7 Weeks to the oneworld MegaDo: Preparing for seat 33A!

Yeah, the days to rough it out in coach on the charter are coming closer 😉 In case you were wondering where did this weekly update vanish last week (week 8), well, nothing much moved so I thought it would be better to not bore you with the ramblings 😀

Some interesting developments have happened over the last week, which I think I should tell you about the OWMD. I noticed that the earlier schedule confirmed that Cathay Pacific, American Airlines and British Airways was going to participate in the program (some at JFK, some at DFW, some at LHR, and some more than once). But in a new development when AA announced their auction for 2 seats on the sold-out charter, it also looks like that Qantas will be meeting us at LA now. That makes 4 of the current 12 members of OW a participant in round 1!

In case you are wondering how to get a seat on the OWMD charter, there are quite a few seats going away via contests and auctions still. Check this post to see what you can do to get on that party plane, and get someone else to carry your bags 😉 And you should also look at this post.

If you just want to be a part of the JFK-LHR TATL portion of the OWMD and not the main charter, you might have a new window of opportunity just opening up. Pizzaman announced on Milepoint today that they might look at selling some unused seats on the JFK-LHR-DFW flights to interested participants who have not been able to make it to the charter. Please contact him for further details!

And how is the schedule developing, hmm… 1 participant on the JFK-LHR segment gets to dine with Maya Liebman, the head of the AAdvantage program, with a FlAAgship experience in the First Class section of the plane! Now that is an exclusive, and all the money goes to charity!

Quite some ground has been covered in the past 15 days for me on the OWMD also, and here is an update to getting to seat 33A:

Getting the EXP Challenge up and going! – Check!


American Airlines issued a status challenge to all the OWMD participants, in case they wanted to sign up that is. One needed a similar status on another carrier/program to be able to hop over, and then, I signed up using my KLM/Air France Flying Blue Platinum status for an AA EXP status challenge. The terms of this challenge were unique, as AA does not publicly offer status challenges to EXP except when it wants to woo UA/CO super-elites for instance. AA even waived off the challenge fee, and set out just one condition: enough BIS miles to qualify for EXP before 13th Jan 2012. Enough meant 20K BIS miles, and I almost gave up on the challenge.

AA only has one flight from India, and that too not from my home base, which is BOM. So, over so many days, I was in a state of limbo trying to make-up my mind if I should take up on the offer or not. On the other hand, even if I did the plane vanilla DEL-ORD-DEL, I was already going to be netting close to 15K out of the 20 BIS miles. Now, I had just been to the USA on vacation in August, and I flew 9W Premiere, on BOM-BRU-JFK and back, and that is one of the best international business class products out there, almost beating some legacy carriers F product (my TR is still pending ;)).

But I’ve finally bit the bullet and decided to go for it, though I’ll have to rough it out in coach, because this is a BIS challenge unlike the EQP challenge they usually give out. I am hoping this makes some interesting story for my BoardingArea friend Mike Reed who chronicles his journey’s on Getting Status! The decision, was a rational one at the end I can tell you all! How? I’ll explain later 😀

So, that is the major achievement of the 2 weeks, and I’ll post from the road about my experiences with AA when I hit it. I only hope the AA gods are kind to me and …  😉 Or I could also do justice to EXP SWUs if someone got a few lying around like spare change!

Getting an inexpensive hotel room in LHR – on hold


The Hyatt hotels are great properties and I am booked to stay with them in DFW, SEA and LAX like I mentioned in my earlier posts on my journey to OWMD. But at 220 GBP plus taxes per night I can’t seem to digest the price yet (gulp!) specially since I do not think I’ll be staying at the room for much longer except for catching lets say 20 winks.

I am all for room-sharing, so if someone on the Trans-atlantic portion is in a similar situation, do give me a shout. Also, the offer is open for DFW, SEA and LAX also. The party is outside after all!

Hotel bookings in LAX for 29th Jan – to do…


In the long list of things still to be done, I almost forgot that I was not flying out on the 28th Jan night after the close of events at the OWMD. I was flying on the 29th instead. It is my first time in LA so I am sure I’ll be in good company with the MP and OWMD participants who choose to stay the evening. Also, I need hotel suggestions, so if any of you have a hotel to recommend, I am waiting for you to tell me in the comments section below!

Overall, an exciting week and much progress made. Watch this space for more updates and see you in JFK/LHR/DFW/SEA/LAX!

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. @Collin @Friendly Skies do the usual GP benefits apply or this being a prepaid resv I don’t even get to have my points counted ?

    • Good point. I don’t think it would. I mentioned it at the OWMDO site the other day to the people who were looking at other hotels due to cost (remember, there are also taxes in either case of an additional 20%). I’ll call the GP folks here if you want – that Diamond status may be good for something.

    • One more thought – Loyalty Traveler’s post yesterday had to do with points purchase. Hyatt, he says, is $24/1K. You could replace those 4K missed points for $96 from your savings of $150 or so if they’re important. I’m sure you could find a partner to accompany for breakfast, which might even be held in a separate room from the lounge. One’s own priorities, I guess…

  2. I am staying at the Westin LA Airport for 3,000 SPG points on that Saturday night. I didn’t check just then to see if that is still available or not, but seemed like a good way to limit costs. 😉

    • @MommyPoints costs are going through the roof on this side. Flying from India and taking up the challenge being the added expenses 😉

  3. vacationist.com is still offering London Churchill rooms on the 24th at $222 USD +tax. Quite better than the 220 GBP + rate. PM me if you need a link for sign-up which provides each of us a $25 credit (you can use on this transaction(). Another attendee had difficulty with a non-US credit card, though.

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