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Discussion in 'SMD4 (Star MegaDO #4)' started by HPaul, Oct 25, 2012.
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deleted, my apologies
I am not sure where people got the idea of a UA promo? Maybe it is because of AA did one on the OWMD, but I am sure most already realized the possibility of one isn't there, and that the fact we are getting eqm's is a bonus itself. I think its getting too hyped up where its being said the next will be even better and such, so disappointment is higher.
Biggest disappointment is the change from going from LAX, from my understanding it was due to the 748 was supposed to be flying it, but its still flying the IAD route which is the original plan. It also would have given a little more time in ZRH potentially, as we could have arrived early in the day Monday with a little time to explore.
I really don't know what the question is here, but as of right now, like on every single one of the previous MegaDOs, people's plans change and unfortunately they have to bow out.
Lot's of people gave up even before getting on the waitlist due to the enormous interest, so the wait list wasn't all that long. When I sent the message a while back, it grew to dozens of people immediately again. The charter is none refundable and we're trying our best to help the people who cannot go and as of right now we've got dozens of people who want to get on it. No seats have been sold at a discount on the charter, everyone has paid the same price, even United Airlines for the seats they are auctioning off. For the international portion, it's also non-refundable. We've been able to fill every seat from people who has wanted to cancel through us. The last change was done today. If someone sends an email out to people in desperation to try and find a buyer for his/hers seat, I suggest contacting the organizers for help instead..
When it comes to the United promo, you didn't pay for that. If you are in coach on the charter, it costs you 999 USD to: Get 8 hours on a privately chartered plane with open bar and food, 5000 EQM and RDMs + Elite bonus. You're also getting 1 reception hosted by Hyatt in San Francisco, An awesome Texas BBQ hosted by Pointshound.com in Houston and 2 full days in Chicago hosted by United with great presence of their CEO, including a reception and lunch. It also includes transportation and all meals from Tuesday afternoon to Friday night.
That's what you're paying for.
Is the 999 USD worth it for that? Ask the dozens of people who are on the waitlist.
And who says that United is not doing a promo? Maybe they don't want to copy what AA is doing, maybe they'll drop something in Chicago? Maybe they want to do a promo after the DO. You guys REALLY know how to ruin our surprises
So in the future, if it's important to you that a promo is a part of the MegaDO, don't buy a ticket
People need to understand that this is extremely difficult stuff to pull off. It's extremely time consuming. It takes thousand of hours and because CEOs and executives are not at our beck and call, they are busy people. So if someone says they will try to make it to our event when we speak to them in June, they might come back and say whaa whaa in September. So we canceled the Star reception on Friday night and I personally put together a cool event and it's obvious that was a huge disappointment as only a fraction of the folks want to come and have fun on Friday night. I don't know what the big disappointment was, but it seems like 99 dollars out of pocket was the biggest disappointment and people made a big stink on the boards saying "I'm not going now that I have to pay, I'm going straight to the airport". And guess what? The whining has succeeded. We've got about 70 friends coming on Friday, so not the party I was hoping for, but I'll take it. And you know what? I wish those folks would post differently, but we're not a board that censors folks, so I'll just take the disappointment.
And why would you be disappointed that UA lets in 33 people from milepoint, 33 people from FT and 33 people from other channels? Why would people care? You get to do it all, they get to do a fraction of the program. And you know what? It makes me SO HAPPY that we get to welcome more of our frequent flyer friends.
From DAY ONE of the Mega DOs there has ALWAYS been changes to the program, every time. If you have a problem with that, please don't sign up.
It's pretty challenging. One one side I have people emailing me every day, PMs, calls, Facebook messages, even people camping outside on my lawn BEGGING me to release the news about OW Mega DO. And while I'm not done, I want to release what we're working on. But if I do, people will be disappointed if something changes, like if the TSA doesn't allow Canadians, if a CEO of JAL can't make it or if Boeing is delaying the next 748i.
At the end of the day the mission remains the same: To deliver a lifetime experience that you can't get anywhere else. and that has been delivered 4 times already and will guaranteed happen again on SMD4.
Sure, I'll take everyone's feedback, put please try to understand what's involved here, what you're paying for this and what sacrifices the organizers give up to put this puzzle together
I was thrilled to be moved off the waitlist. I don't have a clue what this is all about but it sounds like a good time and a chance to meet some new friends.
Looking forward to the once-in-a-lifetime experience. (Though I'm sure that SMD5 will also be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, just different!)
It was not just Canadians who got shafted in Denver when the TSA -- under the same department that granted us Trusted Traveler status with NEXUS and GLOBAL ENTRY and now the expedited security program -- because this applied to all non-US residents/passport/green card holders. Will this same edict affect our options for the UA tours at ORD?
BTW I was under the impression there was a UA status lottery in which those wearing cowboy hats during the MegaDo were eligible...was I dreaming this?
