[Exclusive] first look at MegaDo t-shirts

You can always rely on this blog getting the scoop on the wardrobe requirements of this event. Here’s the first and only known pic of the event t-shirts — beauties that they are:

StarMegaDo Kickoff Dinner

A few schedule changes throughout the planning mean that our first night together for the trip is an open dinner rather than restricted to only event participants. For folks in New York City on the night of October 31 please feel free to join us at 8:30pm for dinner at Patsy’s on 23rd Street between 8th & 9th Avenues. For more details check out the discussion on FLyerTalk here: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/communitybuzz/1141858-starmegado-2010-kickoff-dinner-everyone-welcome.html.

New TSA Secure Flight Data requirements greet MegaFlyers

TSA Secure Flight Data (SFD) rules begin on November 1, so members of FlyerTalk flying along on the Star MegaDo are hustling to become familiar with this new travel requirement. Essentially your ID has to match your ticket name and the airline needs to provide the TSA with you passenger name, your gender and your date-of-birth 72 hours in advance of flight or as soon as you make a reservation (good to know for future travel). The TSA is trying to cut down on the problems that have plagued the No Fly list. What happens is that unless the TSA sends the airline a message that you are “cleared”, you can’t fly and the airline is forbidden to give you a boarding pass or let you on the plane.

These new wrinkle in travel may cause a little anxiety but there are no surprises expected.

I’ve been thinking about what I need to do with this new regulation. My tickets always say Randy Petersen. My passport says Randy Petersen, so all good there. The problem is for some reason my Drivers License says Randall Petersen. So far in all my travels the TSA hasn’t said anything as it is clear its pretty much the same name. I’m not sure what kind of situation is may be to change my Drivers License, guess I’ll find out soon. But, since I’m headed to Germany on the first wave of the MegaDo, I’m good with the passport name ID.

Note: Anyone flying on the MegaDo who is not sure whether they have their Secure Flight Data on file might want to send along the following to this email address: airbusdo@gmail.com just to make sure you’re sitting next to me.

FlyerTalk handle:
Gender: M or F
Date of Birth in DDMMMYY format (for example 31DEC1980):

Yabba Dabba (Star Mega) Do Two!

Well, it’s mileage run time as only the members of FlyerTalk see it. In just a few days flyers take off from NYC headed to Germany and a meeting with many of the CEOs of the Star Alliance airlines on the first leg of a week full of miles, points, camaraderie and conversation. Lufthansa is the carrier of choice on this first leg and what that means is that the biz class cabin turns into a bunk room that only a guy like me can appreciate.

Join me as I count down to Star MegaDo2—or code-name SMD2 as we like to call it.

NOTE: If you’ve got the time, take a look at last years first Star MegaDo.

Well, it’s mileage run time as only the members of FlyerTalk see it. In just a few days flyers take off from NYC headed to Germany and a meeting with many of the CEOs of the Star Alliance airlines on the first leg of a week full of miles, points, camaraderie and conversation. Lufthansa is the carrier of choice on this first leg and what that means is that the biz class cabin turns into a bunk room that only a guy like me can appreciate.

Join me as I count down to Star MegaDo2—or code-name SMD2 as we like to call it.

NOTE: If you’ve got the time, take a look at last years first Star MegaDo.

Meet George: He Tweeted To Win

The winner of Lufthansa’s “Tweet To Win” contest for a free seat and (nearly) all expenses paid on this year’s Mega DO is George Papadopoulos, a.k.a. gpapadop, who double his chance by tweeting from two different accounts. “I came across the Lufthansa tweet — I follow them on Twitter — and after hearing great things about what happened last year and seeing some of the picture, I thought ‘Wow, what a great experience to be a part of,’” he recalls thinking. “And when when I saw all I had to do was retweet what they already had, I thought, ‘Why not?’”

He’s angling for a turn in Lufthansa’s simulator, “which I think will be something to remember for the rest of my life if I can get in on that,” says George. “But mostly I like being around planes and being around FlyerTalkers — even though I’m not a Star Alliance guy, I’m a Delta guy, unfortunately. Still, I’m happy.”

Don’t worry, George, we won’t hold it against you.

A Mega Simulator opportunity

This year’s Star Mega Do is not just about shmoozing and tours. There are a few special opportunities that will be made available only to subsets of the group. One of these is the opportunity to visit Lufthansa Flight Training’s Airline Training Center Arizona (ATCA). This is the facility that the carrier uses to train their pilots and, well, it is going to be a phenomenal experience. It will also be limited to only 20 participants of the 200 who are on the trip.

