MegaDO (noun): A once-in-a-lifetime gathering (that happens once a year) of like-minded, slightly nuts travel geeks where they charter an airplane and fly to different destinations around the world. A big plane. You know, like a 757 or 767. To visit airlines, plane manufacturers, hotel companies. And, to have a cocktail party at 35,000 feet. And a pillow fight. And raise a lot of money for charity.
Did I leave anything out? My involvement in the MegaDOs started a couple years ago when I decided to take my dad on SMD2. He was in the Air Force, and SMD2 was heading up to Boeing for a factory tour. I figured it would be a great treat to share with my dad and I was right.
For some reason that still evades me, I agreed to help the founder and organizer of the MegaDOs, Tommy Danielsen, organize future events. I could never have anticipated the amount of work that goes into planning one of these events.
Fast forward through broken planes, lots of alcohol, practicing an actual water evac out of a plane and countless other stories that blend together, and you have us at StarMegaDO4.
I’m so utterly exhausted when these events are over, but there are some pretty rewarding memories. And, we’re raising a ton of money for LIVESTRONG this year, so I’m geeked up that my favorite charity is the major recipient of everyone’s generosity this time.
So, where are we going?
How long to accomplish all this? Weeks, you say? That wouldn’t be any fun. Try 5 days.
My trip started this afternoon when my daughter decided to make me something to take with me. She definitely got the theme right!
After that it was off to Dulles Airport. My father was coming along again, so I went over to the B terminal with him to hang out in the Lufthansa lounge for a bit. I was flying United, my dad was flying American. As a United Club member I was able to hang out in the downstairs business lounge at the Senator Lounge. There are nicer lounges in Europe, but the LH lounge at IAD is better then any of the United Clubs and beats the heck out of waiting at the gate.
My dad and I shared a glass of wine and a snack, then I headed over to my gate to see if I was actually going to get an upgrade. My father, who’s a Platinum member on American (their mid-tier) had already gotten his upgrade. I’m a 1K on United (the highest tier you can earn, there’s another level called Global Services which is invitation only) but hadn’t received my upgrade despite half the cabin being empty. The gate agent happily upgraded me and I was on my way. I brought a sandwich on board because I was starving, which turned out to be a good idea after viewing the meal choices.
An uneventful flight got us to the gate at LAX a few minutes early. It was a nice night out, so I decided to walk the short distance to the Sheraton Gateway. Most of the other crew taking the flight on Sunday are staging a late-night party at Andaz West Hollywood. I’d join them, but I know there’s going to be a lot of lost sleep this week. I’ll get my last good night’s sleep until I return home.
Look for more updates soon, including a quick write-up on Sheraton Gateway. Thanks for coming along!