StarMegaDo is an amazing experience at many levels. This afternoon we experienced that by being in two places at the same time. We were standing on the ground in Frankfurt and then walked up the stairs and suddenly found ourselves in München.
In this case München is the name of D-AIMB, one of the Airbus A380s that Lufthansa has in service. And they had it available for all of us to tour this afternoon to kick off the Frankfurt portion of StarMegaDo 2010. I’ve seen the A380s a few times and I still have trouble processing just how absolutely HUGE the airplane is. That means, among other things, that it makes for a great tour because of all the different sections, cabins and features.
The first class lavatory on the A380 is actually larger than the bathroom in my apartment. That was a rather depressing and shocking discovery though I also realize that the rent I’m paying is quite a bit less than buying F seats every night. On the plus side (I suppose),
I have the advantage that at least my feet actually reach the cushion/ottoman.
We spent time in the cockpit:
We spent time in Coach:
And we spent time in the crew rest bunks, too:
Did I mention that the A380 is HUGE???
Seriously beautiful plane.
Just a few more photos from inside the final assembly building at Toulouse…
What great fun to be at the factory and see the planes from so many carriers all in one place. And there were plenty to be seen. Check out some of these beauties:
This is the plane we were touring in all day:
Not all the planes on the ground were Airbus, but they were still cool:
Some of the bigger birds on display:
Of course, the main focus of the visit to Toulouse was plane spotting of a different kind. We were there to tour the A380 final assembly line. We did, and it was amazing. More stories, video and photos from that soon.
It has been a few days since my last post about the A380 factory tour and most of faculties have finally returned. You’ve seen many of the pictures already but I also have some video shot inside the factory with Richard Carcaillet, the Director of Product Marketing for the A380. He talks about some of the details on the final assembly, demand for the A380 and assembly time, as well as the value proposition for the aircraft.
There are also a couple videos from inside the mock-up center. Airbus uses the facility to show off interior design options to customers from seating arrangements to overhead bins to trim details. I never thought I’d see eleven different cabin configurations on a single plane but there they were in the A380 mock-up. Very cool stuff, though sadly no photos allowed inside the mock-ups. Still pretty interesting.
LUFTHANSA LEADS UNIQUE BEHIND THE SCENES LOOK AT THE AIRLINE INDUSTRY FOR 200+ FLYERTALK MEMBERS – WebFlyer.com
From operations to maintenance, catering to crew training, Star Alliance carriers Lufthansa, United, Continental and SAS, along with Airbus, open their doors to Frequent Flyers from around the world in this first “Mega DO” celebration
Colorado Springs, Colo. (November 3, 2009) When Lufthansa flight 405 lifts off from Kennedy airport this evening, the passengers onboard will represent one of the largest concentrations of frequent travellers ever to occupy a widebody flight – until the group triples two days later. Some 60 Business Class and 28 Economy Class passengers representing six different frequent flyer programs and collectively holding over 24 million frequent flyer miles will make their way to Germany today as members of the world’s largest online frequent flyer community, FlyerTalk. By the end of their five-day journey, over 200 members from around the world will have come together to celebrate their love of airlines and flying. Dubbed the “Star Alliance Mega DO”, the trip will offer these airline enthusiasts a behind the scenes look at Lufthansa, United, Continental and SAS, as well as an Airbus A380 being assembled in Toulouse. It will take members away from the familiar setting of an aircraft cabin to meet with executives from the world’s leading international airlines, and explore their worlds from a different angle – and altitude.
“While FlyerTalk has provided its members with other unique experiences, the breadth and scope of the Star Alliance Mega DO is unprecedented in terms of the number of participants as well as the exclusive access afforded by our Star Alliance hosts,” said FlyerTalk founder Randy Petersen. “At a time when the airline industry as a whole is struggling, this event represents a $300,000 cash injection under which our members, and the airlines involved, get to understand one another better and just plain have fun.”
The Mega DO begins the morning of Tuesday, November 3rd with a group of FlyerTalk members touring the United Airlines operations facilities at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Participants will later fly to Newark, where a larger group will assemble as Continental, the newest Star Alliance member, showcases its Chelsea Kitchens and operations tower. Next is a transfer to JFK Airport for a send-off party at Lufthansa’s new three-tier flagship lounge.
