Trip Report – Down Under in a Flash: Los Angeles

Seattle to Los Angeles
Los Angeles
Los Angeles to Brisbane
Brisbane to Sydney to Canberra
Canberra to Melbourne
Qantas First Lounge Melbourne
Melbourne to Los Angeles
Los Angeles to Seattle


When I had my bag in hand at T6 well within Alaska’s 20 minute guidelines, it was time to get the shuttle to the hotel. When I last stayed at the hotel they operated their own shuttles and you had to call in to get them to come pick you up. However this is not the case anymore as they used the shared shuttle company (though with a dedicated bus) and it operates every 20 minutes 24 hours a day.

Once you finish the last pick up at T7/T8 you are mere moments away from the Radisson as it is the closest hotel to the Terminals being right at the entry road. They do tend to treat their Club Carlson members pretty well, as last time I had been upgraded to a nice big suite overlooking the runway. This time was no different. Even though I was on an industry rate and more than likely would not get any points from this stay, my Gold Benefits were still honoured.

The way they were honoured was a bit different from last time. Usually you recieve a giant cheese, fruit and wine platter upon arrival, however as I was arriving around 11pm at night and more than likely would not eat it I had let them know in advance to not worry about putting this into my room. Instead they noted that I had made this request when I checked in and out of the blue offered me Free Breakfast instead! Score!

My upgrade this time though was not the same suite as last time, it was more of a Junior Suite with no physically seperate living area but the room was huge! There was a 4 seater sofa and a smaller 3 seater, a giant Plasma Screen and small “office space”. But the one downside to the room. A tiny tiny bathroom… tiny! Such a big room footprint but only a small bathroom. Can’t have everything right.

It was here that I dropped the 60lb suitcase on my foot taking a huge chunk out of things making that transition to sleep all that more difficult but I managed. The Cake Pop and Chocolate coated strawberry left in my room (in addition to the free breakfast) helped soothe the pain a bit.

Wednesday 3rd April – 2013

After a morning run around the LAX perimeter where I was buzzed by plenty of CRJs and regional aircraft, but also an El Al 777 and a Philippines Airlines A340. It was time to get myself sorted for a mixed day ahead.

Breakfast was served in Palmera the hotel restaurant which had this old world kind of feel to it. It could of passed for a steakhouse in New York from the 60s with lots of big booths, dark woods, big comfy seats and not a single window. The breakfast buffet was unique with the usual basics you would expect from a hotel buffet but with the addition of cake… lots of cake. Not just muffins and pastries but chocolate donuts and pineapple upside down cake!

With breakfast consumed (although the oatmeal was watery) I was off to pick up my rental for a day exploring Los Angeles. I had booked a car for the day with National and knew that although the National office is a little bit further from the hotel than the likes of Hertz, Budget and Avis it was worth the walk, since I was working off a sneaky piece of cake. The usual process with National awaited me of getting to choose whatever I desired from the Executive Aisle (a benefit I must find a way to keep!).

As usual it seems my luck was again against me in LAX as there wasn’t much in the way of cars that I was hoping for. I was hoping for a Ford Escape or an Edge or some sort of SUV just to give them a try (I would of loved to try the new Escape to let my dad know what they are like) but there was none on the lot. It was all nissan all the time again. But with a few goodies strewn throughout. I did ask if there was any 300Cs or SUVs around that I could get, but someone had just snagged the last 300C on me and the only SUVs were Chevy Captiva’s.. .pass!

As I was about to jump into one of the 3 Dodge Challengers sitting on the lot (there was also a Mustang Hard top but that would not of fit the suitcase of doom very well) the lot attendant came running up to tell me that there was a 300C waiting for me if I still wanted it, freshly cleaned and sitting in prime position. I jumped at it and threw my bag into the car within seconds.

I did mention in this post just how much I LOVED this car. It had everything I could of wanted and more and was definately something I would of loved to of owned myself. Back home in Aus I can see why these are used by limo companies everywhere, they are a sweet ride!

I will admit to giving it a good thrashing up and down Aviation Boulevard during the day and using it to drive over to the California Science Center for a tour of the Shuttle Endeavour but my day was filled with the usual exploits for a stay in LAX. Plane Spotting. A bit different this time as I was not carrying the bigma and using my 70-300mm Travel lens. So although I don’t think my camera turned out my usual quality of camera, it was still a great day with some good unique catches.

I finished off my day of fun with dinner at the Proud Bird restaurant overlooking the southern runway approaches chatting with my mate Kevin from Aviation Photographic as I shouted him dinner for his birthday. A great way to end the day and prepare myself for a long flight ahead.

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