The participants going to the ATCA will experience the following:

  • Briefing about the ATCA on the bus ride over to Goodyear, AZ
  • A tour behind the scenes of the flight training center
  • A look into the various aircraft they have on site
  • Briefing about the simulators
  • A simple Beechcraft — F33A Bonanza simulator flight for each participant with an instructor

The 20 ATCA slots will be assigned through a silent auction. The entire proceeds will go to the Helpalliance. HelpAlliance was founded in 1999 by staff members from all parts of the Lufthansa Group. It is a voluntary, non-denominational, politically independent organization.

In order to submit a bid, please email me the amount you would like to donate to the Helpalliance in order to be in the group visiting the ATCA. Bids should be emailed in USD or EUR to airbusdo@gmail.com. The cut-off time to submit bids is Oct 29 Friday noon NYC time.

What You Missed (Or Only Remember Hazily) Last Year

With less than a week to go until the trans-Atlantic kick off of Star Mega DO, first-timers may be wondering exactly what they’re in for. So for your sake, here are links to two accounts from last year’s trip.

Scott McCartney’s “A Travel Junkie Field Trip,” published in the The Wall Street Journal offered a nice overview:

The Mega DO—which started in Chicago—gave the road warriors an education in how airlines work. At each stop, airline executives greeted them with singers and dancers, mechanics and pilots, ample food and drink and tours of engine shops, training facilities, airplanes and hangars.

Like kids on a school field trip, they filed through crew briefing rooms at UAL Corp.’s United Airlines in Chicago, quizzed maintenance experts at Continental’s engine shop in Newark, practiced flight-attendant skills at Lufthansa’s training center in Frankfurt and were photographed sitting in various aircraft cockpits opened for them at hangars.

They asked airline workers about snow plows at O’Hare, bird-strikes in engines, access to airport clubs and the environmental impact of deicing fluid. They learned how airlines cycle engines and airplanes through scheduled maintenance, how company workers assign gates and direct aircraft movement around terminals, how pilots prepare for long journeys and how Airbus puts together its giant double-deck plane.

My own “Triumph of the Air Warriors,” published in (American) Condé Nast Traveler, tried to be more philosophical about what it all means, as seen through the prism of Up in the Air:

“If you hate flying, you’re not doing it right,” says George Clooney as Ryan Bingham. Doing it right demands miles. Garner enough to hit the airlines’ targets and you’ll receive elite status with a bevy of perks: priority boarding, waived baggage fees, mileage bonuses, private lounge access.

They’re hackers, really, cracking fare codes and exploiting seams until they’ve twisted the airlines’ own bewildering rules inside out. FlyerTalkers get a kick out of this, and brag among themselves. They use the same freely available tools as travel agents do, peel off the lids of the reservations systems and peer inside, taking detailed notes on ways to fly well and practically for free.

At this point, you might be forgiven for wondering what these people do all day to have this much time on their hands. They are consultants, salesmen, CEOs. The old-school air warriors lived in hotels and first-class lounges—work demanded it. FlyerTalkers are a different breed, masters and captains of their own lives. Rebelling against being herded like sheep, they banded together to assert their flier rights—exploiting loopholes, pooling information, leading a jailbreak from coach to the front of the plane. They made the airlines sit up and return some of their passenger dignity.

The media (including me) is tagging along again this year. Who will be immortalized on the emergency slide this time around?

Last chance for a free seat on StarMegaDo 2010

A huge special thanks to one of our partners, Lufthansa, for making this opportunity available! You’ll join us for the whole trip – from Frankfurt to Houston to Phoenix to Seattle and back to Houston. Hotel and airfare are included for the lucky winner and the event covers almost every meal (and most of the booze) in between. This is truly a unique experience and one worth going for, especially since it is so easy to win.

Check out the rules here: http://www.lufthansa.com/online/portal/lh/us/nonav/local?nodeid=2795872. Then get on Twitter and go for the win.

All entries must be received by 6pm Eastern Time on Monday, October 25, 2010.

Good Luck!

Earn US Airways points on StarMegaDo charter flight

US Airways is the latest carrier to join us as a mileage-crediting partner for StarMegaDo 2010. Much like Continental, Lufthansa and bmi, US Air will be providing full credit for the whole itinerary at a flat rate, even if you choose to not take the charter flight back to Houston on Saturday morning. United is also an earning partner for the event. The miles will credit as both RDMs and EQMs.

We’re almost sold out so sign up now and make sure you get a spot to join us for this aerophilic adventure!

