An Airplane Geek’s Dream Come True

I wouldn’t label myself a full-on airplane geek, but I do love flying.  For me, it’s about ending up in cool places that I couldn’t otherwise afford to go to if it wasn’t for my insane habit of collecting miles and points.  But, airplanes are still really cool to me.

That’s where MegaDo comes in.  A MegaDo is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that involves behind the scenes tours of airports, airlines, hotels and the occasional airplane.  We charter an airplane and fly to different places, with the voyage being half the fun.

This year was the first oneworld MegaDO.  We started in New York at JFK. From there, we flew to London for a visit with British Airways.  This was to be a short trip, with a day of meetings (and tea) with top executives, followed by a private cocktail reception in their T5 arrivals lounge.  There was some pretty awesome champagne flowing, and I couldn’t help grabbing a picture:


From there, it was  on to Dallas to visit American Airlines’ world headquarters.  We met with top executives there, and also participated in a bunch of cool activities.  We got to evacuate a smoke-filled cabin, jump out onto an inflatable slide and jump into a pool to practice a water evacuation.

After a day full of activities in Dallas, we boarded our charter plane to Seattle.  American had decided to give us a sneak peek at their new menu.  Everyone on the plane was getting an awesome plate of food.  I enjoyed the halibut, which came with a starter appetizer of smoked salmon and chilled shrimp.  The halibut had a pretty tasty corn salsa and some green beans and really good mashed sweet potatoes.  My father, sitting next to me, actually got a steak that was cooked medium rare.  Can’t remember the last time I saw a steak on an airplane that wasn’t completely dead already.  And, don’t worry, the empty glass in the picture below got filled with champagne.  If this is the new standard for domestic catering, I’m all ears.  The meal was the best domestic meal I can ever remember having.


Our itinerary in Seattle was a day with Boeing, every airplane geek’s dream. But, before that, we had a late-night reception with the folks from Japan Airlines.  It turned out to be a pretty awesome night for me, which you can read more about here.

At Boeing, we got to visit a facility closed to the general public, the Renton 737 line.  May not sound like much, but the 737 is the most widely purchased plane in aviation history.  This was my second time walking through the line, and it was no less cool the second time around.  Seeing all the different colors being applied to the planes and trying to remember which one is which, all while the planes inch along on a moving line towards completion at the far end of a really big building.

One of the other big surprises this trip was a visit to the Boeing Customer Experience Center (CEC).  The CEC is also closed to the general public.  The only people that normally get in are executives from the major airlines.  Inside, we got to tour interiors and mock-ups of a 737, 747-800i, 757, and 787.  Some of us got to pilot a simulator as well.  One of the cool things we happened upon while we were there was this:


If you look closely at the bottom left hand corner, you’ll see the number 7623.  If you could actually count all the little dots on the map, this is a live image of all the Boeing planes currently in the air across the world (well, at least at the time of the picture).  It’s amazing the crazy things I find interesting.

As the slogan on the bumper sticker I bought said, “If it’s not Boeing, we’re not going!”

Ben Mutzabaugh of the USA Today, wrote about his experience on OWMD today.  Great article!

The only place to get a ticket on the MegaDO is on Milepoint.  Keep an eye out for an announcement about StarMegaDO 4.

About the Author

My goal in life is to fill my family’s passports with stamps, creating buckets of memories along the way. You’ll find me writing about realistic ways for normal people to travel the world, whether you’re on a budget or enjoy luxury. I also enjoy taking us on the occasional detour to explore the inner workings of the travel industry.

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