“We’re honored to host such an extraordinary event together with our Star Alliance and industry partners,” said Wolfgang Mayrhuber, Chairman and CEO of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, who will welcome the 200+ members in Frankfurt. “We have great respect for our frequent flyers and high admiration for the FlyerTalk community’s unparalleled understanding of the airline industry. We especially look forward to welcoming Continental’s frequent flyers for the first time to introduce them to our Lufthansa world.”
After LH 405 touches down in Frankfurt, the group will undergo cabin crew training in Lufthansa Flight Training’s aircraft simulators, to prepare FlyerTalk moderators for their role in the next day’s events. In the evening, Star Alliance CEO Jaan Albrecht and Deutsche Lufthansa AG’s Vice President of Marketing, Hubert Frach, will co-host a retro- themed dinner that commemorates the heyday of commercial aviation.
Day three finds the FlyerTalkers jetting around Europe aboard a chartered Boeing 757- 300 Condor plane aptly painted “Wir lieben fliegen” (“We Love to Fly”). FlyerTalk leader Randy Petersen and over a dozen moderators from FlyerTalk airline forums, including Lufthansa forum moderator and DO co-host Oliver Majumdar, will put the previous day’s training to the test when they serve as cabin crew and/or pursers onboard the aircraft. First stop, Oslo, Norway, where 35 additional FlyerTalkers will join the trip beginning with breakfast hosted by SAS executives in the airline’s hangar. Immediately afterwards, the charter flight will depart for Toulouse, France with a full complement of 230 FlyerTalkers and international media onboard.
“Passengers can look forward to an onboard experience unlike any before,” said Tommy Danielsen, FlyerTalk’s SAS moderator and one of the trip’s three co-hosts. Upon arrival in Toulouse, Airbus will provide tours of its A380 Final Assembly Line and Mock-up Center. Guests will get a peek at one of Lufthansa’s first A380s in production. The group’s whirlwind day concludes with a return flight to Frankfurt and evening reception at Lufthansa’s award-winning Tower lounge, offering the ultimate view over the apron.
On the final day of programming, Friday, November 6th, Lufthansa and its partners will open their doors for a full day of tours and information exchange. Participants will take part in focus groups hosted by Lufthansa to debut an exclusive meta-community mobile phone application that will enable the real-time exchange of information and tips, including a location-based feature facilitating spontaneous meet-ups with fellow FlyerTalkers while in transit. To conclude the DO, members will overnight at Lufthansa’s new training and conference center, which is located outside Frankfurt in the town of Seeheim, where they will partake in the ultimate insider experience – mingling with hundreds of Lufthansa staff from around the world.
One of the world’s largest and most prestigious airlines, Lufthansa flies to 191 destinations in 78 countries, with hubs in Frankfurt, Munich, and with its recent acquisition of Austrian Airlines and SWISS – Vienna and Zurich. From its 21 North American gateways, Lufthansa serves over 400 destinations in more than 100 countries. An industry innovator, the airline has long been committed to environmental care and sustainability, operating the most technically-advanced and fuel-efficient fleet in the world. Its long-haul fleet to and from North America includes the Boeing 747-400, as well as the Airbus A340-600, A340-300 and A330-300. Currently, Lufthansa has 170 aircraft worth more than $20 billion on order. It will be the largest European operator of the A380 and is also the launch customer for the new Boeing 747-8, the industries’ two most fuel-efficient passenger aircraft. Known for its premium services, Lufthansa is currently investing $190 million in building new or upgraded lounge facilities across it worldwide network. In January 2009, it opened a three-story, U.S. flagship lounge at JFK Airport. For more information or reservations, visit http://www.lh.com.
With more than 170,000 members and nearly 13 million comments posted, FlyerTalk is the world’s largest frequent traveler community. Started by frequent traveler guru and publisher of InsideFlyer magazine, Randy Petersen, the interactive online community has over 150 forums on all things travel – from individual airlines to airports, dining, destinations, earning and redeeming miles, solving problems, and more. For the latest updates from the StarMegaDo, visit the official event website and blog at: http://www.starmegado.com, where pictures and video from the event will be posted. You can also follow the conversation in the Lufthansa Miles & More forum online at http://www.flyertalk.com or on Twitter under the DO’s official hashtag, #starmegado.
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The start of the Star Alliance Mega DO at Chicago ORD is just days away! Not excited enough? This microsite should help move you in the right direction: