Los Angeles for 24 hoursby david daly on 11/16/10
When Virgin America kicked off a west coast price war last month with nonstop flights from NYC to LAX for as low as $99, I knew it was going to be too hard to sit out on these deals. My Continental OnePass miles were teetering at just under 20,000 miles for 2010, just 5,000 miles shy of earning elite status for all of 2011 (Which come with 2 free bags checked, priority check in and boarding, and better availability of upgrades and reward flights- not to mention a 25% mileage bonus every time I fly.
Ever since the United-Continental merger, it has been more attractive than ever to have status within the Star Alliance- as these two airlines now represent the largest airline in the world. I went searching for the cheapest and easiest way to secure a cheap flight to LAX (5,000 miles roundtrip) and some fun things to do on a whirlwind visit.
Even though flights were cheap, the notion of paying $219 still seemed a bit wasteful just for achieving status. I opted to cash in my Citibank Thankyou points (which are converted directly to the plane ticket's dollar value via their website- so cheaper flights are a better use of points) for a free nonstop United flight that would arrive LAX at noon on Tuesday (today) and depart at 2 pm wednesday (tomorrow). United offers its P.S. (Premium Service) flights from JFK to both LAX and SFO- which means that economy is "economy plus" with a generous amount of legroom (33 inches) and suposedly more refined service. It does not, however, mean that you will enjoy your own personal TV (like onjetblue, virgin, frontier, and most delta flights) so i was forced to watch a horrendous film called The Sorcerer's Apprentice on the shared main cabin overhead TVs.
When we landed in LA on time I hit the ground running (literally). I had just 2 hours to get my rental car ($42 on hotwire for 24 hours of wheels- a necessity in LA), hit In N Out burger, touch the Pacific Ocean at Santa Monica Beach, and show up to the studio for a taping of Chelsea Lately.
By far the highlight was a front row seat to the taping of the hysterical Chelsea Lately show (Thanks Holly for the tickets!!!!). You cant come to LA and not do sopmething related to the entertainment industry. Best of all- its FREE!!
Now Im resting up at a freind's apartment getting ready for a night out, before my exhausting return to NYC tomorrow- as a proud silver elite member of Continental's OnePass!