 07, 2018 12:57 am

thanks for sharing .. great TR!
 
Bobloblaw
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Re: Flying the AA Dreamliner 'Down Under': FSM-DFW-LAX-SYD, Dec '17, Y

Mon May 07, 2018 3:31 am

Dinner looks awful.
 
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kann123air
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Re: Flying the AA Dreamliner 'Down Under': FSM-DFW-LAX-SYD, Dec '17, Y

Mon May 07, 2018 4:00 am

InnsbruckFlyer wrote:
Great photos too! I envy you for getting the tour of that 747!


767747 wrote:
How awesome to be able to take a tour of the inside of the DL 744!


Hey InnsbruckFlyer and 767747! Thanks for the nice comments. Yes, it was certainly wonderful. :)

AirbusA322 wrote:
Welcome to our great Country!

Great read. Whilst the AA 787 looks good, take the Virgin 777 across next time, an absolute standout across the Pacific.


Hey AirbusA322, thank you! I might do that next time. I'm an AA Gold now so it might be hard to pry me away from all the miles I could get by flying AA and OW TPAC. :)

jaybird wrote:
thanks for sharing .. great TR!


Thank you, jaybird!

lychemsa wrote:
I can't believe American serve that disgusting chocolate Brownie to Australia. Qantas is much better.


Yeah... it was subpar, for sure. However, I wouldn't say Qantas's overall service was much better. I flew LAX-SYD on their A380 and SYD-DFW on their 744ER back in March of 2013 and the former segment was somewhat mediocre. However, the QF7 was a different story.

bobloblaw wrote:
Dinner looks awful.


Meh, it tasted better than it looked. :)

Thanks for all the comments!
Going for great
 
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777Jet
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Re: Flying the AA Dreamliner 'Down Under': FSM-DFW-LAX-SYD, Dec '17, Y

Tue May 08, 2018 4:02 am

Great trip report!

I'm glad you got to tour inside the DL 744. I remember seeing pics of that aircraft (and all of the signatures!) on the net after the last flight & NFL charter.

However, I can't say I'm looking forward to trying a 787 across the Pacific... I'll stick to the QF A380 / 747, Virgin 777-300ER and even the hard seats in the Delta 777-200LR for now ;)

Keep up the good work!
DC10-10/30,MD82/88/90,717,727,732/3/4/5/7/8/9ER,742/4,752/3,763/ER,772/E/L/3/W,788/9,306,320,321,332/3,346,359,388
 
oldannyboy
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Re: Flying the AA Dreamliner 'Down Under': FSM-DFW-LAX-SYD, Dec '17, Y

Tue May 08, 2018 1:55 pm

Thanks for this absolutely adorable -and beautifully written!- trip report.
I am about to fly AA's 787 for the first time in a few weeks from now...looking forward to that 'mood lighting fiesta'!! ;-)
 
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kann123air
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Re: Flying the AA Dreamliner 'Down Under': FSM-DFW-LAX-SYD, Dec '17, Y

Tue May 08, 2018 11:43 pm

777jet and oldannyboy, thank you for your wonderful comments!

777Jet: Oh, c'mon... the 787 wasn't that bad. Give it a shot, I dare you. ;)

Oldannyboy: I hope you enjoy your ride on it. It's a marvelous airplane to fly on.
Going for great
 
jrfspa320
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Re: Flying the AA Dreamliner 'Down Under': FSM-DFW-LAX-SYD, Dec '17, Y

Wed May 09, 2018 4:14 am

Thanks for writing up the trip report! I flew AA long haul for the first time late last year, from SYD to LAX and was pleasantly surprised at the AA service. I did find the arm rests way too low on the 787, and the seat / aisle was a bit narrow.
 
Av8rDAL
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Re: Flying the AA Dreamliner 'Down Under': FSM-DFW-LAX-SYD, Dec '17, Y

Thu May 10, 2018 12:27 pm

Good report to read and great photos. Always like seeing reports of the ultra long haul product of some flagship routes. Even in Economy. Most of us fly Eco anyway and it’s helpful to compare service that we will most likely be using in addition to the more aspirational first or business class services.

