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For better or worse, Star MegaDo 4 is now upon us. In case you aren’t familiar, Star MegaDo 4 will be heading from LAX to Frankfurt to Zurich to San Francisco to Houston to Chicago all within six days. That is in addition to your positioning flights to/from LAX and Chicago. Somehow I decided it was a good idea to go on the entire trip instead of just the domestic portion that I typically participate in. I furthermore decided it was a good idea to do it all in……coach?! I wanted to keep costs down, but I am now looking at flying from California to Switzerland and back to California within 48 hours all while sitting upright, and am reconsidering how smart that plan was. Especially since we are in the middle of moving Little C to her “Big Girl Bed”, so none of us are sleeping much at night. What in the world was I thinking??!! Parents don’t have the luxury of coming home and crashing for a day or two after an exhausting trip. Gulp.
However, despite my reservations about my cabin choice, and the length of time I will be gone from home (thank goodness Houston is a stop on the trip), I am still looking forward to the trip. I expect no violins to be playing me a sad song since going on one of these trips really is an amazing experience. Here are some basics about what we will be doing.
LAX – FRA (Frankfurt)
2:50 pm – 10:45 am+1, Lufthansa LH457
FRA – ZRH (Frankfurt – Zurich)
1:00 pm – 1:55 pm, Lufthansa LH1190
Walking tour of Zurich (very excited about seeing Zurich for the first time!)
6:30 pm Hyatt and Swiss reception at the Park Hyatt Zurich
November 13 – ZRH – SFO
1:05 pm – 4:25 pm, Swiss LX38
6:00 pm Registration opens at the Hyatt Regency SFO
7:00 pm Welcome reception at the Hyatt Regency SFO sponsored and hosted by Hyatt
KULA Causes presents
Milepoint CARES giving platform
11:30 am Transportation to SFO.
Check in and program at SFO
Chartered flight on United wide-body aircraft!
1:30 pm SFO-IAH
7:30 pm Arrival IAH
Barbecue party upon arrival Sponsored by Pointshound.com
5:00 am -5:30 am To Go breakfast is available (ouch that is sounding painfully early)
5:30 am Buses leave
7:30 am Departure from IAH to ORD
10:00 am Arrival ORD
Again this is on a chartered wide-body United aircraft!
United program in Chicago upon arrival that consists of participating in one of these three options:
The Airport Operations tour - Feel like an employee for a day with special access to our O’Hare Operations. You’ll learn what’s involved in getting thousands of customers to their destinations every day. Customers on this tour who are staying at the Hyatt Regency in Schaumburg will have a brief opportunity to visit the hotel before heading to the evening reception in downtown Chicago.
The Inflight and Foodie tour - Meet our stellar catering and Infllight team – including our Executive Chef – and get a sense of what it takes to design and serve a meal that maintains its taste at 30,000 feet. You’ll even get to taste test a number of our dishes and wines from our BusinessFirst menu. Customers on this tour who are staying at the Hyatt Regency in Schaumburg will have a brief opportunity to visit the hotel before heading to the evening reception in downtown Chicago.The Headquarters tour - Visit our state-of-the-art Network Operations Center, where we do 24/7 management and monitoring of every flight in our system. Find out how we plan future destinations, learn about our commitment to the environment and get a peek into our CEO’s office. Customers on this tour who are staying at the Hyatt Regency in Schaumburg will have an opportunity to visit the hotel before the Headquarters tour begins, but, will then proceed directly from the tour to the evening reception.
7:00 pm United hosts reception at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.
8:30 pm – 9:00 pm Transportation to the Hyatt Regency Schaumburg
7:00 am Breakfast at the Hyatt Regency Schaumburg
8:00 am Buses leave for United program downtown Chicago. You get to participate in one of the two sets of sessions:
IT & eCommerce session followed by MileagePlus session (or vice versa)
Product & Social Media session followed by Hubs & Airport Operations session (or vice versa)
I believe there is a lunch and then some will return to the hotel/start their journey home, and 15 lucky folks will get to get a private tour of the Hyatt Bensenville test facility.
There are some more optional charity fundraising events Friday night and Saturday, but I am heading home Friday night as I will be WAY too wiped out for any more fun! MilePointTV has some really awesome videos detailing some of the things to come on this MegaDo if you want more details.
On top of the events, there will be a game called Mileopoly where you have to find the other MegaDoer with the other half of your piece to win a prize. Prizes include iPad minis, a confirmed booking on the next MegaDO, a chance to film an intro for an upcoming video on MilepointTV, Starbucks gift cards, Gogo internet passes and other prizes including bonus miles, elite status and more. How fun!
There is almost always an open bar at MegaDo events, so there is now BoardingArea/Mommy Points water available to help ward off any potential hangover/jetlag dehydration.
Follow the MegaDo blog for lots of fun updates from the trip as they happen. I will also be posting some info about the trip here as well. Apologies in advance if I am offline a bit more than normal this week. These MegaDos have a tendency to get in the way of prolonged time on the internet.
There is often a bunch of cool “swag” given away on these trips, so I promise to try and grab some to share (I have promised Little C some Swiss Chocolate). If this type of trip sounds like something you would be interested in joining in on next time, then stay tuned, because rumor is there will be a few of these MegaDos in 2013. They are exhausting whirlwinds, but they are amazing experiences with surprises along the way.
I would be a liar if I didn’t say I am feeling overwhelmed with trying to get things in order before being gone from my family for that long. Don’t even get me started about how I am sad about being gone from C for so many days, but having done a couple of these trips before, I know that what you see and experience makes it worth all the effort. Time to finish packing so I can fly out to join close to 200 fellow travel enthusiasts for this exciting adventure. Wish me luck…