The FTU DFW Ultimate Lounge Hop

Discussion in 'Dallas | April 17-19, 2015 [normal/advanced]' started by jetsetr, Dec 11, 2014.  |  Print Topic

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Would you prefer the DFW Lounge Hop take place on Friday BEFORE the 6p FTU Cocktail Party?

Poll closed Mar 2, 2015.
  1. YES

    71.4%
  2. NO

    28.6%
  1. jetsetr
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    jetsetr Gold Member

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    SEE POST #3 FOR AN UPDATED ATTENDEE LIST AS OF 15APRIL2015

    For those who will be in Dallas for FTU (Basic or Advanced), we have an opportunity to resurrect a time-honored frequent traveler and avgeek tradition - airport club lounge hopping!

    For those who are unfamiliar, the concept is simple: A roving party in an airport, visiting all terminals, involving visits to as many lounges as possible, imbibing - ahem - a beverage of choice - and taking photographic evidence. AFAIK, lounge hopping has been a "semi-official" activity at MegaDos, FTUs and its ilk since SMD2 back in 2010, but probably goes back to the dawn of the age of airplanes. OK, so maybe that's an exaggeration - but only a small one! (um, that's what she said?)

    Yes, for the uninitiated, it sounds crazy...but ya gotta admit, it also sounds kinda fun - because it is! I mean, who wants to pay for drinks when you can get plastered at airport lounges for free?!?

    Granted, the free swill served at most U.S. airline lounges isn't of much value other than being used for paint thinner (yes, looking at you United Clubs). HOWEVER, what makes DFW a shining exception is that it houses what many consider to be the best domestic lounge in the country - the American Express Centurion Lounge - with its massages, excellent food offerings, and even better and high-quality, free drinks!

    The keys to success for this adventure are gathering a critical mass of folks who have:
    1) An American Express Centurion or Platinum Card;
    2) A corresponding Priority Pass card (via Amex Cent or Plat, or otherwise)
    3
    2) A United Club membership
    43) An American Admirals Club membership
    54) An ability to obtain boarding passes for flights on the day of the lounge hopping*

    *those attending FTU-A should be able to easily figure out how this is done ;) For those attending their first FTU, let's just say that it helps to have a relatively high elite status with an airline where last minute redemptions and redeposits are gratis. There are other ways, too, but these involve the least amount of temporary outlays of cash/credit ;) ALSO, it is important that the flight listed on the boarding pass departs AFTER entering the last lounge - again, this should be for obvious reasons for experienced hoppers :) ETA: Same-day arrival boarding passes will also work for accessing the Centurion Lounge


    I'm thinking that Saturday, April 18, 2015 is the optimal day to do this, though a case could be made for Friday, April 17 before the 6pm FTU cocktail party as well.
    ETA: As of mid-January, it appears as if Friday, April 17 is the preferred day for a majority of respondents at this time.
    ETA (02MAR): OK, we're switching back to the original plan of Saturday, April 18, and the hop will take place after the last FTU session of the day. For those who are arriving on Friday, April 17 around 1-2p (like me), I'm happy to lead a group on a hop as well, but for the purposes of planning, we'll make Saturday the "official" day.


    This is just a rough sketch of what the final event is bound to look like, but I'll put it out there as a straw man, for starters:

    Stop 1: United Club, Terminal E (open until 8:30p on Friday, 7:45p on Saturday)
    Stop 2: Admirals Club, Terminal C (open daily until 10:30p)
    Stop 3: Admirals Club, Terminal A (open daily until 10:30p)
    Stop 4: Admirals Club, Terminal B (open until 10:30p on Friday, 8:30p on Saturday)
    Stop 5: The Club at DFW, Terminal D (open daily until 7:30p - this could be tricky, timing-wise) - MAYBE eliminate this stop, since guests aren't free
    Stop 65: Admirals Club, Terminal D (open daily until 10:30p) - MAYBE we eliminate this stop, unless we want to "complete the AA circuit"
    Stop 76: Amex Centurion Lounge, Terminal D (open daily until 10:00p)

    ETA2 (13FEB): Making executive decision to cut out The Club at DFW, since we will not appear to have enough Priority Pass members. I will also remove this column from the table once I have privately reached out to folks via PM/convo.

    I have intentionally left off the Delta SkyClub in Terminal E, and the joint BA/EK/KE/LH/QF lounge, which is in the same location as The Club at DFW. There's no reason why the DL SkyClub couldn't easily be substituted for the UA Club; the real key is to make sure we hit all terminals and end with enough time to fully enjoy the Centurion Lounge :)

    If interested, please express your interest in this thread AND list the following:
    A) What lounge access do you have? If you don't have any, please say so so we can coordinate.
    B) How many are you willing to guest in?
    C) Do you have an ability to obtain a boarding pass to get airside access?** If you don't have this ability, please say so so we can coordinate.