As a reminder, here’s the itinerary for the charter portion of the event:

Nov. 4

Houston – Continental/United day in Houston

Meet with the new management of United Airlines. See the inner workings of the Houston hub, etc.

Houston – The Frequent Traveler Awards

Representing the Voice of the Frequent Traveler, The Frequent Traveler Awards represent excellence in frequent travel programs worldwide, rating the best frequent flyer and frequent guest programs across several categories. Experience the thrill of attending the award presentation in person.

The cost of this event is NOT included in the price of the StarMegaDO charter. RSVP here if you wish to attend.

Nov. 5

Houston – Fly to Phoenix

Our chartered Continental Airlines 757-300 aircraft will be waiting for us at terminal E. There will be dedicated checkin counters for our flight.

Phoenix- US Airways program

Upon arrival in Phoenix, we will park at the US Airways hangar to deplane. US Airways has a special program prepared for us. This includes meetings with Doug Parker, Chairman and CEO of US Airways as well as other members of the company’s senior management.

Phoenix – Lufthansa Flight Traning program

A select group of participants will be whisked off to Lufthansa’s nearby training facility. There, they will be given a private tour and experience how Lufthansa trains its elite pilots in the Arizona desert.

Phoenix – Flight to Paine Field, Everett, WA

In addition to other amenities, there will be an on-board raffle with a variety of great prizes.

Paine Field – A visit with Boeing

Upon landing at the Boeing factory in Everett, WA we will be given very special private tours on the factory floor. These include the 787 and 748 assembly areas and a number of surprises.

Seattle – Starwood reception

Starwood welcomes the participants to a meet-and-greet reception. Participants will be able to provide feedback on future product innovations. Senior Sheraton and SPG executives will be there.

Nov. 6

SeaTac – Return flight to Houston

The cost of the charter is the same regardless of whether or not you take this flight.

Welcome to StarMegaDo 2010!

Great Circle Map

  • Are you ready for an exciting flight full of your fellow frequent travelers?
  • Would you like to party while winging your way across the USA?
  • Does getting behind the scenes at airports and airplane manufacturers sound better than your normal workaday plans?
  • Would you like to earn miles at the same time?

If you answered yes to any of the above — or even paused to think about it — then StarMegaDo is for you! Our annual StarMegaDo charter flight is scheduled for November 5, 2010. This year we have chartered a Continental Boeing 757-300 to take 216 enthusiasts across the USA. We’ll be meeting with top executives from several different airlines, getting an exclusive tour at Boeing — up close and personal with the 787 and 747-8i — and getting to go behind the scenes at an airline or two along the way. Some lucky participants will even get to go through flight simulator training. StarMegaDo is the ultimate aerophile adventure and it is almost sold out.

Sign up now and reserve your spot!

Our Partners:

Starwood Lufthansa Logo Star Alliance

Itinerary

Oct. 31

NYC — Pre-DO party in NYC

A small gathering of food and booze to get us started for the week of festivities.

Nov. 1

NYC – Starwood Tour in NYC

SPG will put on a program in NYC.

JFK Airport — Lufthansa sendoff / party

Lufthansa will give those headed to Frankfurt a special sendoff in the Lufthansa Flagship Lounge. There will be food, beverages, and few people from Lufthansa to mingle with.

JFK Airport — Scheduled flights to Frankfurt

After lots of liquid libations in the lounge, we’ll depart for Frankfurt on three different flights. This will allow us to compare and contrast the service and on-board amenities.

Nov. 2

Frankfurt Airport — Tours and focus groups

During the afternoon and early evening, Lufthansa will host tours and focus groups with its Star Alliance partners. You will be able to peek at product, service and technology innovations currently in development.

Frankfurt Airport — Evening Events

A special dinner will be held for all event participants. There will be several special guests from The Lufthansa Group in attendance. This will be followed by a very special nightcap reception in a very special location.

Nov. 3

Frankfurt — Fly to Houston

As the day begins, event participants will get set to jet off to Houston, TX, USA for more festivities.

Nov. 4

Houston — Continental/United day in Houston

Meet with the new management of United Airlines. See the inner workings of the Houston hub, etc.

Houston — The Frequent Traveler Awards

Representing the Voice of the Frequent Traveler, The Frequent Traveler Awards represent excellence in frequent travel programs worldwide, rating the best frequent flyer and frequent guest programs across several categories. Experience the thrill of attending the award presentation in person.

The cost of this event is NOT included in the price of the StarMegaDO charter. RSVP here if you wish to attend.

