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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Sorry AJ, no TSA-Pre for you!

Err, I know the sense of entitlement this post evokes, but stay with me, and hear my story of le-sigh and disappointment. The title of this post the exact words I heard from the TSA this evening at JFK. I am flying the American Airlines First Class in their 3-class Flagship Service First Class today, in fact this post is being written somewhere up in the air right now. This made me eligible to use the brand new Flagship Check-In service introduced by American Airlines earlier this month at Terminal 8, New York JFK. After a red carpet experience with American’s staff at JFK, the agent at the check-in counter hands me back my Indian passport and my boarding pass,…

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Citibank PremierMiles enhances mileage earning from June 2013

I’ve been an ardent fan of the Citibank PremierMiles Credit Card. I believe its a secular mileage-earning credit card, and pays you a good amount of miles for your travel spends, specifically airline bookings, and I rate it high up there in my mileage earning CC 101. However, I’ve been disappointed a bit this past year, since they lost Jet Airways as a mileage transfer partner, and capped off the limit for mileage earning on tickets to Rs. 500,000 per annum, amongst other devaluations. However, seems like some of these changes are out of the window, and there are some real ‘enhancements’ in the true sense of the word and not how rhetorically airlines/credit cards/loyalty programs use the term these…

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I got a flat tire on a plane!

On my way back from the Boarding Area Conference (BACon) at Colorado Springs which ended today, I was booked on a very simple route to get to New York via Dallas/Fort Worth in the afternoon. If all would have been well, I’d have been on the East Coast by now, sleeping in a hotel room in Manhattan. However, it was not to be. Once we were seated on our slightly delayed flight, the captain informed us we had a flat tire on the plane, which could happen on landing at high altitude airports such as COS, and as such, they won’t be able to move before the tire was changed. The good news, he said was, they had a tire…

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Jet Airways’ promotion: Get Rs.500-1000 off on your next flight booking

A week ago, I posted about a promotional sale that Jet Airways had launched around its global ops to celebrate its 20th anniversary. However, there was nothing for India announced then. However, that offer came soon after. Jet Airways is offering for its domestic flyers in India, a discount code on your next booking, if you book for travel commencing on or after June 16, 2013. For a one-way reservation in Economy or Premiere, you get a coupon code for Rs. 500 off on your next booking, and for a return trip booking, you get Rs. 1,000 off on your next reservation (valid only on domestic travel). The coupon codes need to be used up before September 30, 2013, however…

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Unbundled airfares begin to take off: Indigo, Air India and Jet Airways go first

Unbundling airfares was expected to take off in a while, however the airlines are already set to go ahead and charge exotic varieties of add-on charges on top of your ticketed price right away. Indigo was one of the first to take off with the new charges, and will now charge an additional Rs. 200 if you want to pre-book a window or aisle seats on their planes. If you want a front row seat or an emergency exit, you should be ready to fork out another Rs. 500 for this privilege. They’ve fondly called this Seat Plus. If you intend to pre-assign a non-premium seat, just pay Rs. 100. This is working out exactly as I predicted on May…

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Lounge Bites: May 05, 2013

I’m just trying to wriggle my way out of a bad bout of cold and flu which kept me out of action since 2-3 days. I figured a complete, medicinal recovery would be better than trying to drag my feet and keep up with work and other stuff, so I missed out some things. Here is a recap for you: Travel Agents across India seem to be off work on Tuesday 7th May 2013. So, if you depend on them, organise your business a day before or after. I am still refusing to believe this fully, but I am scared for flying Air India if this is true. Apparently on a Bangkok – Delhi flight, both the pilots went to…

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Jet Airways’ North America, Europe & SE Asia anniversary discounts (book today)

On the occasion of Jet Airways’ 20th anniversary, Jet Airways is offering promotional discounts for their flights originating from Newark, ending into any destination operated by Jet Airways, if you book by the 5th of May 2013 using their US website. Be sure to use the following coupon codes while making the fare search, though I am not sure $20 for a business class ticket (Premiere) is worth it. For those who live in Europe, there is a different promotion, a flat out 20% off if you book today (May 5) using the Belgian Jet Airways website.

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How will unbundling work out for India?

I’m pretty sure the low-fare airlines in India are already set with product propositions as to how they will charge for the various propositions such as checked bags and sale of food in-flight. Like I wrote on Monday, the Indian aviation regulator did permit unbundling of fares, which included preferential seating, checked bags and other services, a full list available here. On a closer inspection, it does look like this stuff is at least a couple of months away, even if airlines start implementing systematic changes now. I would imagine a whole lot of this strategy will want to leverage on the internet to build in the services into the ticket, i.e., you buy it online to ensure that you…

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A quick 250-1000 JP Miles for you!

Last week I wrote about the potential to win upto 86,400 JP Miles if you went into a massive referral scheme for the Jet Airways American Express Credit Card, via the contest they have up on Facebook. While I did not go all out and spam everyone on my timeline with the referrals, I did plant a lead into their systems to get myself the card. After this, I was given the opportunity to scratch a virtual card, and it turned up with 250 JP Miles for applying. Now, to my surprise, these miles posted even before I got a call for the card. And guess what? Even those who already have the card would get these miles. Thank you…

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Targeted AA promotions offering instant status till August 2013

While I am an Executive Platinum and so AA is not sending me out the invitation to Concierge Key, not yet at least, they seemed to have fired out a lot of emails offering targeted status to various American Airlines flyers. It seems AA flyers with no status have received a promotion to sign up for instant Gold status, and they get complimentary status till August 31, 2013 + 10 500-mile upgrades (just for registering!!). If they earn 6000 miles or points during April 29 and August 31, 2013, they get to keep the status till February 28, 2015. The flying needs to be on AA, BA, IB, QF and JA. Some flyers have reported that they have received a…

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India, welcome to unbundled fares!

The Indian Civil Aviation market is up for a change, since after years of disallowing unbundling of fares, the aviation regulator & minister have finally come around to allow this move, in line with global practices. As per the new regulations, notified earlier this evening, the aviation regulator has allowed the following services to be charged for separately: Preferential seating Meal/snack/drink charges (except drinking water) Charge for using Airlines’ lounges Check in baggage charges Sports equipment carriage Musical instrument carriage Fee for special declaration of valuable baggage The regulator expects that base prices of tickets will go down when various services will be unbundled, however, I do not expect this to be the case because airlines in India would rather…

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