Interesting thread, I think I see people talking past each other here. There are some mistaken assumptions in the original post. Tommy wants to point that out but I think he does that a bit too brusquely for reasons I'll describe below, and as a result the important points may get lost.
So let me try since I'm a bit less wrapped up in all of this
As a factual matter, I don't think it's even close to right to say there was 'lower demand' for SMD4 -- this MegaDO sold out faster than any of the events did in the past.
The last event had a longer wait list as a result of a technology problem between paypal and the booking engine, booking didn't get shut down quickly enough. The shorter waitlist this time had nothing to do with demand..
When Tommy first did SMD1 there was a lot personally on the hook, would people do this? Could he pull this off? But there's been plenty of demand and it's about experiences for frequent flyers and charity and not about maximizing revenue, so he and Ed have made it pretty easy to give back a seat if someone else wants to take it.
When some people had plans change, Randy sent out an email to let folks know there might be an opportunity for seats. And people took that opportunity. (Separately I can tell you there's also more media excitement over this trip than we've ever seen in the past, for what it's worth.)
So the things suggestions from follow ('if there's lower demand, maybe it's because') just aren't so.
Still, there could be all of the demand in the world and the whole point of the exercise is to have an experience that blows away expectations. So without the mistaken assumption about demand, it's reasonable to ask questions about what's going on.
It's unfortunate if anyone had expectations for things that weren't promised, I think this event has done a better job with communication than has happened in the past -- through the consolidated announcements thread, though my blogging occasional updates for instance.
But if someone didn't understand the 'package' of what they were getting, that's unfortunate. Still, I don't think it's a reasonable criticism that ground transportation on the international portion of the trip isn't included since it wasn't ever promised anywhere.
I think Tommy's point about it 'never' being a part of the international portion of the trip is that not only wasn't it promised in writing, but it's also not the case that someone might have formed expectations based on it being provided in the past and not made clear enough that this time was going to be different.
On the subject of what's been promised vs. what some people are excited or disappointed by, I don't think there's been a promise of a United promo, when you're buying a ticket on the event you're buying those things that have been promised, There are lots of extras and surprises along the way, I'm sure in many ways this SMD will be no different.
I think it's pretty unprecedented that there was an auction for charity with elite status as a giveaway and everyone on the MegaDO then gets to direct charitable gifts. But there will be plenty more surprise and delight elements to the experience, I'm sure,
If Tommy seems a bit testy above, and he probably does it's probably because it can sound like he's being called out for not coming through on his word. But to be sure, when I read his note I do not read him saying 'go screw yourself.' so hopefully re-read his note with my take in mind and maybe you won't see that there anymore.
Now, feedback is useful. But I can understand that when you write something like "Many of us have stressful jobs and make sacrifices for those jobs every day. I’m an ER doc ... When a patient asks me for a blanket and something to eat and how long the test will take, I’d never reply by telling them that it isn’t a restaurant and how I’ve already been working for 9 hours with an unsupportive administration and oh yeah I’m going off to war soon."
... that I bet he's thinking "Wow, what an incredible thing, he's going to make real sacrifices going to Afghanistan" but I bet he's also thinking, "That's his job, and I know I shouldn't be testy and in my job with my clients I'd better not be so gee maybe we should double the price of the tickets, I can pay myself and maybe pay the volunteers too! And then we'll smile more at the complaints."
I don't want to put words in Tommy's mouth, but it is pretty thankless doing this, y'know? I've put in a ton of hours on this, for no compensation, and as it happens I'm not able to go on the trip this time. For a bunch of reasons the dates for the trip were right to coordinate all of the opportunities, so I didn't kvetch when it was scheduled up against something pretty important for me.
So while feedback (in some cases valid, and in some cases likely misinformed) may have been the intention, I can easily read a certain level of snark that calls Tommy out pretty personally.
And that's how misunderstandings ensue.
So, I know everyone is going to have a great time on the MegaDO, exceeding expectations even after accounting for the fact that expectations are pretty high for a MegaDO. We'll learn from this one, just as we've learned from past ones, and improve even more going forward.
Believe me best of intentions all the way around, lots of tradeoffs, people putting in a ton of uncompensated time but subject to the whims of some of the travel partners (since we're not bringing enough to them to really demand all that much). Hopefully the vagaries of these things get communicated pretty clearly so that people can make well-informed decisions about what a MegaDO is, and if the experience is right for them. I know I'm pretty jealous since I'll be missing this one.
No, that was something announced at the launch party. If it happens, it is a bonus
A shame that you don't acknowledge how many other people were involved in actually pulling it off.
I think what Gary is saying is that the 120K Euro bill for the plane was in my name and the idea was mine. I don't think he meant to imply that Oliver, who was my right hand man, did not stand by me every step of the way and that there were dozens (including you) helping out executing the event.