    **those with a United Club membership can obtain a gate pass [know your SHARES GG Codes, people ;)] to go airside, but without a boarding pass, you may be denied entrance at the Centurion Lounge. However, it is unclear if guests of Centurion Lounge visitors also need a boarding pass. TO be conservative, let's assume everyone needs a boarding pass
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2015
  2. jetsetr
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    jetsetr Gold Member

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    149931_1620146056621_4218176_n.jpg
    SMD2 2010, outside Marriott IAH preparing to go IAH Presidents Club lounge hopping


    75358_1620146936643_4995393_n.jpg
    IAH P-Club in C-South (this was our second stop...sadly, I can't easily locate the pic from the first stop at the P-Club in E)


    73072_1620146456631_7682333_n.jpg
    Behind the reception desk at IAH P-Club in C-North


    73224_1620146736638_2761798_n.jpg
    In front of the bar at IAH P-Club in B


    150072_1620145776614_7497723_n.jpg
    Behind the bar at IAH P-Club in A
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2014
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  3. jetsetr
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    jetsetr Gold Member

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    NOTE: This table is UPDATED as of 17APR2015 at 14:15 CDT. If you are on the list, please review your status to ensure accuracy. If you are not on the list and would like to join, please post in the thread, or send me a PM. Thanks.

    The Lounge Hop will take place on Saturday late afternoon / early evening after the last FTU session. Updates to the specific times and meeting locations will be posted in the thread.


    By my count, we have:
    35 40 participants (expected to grow via word-of-mouth at FTU)

    Via United Club memberships alone, IF everyone on the list with a UC membership attends, we have the ability to generate 27 gate passes. Meaning that we would only need to "get creative" with 8 13 attendees to be able to grant airside (post-security) access. Not bad.

    With the numbers and memberships we have, everyone can get into the Amex Centurion Lounge and the Admirals Clubs. However, in order to gain access to the CL, we need at least 12 14 Amex cardmembers to be able to generate boarding passes. Again, from the numbers of EXPs/1Ks/Plats, this shouldn't be too much of an issue. In addition, we are currently 5 8 persons short in terms of being able to grant everyone access to the United Club. IF everyone starts the hop at the UC in Terminal E, then we will likely have to utilize Club Passes (from Chase UA cc or Chase HY cc).

    Interested participants and access statuses:

    ETA: Thanks, @ParanoiaTX for helping to debug the previous spacing issue, now resolved


    MP handle Has Amex Cent/Plat? Amex # can guest? AA Lounge? AA # can guest? UA Club Member (Can Get Gate Pass)? UA Lounge Other Access? UA # can guest? Boarding Pass: AA EXP or UA GS/1K/Plat?
    @jetsetrY2Y0YNO2Y
    @ParanoiaTXY2Y2YNO2Y
    @SasaNO0Y2NONO0Y
    @smitty06Y2Y2NONO0Y
    @alfagirlY2Y2NONO0NO
    @davef139NO0Y2NONO0Y
    @rehoultYES1NO0NOY1NO
    @canuckleheadY2Y2NOY0Y
    @JLarounisY2Y2NONO0NO
    @IDGflygirlY2NO0YNO2Y
    @rbarschiY2Y2YNO2???
    @rbarschi +1Y2NO0NONO0???
    @hwarrenY2Y2NONO0NO
    @hwarren +1NO0NO0NONO0NO
    @CubsGirlY2Y2NONO0NO
    @charrisNO0NO0NONO0NO
    @mromero07Y2Y2NONO0NO
    @BigHead87Y2Y2NOY0NO
    @JasonY2NO0NONO0NO
    @Gunner14NO0NO0YNO2Y
    @yunicornerNO0NO0YNO2NO
    @catgirlY2Y1NONO0Y
    @wijomasNO0Y1NONO0Y
    @s2speroY2NO0NONO0Y
    @s2spero +1Y2NO0NONO0Y
    @lanacNO0Y2NONO0NO
    @lanac +1NO0NO0NONO0NO
    @ClemmiezNO0NO0YNO2?
    @BritY2Y2YNO2NO
    @IntenseWanderlustY2Y2NOY*5*NO
    @IntenseWanderlust +1NO0NO0NONO0NO
    @cheryldY2Y2NOY0NO
    @AllsystemsgoY2Y2YNO2Y
    @Mikus33Y2NO0NONO0NO
    @differY2Y2NONO0NO
    @alrummelNO0Y2NONO0NO
    @skatsinasY2Y2NONO0Y
    @skatsinas +1NO0NO0NONO0NO
    @ATXNO0NO0NONO0NO
    @bergcyNO0NO0NONO0NO
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2015
  4. jetsetr
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    jetsetr Gold Member

