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Los Angeles Summer Trip Report

Back when I started PursuingPoints I was working and living in North Carolina. The company I was working for however, was headquartered in Los Angeles. For that reason, I made the trek to LA 4-5 times a year for the duration of my employment. That was peak business travel for me, and is what led to me earning Platinum Medallion status on Delta. Since moving to NYC, I don’t get the opportunity travel to the west coast very often, unfortunately. However, when I saw that UFC 227 was being held at the Staples Center in LA, I knew I had to go.

Flights

I traveled on Delta, and its the flight which put me over the top for Silver status in 2019. I ended up using a combination of points and miles to purchase a Delta One seat from JFK to LAX. The reason I decided not to use points was because I knew I needed this flight to qualify for Silver in 2019. Since you can’t earn MQM’s on award tickets, I had to bite the bullet.

This was my second time on Delta One, though I was spoiled the first time. That first trip was a 1 hour flight from RDU to ATL and it was a fluke that we were even on a Delta One equipped aircraft. I believe it was modified 777 which had a beautiful product. My hope was that I’d be on a similar plane or perhaps an A350 for this flight (should’ve looked ahead of time). Instead we were on a 767-400 which houses the “older” Delta One product. Still, it was a treat.

Exchange with Delta Employee

I spent $50 getting to JFK from Manhattan and was on the first flight out to LAX. Security was a breeze, as it usually is. If you take no other advice from me on this website, let it be this, sign up for either TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry. It makes all the difference. Im also going to be signing up for Clear soon, stay tuned for the results of that.

Seat & Amenities

Even if this wasn’t the newer One product, it was still pretty cool. I had a window seat and spent no time getting settled. One thing I love about this product is that you’ve got your own dedicated overhead bin. While I’m generally on #teamcheckedbag, I was happy to carry on this flight and take advantage of the extra space.

Delta One Seat
Delta One Seat

At the seat upon arrival was a bottle of Dasani which is standard in Delta first class. One difference is the size of the bottle that you get in Delta One. They’re typically about half the size in standard domestic first class. As for the amenities, Delta provides bedding, headphones, and a Tumi amenity kit. The bedding is the best i’ve experienced, though thats not to say i’ve experienced it all. Still, I was ready to take it home with me. I did not use the headphones as I prefer my Bose QC 35’s. As for the amenity kit, it was nice though I didn’t really make use of it. I’ve got my own eye mask and the flight wasn’t really long enough to warrant brushing my teeth or combing my hair. I did take it home though.

Tumi Kit Closed
Tumi Kit Closed
Tumi Kit Opened
Tumi Kit Opened

In-flight Food

On the flight out I preordered my breakfast. The options were Sourdough Strata, Fig & Cornmeal loaf, or Coconut Chia Pudding. I opted for the coconut pudding, but either because it was incorrect or they ran out, ended up with the loaf. I wasn’t too concerned, it came with a side of fruit as well as a croissant and lox. Of course, prior to the meal being served I was given warm nuts and a drink. Even though it was ~8am I still opted for the “Signature Cocktail”. It was a marvelous concoction made of Bombay Sapphire Gin, cranberry/apple juice, and a splash of ginger ale.

Drink & Nuts
Drink & Nuts
Delta One Breakfast
Fig & Cornmeal Loaf

After eating I ended up listening to some podcasts, read from a book, and watched an episode of a TV show. To be honest we could’ve kept flying for another 10 hours and I would’ve been perfectly content in my seat. Alas, we landed in LA around 10am PST, and headed straight for In-N-Out.

LA View on Approach
LA View on Approach

LA Food

Im a firm believer that In-N-Out offers the best burgers and fries in the entire country. The secret is that you have to order them animal style, otherwise you’re missing out. I make it a point to visit every time im on the west coast, as they’re only in Arizona, Nevada, and California.

In-n-out Animal Style Fries
In-N-Out Animal Style Fries

The next food stop was Gen Korean BBQ House. If you can only go to one Korean BBQ place in your life, let it be this one. Its another stop I try and make every time I’m in LA, and its freaking awesome. The price is around $30 per person for dinner, and that gets you all you can eat Korean BBQ. The meats are amazing, and the sauces are even better. They also give you some special salt which brings out the flavor of the meat like nothing i’ve never had before. They won’t even give me the recipe!

LA Activities

Somewhere in between eating Korean BBQ and In-N-Out I made my way to UFC 227 @ Staples Center. I’ve posted before about going to UFC events, specifically my UFC 202 trip report. For my money, UFC is the best live sporting event if you can score floor seats. You’ll be within feet of some mega stars, and the action is unlike anything you will have ever seen. This time we saw Chris Pratt, Anthony Keidis, Elon Musk, and more. Even if you only go once, you’ve got to try it.

Staples Center Entrance
Staples Center Entrance

After the fights we headed out to the tallest rooftop bar in America, Spire 73. Once we arrived we were placed in line and had to wait for the next available elevator. It wasn’t clear how often they let folks up, but we waited in line for well over 30 minutes. Upon arriving up top we had a few drinks and mingled. The atmosphere was relaxed, the drinks were overpriced, and the seating options were few and far between (it was rather crowded). I don’t think i’d go back again, but it was worth it for the checkbox.

Spire 73 Rooftop View
Spire 73 Rooftop View

The next day we headed the Hermosa Beach for brunch and some views. While i’m not much of a surfer, I definitely wanted to on this day. Folks were paddling up a storm and catching some nice afternoon waves. Views like these are my reminder for why so many people live in LA. Their weather is hard to beat.

Hermosa Beach
Hermosa Beach

The last adventure of this trip was another visit to Room Escape Los Angeles. If you’ve never done an escape room before, do one! I’ve lost count as to the number of times I’ve done them, but each time I have more and more fun. The premise is simple, you’ve got 60 minutes to solve a series of puzzles which lead to an ultimate reward. You’re not technically locked in the room, but in some cases the goal will be to “escape”. The rooms in Los Angeles are some of the best i’ve done and they’re also the most theatrical. Room Escape LA has 6 rooms; central bank, cold war bunker, prison break, tesla’s mystery, zodiac, and zombie lab. To date i’ve done 4/6 and can’t wait to head back west and finish the last two.

Heading Back East

After the long weekend it was time to head back to NYC. I sat in Delta One again, this time for the 11pm PST red eye which got me to NYC around 6am EST. I did not order a meal on this flight, I did not order a drink, I simply slept the entire time. It was the first time in my domestic flying career that i’ve managed to sleep on nearly the entire flight. Thanks in no small part to some melatonin spray.

As I said the conclusion of this trip put me over the edge for Delta Silver status, and thats about all I expect to have in 2019. We’ll see if it makes sense to go for a higher level of status in 2020, or if i’ll branch out more. Either way, I plan on heading back to LA before long.

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