MegaDo6 hidden(?) program changes

Discussion in 'SMD6 (Star MegaDO #6)' started by FFlyer, Mar 25, 2015.  |  Print Topic

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  1. FFlyer

    FFlyer Member

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    Hi,
    in the Hotel booking links provided yesterday a fundamental change in the program seems evident as the London event location at The Mayfair has now been changed to Rad Blu Bloomsbury.

    From the e-mail the rationale for the change is somewhat unclear....

    "We have made minor adjustments to accommodations in London in order to ensure a broader choice of hotels, a more consistent delivery of benefits during the high spring season, and an option to stay in London after the event concludes."

    Nice to have 4 hotels to choose from in London, but it is disappointing that The Mayfair is neither an event location nor a hotel which is offered to MegaDo6 participants, as previously announced. The Mayfair boasts an atmosphere and location the other hotels cannot match. It is also classified as a 5* hotel whilst the others are 4* or lower. I was looking forward to try this hotel on this occasion, as it usually is too expensive for your London weekend or holiday with rates starting at over GBP 350/night. So this begs the question; what is the reason for this change and why do you communicate it as a "minor adjustment"?

    Also a few more practical questions; in the booking process (in my case Bloomsbury after absorbing the disappointment) there was no option to include roommate CC number. How is this captured to ensure eligebility for Concierge status also for roommate?

    How do you book only 1 night at Sky City ARN? It seems the link takes you right to a 2 night stay with no possibility to change to 1 night....is there a promo code to be used to get the MegaDo rate through a regular search?

    FFlyer
     
  2. LIH Prem
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    LIH Prem Gold Member

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    I think this is all covered* in the official thread, Pat+ posted there. The May Fair couldn't handle the event apparently.

    This is the way it is on the mega dos. Things usually work out, just go with the flow if you want to participate.

    *You might want to post the 1 night booking question in the official thread.

    -David
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2015
  3. LIH Prem
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    LIH Prem Gold Member

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    I was able to change the dates. On the left side, it says modify and you can change the dates there. Also the promo code is listed there, it's MAFAI.

    -David
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2015
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  4. rehoult
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    rehoult Gold Member

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    Re: The May Fair.

    Club Carlson is one of our partners on SMD6, and had originally stated that they wanted to host us there so they could show off the property and we launched based on that knowledge. However, when they went to start putting the event together they realized that they would not be able to make The May Fair work. They informed us of this within the last week, and we passed it on to everyone here as quick as we could.

    We're disappointed, as The May Fair is a great place for an event and we were looking forward to it, but in the end it just wouldn't work for Club Carlson. But I'm sure they will put on a great event wherever it is hosted.
     
  5. cova

    cova Gold Member

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    Can you provide any details on the London event hosted by CC?
    Is this just a cocktail party or is there a program with prizes, etc?

    Looking at logistics:

    1. Charter arrives at 6pm.

    2. Getting Luggage etc, and then tickets for Gatwick Express we are not going to get out of LGW before 6:30pm, maybe 7pm.

    3. Travel time on Gatwick Express is exactly 30 minutes (have done it many times).

    4. Arriving at Victoria at 7 to 7:30pm, transportation will be tube or taxi. Getting lots of taxi's will be hard to do - as this is end of rush hour and start of theater for the event. Tube requires Victoria Line (I would do Victoria Line to Warren, then south on the Northern Line to Tottenham Court) and getting a ticket at Victoria. Host hotel is a couple of blocks from Tottenham Court tube station. There is construction for the past few years near Tottenham Court Rd - at Oxford St since Charring Cross Rd was closed at Oxford St for new project which now takes over the street. Also the Central line stop at Tottenham Court is closed during this time period through the end of the year.

    5. Best case is arrival at Bloomsburg hotel at 7:30 or 8pm. For those at other hotels - which are spread around the city - add another hour a minimum to get to hotel, change, and then get to Bloomsbury so maybe 8:30 to 9pm best case arrival.

    This is a very congested section of London - much more so than Mayfair or Portman Sq. What happened to Portman Sq Radisson - not on the list?

