Stories by John Nguyen

SENIOR CORRESPONDENT - LOS ANGELES, CA. With LAX serving as a second home, John enjoys being confined to an aluminum (or now carbon composite) cylinder jetting through the air miles above the terra firma. He has logged millions of miles in such conditions and enjoyed it 99% of the time. Email: You can also read more about John's non-AVGeek musings on his personal blog, VNAFlyer.
American"s new premium economy seats — Photo: American Airlines

American Airlines is hosting a press conference on Wednesday, January 21, at the world-famous Hollywood Bowl, and AirlineReporter has been invited to attend this special “preview” for the media.

The hook from the invitation: there will be “some very exciting announcements to unveil about their continued growth and expansion in Los Angeles, including new services, partnerships, and programs that will be rolled out in 2016 at LAX and citywide!”

What could this mean? Does American have some big news for flyers… or will it be all fluff and circumstance?

American seems to be taking a page out of the playbook of oneworld partner Qatar Airways on hosting a big event at a fancy LA-area venue. There have been whispers of what will be announced, but what is clear is that this will have a very L.A.-centric focus, in terms of new routes, service, and offerings. While nothing is confirmed yet, the “big one” everyone is wondering about is whether there will be new service from Los Angeles to Hong Kong, most prominently rumored all the way back last November by Twitter user @xJonNYC, who also posts as JonNYC on the TravelingBetter and Flyertalk travel forums.

In my last story, I discussed the process and reasoning for using miles for an economy ticket on an American Airlines Boeing 777-300ER from Los Angeles to Sydney. In this story, I am going to share the actual flight experience and discuss if this was the right call.

The day came, and we headed out to dinner before going to LAX to catch our evening flight. While taking our dinner at a leisurely pace, I checked on our flight status and realized that I had confused the departure time as being 10:50pm instead of 9:50pm; fortunately I caught my mistake with enough time to rush through our meal and still make it to the airport comfortably.

Thankfully, there were no lines at American’s Priority check-in counters at Terminal 4, even with the bank of red-eye flights leaving that evening; apparently December 23 was an unpopular day to fly. We had no bags to check, but we couldn’t check in online; this was due to a new procedure being implemented for international flights, where additional data had to be collected in person and entered into our flight records. A bit annoying.