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: john@airlinereporter.com. You can also read more about John's non-AVGeek musings on his personal blog, VNAFlyer.

http://VNAFlyer.blogspot.com

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.

Flight attendants served as ushers and assistants for Qatar's press conference on january 12, 2016 in Beverly Hills. Photo: John Nguyen | AirlineReporter

Qatar Airways held a press conference on Tuesday to highlight the carrier’s entry into the Los Angeles market, with His Excellency, Qatar Group CEO Akbar Al Baker, providing his insights into the new service, as well has having some choice words regarding what he views as an unwarranted attack on his airline by the three big US-based carriers. AirlineReporter was on hand to live-tweet the event, and Al Baker did not disappoint.

Welcome to Australia!

Less than a week after covering American Airlines’ launch of their new Los Angeles-Sydney service, I found myself onboard Flight 73 on a last-minute holiday down under. The route featured American’s flagship Boeing 777-300ER, with my personal-favorite business class seat. In spite of holding status on both American and Alaska, which would entitle me to at least a little bit more leg and elbow room in coach, I willingly (!) chose to sit in a regular economy seat for a 15-hour flight… and managed to survive.  A feat made even more impressive (or harrowing, depending on your point-of-view) by the fact that I was accompanied by my wife.

Now, I’d like to claim credit for taking one for the AirlineReporter team and be able to gloat for making the trip, but I’m not as magnanimous as my colleague JL, who flew a Spirit Airlines Bare Fare “for science.” There were very strategic, practical, and self-serving reasons for booking seats behind the curtain instead of in front of it.

I will split my experience into two stories; the first talking about why I choose economy, and then the second giving my actual flight review.