    6. Is 8pm a realistic start time. How long does the event run?

    I actually prefer this location over the Mayfair, however this Radisson are old non-descript buildings. I many times stay at the St Giles a block away, and have never seen these Radisson hotels. Of course this area is next to Soho and the Theater district - with lots of bars, etc.

    Also - I don't see any of the Leister Sq Radisson's on the list. Looks like Radisson just waited and looked at the booking levels (and these are the less desirable of the Radisson's in London) then made those hotels the ones to use. Rates are not that great. I could have booked some of these hotels earlier at cheaper rates.

    My take - Radission should have hosted an event on Sunday night at ARN and just have kept Tues. night open.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2015
  6. cova

    cova Gold Member

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    Note - we are no longer staying at the Sky City ARN. We are at the off terminal, older (but remodeled) Radisson ARN via shuttle bus.
     
  7. Pat+
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    Pat+ Silver Member

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    Please post in the main thread. Really. It will greatly facilitate open communication.

    There are no "hidden" changes - we've sent out an email to all participants mentioning adjustments, and I provided additional details in the very public thread. Unfortunately, organizing large events is complex and our partners ultimately have the last word on where/how they host us. Ryan's response above says it all.

    As long as your roommate is a registered MegaDO participant who has specified their number when signing up, then they are good to go. We'll provide CC with a full list. The hotel reservation system will not prompt you for a second CC number because second guests normally don't receive points.

    Regarding ARN, you can change the date. Note that we're not staying at the SkyCity anymore - please use the link in the email.

    Let's get back to the main thread please. Pretty please. :)
     
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  8. Pat+
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    Pat+ Silver Member

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    Methinks you're worrying too much :p If we're late, then so be it - the event will start later. It's well understood by our partner that we're flying in from France and are subject to numerous delays on the way. Nobody will be left behind. 8pm is the time we're aiming for, and it's not unrealistic if everything goes well. If there are any delays, then we'll start later. Simple, easy.

    As for the finer details of how to get to the hotels, as I mentioned in the main thread, this is a gathering of pro travelers, not a school trip. We make the reasonable assumption that the vast majority of participants is willing and able to find their way around a major European city with an effective transit network and where the locals happen to speak English. There are no plans to escort folks personally to their hotels or drop them off. Some participants will want to rest, some will want to change, some will want to go straight to the hotel and start drinking. Some will skip the reception altogether to enjoy London. It's all fair game. We're hoping that everyone has a good time based on their specific interests. The only portion of the trip during which we need to be strict about transportation and departure times is the charter, because we can't hold an aircraft waiting for latecomers. Once we get to London, it's a different game altogether.

    Let's just assume and expect that our partners care about creating a memorable experience and not worry too much about some of the finer details. I'm sure you'll have a great time.
     
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  9. FFlyer

    FFlyer Member

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    Well, sorry for not posting in the right thread although I am not really sure what thread that is...thanks also for a lot of reassurance and clarification about some key details. I have not received an e-mail about any changes to the program or venues...is one expected to monitor some thread for info?

    I do look forward to the event.....will be great fun I am sure....and as Pat (and SAS) says; We are all travellers:)
     
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  10. Pat+
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    Pat+ Silver Member

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    Here's the thread: https://milepoint.com/forums/threads/official-master-thread-smd6-sold-out.114061/

    If you did not receive the mass emails, please check your spam folder and PM me. A few emails bounced, I can check if yours happens to be once of those :)
     
  11. cova

    cova Gold Member

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    Good response. I know how MegaDo's work and they always turn out great - even if there is a glitch. Somehow the glitches are part of the excitement.

    For me, this is a great section of London, the area I know very well for over 30 years. I wish I could stay a few days longer.

    But the dilemma I have is that I have to miss the Wed event and catch a flight before 8am on Wed to get to the west coast on Wed afternoon. Hence - I will be departing the hotel at 4am to catch a taxi to Paddington to get the first Heathrow Express train of the morning which departs at 5:10am. The tube doesn't start that early.

    So I am trying to decide whether it is worth staying in downtown London for the night to go to a cocktail party that may not amount to much. Or just take a bus from LGW to LHR and stay at an LHR hotel. Hence the reason for asking about the content of the cocktail party. I suspect I will stay in town and go to the party for the Concierge status.

    Not sure if bonus point awards/contests with Club Carlson are planned like we had on Nordic Do.
     
