First Annual Star Alliance MegaDO
I’ve got a picture here of seanthepilot playing none other than the Santa Claus of flight attendants. As previously mentioned, each leg of the MegaDo run had local flight attendants (aka Moderators) dressed in their finest. From Oslo to Toulouse it was an homage to our Norweigan hosts in Oslo and the ‘cutest’ sweather vests came out. Actually the volunteers all looked so handsome in them. In this picture seanthepilot is checking his list twice … and once more beyond that because he is short a few vegetarian meals. You’ve all been there — meal shortage by the time they got to you. This flight attendant was so kind and concerned as he informed some of our fellow passengers. You could hear it in his voice… pleading for understanding. But in the end, some magic in the gallery moving some food around and everyone was happy. For seanthepilot … no food fight and he gets to keep the sweather vest to wear on Christmas Day.
I’ve had a few questions about the Toulouse Fly By so let me give you a bit more information. Essentially a ‘fly by’ is and splash and dash, an aborted landing and takeoff all-in-one — something you just don’t experience everyday and if you are the lucky flyer, you never experience except during something that FlyerTalk does.
We approached landing in Tolouse just as any landing, but once at about 50 feet off the runway, we continue flying the full length of the runway at that same altitude and once at the very end, the pilot gives it a nice punch of thrust and we head upwards kissing the sky and then vector back around to land as we normally would. Now do you see why we were all left with sore hands from clapping so much? It was awesome.
Now for some color commentary: 1) can you picture the grin on the co-pilot’s face as we did this while landing at the Airbus factory in a Boeing? 2) We had the chief pilot for Condor as our pilot and immediately upon landing he pulled his business card out and thrust it into the hands of one of our hosts, Tommy777, and said if we ever do anything like this again to please call him, he loves the way FlyerTalk flys! 3) We were told you need 3.3 tons of fuel to land as the bare minimum and after the fly by we only had 3.4 tons left so there was no chance for an ‘encore.’
You had to be there.
Still traveling and until I can find just a few moments to post up more, please consider visiting this collection of great pictures by others from the Star MegaDO:
As you have earlier learned, the hosts of this event recruited several Moderators of FlyerTalk to assist as Flight Attendants along the way. Not to replace the professional Flight Attendants that were in charge the full flights, but to enhance the experience of those FlyerTalkers along for the ride. Life isn’t so easy at 33,000 feet and let me explain how things can go wrong … very wrong.
Experience #1: Picking up the trash. As the low man on the totem pole, I volunteered to pick up the trash from the drink service as part of the early morning flight to Oslo. Decked out in my finest — this being a full-on Hawaiian shirt with a double lei, I did the only thing I knew and that came from watching the United Airlines flight attendants collect trash — get out a plastic bag and go down the aisles and just keep throwing the trash in the bag, some times allowing the passenger to put it in the bag and at other times putting it in myself. The first clue should have been when I asked the regular flight attendants for a bag to collect the trash with. They seemed confused and it did not seem like I was connecting with them. Finally one of them got it and rumbled through some things and came out with a large plastic bag. Cool, I’m the trash man. So, I rumble forward to my middle point — row 28 and cheerfully begin to collect the trash. I’m all over this .. please, thank you for your business, any more trash today, we do appreciate your business, etc. You might have never heard all this from a trash attendant but I’m liking it. Well, about half way towards the back, one of “my passengers” politely informs me that there might be a problem. He simply points behind me. I turn around and there is a trail of trash all down the aisle. Apparently the bag I got from the trash had a huge hole in the bottom and nearly everything I was cheerfully putting in … was coming right back out. Acting as if I always did it that way, I immediately did the 180 turn and redid all my trash pickup, this time collecting from the actual aisle rather then while in the aisle. Lesson: Always check your equipment when serving as a trash collecting flight attendant.
