24+ Hours in Los Angeles – Introduction
American Express The Centurion Studio Seattle
Alaska Airlines Economy Class B737 Seattle to Los Angeles
Exploring Los Angeles
Alaska Airlines Board Room Los Angeles
Alaska Airlines Economy Class B737 Los Angeles to Seattle
I had absolutely zero plans for last weekend and so did my mum, apparently. Since Seattle has entered the ‘gloomy’ phase (where it constantly rains and is dark outside), we both decided it would be nice to fly somewhere for the weekend and maybe relax and warm up a bit.
After thinking about it for about thirty seconds, we both decided California. We’ve been to San Francisco before, but it has been a long time since we’ve been to Los Angeles.. and so we decided on LA. She really wanted to fly First Class, however I explained that it really didn’t make sense to pay four times the miles just to fly First Class on a 2 hour flight (plus it would’ve been Alaska Airlines First Class). I also explained that Economy would be just 7500 miles (BA Avios) and First Class would cost 30k.. definitely not worth it! I also told her that for the cost of one First Class flight, we could get more Economy trips… she was happy about that. Plus, our Economy experience was pleasant and I didn’t feel like I’m missing anything by not being in First Class.
I began looking for flights on Alaska from SEA to LAX and back on either Thursday night or anytime on Friday, I didn’t find anything for two people in “W” class (the Saver Economy class), so I set up some ExpertFlyer alerts and as I woke up on Friday morning, I checked my email and noticed a few flights available on Friday with “W2” (two seats in W class). I woke up at 07:00 and the flight was at 11:00… challenge accepted! So I woke my mum and told her the details, she happily agreed and began packing as I got on the phone with BA Executive Club meanwhile I was booking a car rental, finding a hotel, and packing… madness, I tell you!
By the time someone at BA answered the phone, it was 07:30. The ticket was issued at 08:00 and I thanked the agent and tried to check-in online… then I noticed he spelled my mum’s name completely wrong! He read me back the name as I spelled it to him and to me it was correct. $#!t!! So I call back BA and someone thankfully answers the phone quickly, I explain everything and they say the stupidest thing possible:
Sorry sir, I cannot do anything about this.
What the F@#k?! I know that BA cannot cancel or change awards within 24 hours of departure (or so they say), but this was clearly an agent error. I told her it wasn’t my fault the agent typed the name wrong and she said she could cancel one ticket (and I wouldn’t get the refund..) and keep the other. I wasn’t going to do that since I had exactly 30k Avios in my account (just enough to cover this trip). She was being a total bitch about it and wasn’t helpful at all. At this point we were both packed with a hotel and car booked, but with a f#$%-ed up ticket that BA was refusing to fix.
I got furious at this point and told her I wanted to speak to a manager and she said she would go speak on my behalf. It was already 08:30 and boarding was scheduled to being in under two hours. After twenty (!!) or so minutes, she comes back to tell me that she will call me back when she “figures out the situation”. I was borderline about to explode at the horrible customer service that BA was offering.. seriously?! Tell me they can’t do anything about it and that I wouldn’t get my Avios back because of an agent error? WTF? That just doesn’t happen, it doesn’t. She ended up calling me at 09:00 and said that “as a gesture of goodwill” (I hate it when they say that.. it isn’t a “gesture of goodwill” – it is what you should have done in the first place after f#$%ing up), she would cancel both tickets and refund me my Avios and $22 USD (taxes/fees). I “thank her” and hang up.
It is 09:15, we are packed, with a hotel and car booked, and no ticket on a flight that departs in less than two hours. Not giving up, I call BA Executive Club back and pray that those two award seats are released after the cancellation and can be booked again (the Avios returned to my account instantly after she cancelled the reservation… after telling me “it wasn’t possible”). A smart and kind agent answers the phone and quickly helps me book the new ticket (I had her spell out the names, twice), and finally everything looks alright. We ordered an uber and I did the check-in on my phone as we were heading to the airport (at around 09:40), I was surprised we got TSA Pre-Check after literally booking under two hours before departure (I did add our Known Traveler Numbers, obviously).
We arrived at the airport at ~10:00, about 20 minutes before scheduled boarding time. Our boarding gate was in the North Satellite and I needed to visit the Centurion Studio in Concourse B (since I haven’t been yet), we spent about fifteen minutes in the lounge and made it to the gate at about 10:35 and were among the last to board. What a crazy morning. I don’t think I’ve ever booked flights this close to departure, like ever. In the end the flights were as follows:
30 October: Alaska Airlines 452, Seattle – Los Angeles, departing at 11:00 arriving at 13:40
31 October: Alaska Airlines 457, Los Angeles – Seattle, departing at 17:35 arriving at 20:20
Total Cost: 30k BA Avios + ~$22 USD (taxes/fees)
We decided one night would be enough and I booked the W Hollywood, which is located right in Hollywood (as the name suggests). The hotel experience was far from what I would expect… the hotel was very nice, but the service wasn’t the best… more details in the hotel review.
Overall, we had an awesome time in LA and visited the surrounding areas such as Santa Monica and Malibu. It was nice to get away from the rain and cold that Seattle seems to have 9 months of the year. From what I remember, LA hasn’t changed much and probably won’t change anytime soon. As far as California goes, my favourite city remains San Francisco, it is much more beautiful and genuine than LA is. We had a nice weekend and I’m glad I was able to take my mum with me!