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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A day at the American Airlines Arrival Lounge at London Heathrow

The American Airlines flight AA 104 was uneventful at the back of the plane, with a largely empty cabin which accommodated a lot many passengers from the MegaDo bunch onto their own fully flat seats by occupying a whole row to themselves. All the action was in the First Class where there was a special dinner on-board for a chosen few flying F, with the new president of AAdvantage, Suzanne Robin. We were lucky to have arrived in LHR an hour early, with the tailwinds in favour (the same Atlantic ones which came in my way to arrive at JFK from Brussels after a fuel-stop). Here is a little bunch of pictures from the back of the plane: Yeah, it…

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The send off at American’s Flagship Lounge in New York JFK

As soon as the Finnair presentation got over, there was a light reception, this one, at ‘ The Bridge’, where JFK based crew of American Airlines were invited to participate along with the attendees of the MegaDo’s Transatlantic trip in London. There was food, music and a lot of good chat. But then you already know all of that from the last time you heard from me. The interesting party was taking shape in the Flagship Lounge of American Airlines at JFK: This is where we managed to sample the food and the drinks offered by American Airlines at the Flagship Lounges. As someone who has only started to fly to the America’s often now, I can tell you these…

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American goes all out to welcome the MegaDo participants!

I am used to being pampered by the airline I fly a lot, and they’d accede to  my demands sometimes. But to have an airline go all out to make an impression is  a little different. American Airlines is the backbone to the inaugural oneworld  MegaDo, and they are up to their best behaviour on this one. I arrived in JFK on Saturday evening on a non-stop with a fuel-stop flight, and I was greeted at the jet  bridge by an American Airlines agent who was looking for me. The AA 5-star  arrivals service at work, even though I wasn’t even expecting it. The AA Agent walked me through to the passport control and with some  influence, I was able…

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Arriving for the OWMD on a non-stop with a fuel-stop!

The MegaDo is a sea of aviation experiences, or so am I told. And to come into the MegaDo will be marked by experiences like the British Airways Denial of Service and a fuel-stop on a non-stop flight was only symbolic. I was reading a few days back on the Wall Street Journal that Transatlantic flights on smaller planes were now having to make a fuel stop before they managed to get to their destination After I arrived in Brussels on Jet Airways 228, I was to further go to JFK on an American Airlines flight AA171 (BRU-JFK) which was going to fly on an American Airlines 757-200. When I did arrive at the gate agent’s counter after clearing transit…

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Sir, British Airways is not a part of oneworld but we do welcome oneworld members…

I was at Mumbai Airport (BOM) earlier today, to take the first leg of my flight to New York. Middle of the night flights are quite my forte, but it turned out that this time my usual flight to Brussels 9W228 was taking off at 03:00 AM. The schedule to bring it to BRU late is the first time I knew of it, because I usually travel on this flight 3-4 times a year at least, and it has always been at about 01:00 to 01:30 AM. The silver lining this time seemed to be the fact that I was booked on an American Airlines codeshare (AA7836) because I was further continuing on an AA flight to JFK. Now, in…

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I’m off to fetch some MegaDo swag for all of you! Its a giveaway!

Its here, tonight. I’m off to my 28,600 miles, ten days, nine airports, meet three airlines and make 171 new friends trip and it is called the oneworld MegaDo. I’ve been chronicling my preparation for the MegaDo over the past 10 weeks, and you all could read it here. It should be exciting, and I’ll learn a lot of ways to travel without sleep and jetlag hopefully! We, the MegaDoers, are obviously not going for anything else but the hunt for the perfect swag. Randy Petersen gave a little teaser of what was coming our way on the MegaDo website which looked like this:   This is only a peep of what is coming. There is all the goodies from the airlines…

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The Brit visa? Why so expensive? And telemarketing infested?

If you read the visa word and came over, take note this is not a credit card hawking post. Just a simple rant! Now that we have that out of the way, lets begin. For the upcoming oneworld MegaDo, I signed on for the optional segment across the pond in London. A few days ago, while flipping through my passport, I realised my UK visa had expired and I needed a new sticker. Usually, since I travel often on work, I count on the office to pay for my visa expenses, but this being a personal trip, I started to read the rules. Here is what came up at the section for visa charges: Now here is my problem. This…

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The lifeline for Indian airlines is on its way

A lot of ink has been spent worrying about Indian airline companies in the past few months, with all the $ costs of their plane leases, jet fuel and other expenses going up 20% on one side for no fault of theirs, and they being forced to sell tickets on a low cost to compete with the government-owned underdog. All these blokes who fly planes in India do not have a government lifeline from my tax money as Air India does, and evidently, have been priming for a shutdown (at least speculation is such!) Everybody out there believes there is a huge market in India for aviation. If only 5.5 million passengers out of a billion+ population flew inside India in…

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The new Virgin Atlantic Salt n Pepper Shakers are here!

  Remember these? Some of you might do and have a pair at your homes. These are the famous Aeroplane design Salt and Pepper shakers Virgin Atlantic put out in the Upper Class of their flights for 12 years. Designed by an in-house team, thousands of them got pinched and it became a collectible item. I for one never got one (sigh!). They became so popular that VS had to put out the pinched from Virgin Atlantic stamp on these, but they still kept going. Now October 2011, VS decided to discontinue them. But the good news is, they’ve replaced them with a new brilliant Cocktail designed Salt and Pepper shakers which are now on board the Upper Class. Have a…

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Are you booked on American ORD-DEL/DEL-ORD AA292/293 after February 2012?

I’m jumping into the customer care domain for a bit to inform all of you about your options if you are booked to travel on the service from the soon to be defunct Chicago Delhi service of American Airlines. Like you know, the last flight into Delhi from Chicago (AA292) flies on Feb 28, 2012 and arrives on Feb 29, 2012. On Delhi to Chicago (AA293), the last flight takes off on Mar 1, 2012 and arrives in Chicago on the same day. Now, a lot many of you may be booked on the flight after these dates and may have already heard from AA on rebookings. If you have not, please do contact your travel agent or American Airlines…

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1 Week to OWMD: Preparing for Seat 33A

Its almost looking in my face and I think I am excited for my first MegaDo this coming week. Yes, going away from work for a whole ten days means I am having to do the extra hours over the already extra hours I put in at work everyday. So, I am just trying to make sure everything is in order when I finally leave home for the airport. The next update on the oneworld MegaDo I’ll post is most probably going to be when I get started with my MegaDo journey, but I sure do have something exciting for you all and I am waiting for some confirmations before I post it out here 😉 Lets catch up with…

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