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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Jet Airways cuts lounges across India w.e.f. Jan 1, 2012

Somehow Jet Airways’ does not seem ever interested in informing this lowly Gold member of their JetPrivilege program about their new initiatives, so I’ve had to depend on FlyerTalk for this update. Jet Airways has apparently being ‘Reviewing’ its lounge contracts with all the airports it operates with in India, and is terminating about 10 of them. 9W, in an email sent out to select members of the Jet Privilege program, believes that the product offering would become diluted or unviable at these airports, and hence is terminating them from January 1, 2012. Going forward, Jet Privilege will offer lounge access at the following airports domestically, and that too only for Platinum, Gold, Silver and Jet Airways Citibank Credit Card…

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Radisson Big Night Giveaway 50,000 points posted!

As you might have read on BoardingArea a while back, Radisson started a Big Night Giveaway to launch their Radisson Blu brand in the USA, and is offering 50,000 Gold Passport points to everyone of the first 50K people to register at the website www.radissonbignightgiveaway.com and stay at least one night at the Radisson brand of properties in the USA till December 30,2011. Since I was anyways heading to the USA, specifically Chicago for achieving my Executive Platinum with AA, and I needed a hotel to stay for a night in Chicago, I decided to head to the Blu for the stay and lap up the points as well. Now, 50K points may be worth a good hotel night at…

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Lets go ‘Scoot’ing…

I know I have a problem with the name of Scoot because it reminds me of ground transport more than air transport. But what the heck, these guys have been making good progress in getting up in the air pretty soon. The Singapore Airlines-owned airline will be open for business in mid-2012, and has decided that the Singapore-Sydney sector will be the first one where it will fly. And to celebrate the launch of the airline, they are giving away two roundtrips in the premium cabins on the launch flights for free (SIN-SYD-SIN and SYD-SIN-SYD). All you got to do is sign up for their updates, and they’ll make a draw on 20th February 2012 to decide who takes the flight. Now,…

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How to make a rough day rougher? Easy, delay a ultra long haul flight by about 3 hours…to start with

While I was still recovering from the bout of slamming doors and interconnecting rooms and disturbed sleep on my last night in Chicago, there is much more that was going to go wrong it seems than right. I arrived in time for my ORD-DEL flight AA292 which was boarding from gate K12 at O’Hare. I saw the plane arrive at the gate about an hour and forty minutes prior to departure (at about 2 PM for the 3:40 PM departure). Now I don’t know if it was the same plane that they use every day or rotate planes on the route. I’d assume everything was alright and I sat easy at the Admirals Club doing my final rounds of email…

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More disclosure from hotel front-desks please!

I am almost done with my trip to Chicago and San Francisco and on my way back to Mumbai (via Delhi), but I am groggy and sleepy as I write this. Reason? No, I did not go out and party in town, not that the foggy overcast weather of Chicago permitted me to last night. I was also not a spent force at the Bar 151. But one good deed from the Hyatt Regency Chicago did me in. So, i booked up my stay here a week to ten days back, and the hotel decided to put me up at the Junior Suite in the East Wing because of the Diamond status. Gracias, I said to them, although I wondered…

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The AA/BA/IB transatlantic bonus miles promo is extended

AA, along with its transatlantic JV partners British Airways and Iberia has been offering a bonus mileage program for transatlantic flights on BA, IB or AA for a while now. On the table is the opportunity to earn 25K bonus miles on the first eligible TATL flight, 35K on the second TATL flight and 45K on the third and onwards…The initial promo was valid till end of 2011, but now the offer is extended to 15 March 2012. As earlier expected, it looks like AA is churning out miles like crazy and making sure it rewards loyal flyers enough to carry them along till they are out of the bankruptcy! While the opportunity for economy flyers is limited, since it is…

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Kingfisher Airlines set to join the oneworld alliance in February 2012

The oneworld alliance and Kingfisher Airlines announced today that they had picked a date for the welcome of Kingfisher Airlines onboard the alliance, and February 10, 2012 onwards, IT will be a full member. This will make Kingfisher the first airline from India to head into an alliance, after Star Alliance and Air India quite did not work out as of July 2011. It is good news that despite its recent financial difficulties the airline will now be the 13th carrier to come on board the alliance. In 2010, British Airways had sponsored the application for Kingfisher to become a full member, and both have been working together on various parts of the partnership to close this to its logical…

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5 Weeks to OWMD: Preparing for Seat 33A!

I am writing this post sitting in SFO, which is about 7,700 miles away from my normal daily posting schedule in BOM. But then, this is all a part of preparing for all the exciting things that are going to happen on the oneworld MegaDo in January 2012. Hence I am hoping the slight delay in posting from a new city will be excused. In the past week, 3 new passengers got on board the oneworld MegaDo charter. One of them was Pat, who takes away Randy’s seat on the charter. Her post was the lucky one amongst the over 77,000 posted on the thread which Randy started to give away his seat. Congrats Pat, and I hope to see…

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130 hours to AA Executive Platinum

Living in India, a land of no airline alliances yet, I figure it was no point siding with an alliance just yet. Regular readers would observe that I’d fly Jet Airways most of the times to places I need to go to, since they service most key bases from India where I’d be expected to travel on work in Europe, USA and Asia. But, with the rapidly downgrading Jet Privilege program and the increasing difficulty with which I could get a seat or two for awards, I figured I’d have to change tack a bit. As a participant of the oneworld MegaDo in January, I was offered a status challenge on American Airlines which I gladly signed up for. The…

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Jet Airways follows the Olive theory, axes the meal service bit-by-bit

I am aware that an airline executive once made the famous suggestion to nick off one olive from each meal served, and the airline saved about $40,000 on those olives per annum. I am writing this post 33,000 feet in the air on a BOM-DEL flight 9W 361. Here is a little game for you to play, the good old find the difference types:   The first picture above you’ll see is from a BOM-MAA Jet Airways flight in April 2011, which was serving dinner. The next one is from today on the BOM-DEL route where I again was served dinner. Have you been able to find out about 5 differences between the two? Take your time. Now list down…

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A flying palace: A private A380 with all the bells and whistles…

Imagine a 3- floor Airbus A380 with a private concert hall, a flying garage to park your Royce or Maybach, and a Turkish bath on separate floors. I’d name it a flying palace though you could call it by any other name. Word has it that a member of the Saudi Royal family is going to get one of these 0.5 billion USD luxury birds soon, to be able to retire their B747 they use right now. The Airbus airframe, with a list price of about USD 370 million, is being modified with expensive fittings of USD 170 million by the UK based design firm DesignQ, who helped Virgin Atlantic design the Upper Class Suite. The private jet will have …

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