Experience #2: Learning to count. During the training session for being a flight attendant, the pick-up of the meal trays was covered. It was fairly simply, the rule of three. That is, each flight attendant on each side would slide three trays back into the cart as each row held a total of six trays across. Pretty easy. When my turn came to be a “Trolly Dolly” and I have to say, this honor came from some of the members of the bmi forum that I met earlier. I’ve been called some things in my life, but Trolly Dolly? Not sure why I could not have been a Cart Stud, but OK, Trolly Dolly it is. Meal service without a hitch and now comes clean up time. My fellow flight attendant and I push the cart back to aisle 28 and start toward the back collecting tray after tray after tray. It’s not easy trying to balance plastic cups that are the proverbial half empty and yet half full. Nor is it easy to keep loose trash such as foil and napkins from dropping to the aisle but I’m making a real go of it and got the hang of it in no time. Somewhere near aisle 44, a FlyerTalker distracts me with a question that I actually was able to answer with trays in hand. Such a balancing act. Anyway, after answering I resume stacking the trays. Hum. This row seems stuck, let me push a little harder. Just a little bit more. Ah, I finally got it and go to collect more trays from passengers only to hear an exclaim from the other side of the cart. It seems that during my distraction, I had lost count and yes, tried to put 10 pounds of trash in a five pound bag, in this case, five trays in where I should have only put my three trays. Remember when i wrote earlier that something seemed stuck and I had to push harder? Well, it was my fellow flight attendants three trays from her side and when I pushed harder, I sent two trays of trash flying out the other side onto the aisle. With a cool “it happens all the time” glance my way (she was just being polite I’m sure), we got those two trays quickly picked up, trash collected and was able to finish the tray collection — me, never volunteering another word the rest of the way to any passenger. So if any of you in my section of the cabin that flight was wondering why I missed their question, now you know the rest of the story, I was busy counting to myself 1 tray-2 tray-3 tray; 1 tray-2 tray-3 tray; 1 tray-2 tray-3 tray. Bottom line, I’m not available for parties, go get your own Trolley Dolly!
I’ve got more to catch up on, total exhaustion, dead battery on the iPhone and a sudden change of plans (mine) cause a brief delay.
So, come back in hours and I’ll have news on using the cabin service lights as a musical instrument (ding, ding anyone), lederhosen, raffles in the sky, how Miles&More became Meals&More and describing my first time I’ve ever had to show my passport and get it stamped to get into a party — oh, we were such jetsetters!
I’m the observer. I’m the one that noticed the confusion and a little uncomfortableness in the bathrooms in the basement of the SAS hangar. You see, in many of the Scandinavian countries, there is no mens or women’s bathroom. There are just bathrooms and of course for the uninitiated, you wander in and think it may be men’s and notice a lady coming from one of the stalls (all stalls). Or, you are done and washing your hands and go to grab a towel and notice the other person doing the same is of the other gender. It does cause a moment of panic and at times, some embarrasement as you attempt to apologize … for nothing wrong. There were several curious moments at the commode in Oslo.
OK, the Star MegaDo has wound down and there’s more to post now that I have battery power again (note to self, what respecting world traveler doesn’t have the correct power adapters?) But as I continue with the events and the memories, here’s my all time favorite scene so far. Let me explain.
We’ve been to three countries in a single day and mixed with three different local and other cultures and I have to say, there was nothing more touching to me that when the busses rolled away from the hanger at Oslo when the various SAS employees (EuroBonus ones included) came outside in the snow and cheerfully waved us all goodbye. I watched out of the back of the last bus and they stayed there and waved until we had turned the last corner to return to the runway. No doubt of the care of this group. They loved us, they really did. Look at this yourself and imagine them fading in the rear window of your bus as you are still smiling yourself.
It just keeps getting better. Oslo was a jewel with the hearts of SAS on display and wonderful entertainment. Toulousse started with a fly-by which brought an immediate and very loud round of applause … several times. Have to admit – that was some entrance to Toulousse and Airbus.
Unbelievable! Greeted so warmly by SAS Marketing and EuroBonus. With a fabulous female singer emerging from one of the planes parked in the hanger singing Fly Me to the Moon to the next, a troupe of Norweigen traditional bands with dance troupes this is such a blast. I just can’t describe the joy that all these FlyerTalk members are having. Wonderful, just wonderful.