Charter flight #1 – Houston to Phoenix

StarMegaDo 2010 kicked off at the ungodly early hour of 5am today with the first round of transfers to the airport from the hotel. By 6am the last group was climbing on the shuttle buses and we’d put away a half case of Veuve in celebration of the crazy that we are. The folks unlucky enough to be on the earliest buses were rewarded with the opportunity to visit the flagship Continental Presidents Club in Terminal E while the rest of us barely cleared security in time to get to the plane on time.

IMGP6876Boarding was somewhat chaotic – you’d think a group of 200 frequent flyers would be better at getting their bags in the overheads – but we pushed back on time and cruised west from Houston at 36000 feet through cloudless blue skies. It was a beautiful day for flying. Oh, and we did have the oldest unaccompanied minor ever to fly on Continental with us as well. In case you’re curious, he is a big baby, but also a great guy.

IMGP6879The in-flight service was truly special. One of the flight attendants is an avid participant in the FlyerTalk community and managed to trade to pick up the trip at the last minute. The entire in-flight crew was phenomenal, pouring bottle after bottle of Monopole (and whatever other drinks were ordered) and serving up a hot meal for us as well.

IMGP6891The service was more than I’ve had on just about any flight in the past couple years. I mentioned that to one of the flight attendants and she noted “we haven’t worked this hard on a two hour flight since the MD-80s.” Yeah, that was a long time ago. Still, they were working with smiles on their face and having a blast traveling with us

IMGP6887Wheels down in Phoenix was right on time. We deplaned into buses where most of the group headed to a reception with US Airways while a smaller group headed west to Goodyear Field to visit Airline Training Center Arizona, the Lufthansa flight training facility where all of their pilots learn to fly.

So we’re mostly working on very little sleep and quite a bit of Champagne. Doesn’t seem like all that bad a deal to me at all.

SMD vs. OMG

OK, today is unlike any other day. I mean, just how many days do you start out on a mileage run of sorts with 70+ members of that special secret society of frequent flyers? Anyway, I’m just bidding my time at the gate waiting for my next connection when I hear across the way a few young ladies exclaiming their joy over some topic that clearly brings interest and excitement to themselves. The chosen term—O-M-G. O-M-G in todays lexicon stands for Oh My God or Oh My Goodness, that being a statment of exclamation. Since an exclamation is an expression of feeling, the next words from my mouth will be—S-M-D. You know, an exclamation of feeling about the Star Mega Do. Say it, say it with emotion. We, ladies and gentlemen are getting ready to rumble in the skies—forward march to the airport gate that greets us later today. Let me say it again … S-M-D.

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