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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Going Dutch: Introduction

Introduction Check-in: Clipper Lounge, Terminal 2, Mumbai Airborne: Flight 9W228 (BOM-BRU), Jet Airways, Premiere (A332) Hotel Manhattan, Rotterdam Hotel Sheraton Brussels Airport, Brussels Check-in: Jet Airways Lounge, Brussels Airborne: Flight 9W227 (BRU-BOM), Jet Airways, Premiere (A333) Earlier this month I needed to plan a trip to The Netherlands, not for fun but for work. The direct route from Mumbai (BOM) to Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS) has only one flight, which is actually a SkyTeam flight operated by Delta on the route Mumbai – Amsterdam – Atlanta, using their Fifth Freedom rights. However, having travelled on that flight once, I decided I did not like it much. What could you expect of Delta afterall? They took 1.5 hours just to serve me…

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Discounts on Jet Airways domestic & international mileage redemption extended till September 30

Last year in March, Jet Airways had introduced a promotional discount of 20% for domestic redemptions in Jet Airways Economy and Premiere Cabins, only if you booked the redemption tickets online. This promotion was extended till March 31, 2013, and now has been further extended till September 30, 2013. As per this promotion, if you redeem your Jet Privilege miles online (and complete the ticketing online), you get a 20% discount which is automatically factored in while displaying the redemption. If you want to know the redemption cost (100%) for your sector, you can check the mileage calculator here. However, the T&C clearly state that We will be unable to extend the 20% OFF on redemption JPMiles offer, towards such…

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Last day to book your Priority Club Awards on the old rates

Priority Club, the loyalty program of the Intercontinental Hotel Group, decided to readjust their loyalty program this year again in January 2013. They moved from a brand-based system, to a category-based system, where each property could cost differently depending on the category it is going to be housed in. Here is the earlier redemption chart (pre-18 January 2013): and here is the new one: Now, I pulled up the information for the various IHG properties in India, and most of the properties do see a downward readjustment, so it makes sense to book these properties with the new rates and you can do that online at www.priorityclub.com. Brand City Priority Club Points (Old) Priority Club Points (New) Difference Crowne Plaza…

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Moving on…

To a new digital lounge. I think there could have been an interesting contest brewing amongst various BoardingArea bloggers about the most interesting headline to break the news. But, in short, this weekend is maintenance weekend, and BoardingArea is going through a server upgrade on Friday and Saturday. You will not be able to comment, and I won’t be able to post during this period. However the entire archives are open for you to read. We should be back online on Sunday evening. If there is something you want to know, or be in touch, feel free to be in touch with me at @livefromalounge on twitter or www.facebook.com/LiveFromALounge. Have a great weekend! This message will self destruct in 48…

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Mumbai to Europe for 30K FlyingBlue Miles, USA for 55K miles, all in biz class (and vice versa)

FlyingBlue, the loyalty program of KLM/Air France, recently published their promo-award charts for the months of March and April 2013. FB’s promo awards essentially provide you with a 50% off on mileage requirement using FB miles for the period concerned. Now, there were some sweet spots from my perspective for the first time. The usual redemption rate from India to Europe on Flying Blue in Business is 60K miles for a one-way redemption, but for the next two months, one could get a business class seat for the price of an economy redemption, i.e., 30K miles one-way and 60K miles roundtrip on Air France. Take for instance, this sample booking from Mumbai to Oslo, which prices at 30K miles +…

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Cathay Pacific offers 30% discount on flight redemptions with Asia Miles

I know it has been a Cathay kind of day. Cathay Pacific is offering a 30% discount of miles required on redemption bookings on Asia Miles for travel on Cathay Pacific/DragonAir to India, HK, Mainland China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, Middle East, Australia and select European ports (USA is excluded). Essentially, the following airports are excluded: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver, Amsterdam, London, Moscow, Rome, and Auckland. The promotion is valid for reservations till March 31, 2013 and travel till June 2013 in the economy cabin. What drives me crazy, is that the only way to do this is to call Cathay Pacific or fill up the form online (and the disclaimer in red is…

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Double miles & free seats to Asia on Cathay Pacific Premium Economy

Cathay Pacific has been adding Premium Economy seats since early 2012 to its planes over the past months, and has steadily introduced it on the Indian flights as well. To promote the Premium Economy product, they are offering double miles for travel in Premium Economy, wherever the service is available. From India, this was available on the Delhi – Hong Kong route and will be made available on the Mumbai – Hong Kong Route from March 2, 2013 onwards. The Hyderabad &  Chennai flights are also being upgraded. If you are a new member to the Asia Miles product, you will additionally earn 500 miles to sign on. For this promotion, you need to register, and then book tickets in…

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Jet-Etihad come closer, EY buys 9W’s LHR slots

Jet and Etihad have been known to be trying to make a deal since September 2012. Speculation about this deal came out about that time period, since when the deal moved towards closure. At this moment, we heard there is a little stall, with Etihad being worried about the Indian Government’s policies on aviation. The backroom also said there was difference of opinion on how the management of the airline and its board was supposed to be organised. This led to 9W’s faresale last week to generate cash as a precautionary measure. However, looks like things are falling in place now. To tide over the current difficulties, Jet Airways has concluded a deal yesterday, to sell its 3 airport slots…

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Air India sale fares still available

While the Jet Airways  sales came and went over last week, Air India was late to the party of announcing cheaper air fares. However, their fare announcement did not come with an expiry date it seems, and when I checked for some tickets this morning, I could still see that Air India was selling tickets at the new promotional prices they announced last week. These fares are available for dates of travel beyond 7 days, and up to September 30, and could be booked on www.airindia.in, any travel portal or an offline travel agency. This seems like a good opportunity for those who still have not been able to decide on their plans. If you know your timelines now, you…

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Getting around the annoying convenience fee on Indian airlines

I know I know, all of you are very very annoyed by the new transaction/convenience fees that have been out there from various airlines for a while now. Even though the Supreme Court of India recently ruled that airlines could not charge a separate transaction fee over and above the displayed fares, they have renamed it CONvenience fee and continue to charge this fee, even those who announce proudly, like Indigo and SpiceJet. Declaration Actual Travel Agents and online travel agents have been, on similar lines, popping up a booking fee right before payment is made, which makes you believe through the booking process that you are booking tickets with a x value, but it turns up to have a Rs.…

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Air India puts one million seats on sale for travel till Sep 30

I hope you guys have been enjoying the first discount party of 2013, which has been brought to you by Jet Airways, Indigo and Spicejet. I know GoAir joined the party too, but has been patchy, so I haven’t given it a big look. If you want to check out how to make good use of the sale, which exists till February 24, 2013, you should look at this post I wrote a short while back. Now, with all of them out there, Air India could have not been far behind, right? So, they have announced a fare sale too, and for those of you who cannot find Jet Airways tickets due to whatever reason, you should head to www.airindia.in…

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