The generosity of StarMegaDo knows no bounds

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.

SMD2-2010_raffle-sm

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.

IMGP7051Speaking 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.

The Pillow Fight Seen ‘Round The World

Here’s how a viral video starts: First, a few FlyerTalkers upload footage to YouTube of the pillow fight that broke out on our PHX-PAE leg last week. In order to protect the dignity of the FAs and keep the whole incident our private joke, the video is rendered invisible to the general public. Then I go ahead and post it to Facebook anyway (along with many others), where the editor of BroBible sees it. He reposts it, and then it immediately starts trending on Digg. (His plan all along, he later confesses.) At first, a few U.K. newspapers notice it, then the Phoenix ABC affiliate, and then the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. And before you know it, it’s on the Today Show. Amazing. And speaking on behalf of my fellow journalists, it’s not that we don’t know this was a privately chartered flight; it’s that we just don’t care. Next stop: NBC Nightly News.

Click here to view the embedded video.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/40090995#40090995

(The first version of the video was removed from YouTube; this is another copy from another participant on the flight. -Ed.)

Pillow fights are more fun at 36,000 feet!

I don’t know who started it or why. But someone did, so as we started our descent into Paine Field on Friday a full-fledged pillow fight broke out. Suddenly the cabin was filled with pillows (and a blanket or two) flying back and forth. Quite entertaining to watch and participate in:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Pillow Fight

Here’s the action onboard the flight: a FlyerTalk pillow fight at 33,000 feet. At the end, some 150 pillows from coach were headed to first class.

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