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    UPDATE AS OF 09FEB2015:

    At this point a majority of respondents prefers the lounge hop be held on FRIDAY, APRIL 17

    My inclination is to say that the "official" lounge hop will happen on this day BEFORE the FTU Cocktail Party, in the afternoon (say, starting around 1-2p). Here's the logic:

    1) So far, a majority of respondents prefers Friday;

    2) A post-party Friday evening event is more logistically challenging, if for no other reason that time will be against us, given the various lounge closing times;

    3) I would prefer not to detract from the official FTU events on Saturday. The Saturday sessions will go until the late afternoon (approximately 5-5:30p). IF the lounge hop were to take place on Saturday afternoon, it would be disruptive to the main event. Having been a speaker at previous FTUs, and also being friends with the FTU organizers, I don't want the lounge hop - as fun an event as it is - to be a disrespectful distraction from the sessions themselves. FTUs are valuable events, not only for the content disseminated by the speakers, but also for the in-person interactions between attendees. Taking people away from those components in order to facilitate a lounge hop on Saturday afternoon seems antithetical as to why people are gathering in the first place.

    4) IF there is enough of a critical mass of folks on Saturday who do want a(nother) lounge hop on Saturday, of course, people have free will to choose, and I will be happy to organize that event, too on (or in lieu of) Friday - what else would I have to do? ;) But if there is a Saturday event, I want to make clear that this will absolutely impact attendance at FTU sessions. And just as a Friday night post-cocktail party lounge hop is challenging because of lounge closure times, Saturday evening lounge closure times are even more problematic.

    5) I want to make clear that the lounge hop will absolutely be hitting all of the AA lounges. That's in the spirit of the SMD2 lounge hop, where we hit all five CO President's Clubs. But also, having to "make your way through the gauntlet" before getting to the castle (the Centurion Lounge) is very much part of the fun and part of the challenge. Whether we actually decide on also going to the United Club in Terminal E is up for debate, but certainly the AA lounges must be visited.

    ETA: I welcome continued discussion of this topic in the thread, but for planning purposes, I'm going to finalize this schedule by Monday, March 2. That should allow enough time (almost 7 weeks before the event) for people to plan their flights, arrival times, etc.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2015
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  5. jetsetr
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    jetsetr Gold Member

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    UPDATE AS OF 02MAR2015 (as promised)

    OK, we're switching back to the original plan of Saturday, April 18, and the hop will take place after the last FTU session of the day. For those who are arriving on Friday, April 17 around 1-2p (like me), I'm happy to lead a group on a hop as well, but for the purposes of planning, we'll make Saturday the "official" day.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2015
  6. TiffC

    TiffC Active Member

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    Hope I can make it this year! =)
     
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  7. legalalien
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    legalalien Gold Member

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    I'm interested....though I am not going to FTU. If the hop is on Friday, I'm sure there is a business trip to DFW in the cards. ;)

    I have all of the above credentials except AA EXP.
     
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  8. cova

    cova Gold Member

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    Umm - can't make it to DFW FTU - have a commitment on Sat night April 18th. But hey, could always do a Friday overnight, mileage run on Friday afternoon, back Sat am. I do too many 45 minute turns.

    Of course with UA UC membership - you should be able to get a gate pass. Not sure about AA - might have to be attending a conference room. But an option here.
     
  9. jetsetr
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    jetsetr Gold Member

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    Thanks. I did mention the UA UC gate pass issue above, but two things:

    1) Need a boarding pass to enter the Centurion Lounge (though not sure if that policy holds true for those being guested in);

    2) Much less important, but still an issue, no Pre-Check on a gate pass
     
  10. legalalien
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    legalalien Gold Member

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    My guests have not been asked for a BP, but that doesn't mean it's the policy.
     
  11. Jeanne23

    Jeanne23 Silver Member

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    I have AA, AmexPlat, Priority Pass. If my parents don't start using their AmexPlat, tempted to quietly redirect one to Tiff ;) (Note: Tiff, probably not, don't get your hopes up :p )
     
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  12. alfagirl

    alfagirl Gold Member

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    I have Admirals club access (+2), Am Ex plat (+2), priority pass. No UA access, I donated my 2 passes to the raffle at FTU DC. Could always buy a cheapo o/w to get a BP....
     
