10 Weeks to OneWorld MegaDo: Preparing for Seat 33A!

I just strolled over to MegaDo.com to check how was I doing on seat 33A.  I had a whale of a time booking up my seat a couple of weeks back when I had to cancel an evening out to be in front of the computer when the booking opened up. I thought I’d plan this trip with the BoardingArea peeps and readers along going forward. Here is how it looks like so far!

Booking seats on the Charter AAOWMD – Check

It was 10 AM morning in the US ( I forget the time zone!), and 9 PM or so in Delhi, where I was trying to book up. Add to it the pressures of visiting friends and relatives due to the festivities.

So, I was on the F5 button most of the time, refreshing the browser to find out how to get in. Luckily, in the parallel MilePoint window,  there popped up instructions from a helpful poster on the login that was used on the prior day with the attendants of the LAX launch party. That was how I got in, and how so many others got in too, but the server went under and there was no chance to book.

After much persistence, by the time I got over to the seat selection engine for the 3rd time, the aisle seats were gone, and I was left with choosing between the middle and the window seats. I secretly wished someone had developed teleportation technology on a mass scale so that I could have landed up on a LAX US Customs and Border Protection agent’s table with my passport in hand on the launch night, but such is life! *sigh*

So, eventually, I had a seat booked up and there was a page that went up declaring that the inaugural OWMD was sold out as of 23 minutes after launch (later amended to 17 mins after launch!). But was I really there? I did not know. The seat map showed me at the back of the plane with a seat in my name, but PayPal had knocked me off saying it could not charge my plastic and hence the payment was not made. Gulp, news is, there was a new world record established in overselling a seat (7 times!). So a lot of people were clearly anxious about who was going to get these seats!

I understand it was a long wait for everyone and there were those who got on the plane and those who did not. Surprised at the number of people who wanted to be travelling on the AAOWMD flights, the organisers did try, over the next few days, to see if they could upgrade the plane from a B757 to a B777 or organise a second plane. The  crew at the backstage was obviously professional and tried to get as many people to get on this amazing experience, but capacity limitations at various events were not going to make it so easy.

Eventually, I received a mail from the organizers giving me another chance to pay up, at which instance my seat on the charter was going to be confirmed. I paid up with my American Express Kingfisher First credit card, no less, earning about 1,000 miles for paying the $799 on it. I know that Kingfisher looks to be in trouble right now, but as a future oneworld member, it felt like the right thing to do to stick to the theme for the time being.

And after the payment went through the second time, I did get a confirmation invoice in the email and I was officially on for the charter. I am slightly disappointed not to be landed at BFI but at SEA where I already had a hop earlier this year, but I am sure this fun kick would be compensated for in the long run of things with all the other fun activities on the Do. 😉

Booking hotel stays in DFW, SEA and LAX – Check

In the week after, I made my bookings at the 3 Hyatt Regency hotels which have been organised for the events and the group rates, now that I was sure I was going! At Dallas Fort Worth, we stay at the Hyatt Regency at the Airport, while in Seattle, we stay at the Bellevue Hyatt Regency. This is a good thing, because it may allow me to hop over and meet some friends who stay in Bellevue for a few hours after the official gigs are over 😉 LAX has the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza booked up.  At SEA and LAX, I booked up double rooms rather than King beds, since one would be staying almost for a very less time in the room, and I thought it may be a good idea to share it with another member of the MegaDo group. Drop me a line if you’d like to be the room mate in the comments section or on email to aj@livefromthelounge.com!

In the meanwhile, the trial Diamond status offered to all the confirmed participants on the Do came through. I haven’t even bothered to apply my Suite Upgrades yet, since I am very sure all the suites are taken, and again, I am going to be out of the room than in the room most of the time!

Booking TATL segment to LHR – On hold

The details for the TATL segment booking (JFK-LHR-DFW) which were the optional segment of the trip are just about being confirmed. Looks like it will be about $916 in Economy and $ 2300 in Business for the flight across the pond to LHR. The only way to get to the F Class is to buy a J class seat and bid for F, proceeds from which will go to charity. No upgrades work on the flights selected for the TATL. I am planning to hop on to the Y segment again, and waiting to hear from AA on the ticketing details. There is rumor of a small event on board, though I still have not information to confirm! **Do not quote me on this!!**

Booking Hotels in LHR and NYC – On hold

I am waiting for the details on the LHR hotel to come out to be able to book up. In NYC,  there is clearly a great option to stay at the Andaz Wall Street, but I think I am heading up to the Upper West Side to meet a few friends before I set into Do Mode. There is also an unofficial kickoff dinner on the 22nd Jan evening, in Little Italy which I am going to try to attend.

 

I am also waiting for the details of the events to book up my flights from India to USA for the Do. I still haven’t worked on the options yet, and pondering if I want to do a RTW trip by arriving in NYC and departing from LAX to BOM, or book a regular RT.  Also, if I should book OW, or I should cheat a bit and book up on ST or *A? If you have any good routing ideas, drop them in! If I pick up one of those, you’ll receive a small swag from my side which contains BoardingArea goodies. Remember, BOM – NYC on 20th/21st January 2012, and for my return journey, LAX – BOM on 24th Jan 2012.

Stay tuned for more OWMD updates coming up!

 

About Ajay Awtaney

Ajay is a financial services pro, working to bring order to the chaos of the financial industry on an everyday basis! Beyond that, he dons the hat of India's favourite frequent traveller, trying to help people elevate their travel experience via tips and tricks they never knew before, or introduce them to the world of miles and points. Armed with an MBA from MDI Gurgaon and graduate degree in computer science from the University of Delhi, Ajay brings a systematic and objective approach on the table for his audience in dissecting travel and loyalty programs in India and around the world, and how to benefit from them. Ajay has been quoted in various reputed traditional and online media including The Hindustan Times, Inside Flyer, Bloomberg, DNA India, Conde Nast Traveller, The Telegraph, Mumbai Mirror, Mint, MoneyLife and The USA Today.

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