I had previously wrote about my winning ticket and positioning flights & hotels for StarMegaDo 5. Here is the schedule that was planned for our chartered flight. Due to work, I was only able to arrive on Thurs night so I missed the Rimova factory tour and both hotel receptions.
Luckily Angelina at Just Another Points Traveler was in Toronto visiting and I was able to experience the city with her and her friends who were also traveling on the flight.
The next morning, bright and early, we met at the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Toronto, took a bus to the airport, and started my first chartered flight experience! Unfortunately, I didn’t have TSA precheck yet so I had to wait in the long line. Had I noticed earlier, I could have gone through the priority access lane because Amex Platinum and Centurion Card holders had this access in the Toronto airport. (Could this be another site for a lounge?!)
When we finally got to our gate, there was fresh fruit, pastries, and water for us which was a pleasant surprise. Great way to off the flight. Other bloggers that were also there was Scott from Hack My Trip and Summer from Mommy Points.
When we got to our seats, we got some United Swag! I did notice that we didn’t get any pillows. Then I was told about a previous StarMegaDo “pillow fight”. Video found here!
After we got to a safe altitude, we took advantage of what a chartered flight gets you, the ability to move about to mingle with everyone on the plane and free drinks! You know this was a party plane when you run out of booze only a few hrs into the flight. Everyone on the plane also received breakfast and I choose the french toast and Canadian bacon option, yum!
Our scheduled stop was Tuscon, AZ were we got to take a bus tour of the AMARG aka the Boneyard which is an aerospace storage and maintenance facility. Our tour guide gave us great details of the different types of planes there and whether they were to be flown again, used for parts, or sold as scrap. The only thing I wished we could have done was get off the bus to walk around a bit and take pictures next to the plane but I’m sure we couldn’t because of security reasons.
Restocked on drinks, our plane took us to SFO. One of the best things about these trips is the networking. I was able to meet Daniel Fohrman, Sr. Mgr of Partner Relations and John Wernig, Sr. Mgr of Marketing of Rocketmiles which is a hotel booking site where you can earn thousands of airline miles in one booking. I also met Alexi Vereschaga, Co-Founder of Award Wallet, a website to keep track of all your miles, points, & rewards programs, and also met Pete Van Dorn, Cofounder & CEO of PointsHound which is a hotel booking site where you earn airline miles. I also met so many great people who love to travel and got some great suggestions of where to go. I loved all the enthusiasm and energy that everyone had on the flight!
After we landed, we were able to take fun pics in the engine of the plane and we were immediately taken to United hangar party!
In the SFO maintenace operations center, there were stations were we got to learn about various equipment on the planes and different features. There were also hors d’oeurves and drinks there as well.
This concluded our chartered flight experience and I can say that it was great experience! There were so many people that worked hard to make this event happen and continue to run smoothly. Ryan Hoult, one of the organizers was always moving about to make this a great experience! A lot of behind the scenes work was done to make this a success and I was very impressed!
To see more detailed posts about the StarMegaDo, check them out here written by Scott at Hack My Trip.
This was my exact feeling about the experience towards the end…