Nov. 5

Houston — Fly to Phoenix

Our chartered Continental Airlines 757-300 aircraft will be waiting for us at terminal E. There will be dedicated checkin counters for our flight.

Phoenix- US Airways program

Upon arrival in Phoenix, we will park at the US Airways hangar to deplane. US Airways has a special program prepared for us. This includes meetings with Doug Parker, Chairman and CEO of US Airways as well as other members of the company’s senior management.

Phoenix — Lufthansa Flight Traning program

A select group of participants will be whisked off to Lufthansa’s nearby training facility. There, they will be given a private tour and experience how Lufthansa trains its elite pilots in the Arizona desert.

Phoenix — Flight to Paine Field, Everett, WA

In addition to other amenities, there will be an on-board raffle with a variety of great prizes.

Paine Field — A visit with Boeing

Upon landing at the Boeing factory in Everett, WA we will be given very special private tours on the factory floor. These include the 787 and 748 assembly areas and a number of surprises.

Nov. 5

Seattle — Starwood reception

Starwood welcomes the participants to a meet-and-greet reception. Participants will be able to provide feedback on future product innovations. Senior Sheraton and SPG executives will be there.

Nov. 6

SeaTac — Return flight to Houston

The cost of the charter is the same regardless of whether or not you take this flight.

Map Created By Great Circle Mapper

Last chance for a free seat on StarMegaDo 2010

A huge special thanks to one of our partners, Lufthansa, for making this opportunity available! You’ll join us for the whole trip – from Frankfurt to Houston to Phoenix to Seattle and back to Houston. Hotel and airfare are included for the lucky winner and the event covers almost every meal (and most of the booze) in between. This is truly a unique experience and one worth going for, especially since it is so easy to win.

Check out the rules here: http://www.lufthansa.com/online/portal/lh/us/nonav/local?nodeid=2795872. Then get on Twitter and go for the win.

All entries must be received by 6pm Eastern Time on Monday, October 25, 2010.

Good Luck!

Earn US Airways points on StarMegaDo charter flight

US Airways is the latest carrier to join us as a mileage-crediting partner for StarMegaDo 2010. Much like Continental, Lufthansa and bmi, US Air will be providing full credit for the whole itinerary at a flat rate, even if you choose to not take the charter flight back to Houston on Saturday morning. United is also an earning partner for the event. The miles will credit as both RDMs and EQMs.

We’re almost sold out so sign up now and make sure you get a spot to join us for this aerophilic adventure!

As a reminder, here’s the itinerary for the charter portion of the event:

Nov. 4

Houston – Continental/United day in Houston

Meet with the new management of United Airlines. See the inner workings of the Houston hub, etc.

Houston – The Frequent Traveler Awards

Representing the Voice of the Frequent Traveler, The Frequent Traveler Awards represent excellence in frequent travel programs worldwide, rating the best frequent flyer and frequent guest programs across several categories. Experience the thrill of attending the award presentation in person.

The cost of this event is NOT included in the price of the StarMegaDO charter. RSVP here if you wish to attend.

Nov. 5

Houston – Fly to Phoenix

Our chartered Continental Airlines 757-300 aircraft will be waiting for us at terminal E. There will be dedicated checkin counters for our flight.

Phoenix- US Airways program

Upon arrival in Phoenix, we will park at the US Airways hangar to deplane. US Airways has a special program prepared for us. This includes meetings with Doug Parker, Chairman and CEO of US Airways as well as other members of the company’s senior management.

Phoenix – Lufthansa Flight Traning program

A select group of participants will be whisked off to Lufthansa’s nearby training facility. There, they will be given a private tour and experience how Lufthansa trains its elite pilots in the Arizona desert.

Phoenix – Flight to Paine Field, Everett, WA

In addition to other amenities, there will be an on-board raffle with a variety of great prizes.

Paine Field – A visit with Boeing

Upon landing at the Boeing factory in Everett, WA we will be given very special private tours on the factory floor. These include the 787 and 748 assembly areas and a number of surprises.

Seattle – Starwood reception

Starwood welcomes the participants to a meet-and-greet reception. Participants will be able to provide feedback on future product innovations. Senior Sheraton and SPG executives will be there.

Nov. 6

SeaTac – Return flight to Houston

The cost of the charter is the same regardless of whether or not you take this flight.

Welcome to StarMegaDo 2010!

Great Circle Map

  • Are you ready for an exciting flight full of your fellow frequent travelers?
  • Would you like to party while winging your way across the USA?
  • Does getting behind the scenes at airports and airplane manufacturers sound better than your normal workaday plans?
  • Would you like to earn miles at the same time?