  12. LIH Prem
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    LIH Prem Gold Member

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    I don't see any animosity here.

    -David
     
  13. cova

    cova Gold Member

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    Let me add - the hotel change at ARN is a disappointment as well. This limits your options. The SkyCity hotel is in the new terminal 5, with shops, restaurants, etc - most likely air side. The big plus is that it is also on top of the Express Train to Central Stockholm which is a 20 minute train ride. This would have made it easy for folks to head into town on Sunday night (if not in the dinner group). Coming in the day before - now makes it necessary too change plans. I was going to stay at SkyCity on Sat night - but now it likely makes sense to stay in Stockholm and then come back out to ARN hotel on Sunday for dinner.

    I suppose it would be possible to spend Sunday night at the Skycity hotel and come out to the ARN remote hotel on Monday am, since registration is Monday am, and there is nothing at the more isolated ARN remote hotel on Sunday. Since the event starts on Monday am - I assume only 1 night is required at the ARN host hotel.
     
  14. Cage
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    Cage Silver Member

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    Tottenham Court is two stops away from Mornington Crescent. I win... what do I get. :p

    - My preschoolers trip to the museum included a requirement that each participant find their own way to downtown YYC. Which is to say even school trips have a high standard for knowing how to navigate to a destination.
    - I would debate whether Londoners consider themselves to have an effective transit network.
    - While english is spoken in London, the idioms utilized by the locals can call into question whether the communication is likely to result success. Pat+, talk to rehoult about me having to get "where the box to" translated into proper english.

    Some of the animosity can be explained as the tables are now turned onto the Megado organizers, many of whom are used to being on the side of complaining about enhancements to their favourite loyalty program. Its understandable.
     
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  15. DesertRose
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    DesertRose Silver Member

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    I don't think it's animosity, I agree it's fear. The T&C say a change of hotels is a major change that merits a full refund.

    So when I asked for a full refund, then the fun starts. I have heard:
    "The hotel change language is just DOT boilerplate"
    "We are not regulated by DOT"
    "Hotels were not part of the package you bought"
    "If the hotels are so important, we will pay for you to have the 250 GBP rate at the Mayfair, so you can't say that there are any hotel changes for you"

    I have zero interest in staying at a non-conference hotel and then having to schlep my way from the original hotel to the events at the new hotel. The point of the conference hotel, in addition to accommodations in a 5* hotel at a reasonable price, is convenience to the events. Further, I have ABSOLUTELY zero interest in participating in any event run by these people.

    I have filed a dispute with my credit card, because I am not receiving the product that was advertised when I bought the package.

    I have also filed a complaint/comment to DOT asking who exactly does regulate a US-based seller of airfare packages, sold to US consumers, when the following text appears on the website:
    The Star MegaDO 6 booked on this reservation system is a foreign originating public charter flight operated under Title 14 CFR Part 380 by a recognized foreign air carrier by the United States Department of Transportation. All flights are operated by SAS in compliance with any applicable European Charter Standards and regulations. All tickets are sold in accordance with the authorization granted to MegaDO by the US Department of Transportation for a foreign originating public charter under Title 14 Part 380.3(b). The conditions applicable to the charter in the operator participant contract are available here.

    But I also asked my Norweigian friends what body would govern charter tour packages originating in Norway, and they pointed me here:
    https://www.pakkereisenemnda.no/
    and I found this on their website:
    https://www.pakkereisenemnda.no/content/download/20593/289530/file/DOC003.pdf

    Now the interesting thing that I find, is that there are several consumer protective laws in Norway, and the MegaDo providers have violated most of them:
    --The buyer has a right to cancel up to 42 days prior to travel for an administrative fee not to exceed 500 Kr ($75)
    --The deposit for the package may not exceed 2000 Kr ($230)
    --The balance of funds may not be due more than 35 days prior to departure
    --In the event of a transfer, the provider can charge a reasonable fee not to exceed 300 Kr ($35)
    And I believe MegaDo has violated all of these terms, can someone who is fluent confirm the Google translate version?