I flew LAX-SYD back in 2010 just after Delta started flying it on their new 772LR. Back then it was a great experience. I even found the seats in Eco not bad for 15hrs and the IFE made the time pass quickly. I feel that the old Panasonic IFE Systems are now severely outdated and slow compared to the new touchscreens. Soft product and catering seems to be roughly the same on AA as I had on DL. I feel that QF is probably better. Would like to try them and AA sometime on another trip Down Under. A fantastic country to visit, and my 10 days there wasn’t nearly enough.
Maintain thine airspeed, lest the Earth rise up and smite thee.
 
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777Jet
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Re: Flying the AA Dreamliner 'Down Under': FSM-DFW-LAX-SYD, Dec '17, Y

Thu May 10, 2018 10:19 pm

kann123air wrote:
777jet and oldannyboy, thank you for your wonderful comments!

777Jet: Oh, c'mon... the 787 wasn't that bad. Give it a shot, I dare you. ;)

Oldannyboy: I hope you enjoy your ride on it. It's a marvelous airplane to fly on.


I've been in 3 different 9 abreast in Y 787s and I'll do my best to avoid that for such a long flight, but if it was a rare 8 abreast in Y 787 (ANA?) it would be a 'go to' aircraft :)
DC10-10/30,MD82/88/90,717,727,732/3/4/5/7/8/9ER,742/4,752/3,763/ER,772/E/L/3/W,788/9,306,320,321,332/3,346,359,388
 
DDR
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Re: Flying the AA Dreamliner 'Down Under': FSM-DFW-LAX-SYD, Dec '17, Y

Fri May 11, 2018 10:24 pm

Amrit - GREAT trip report. Honestly one of the best because it was so personal. Loved your pics of DFW from the air. I'm biased but I think DFW is such a great airport. The rest of your pics were great as well. Glad the food tasted ok, but yea, we should do a better presentation.

Again my friend, GREAT report!
 
devron
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Re: Flying the AA Dreamliner 'Down Under': FSM-DFW-LAX-SYD, Dec '17, Y

Sat May 12, 2018 8:41 am

Bobloblaw wrote:
Dinner looks awful.


I wanted to say the same.

Thanks for the trip report cool visit to the 747 I wonder if I ever to fly one again last time was a decade ago from FRA-SIN and there are fewer and fewer.
 
atsiang
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Re: Flying the AA Dreamliner 'Down Under': FSM-DFW-LAX-SYD, Dec '17, Y

Sun May 13, 2018 12:14 am

A very good report is one where the reader felt like he/she also went on the trip and this what this trip report has done. Well done!

I fly to Sydney a lot on Economy from SFO on UA. After seeing what AA serves for meals, I'm not going to complain about the food on UA. It seems that the amount of food is quite paltry on AA.
 
AWACSooner
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Re: Flying the AA Dreamliner 'Down Under': FSM-DFW-LAX-SYD, Dec '17, Y

Mon May 14, 2018 1:48 am

(I was once told that my passport wasn’t valid because I hadn’t signed it


That is 100% correct, and you will be denied entry into several countries (Germany, for one) if they catch an unsigned passport.
 
Flightsimboy
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Re: Flying the AA Dreamliner 'Down Under': FSM-DFW-LAX-SYD, Dec '17, Y

Mon May 14, 2018 3:27 am

Awww every trip report should have a pic of the plane landing that has the trip reporter on board like you did :). Wow how nice of your friend to take those pics but then again he is a spotter :). Nice report on a nice looking bird. Hope you were able to spot at the fence by the beach. Cheers.
 
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XAM2175
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Re: Flying the AA Dreamliner 'Down Under': FSM-DFW-LAX-SYD, Dec '17, Y

Tue May 15, 2018 7:10 pm

AWACSooner wrote:
kann123air wrote:
(I was once told that my passport wasn’t valid because I hadn’t signed it)

That is 100% correct, and you will be denied entry into several countries (Germany, for one) if they catch an unsigned passport.


I can't quite get my head around a first-world country still issuing passports that need to be signed upon receipt. Australian passports, for example, have had a printed copy of the signature on the application form for at least ten years now.
 