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  13. alfagirl

    alfagirl Gold Member

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    O/w DFW-IAH on 4/17 is $89..
     
  14. canucklehead
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    canucklehead Gold Member

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    I probably have a UC pass lying around for you.
     
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  15. alfagirl

    alfagirl Gold Member

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    Yay, yay, yay...
     
  16. jetsetr
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    jetsetr Gold Member

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    If you don't have status, I don't recommend buying anything. The goal is for this to be as close to zero cost as possible ;) We'll find another way ;)
     
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  17. jetsetr
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    jetsetr Gold Member

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    Thanks for offering @canucklehead! Though if we can avoid using passes by leveraging people's memberships, let's see if we can do so first.
     
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  18. davef139

    davef139 Gold Member

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    Count me in!!!

    I am AA EXP, with club access and can guest, I loose my United 1K this year unfortunately along with no AMEX Plat right now.. I will be down for either Fri or Sat. although if all works out as I want it, I will be flying in in the afternoon from ICN.
     
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  19. cova

    cova Gold Member

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    On Centurion Lounge:

    "Platinum Card Members may bring immediate family (spouse or domestic partner and their children under 18) OR up to two (2) companions into The Centurion Lounge. To access The Centurion Lounge, the Platinum Card Member must present The Centurion Lounge agent with the following upon each visit: his or her valid Card and upon request, same-day airline ticket on any carrier and a government-issued I.D. Failure to present this documentation may result in access being denied."

    Same day ticket - to me implies arrival destination with no time of day restriction. So anyone arriving on Friday would have a same day boarding pass. Also - Centurion does not provide gate passes, so you need to get through security some other way. I think United Club is the only one that does unrestricted gate passes, and that includes 2 guests.
     
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  20. alfagirl

    alfagirl Gold Member

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    I am planning to arrive Thurs. and I would prefer the lounge hop to be Friday, so I can sell those raffle tix on Sat!
     
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  21. jetsetr
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    jetsetr Gold Member

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    Yes, arrival boarding passes allow access to the Centurion Lounge no problem, without a doubt. The issue was if guests also need a boarding pass - I don't believe so, but I haven't seen clear language.

    To my knowledge, NO other lounge/club besides the United Club offers gate passes. But again, as I listed in the OP, the challenge for those who may look to get airside on a gate pass are that: A) How that person will get into the Centurion Lounge (certainly, as a primary; maybe if a guest) without a boarding pass, and B) Pre-Check is not offered on gate passes...I have some personal experience here ;)
     
  22. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Just don't whine when other airlines eventually follow Delta's example and restrict the ability to refund award tickets within a certain period from departure (72 hrs?).
     
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  23. rehoult
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    rehoult Gold Member

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    I'll attend at least part of this, but expect my organizer duties will not allow me to attend the entire event. I've got non-UA *G so I'll guest someone in. No OW status or AmEx at present.

    Re: Tickets. Just buy a cheap red-eye departure the day of the hopping, then refund it after you enter the last lounge. As cancelled within 24 hours of purchase it generally won't even hit your card, it'll be processed as a voiding before settlement.
     
  24. cova

    cova Gold Member

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    Here is AA's Policy: Could arrange access 24 hours in advance, even without reserving a conference room (for 2 guests).

    Q: I am a member and would like to meet someone at the airport, but I'm not flying today. Can I get through Security to get to the Admirals Club lounge?
    A: No. However, when you are not traveling and plan to meet someone for business purposes, please contact Admirals Club Customer Service at least 24 hours prior to your business meeting by dialing 1-800 237-7971 from the U.S, Canada, or Puerto Rico, and pressing Option 1 or by dialing 1-817-963-6100 (from international locations) between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. (Central Time) and providing the following information at least 24 hours in advance:

    • Admirals Club number/AAdvantage® number
    • Legal name as it appears on government issued identification for each individual
    • Birth dates, including year, for each individual (maximum of two guests allowed for non-conference room meeting)*
    • Location, date and time of non-conference room meeting

      We will arrange for Security clearance with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to allow you to get to the lounge. This opportunity is available for Admirals Club members only, and you will be required to show your Admirals Club membership card, along with a government-issued photo ID.
    Still limited to 2 guest. But if a conference room was reserved, you don't even have to be an AC Club member.
     
  25. TiffC

    TiffC Active Member

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    And we see I contribute absolutely nothing to this plan but entertainment value. =)
     
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