    Further, the law has some other clauses that look interesting, at least via Google Translate:
    2. Subject Matter of Agreement
    The agreement covers the holiday package as stated in the order and confirmation and travel documents or
    similar document, as well as any additional benefits that are included in the package tour by agreement
    between the parties. Otherwise the agreement also includes the organizer any individual the terms
    sees. Further information organizer has given in catalogs, brochures, etc. part of the agreement with
    unless they are assumed to be irrelevant for the customer's purchase of that particular package.
    The information is considered neither as part of the agreement if they are modified in an obvious
    way before entering into the agreement. Promoter shall in information material do note the possibility
    that the information may be changed before the agreement is signed

    -and-
    6.3. Promoter right to change the voyage content or conditions after
    sourcing
    The Promoter can not change its terms or specifications journey to the disadvantage of the client
    after the agreement, unless it is taken subject to change especially given benefits /
    specifications, and expressly stated in the individual agreement, ie travel document or other
    agreement document.

    The operator is obliged to notify the customer in writing as soon as possible if he wants to
    changing conditions or content after this point. Promoter shall simultaneously inform the client
    his right to cancel the purchase of the journey if the changes mean that the journey will suffer
    significant deficiencies for the customer after the change, or to demand a discount if the journey will be
    deficient.

    If the customer has not invoked this right within three days after notification
    change is reached, he loses the right to cancel the purchase or demand a discount.
    If extenuating circumstances that the deadline can not be met, the customer is obliged to notify so soon as possible and within a reasonable time.


    Luckily, I did request cancellation and refund more than 42 days prior to departure and I did request cancellation and refund within 3 days of learning about the downgrades to the program. So I feel I'm amply covered. Plus, I'm really relying on my credit card dispute here, I don't see how MegaDo will be able to say they are still offering what was advertised and sold as "MegaDo 6".

    But what about people who didn't realize that they could cancel for a refund under the applicable European laws? I would argue, and I think that consumer-friendly Norway would agree, that there are two possible ways that anyone who is interested in canceling can still do so:
    1. For anyone who has never received written notification of the changes due to known issues with the MegaDo mail server, I would say the "3 days after written notification" clock hasn't started ticking yet
    2. Anyone who was not notified of their right to cancel if the changes caused sufficient deficiency should be able to cancel as soon as the learn / are informed that they have the right to cancel... Unless I miss my guess, that's everyone?

    Hope this info helps some people, please feel free to critique the translations or logic, or contribute new info that will help anyone who just really wants to get out of this mess.
     
  16. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    Wow, as someone who has enjoyed a couple of mega do's in the past, I can't believe the caliber of comments here. I can't make this one due to a schedule conflict, but I wish I could and would have no problems with the changes.
    It is not a perfect world, but everyone has a great time with a lot of really fun people.
    To see a post with so much legal jargon over this event is beyond my comprehension.
    I would really recommend that people take a step back and think about the fun and camaraderie on these events.
    A hotel is just that. It does not make the event.
     
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  17. TOS_EBG

    TOS_EBG Silver Member

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    Since Stockholm is located in Sweden I would think you would find it hard to apply Norwegian law here.....
     
  18. iolaire
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    iolaire Gold Member

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    I got a good laugh out of that one! Good job...
     
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  19. cova

    cova Gold Member

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    I agree. MegaDo is not a major business. Many are volunteers which make this happen. These require getting our airline and hotel sponsors to put on the events at their expense. MegaDo is mainly leasing the Charter flight - which is where most of the money goes.

    Hotels are secondary, but the hotel chain we use is a sponsor and gives us perks and pays for an evening event at their expense. So all this is what the sponsors are willing to provide. We will be given top tier status at Club Carlson which is a big perk. At Nordic Do we had contests and given bonus points.

    The hotels sponsors decide the hotels and while they propose a choice it is not always guaranteed. They are giving us good rates, and if the hotel if filling up with higher paying customers we may have to move. Same thing happened at the Nordic DO in Copenhagen - which changed Radisson hotels to a less convenient location from the center of town to maybe a mile away (but still walkable).

    While it may have been nice to stay at the Mayfair, the new host hotel is a better location in my view. It is closer to activities, restaurants, bars, theater, etc. - particularly if you are staying a couple of days. I am just sorry I have to leave on a pre-8am flight on Wed and will miss the events at LHR.
     
