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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First glimpses of Kingfisher Airlines sporting the oneworld logo

I was over at the Mumbai Marathon 2012 like every year, and came across an interesting visual that caught my eye. Kingfisher Airlines, for whatever bad shape they are in, is on its way to joining the oneworld alliance. Now, speculation has been on all this while if they will join or not, or will they survive that far. I hope you signed on for your free Ruby status via Kingfisher. However, Kingfisher seems to be confident. They are supposed to be on board on 10th February 2012. However, a month out, they already are putting out promotional material advertising their oneworld connection at the Marathon today. Have a look: Kingfisher Elites to receive new cards If you’re a Kingfisher…

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Jet Airways to add 17 Boeing 737-800 planes to the fleet

It is not all so gloomy out there, or so it looks like. Jet Airways, the market leader in India, has ordered Next Generation 17 Boeing 737-800 planes this month from the Boeing company. And this, after it already has 10 737-800s which are still due to be received from Boeing as per the last order they placed aeons ago.The current order is a confirmation of a 20-B737-800s options that Boeing and Jet Airways guys had announced in 2007, but did not go ahead with at that time. For Jet Airways, this means they have 27 Boeing 737-800s on order now, and which means that the next 1.5 years when these planes will come on-stream,Jet will perhaps replace the leased…

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‘Tis the season of withdrawals. Air Asia X out of India and Europe

Just while I was trying to get over the loss of American Airlines ORD-DEL, the bad news seems to be just starting to roll in. Just today, Air Asia X, the long haul carrier of the low-cost Air Asia group, decided to pull out of India and Europe. Air Asia used to operate an A330 service to Mumbai and Delhi from Kuala Lampur, and an A340 service to Paris and London. They recently scaled down these services in the Winter 2011 schedule. Now, with effect from February 1, 2012 Air Asia X will stop flying to Mumbai, and from March 23, 2012, the Delhi service will stop. Why? Its the economy, and the high fuel prices, and the low tourism industry,…

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Jet Airways finally has some international seats for redemption

Alright, I did not intend to trick you all with that statement, but you sure do know how frustrating it can be to look out for awards to fly on Jet Airways metal. They have the suites in F but these are never available, and the herringbones in J come right at the end if there are any left. Heck, of late even the Y seats are hard to find. But it looks like you finally have some redemption opportunities this summer and you should see if you want to use your JP Miles or partner miles to book up these seats.Some folks on FT managed to look up lots of availibility this afternoon (India time) and managed to snag…

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Dinner with the Leading Hotels of the World

Last night, I was over at one of my favourite places in Mumbai, the Chambers Terrace of the Taj Mahal Palace, at the invitation of the Leading Hotels of the World. The LHW invited me over for their annual India Showcase, which is a cocktail evening they hold every year for clients, potential clients and some media publications. And this was thanks to the fact that I have patronised some of their hotels for a while. The last I stayed at was the grand Hotel Hessischer Hof in Frankfurt in 2010. This last evening, a total of 41 hotels were going to be over. This included names like the Capella (Singapore), Orient-Express, Hotel Okura (Tokyo, Japan) and the The Datai (Malaysia).…

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SPG Contest on Facebook to giveaway 2 nights in their Asia-Pacific properties for 2!

SPG is conducting a voting-based contest on its Facebook page to give away two nights at one of their 60 Asia-Pacific properties. The contest is called ‘2 days of Happy’, and runs through till January 26, 2012  23:59 (UTC+10). Here is what you got to do to get your ‘two days of happy’! Like them on Facebook, give them your personal details and SPG membership number if you have one, make an entry in the contest by selecting which property you’d like to go for the ‘2 Days of Happy’ and put it up for voting. The member with the maximum votes at the end of the contest gets the Grand Prize of airfare plus 2 nights stay at the…

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American discontinues its only flight to India, what is next?

  I woke up pretty bummed this morning, reading it first on Lucky’s blog, that American Airlines is discontinuing their ORD-DEL-ORD flight AA292/293 with effect from March 1, 2012.  The airline is perhaps using its time under the Chap 11 to take some hard calls, and killing their longest flight seems to be one of them. American has been offering this route on a Boeing 777-200 since November 2005, and till so far, it was their only route serving India. I was on this flight hardly 20 days back on my EXP qualification spree, but it looks like a no-brainer that those SWUs I earned will not be useful much longer. According to an article on The Street which quotes a veteran airline analyst…

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Jet Airways follows Kingfisher Airlines and Air India downhill

Airlines in India have really been taken on the downward spiral, for their own reasons. But the common thread of going down for all of them was having to offer low fares which did not even cover the cost of fuel. Everyone in the Indian aviation market blamed Air India for the predatory pricing, where they were keeping ticket prices really low, and hence everyone else had to follow suit to be competitive.The US Dollar/Indian Rupee moving 20% in the USD’s favour did not help them either, because all of a sudden, fuel costs, unhedged for all of them most of the time, were up 20%. Jet Airways, the classiest and best Indian airline for domestic travel for long, and…

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Birdwatch: Photo # 5 (SQ Cargo)

Reader Indranil sends in this picture of the SQ Mega Ark. He says that SQ does not go for any livery changes after one of its promotional livery plane crashed in Taiwan. Till date the only difference is the SQ freighters (747-s which are called Mega Arks). Here is one of them, shot from the East Coast Park, Singapore, on its approach to Singapore Changi Airport. Thank you Indranil! Airline: Singapore Airlines (Cargo) Location: On approach to Changi Airport Runway 02L Airframe: Boeing 747-412F/SCD If you want to share a picture of a plane, an airport, or anything aviation related, please send it across to aj@livefromalounge.com with the details and I’ll put it up here. Thank you!  

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Malaysia Airlines Business Class companion tickets from India all of 2012

Malaysia Airlines and IndusInd Bank came together for an exclusive offer valid on Malaysia Airlines J class all of 2012. If you hold the IndusInd Platinum or Signature Credit Cards, or one of the older versions from Deutsche Bank, you’re in for the treat. For all of 2012, buying a J class ticket on Malaysian gets you to travel with a companion free. Malaysia Airlines is a future oneworld carrier, and one of the good South East Asian carriers. According to the promotion details on IndusInd website, the promo is valid on all IATA fares in Business Class, so I’d go out on one leg and hope that this should also be valid for the Discounted Business class fares which is not usually the case…

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Another Emirates Global Sale till January 9th 2012

Across 100 destinations where Emirates operates, this airline is offering a global sale which is going to last till 9th January 2012 local time, and valid for economy, business as well as first class seating. Members of the Skywards program get added discounts via promocodes they may have received already. The minimum stay required is 3 days, and you can book a free stopover in Dubai either ways. So, this looks like an attractive promotion if you are looking to travel between 22nd January 2012 and 30th June 2012. Here are the countries where the promo is being made: The offers look good but are capacity controlled. For instance, a return trip between New York and India (coach) would cost…

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