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).
Today 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.
Yes, we drank champagne from 5am to 11pm. Yes, we chartered our own plane and had crazy amounts of fun (including a pillow fight on board). Yes, we had amazing experiences, including a couple “first time ever” events.
But along the way we also did something pretty amazing. The 190-ish participants from StarMegaDo 2010 managed to raise roughly $12,000 for charity during the couple days we were all together. The numbers are simply amazing.
Some of the money – roughly $5,000 – was raised through a silent auction to score seats in the Lufthansa simulator during the stop in Phoenix. The rest was raised primarily through the charity raffle that operated throughout the event. A tremendous thanks goes out to the folks managing the raffle tickets, most notably Sharon, for the incredible results returned. As we returned to the plane in Phoenix we had roughly $5,700 in raffle funds in hand. At some point in the next hour they managed to raise over $1,000 more. Truly amazing.
Marty was also helpful in his efforts, offering to drive folks to the airport from the Sheraton in a rental car, providing an extra 30 minutes of much needed sleep on the morning of the flight, in exchange for a $10 donation to the charity efforts. And thanks to the generosity of Randy Petersen, the costs of the rental car were covered meaning that al $140 raised went straight to charity.
Speaking of Randy, his was the last purchase made in-flight of raffle tickets. He purchased one for every single person on the plane, including every member of the crew. Our last drawing of the day was for an iPad. As you can imagine, everyone was quite excited at the opportunity to win this one. The moment of truth came and the ticket number was announced. Everyone got quiet. Helpers were running up and down the aisle, repeating the number and hoping to find a winner.
Eventually two of the flight attendants noticed that their tickets were one above and one below the winning numbers – the winner was a member of the crew. Another announcement was made for all the crew to double-check their tickets as we were pretty sure one of them was the winner. And then we heard the call from the guy in the left seat up front. “Yeah, I got that,” was all he said and then a huge round of applause erupted on the plane. Yes, we had to wait until the end of the flight to deliver the prize, but it was well worth it.
The money raised will go to support several different charities, including HelpAlliance, the Lufthansa corporate charity, Continental’s WeCare Employee Fund, a Kiva.org account and the Jason Dahl Foundation. Thank you to everyone who donated and congratulations to all the raffle winners.
One of the highlights of the Star Mega Do 2 is the charity raffle that took place on the leg between PHX-SEA. Among the many prizes were model aircrafts, first class amenity kits, Bose headsets, several Five Guys hamburger gift certificates and an iPad.
The GREAT news is that nearly $7,000 was raised for various charities that this SMD2 will donate to by the sales of raffle tickets onboard.
Among the winners? The Captain of the plane won the iPad.
We take a lot from the industry (miles, points and upgrades), but we also give back.
“This is your plane,” our purser, “Luke Skywaiter” announced at the beginning of the flight, and 180+ FlyerTalkers took full possession shortly into the flight. Our charter this year is a four-class plane — First, Tommy, Randy, and Coach — and it quickly became apparent that Randy Class was the place to be. Maybe it was the exit rows (the preferred habitat of Randy Petersen), maybe it was the t-shirt (in hot pink, reading “Come sit with me”) or maybe it was the freebies (the industry trade magazines, the rolleyes buttons, the hundred dollar bills — “I love my Benjamins,” Randy said, making a cash fan) but it was probably the champagne. Perfectly positioned in the middle of the plane, they were able to intercept any bottles coming or going. Asked how they were doing, one seat mate replied “Drunk, I think, or we’re getting there.”
In contrast to the inaugural Star Mega Do, where the perks in First Class made it the place to be, this morning’s First and Tommy Class (i.e. coach with the middle seat blocked and a Veuve Cliquot flight first thing in the morning) were more sedate, populated with sleepers and readers. This left coach to be the other hotspot, where Capt. Denny, Scott O’Leary and other industry guests gamely endured the world’s largest aerial cocktail party.
The silliness spilled over to the crew. When they weren’t busy refilling glasses, they were fighting on the PA:
“It’s not my fault pterodactyls died and you had to start flying on airplanes.”
“Hey, I’m only ten years older than you!”
On a more sober note, the charity raffle had raised $3,207 midway through the flight, well on its way to the target of $5,000.
Now that we’re on the ground in PHX, it’s time to visit US Airways (and for a fortunate few, Lufthansa’s training center). Art Pushkin and USIrritated are cracking their knuckles…