Celebrating the generosity of StarMegaDo

One of the larger components of StarMegaDo has always been a focus on charity. The even operates on a break-even budget and any surplus has always been donated to charities associated with the airlines and other programs we work with. In addition, we hold a charity raffle on-board the charter flights, selling tickets and giving away awesome airline-related prizes (and an iPad this year because every raffle should have one, apparently).

imageToday I was fortunate to participate in one of the more enjoyable aspects of my role as an organizer. High up in the Empire State Building in New York City we are meeting with Lufthansa to present them with a donation to support Help Alliance, the primary charity affiliated with the group. This year the various events associated with StarMegaDo raised over $12,000 through several different channels and events. Of that, we are quite honored to be able to present $5,000 to the Help Alliance group.

Attending the event are Tommy Danielsen, the head of StarMegaDo, Martin Riecken, Lufthansa’s Director of Corporate Communications for the Americas and Seth Miller, Director of Communications for StarMegaDo.

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Star Alliance Crowdsources Itself

This week’s joyride is billed as the “Star Alliance Mega DO,” but as in real life, we’re spending a lot of time with Star’s member airlines and very little with Star Alliance itself. That changed a bit for the FlyerTalkers selected to participate in a workshop Tuesday afternoon at Star Alliance’s headquarters, and, members willing, may be about to change for the average flyer.

As USA Today’s Ben Mutzbaugh covered yesterday, Star executives asked Mega DOers for feedback on a conceptual iPhone app and an alliance-wide service kiosk with which a stranded traveler might pick up a phone, swap a credit card, and instantly be connected to a reservation agent with the full itinerary already in front of them. It sounded useful, but the story behind the kiosk is more interesting than the results.

At the Lufthansa dinner, I spoke with Jeremy Drury, Star’s director of alliance innovation services, who sat in on the sessions Tuesday. He explained Star was “used to working with our members’ boards; as of this year, we’re working with our members’ employees.” In a nutshell, Star is seeking to crowdsource ideas across the 400,000-strong combined workforce of its members. “We want to connect a United idea to a Japanese customer service rep,” as Drury put it.

Out of 190 ideas in the original harvest, eight or nine so far have made the cut. The kiosk is the outcome of a suggestion that began life unpromisingly as increasing the “cross-fertilization of reservation agents.” It ended up a kiosk connecting travelers to whichever Star reservation agents happen to be awake and under-utilized at that hour. “We wanted to take the kiosk out of the kiosk and put a person inside instead,” Drury said.

But more intriguing is seeing Star Alliance executives scheming to unlock the creativity of its members, and to put their ideas to work across all 27 airlines, presumably with a Star Alliance logo on the kiosk or app instead of an airline’s. Industry pundits — especially the analyst Mike Boyd — have predicted that the big three alliances may one day supersede airline brands just as the name carriers superseded the regional affiliates that comprise a good percentage of their lift.

That day may yet come, but for now “I’d like 10,000-20,000 employees talking to each other, and we’re not there yet,” Drury said. When I asked how quickly Star will move to implement these suggestions once they’ve been vetted by customers, he just shook his head. There are no timetables for anything, because “there are 27 carriers, and they all need to be convinced. And if you’d like my job, you can have it,” he joked. Still, it’s interesting to see Star Alliance taking the lead when it comes to innovation.

Today in the Sky flies with StarMegaDo | USATODAY.com #smd2010

Today in the Sky schedule update

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By Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY

I’m traveling this week with the “Star Mega Do,” a FlyerTalk-affiliated gathering that includes some of the most dedicated frequent-flier enthusiasts from across the globe. In this particular case, the trip is focused on the Star Alliance carriers.

Today I’m coming to you from Frankfurt, where I’ll be meeting with both Lufthansa and Star Alliance officials later today.

On Wednesday, the group changes location to Houston, where I’ll be on hand to cover the first annual Frequent Traveler Awards ceremony on Thursday. Also while I’m in Houston, I hope to get time with some of United’s executives for an update of what’s going on at United and Continental.

continued: Today in the Sky schedule update – USATODAY.com.

The 2010 StarMegaDo will cover over 11,000 statute miles! #smd2010

Great Circle Map - StarMegaDo2010

Map Courtesy of Great Circle Mapper www.gcmap.com

The 2010 StarMegaDo will cover over 11,000 statute miles, 12 sponsor partners, 6 days, 5 airports, 3 states, 2 continents and 1 innovative airline alliance!

JFK (40°38’23″N 73°46’44″W)

FRA (50°01’35″N 8°32’35″E)50.5° (NE)3855 mi

IAH (29°59’04″N 95°20’29″W)299.8° (NW)5232 mi

PHX (33°26’03″N 112°00’42″W)287.9° (W)1009 mi

PAE (47°54’25″N 122°16’54″W)334.9° (NW)1133 mi

Total:11229 statute miles

StarMegaDo Blog Reaches The World #smd2010

The Star Alliance Mega Do 2010 Blog has drawn media, corporate and enthusiast interest from all over the world, with 1000s of unique hits per day from all corners of the world:

The sponsors, partners, event coordinators and blog editors thank everyone for their interest in StarMegaDo.com and will continue to provide fun and interesting insight to this week’s events through this blog, FaceBook and Twitter.

OK, how do you spell this event?

Days away from yet another fab events by the committee of flying pleasure, I stopped in on the “official” thread for the “It Really Does Have a Real Name” Do on FlyerTalk and have begun to compile a list of the various names by which this event is being called, referred to and even spelled (Hey, I made a name for myself by learning to pay attention to the fine print).

So, here’s how you and I can refer to this event. Take your pick, we really can’t be wrong:

  1. StarmegaDO 2010
  2. StarMegaDo
  3. StarMegaDo 2010
  4. Star Alliance Mega DO
  5. 2010 Star Alliance Mega DO
  6. Mega
  7. SMD2
  8. Starmegado
  9. Star MegaDO

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.

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