But at the end of the day, the hard part is not executing and actually show up and help at the event, it's exhausting, but easy.
The hard part is everything leading up to the event, putting it together, getting the airlines onboard, getting a plane and back then, actually selling it. If we hadn't filled the plane and the idea had bombed, it would have been my name on the bills and my responsibility alone.
And that, my friend, is what I believe Gary tried to say
So what's the point of the hats? Seems like a waste of space and money.
It's for the theme of the party. I worry less about things that were promised early, and more about the total experience, which I know the organizers try to make as enjoyable as they can.
It was never my intention to fail to acknowledge others. My comment about 'personally on the hook' was my understanding of the financial obligation, not all of the work that went into it. And I fully admit that I do not have first-hand knowledge of SMD1 or SMD2,
I really wasn't involved in any way until SMD3 and there my biggest involvement was getting a call from Tommy asking me what kind of car I was getting in DEN, and being asked if I might be able to switch it to the 'biggest thing they had' which ... as I arrived at Avis... turned out to be a 15 passenger Ford Econoline van. The manager of the Avis was waiting for me with the trunk open on a brand new Cadillac with 2 miles on it and he seemed a bit in disbelief when I asked whether he 'might have anything bigger?'
Yeah, for SMD3 I was pretty much just the driver back and forth to the sim center in Denver. The Grand Hyatt's valet was a bit thrown off parking that bad boy!
Yeah, lets not have some fun..
It would really be great if those with negative comments would keep the comments to themselves. I am looking forward to having a great time and appreciate all who help put this together. No one placed a gun to my head and said that I have to spend my time and money on this event. If someone is complaining before an event even starts, I can't imagine what will happen when he or she shows up and everything isn't absolutely perfect.
Just wanted to note that the wiki list is far from being a complete as it is voluntarily provided by participants. The seat map shows us that there are closer to 90 people going to Zurich, not 31, that are likely scattered all over various hotels.
Hi. Is this where I apply to be a moderator? I have experience with censorship on TOBB.
I would also just like to point out that a few of us multi-SMD’ers pointed out straightaway as soon as someone wrote about “Where’s the UA promo?!” that UA/CO had not given a promo on any of the 3 prior SMD’s (as opposed to generous extra miles for the charter that would count as both EQM’s and RDM’s and Lifetime M’s), so that it might be the expectation/demand of the “expector/demander” that was at fault rather than UA. If people chose not to take that into consideration and to still expect/demand a UA promo, how is that the organizers’ fault? Or UA’s fault? And we, the multi-MD’ers, also pointed out that schedules have shifted in the past as well, and you just have to roll with it. That the organizers were working hard, but stuff happens beyond their control.
If a MegaDo is only about how many extra miles, hotel points, elite levels and/or swag bags you can glom for yourself, you’re sadly missing the point of a MD, to my mind. Perhaps that’s what it seems to be turning into, partly, for many though. As an example, and I’m sure you’ll appreciate how these people feel, past SMD’s had some of the other *A airlines crediting the charter miles to their own programs (AC, US, for example), which ain’t happening on this one, to date that I can see. Major loss that for MD’ers who have those as their main program. Ya think that was the organizers’ doing? I can only imagine what else would’ve been included in your opening post if that’d happened to you.
If AA, for obvious reasons having some other concerns right now, chose not to reward OWMD2’ers with the same showering of miles and status as OWMD1, is that gonna keep you away from it, or is it the experience that’ll be offered the draw? And if you feel Hyatt led you astray with their promo, how is that the organizers’ fault? Todd got the message of how we felt. Do you think the organizers were in favor of how it went down or advised Hyatt to do what they did? Was what happened enough to make you, or I, bail on the SMD? No. So, it’s not all about the points.
Sorry, but your opening post and your feelings are based on a low-experience level and choosing not to pay attention to what people tried to point out weeks ago. I’m not writing that there haven’t been some disappointments. Far from it. But I am writing that, regardless of what you chose to pay, you set yourself up for a larger sense of disappointment than you needed to. That’s what I take away from your comments and given my many Do’s and MegaDo’s.
If you want to complain about something, don't come. Organize your own event. None of us care about your whining, or the next guys whining, or the next guys whining. They're all different sounds that combine in to one giant annoying nonsensical pile of poop.
That is all.
Seems like each of the past MegaDos has had someone who set the bar in whining.
Your attitude going in will probably determine how much you enjoy the MegaDo. So if you go in determined to have fun, you will. And if you go in determined to identify shortcomings, you'll succeed at that, too.
That is all.
Sounds like your whining? ;-)
This thread needs to be deleted, let's all take a drink and shut up
And yes I am many drinks in....
Yes, but I have authority from Grand Master Bear, because I'm awesome.