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StarMegaDo 2010 – New York JFK to Frankfurt FRA on a Boeing 747-400
Join StarMegaDo as we fly from JFK to Frankfurt in the first hop of the transatlantic aerophilic adventure.
Things have been a bit quiet on the Star Mega Do front lately, but only on the public side. In the background our crew has been toiling away day and night putting together an itinerary that will knock you socks off. Tonight, at 6pm PDT in Los Angeles, California, the itinerary will be unveiled and the details shared. If you’re in town (or one of the ~75 folks traveling in just for the party) you can join us at Tony P’s in Marina del Ray to hear the details in person. If you cannot be there, I’ll drink your share and still manage to post here what’s going on.
Will there be long-haul flights full of partying aerophiles? You bet!
Charter aircraft with custom catering and ridiculous antics? It wouldn’t be a Star Mega Do without those bits!
Surprises that I’m pretty sure you cannot guess yet? Absolutely!
The party tonight is going to be great and the party on the planes is going to be even better. Get ready, because you’re not going to want to miss this event!
Wrapping up the first day of the tours here in Germany, our group was treated to a meal by the folks from Lufthansa and Star Alliance. The event was held in the main dining room of Lufthansa’s executive offices just off the airport grounds and we were very well taken care of, to say the least.
Good booze and good food flowed, as did good friendship and camaraderie.
Jan Albrecht was present, along with a number of other executives from airlines and the alliance. They were happy to circulate among the crowd and get feedback from our group, with one of them noting rather humbly that they knew that the FlyerTalk community has a more in-depth understanding of their products than even they do and that they depend on us a good amount to know when things are broken.
A few more speeches, including the very appropriate and heartfelt thanks being extended to the organizers of the event.
Lufthansa had some flight attendants at the event as part of the photo shoot and then to be at the party to show off some of the retro uniforms that they used to use. Quite sharp, to say the least.
Boarding passes being distributed:
John celebrating the fact that he managed to lose and find his passport in the 12 hours prior to the departure from the USA. He had great reason to drink and celebrate, not that we really need good reasons.
Getting ready to head out on the first charter flight now.
Here’s the aircraft that we are flying, boarding right now. Word has it that the tower will clear this flight as it taxis and takes off as FlyerTalk1. Now, how cool is that?
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.
Frequent Flyer Services
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If you spend your life traveling for your job, does a week of visiting airlines in the U.S. and Europe really sound like fun?
It does to a group of road warriors embarking Tuesday on a unique venture organized by FlyerTalk.com, an online community of expert travelers.
The Star Alliance MegaDO (as in a “really big ‘do”) starts with a briefing with United Airlines in Chicago then jets off to Newark, N.J., for a behind-the-scenes look at operations, including the in-flight meal kitchen, at Continental Airlines’ hub there. That night, the 88 participants, who collectively already hold 24 million frequent flyer miles, fly to Frankfurt and join more than 100 more airline junkies in Europe for meetings and briefings with Lufthansa executives.
The following day, a chartered Boeing 757-300 will take the group of 200 to Oslo, Norway, for breakfast with SAS, then Toulouse, France, for a tour of the Airbus A380 final assembly line. Then it’s back to Frankfurt for a stint at Lufthansa’s flight attendant training academy.
Airlines coddle these uber-travelers because they are among their best customers. With business travel in a deep slump, the Star Alliance airlines are bending over backwards for the event.
Stay tuned for updates on the group’s experience.
|GoJet CRJ-700 N153GJ Operating as United Express, my ride to Chicago, with a Continental 737 in the background|
Yeah, I’m excited to be flying on the CRJ-700 this afternoon from Newark to Chicago as the first of many flights in my StarMegaDo experience. No, I didn’t get upgraded into ExPlus. I didn’t even make it into the Economy Plus section. No Channel 9 to listen to the air traffic controllers along the way. Heck, there is barely even a window at this row. There really is very little about this that should really make me particularly happy.
And yet, here I am, happily ensconced in seat 15C and really quite pleased.
Due to work commitments I originally had to book the 7pm departure from Newark this evening. Fortunately, however, I was able to adjust that schedule and get to the airport around 1pm, plenty early for the 2:36pm flight to Chicago. I was flying standby at that point and it turns out that there was a small chance that I wouldn’t make the flight – there were more folks who wanted to go standby than seats available. But as they started boarding I heard my name called and I was handed my new boarding pass. Not much could have made me happier.
Even better, the flight departed on time and is expected to arrive early into Chicago this afternoon. That means plenty of time for me to hang out before heading out to meet the rest of the pre-party crowd for dinner.
So, yes, I’m happy to be on the CRJ-700. I never really thought I’d write that.
Participants have begun their travels to join in the 2009 Star Alliance Mega DO festivities, preparing for a VERY long day tomorrow that will start in Chicago and end somewhere over the North Atlantic on a Lufthansa 747-400 bound for Frankfurt. Follow the Star Mega DO journey through this blog and by searching for hashtag #starmegado on Twitter.
With the official start of the 2009 Star Alliance Mega Do less than 48 hours away, the event coordinators and partners would like to wish safe travels to all those flying from afar to position themselves in Chicago or New York for Tuesday’s events. Please do not forget to use MySkyStatus to update your FaceBook or Twitter accounts and add hashtag #starmegado to all of your tweets. We look forward to seeing all of you soon!
While you’re in the air, MySkyStatus sends altitude, location, departure and arrival updates automatically to your Facebook and Twitter pages. It’s travel made social and it’s easy to set up. Click here for examples and to get started with MySkyStatus.
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:
If you have signed up for the Seeheim Slumber Party on Friday night, please log on and complete your payment today. Also note that we have a decent priced buffet option available as well.
We’re getting closer…..