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christao17
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Re: Flying the AA Dreamliner 'Down Under': FSM-DFW-LAX-SYD, Dec '17, Y

Wed May 16, 2018 6:50 am

Nice and detailed report. Thanks for sharing.

I'm a bit shocked at just how sad the meal service trans-Pacific is. Even for economy, this is really sub-standard.
More than a dozen years flying in and around Asia...
 
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MarcoPoloWorld
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Re: Flying the AA Dreamliner 'Down Under': FSM-DFW-LAX-SYD, Dec '17, Y

Sat May 19, 2018 10:03 pm

Great report. The 787 might not beat the A380, but it sure is an awesome bird nonetheless... Thanks for sharing! :airplane:
 
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kann123air
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Re: Flying the AA Dreamliner 'Down Under': FSM-DFW-LAX-SYD, Dec '17, Y

Sat May 26, 2018 4:04 pm

Hi all, thanks for the lovely comments!
Going for great
 
stlgph
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Re: Flying the AA Dreamliner 'Down Under': FSM-DFW-LAX-SYD, Dec '17, Y

Tue Jun 05, 2018 1:36 am

devron wrote:
Bobloblaw wrote:
Dinner looks awful.


I wanted to say the same.

Thanks for the trip report cool visit to the 747 I wonder if I ever to fly one again last time was a decade ago from FRA-SIN and there are fewer and fewer.


Had the same offerings on my flight. The fish was actually pretty good - hit the spot, to be honest. I was pleasantly surprised. AA LAX-SYD-LAX...pretty damn good, even in the back.
if assumptions could fly, airliners.net would be the world's busiest airport
 
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RyanairGuru
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Re: Flying the AA Dreamliner 'Down Under': FSM-DFW-LAX-SYD, Dec '17, Y

Tue Jun 05, 2018 7:33 pm

Thanks for a great trip report. I really enjoyed reading it.

I’ve flown United several times from SYD to LAX/SFO, and have been interested for quite some time now to see how AA compared on this route. On the basis of your trip report United win hands down! Unfortunately it doesn’t make me want to rush out and fly American.

[twoid][/twoid]
AWACSooner wrote:
(I was once told that my passport wasn’t valid because I hadn’t signed it


That is 100% correct, and you will be denied entry into several countries (Germany, for one) if they catch an unsigned passport.


Sorry but you are completely wrong, most countries do not requir minors under (variously) 16 or 18 to sign their passport. That does not make the passport invalid.
Worked Hard, Flew Right
 
AWACSooner
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Re: Flying the AA Dreamliner 'Down Under': FSM-DFW-LAX-SYD, Dec '17, Y

Tue Jun 05, 2018 7:50 pm

RyanairGuru wrote:
Thanks for a great trip report. I really enjoyed reading it.

I’ve flown United several times from SYD to LAX/SFO, and have been interested for quite some time now to see how AA compared on this route. On the basis of your trip report United win hands down! Unfortunately it doesn’t make me want to rush out and fly American.

[twoid][/twoid]
AWACSooner wrote:
(I was once told that my passport wasn’t valid because I hadn’t signed it


That is 100% correct, and you will be denied entry into several countries (Germany, for one) if they catch an unsigned passport.


Sorry but you are completely wrong, most countries do not requir minors under (variously) 16 or 18 to sign their passport. That does not make the passport invalid.

Sorry, but no I'm not...as I have seen this on countless occasions...most of the time, the countries just have the parents sign the passport on their child's behalf if they are unable to do so themselves.
 
crownvic
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Re: Flying the AA Dreamliner 'Down Under': FSM-DFW-LAX-SYD, Dec '17, Y

Sat Jun 09, 2018 3:37 pm

awesome report..It was nice of that DL ramp agent to let you and your father on board the 747..I too was on that last DL L1011 flight back in July 2001...I am curious, what was your father doing at DFW??? how did he get out to the gate area if he wasnt traveling with you?? I just came back from SYD for a aircraft spotting trip and seeing those pics brought back memories of the good times..

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