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  20. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Agreed (generally), but if the terms of an event change substantially - and a change in venue is such - then I would expect the organizers to honor their obligations. If the organizers choose to sell a product before they've secured the suppliers of that product then they need to be willing to accept that some will back out when the product being sold changes.

    The "we're all friends here" idea is cute but it belies the reality of the legal obligations. Just because some organizers are volunteers (often in exchange for a comp'd trip, at least historically) that does not remove that obligation.
     
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  21. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    I completely agree with you in regards to the legal obligations Seth, but I feel that the matter could be handled better than posting foreign law that isn't even applicable. I'm certain that the organizers will honor all contractual obligations. Posts meant to incite people are usually not the best way to accomplish contractual settlements.
     
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  22. cova

    cova Gold Member

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    The appeal of the MegaDo to most is the behind the scene activities with the airlines, airline manufacturers, and hotels.
    Staying at a particular hotel (in a hotel room) is not the main focus of the event. Yes, having an event at a hotel is a focus, but the big items for this MegaDo are the SAS tour, the tour at Airbus (like we did at SMD1), and the LHR tour. The LH tours and the Airbus tour made SMD1 the best MegaDO in my view.

    These events are things you cannot do otherwise. You can always stay at the Mayfair. In fact, the initial rate of 250L proposed was good but not super. I could have booked a room there for 300L at the time SMD6 was announced.
     
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  23. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Then don't advertise the hotel name until the details are finalized and the contract is signed. I feel badly for the organizers that the partner made a last-minute switch on them but that should not give carte blanche to tell affected participants that the rules do not apply.

    It is unclear to me why the MegaDo organizers would include mention of "(3) a substitute of any hotel not listed in this contract; " as a type of change if no hotels are mentioned in the contract or if they do not intend to include change of hotel as one of the covered factors. Had that line not been included in the original contract it is very likely there would just be an annoyed consumer as opposed to a potential legal situation.
     
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  24. DesertRose
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    DesertRose Silver Member

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    LOL. I thought SAS was headquartered in Norway, but it turns out it's only a "flag" carrier. It could be that the only people the law I posted would apply to are the subset of Norwegians who were specifically targeted and marketed to as an early focus group for the trip. But I hear the selling of tickets isn't going so well on the Norwegian site, either... so who knows?Maybe it will help someone in the end.

    I guess the organizers can chip in about which European laws they think apply, but I suppose they won't do that if the laws put them in the wrong. I can try to find the Swedish law (Perhaps it will be totally different from Norwegian Law?) or maybe I'll wait and see who DOT thinks has legal jurisdiction here. Does anyone else have any ideas?

    I just want people who are extremely frustrated with the whole MegaDo to know that there is likely legal recourse, they have a ridiculous contract which would be illegal in some countries, and there are other people willing to call the organizers on their BS. Anyone likeminded feel free to contact me via PM, perhaps we can combine efforts.

    MegaDo is an event that brings in roughly 250-300k in revenue, and by all accounts, in years past there has been a lot of funny money for the organizers to play with at the end. I'm sorry, but when you advertise yourself as capable of running a quarter of a million dollar 'charity' event, and there is no public accountability for where the money goes, you don't get a "They're just volunteers" pass. Do you have any idea how much the primary organizers are compensated? Has that ever been disclosed?
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2015
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  25. okrogius

    okrogius Silver Member

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    Even if the entire 737 was sold as business class, that's around 169k in revenue (141/1.5*1799). If you actually allow for multiple classes, that's 4*1499+x*4*1799+(141-6-x*6)*999 where x is the number of rows marketed as business - somewhere around $145k. You can split hairs whether you think SAS charges 100k or 120k for the actual flight, and how much they're paying for something like buses. It's certainly fair to assume that organizers make something for themselves (whether in points for arranging the group rate, or in the form that it's a free trip for them), but they're not making lumps of money.

    What is unfortunate is it seems there's some expectation that things will be perfect. If you've ever met Tommy, you know you'll likely have a great time with something airline related and with booze. But these events have been historically haphazardly planned, and that's a reasonably well known facet. If the thousand dollars risk is substantial enough that you're on the borderline of not going if a few things change, this event is probably not for you (although yes, maybe this factor should be better documented).
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2015
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