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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Do you rate airlines good or bad because of pretty airhostesses?

We all have our airline preferences and good reasons to be liking them or not. One of India’s mainstream newspapers DNA published a column by one of their regular columnists titled “A frequent flyer’s notes on airlines and airports.” The columnist is a French citizen based in India, and has some quirky views on the airlines of India. It seems he has good reason to believe that Kingfisher Airlines is still the best airline in India, in spite of whatever trouble they are going through right now. Here is his reasoning: Whatever has been said about Kingfisher, it’s the top airline in India: it has the newest wide-bodied planes, the prettiest airhostesses, the best service on the ground and aboard…

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A|Club goes Places to give you bonus check-in points

I admit I don’t know too many enthusiasts of the Accor hotels, but they do have a good brand in Sofitel and Novotel hotels, and the Ibis chain on the mid-end. Since it is easy to get a status match on this program, I have been a Gold member of their program for a long while. A|Club has now launched a new social app on Facebook, where it promises to give you bonus reward points if you signed up for it. All you have to do is to Like A|Club on Facebook, get access to the A|Club Places App, and fill up your details to sync your app with FB. Once done, your check-in at Accor club hotels will get…

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PIA accomodates passengers in the loo…

I rubbed my eyes in disbelief when I read this headline, but it seems its true. Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), the flag-carrier of Pakistan, had two passengers flying in the toilets on PK 303 from Lahore to Karachi. The report, originally published in Geo News, said, tongue-in-cheek: The captain of the national flag carriers’ flight PK 303 accommodated two passengers in the plane’s toilet, as all the seats in the plane were occupied and there was no more seat left for them. Through introduction of its amazing new service for its valued passengers, PIA really does justice to its slogan ‘Great people to fly with’ A little more digging revealed the airline was flying a B747 on this route, and that…

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Kingfisher staff quits en-mass, partial operations shut domestic and internationally

The murk with Kingfisher Airlines gets deeper by the day. The airline has a foot-to-mouth existence for the past few months and we all know that. They haven’t been able to pay salaries to the staff for the past 3 months, and last month there was news that many senior pilots have jumped ship to rival LCC Indigo Airlines, where they were offered a 4 month joining bonus if they signed up before 15th February 2012. There is breaking news on Indian television right now that over the past 2 days, i.e., 18th to 20th February 2012, about half the staff strength of 7,000 employees has put in their papers. As if not being paid for 3 months was not enough…

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Kingfisher Airlines networth eroded! IT systems responsible for oneworld delays

Kingfisher Airlines finally came around to accepting that their networth has been eroded when it announced its results on 15th February 2012, in a quietly posted investor relations presentation on its website at midnight. This was a statement made by the auditors of the airlines quite a while back in September 2011, but Kingfisher Airlines always disputed this statement. The amusing statement tucked away in the notes to the financial statements say: The Company has incurred substantial losses and its networth has been eroded. However, having regard to capital raising plans, group support, the request made by the Company to its bankers for further credit facilities, planned reconfiguration of aircrafts and other factors, these interim financial statements have been prepared…

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Review: Clipper Lounge, Mumbai CSI Airport Terminal 2

Introduction Clipper Lounge, Mumbai CSI Airport Terminal 2 Jet Airways Economy Class Mumbai to Brussels British Airways Galleries Club Lounge, Brussels National Airport American Airlines Business Class Brussels to New York JFK and Five-Star Arrival American Airlines Premium Check-in and Flagship Lounge, New York JFK American Airlines Economy Class JFK to London LHR American Airlines Arrivals Lounge, London LHR Sheraton Heathrow Hotel, London American Airlines Flagship Check-in and Flagship Lounge, London Heathrow American Airlines Economy Class London to Chicago American Airlines Flagship Lounge at Chicago ORD American Airlines First Class from Chicago ORD to Dallas Fort Worth Hyatt Regency Hotel, DFW Hyatt Regency Hotel, Bellevue Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel, Los Angeles Sheraton Gateway Hotel, Los Angeles American Airlines First…

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Finally, expect a global Indian airline

We’ve all seen a lot of press on Indian aviation going down the dumps. Yes it is true that Kingfisher Airlines is spiralling downwards, and Air India is surviving on my money (apart from other Indian taxpayers), but looks like when push comes to shove, it is finally the time for India’s government to get over its protective policy stance and give Indian airlines some rope. First up, they’ve allowed airlines to buy their own jet fuel from abroad, if they can facilitate the import and put them on the planes by themselves. And today, some more interesting developments took place. Countries sign bilateral agreements on the government level to control the capacity that can be flown from one country…

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Cathay Pacific Premium Economy is now available for booking

Back in December, I had written about the new Cathay Pacific Premium Economy product which was going to be launched in Q1 2012, and put up on Sydney, Toronto, New York and Vancouver flights from Hong Kong, before being put out on the rest of the network. These seats will have a separate cabin of their own, which will be not more than 34 seats at any time. So, privacy is assured, unlike some other Premium Eco products where you only get a better seat but in the front of the same cabin. Welcome drinks, including Champagne, will be offered, and the meals will be better than Y. Top it off with a big amenity kit, and noise cancelling headphones…

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More airlines cut flights to India including Austrian and Air France

It has not been long since the news of American Airlines and Air Asia X cutting back their flights to India has been in the news. Bad news is, there is more! A few days after Air Asia X announced their exit from Mumbai and Delhi airports, the assurance that no other Air Asia group flights would be withdrawn was broken. Thai Air Asia decided to cancel its 4 times weekly A320 service on Bangkok – Delhi from from 24th March 2012, with the last flight operating from Bangkok to Delhi on 23rd March 2012. Close on the heels, Austrian Airlines, a part of the Lufthansa Group, has decided to pull out of its 5 times a week Mumbai – Vienna service,…

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Your shot at Star Alliance Gold status and Round-The-World Business Class trip

Star Alliance has a new contest up and running for all of us, called Picture your Upgrade where the grand prize offers Star Alliance Gold status and a couple of Round The World Business Class tickets on Star Alliance carriers. The contest, open for participation till 4th April 2012, has a series of tasks where iPhone, Android and BlackBerry phone owners can find themselves using their phones to make entries using a special app for this contest, available for download on your respective App Stores. There are 7 weekly tasks on offer, and each task started last for two weeks. For instance, the first task was to click pictures of three airport departure boards using the app described above, and…

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Trip Report: Halfway around the world for the OWMD

Introduction Clipper Lounge, Mumbai CSI Airport Terminal 2 Jet Airways Economy Class Mumbai to Brussels British Airways Galleries Club Lounge, Brussels National Airport American Airlines Business Class Brussels to New York JFK and Five-Star Arrival American Airlines Premium Check-in and Flagship Lounge, New York JFK American Airlines Economy Class JFK to London LHR American Airlines Arrivals Lounge, London LHR Sheraton Heathrow Hotel, London American Airlines Flagship Check-in and Flagship Lounge, London Heathrow American Airlines Economy Class London to Chicago American Airlines Flagship Lounge at Chicago ORD American Airlines First Class from Chicago ORD to Dallas Fort Worth Hyatt Regency Hotel, DFW Hyatt Regency Hotel, Bellevue Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel, Los Angeles Sheraton Gateway Hotel, Los Angeles American Airlines First…

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