If you answered yes to any of the above — or even paused to think about it — then StarMegaDo is for you! Our annual StarMegaDo charter flight is scheduled for November 5, 2010. This year we have chartered a Continental Boeing 757-300 to take 216 enthusiasts across the USA. We’ll be meeting with top executives from several different airlines, getting an exclusive tour at Boeing — up close and personal with the 787 and 747-8i — and getting to go behind the scenes at an airline or two along the way. Some lucky participants will even get to go through flight simulator training. StarMegaDo is the ultimate aerophile adventure and it is almost sold out.

Sign up now and reserve your spot!

Our Partners:

Starwood Lufthansa Logo Star Alliance

 

  

 

Itinerary

Oct. 31

NYC — Pre-DO party in NYC

A small gathering of food and booze to get us started for the week of festivities.

Nov. 1

NYC – Starwood Tour in NYC

SPG will put on a program in NYC. 

JFK Airport — Lufthansa sendoff / party

Lufthansa will give those headed to Frankfurt a special sendoff in the Lufthansa Flagship Lounge. There will be food, beverages, and few people from Lufthansa to mingle with.

JFK Airport — Scheduled flights to Frankfurt

After lots of liquid libations in the lounge, we’ll depart for Frankfurt on three different flights. This will allow us to compare and contrast the service and on-board amenities.

Nov. 2

Frankfurt Airport — Tours and focus groups

During the afternoon and early evening, Lufthansa will host tours and focus groups with its Star Alliance partners. You will be able to peek at product, service and technology innovations currently in development.

Frankfurt Airport — Evening Events 

A special dinner will be held for all event participants. There will be several special guests from The Lufthansa Group in attendance. This will be followed by a very special nightcap reception in a very special location.

Nov. 3

Frankfurt — Fly to Houston

As the day begins, event participants will get set to jet off to Houston, TX, USA for more festivities.

Nov. 4

Houston — Continental/United day in Houston

Meet with the new management of United Airlines. See the inner workings of the Houston hub, etc.

Houston — The Frequent Traveler Awards

Representing the Voice of the Frequent Traveler, The Frequent Traveler Awards represent excellence in frequent travel programs worldwide, rating the best frequent flyer and frequent guest programs across several categories. Experience the thrill of attending the award presentation in person.

The cost of this event is NOT included in the price of the StarMegaDO charter. RSVP here if you wish to attend.

Nov. 5

Houston — Fly to Phoenix

Our chartered Continental Airlines 757-300 aircraft will be waiting for us at terminal E. There will be dedicated checkin counters for our flight.

Phoenix- US Airways program

Upon arrival in Phoenix, we will park at the US Airways hangar to deplane. US Airways has a special program prepared for us. This includes meetings with Doug Parker, Chairman and CEO of US Airways as well as other members of the company’s senior management.

Phoenix — Lufthansa Flight Traning program

A select group of participants will be whisked off to Lufthansa’s nearby training facility. There, they will be given a private tour and experience how Lufthansa trains its elite pilots in the Arizona desert.

Phoenix — Flight to Paine Field, Everett, WA

In addition to other amenities, there will be an on-board raffle with a variety of great prizes.

Paine Field — A visit with Boeing

Upon landing at the Boeing factory in Everett, WA we will be given very special private tours on the factory floor. These include the 787 and 748 assembly areas and a number of surprises.

Nov. 5

Seattle — Starwood reception

Starwood welcomes the participants to a meet-and-greet reception. Participants will be able to provide feedback on future product innovations. Senior Sheraton and SPG executives will be there.

Nov. 6

SeaTac — Return flight to Houston

The cost of the charter is the same regardless of whether or not you take this flight.

 

Map Created By Great Circle Mapper

bmi joins the StarMegaDo party

StarMegaDo is happy to announce that bmi has signed on as a mileage-earning partner for the charter flights. Similar to Lufthansa and Continental, bmi will be issuing points at a flat rate for all participants of the charter flights. The points will be issued at the 100% level (4031) for Y passengers and 300% (12093) for F passengers. Status bonus for Gold and Silver members will also apply. These points will count for both award and level miles.

Representatives from bmi will also be participating in the events at Frankfurt during our stop there.

There are only a few seats left on the charter. Sign up now!

Public Charter flights operated under Title 14CFR Part 380 DOT PC 10 153 by TomOli, LLC with flights on Continental Airlines. Conditions applicable to the charter are in the operator-participant contract, available here.
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