Oneworld MegaDO Sold Out in 23 Minutes, But Are There Still Opportunities to Go on the Trip?

I understand that The Points Guy will be giving away a seat, which he pre-purchased for that purpose. (You’ll have to sit next to him, though. Hah! Kidding, Brian’s a really good guy.)

You can bet that Randy Petersen has plans to do something, he always finds a way, I haven’t asked but would bet that he’ll figure out some mechanism to give away a seat on an experience that you wouldn’t even be able to buy otherwise.

And.. yes, there were apparently some server issues with the massive slam of folks wanting to book immediately when sales opened. And that frustrated folks, for sure.

One suggestion, naturally, was just to swap in a bigger plane for the scheduled 757. Who knew this thing would need a 777???

Of course it isn’t as easy as just switching aircraft, because pricing for a charter depends on where that aircraft is coming from (let alone whether or not it is available). If the group had to get an aircraft that’s out in Los Angeles, there are costs associated with flying it to Dallas for the start of events for instance.

The oneworld MegaDO is something that’s never been done before, it was still unknown what the interest would be. Oneworld is a smaller alliance than Star, are there as many people interested? The first two events took months to sell out. The third event went quicker but still took weeks. Hard to imagine anyone in a position to sign on the dotted line for, say, an extra $100k up front to charter a bigger plan (that’s a lot to personally guarantee for many of us…!) without certainty that it would sell so quickly. And hey, a group of frequent flyers personally chartered a 757 and put together an amazing trip with American Airlines, oneworld, and Hyatt.

On additional seats, here’s my guess. Given the technical issues, it’s probably the case that there are a few seats that are reserved but not purchased or double reserved. Some folks like me might also be willing to give up our ‘Tommy class’ seats to create a new middle seat available for booking. Some folks might also have paid for their seats and find out that they really can’t go, they’ll be looking to give up their seats to someone else who would pay, so they can get a refund. I imagine some of this will be sorted out over the coming day or two.

Basically everyone here, watching this thread, will learn about openings on the charter. It won’t be something that gets posted broadly on blogs, etc first. So hang on a bit, let’s see if it’s really, actually, technically sold out. Let’s see if everyone actually pays. And who asks to give up their spot.

My advice for anyone who would actually like to attend? Keep an eye on the thread on Milepoint for updates. I have to imagine there will be seats that open up.

This is going to be amazing. And I’d strongly guess there will be some more seats, one way or another.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Quite interested in the trip, but I had to pass due to scheduling conflicts. The status match offered was quite an intriguing proposition…

  2. I tried for an hour to book when it opened. Kept getting shut out. I am extremely dissappointed. For me it is no longer the megado but the megaDON’T. Real bummer


  3. I hope they consider adding another charter so more people can go. I didn’t even get a chance to try to book since I was (guess what?!) flying on an AA 757 with no wifi. I contemplated changing my flight for the express purpose of getting in on the DO, but I decided that was risky. First thing I did upon landing in MIA was log on to the AC wifi to try and book – but way too late. I’m very disappointed, not only in missing out on a great behind the scenes look at everything but on meeting everyone, having a “party plane”, the bonuses, etc.

    Again, I’m very disappointed and have that sour grapes taste in my mouth. Of course, if they had decided to open registration at another time, there would have been others in the boat I’m in. I think selling out in 23 minutes is a positive indicator that a second plane would probably sell out, too. I sure hope they do.

  4. It’s been several hours now from the end of the booking period – – I am one of those with a “pink seat”, meaning I was able to create an account, choose a seat, complete the registration information, AND get a reply e-mail with confirmation and an invoice – – only to have the whole thing crash on me when I was going to the payment screen.

    Apparently, I am not alone in this limbo status – – but, nothing yet – no e-mails from the people running the web site, no general statement from Randy on Milepoint, nothing on the Facebook page, etc.

    You’d think there’d be some communication about this by now . . .

  5. Thanks for the tips. I’d love to go but missed out on booking earlier today, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for any seats that free up!

  6. Will there be opportunities for those not on the charter to attend any of the events? I actually have other plans over the weekend, so wouldn’t be able to attend the whole Do even if it weren’t sold out. But I’d love to attend the AA program in DFW, and maybe the reception the night before too. Maybe offering partial or whole “land only” registrations would be a way to meet some of the demand.

  7. A kickstarter campaign would satisfy “pledging” for the extra seats necessary to warrant a bigger charter. Only if enough pledges accumulate is it go.

  8. A success, to be sure and congratulations to the organizers. My thought is to stay with the smaller (757) group this year and focus on making the event spectacular. With more experience and a track record of resounding success, the organizers may consider scaling up a bit, next time. Managing the logistics for a group of this size is NOT easy. Another year’s experience at 150+ will help them manage the 250+ the next time around. Growing the event to 777 scale at the last minute for the current event could overwhelm the systems and cause massive annoyance, frustration and even anger. Hop and jump a little, but don’t leap into unknown territory. If this FUN project needs to grow, let it grow next time and not put the current venture at risk.

  9. My theory is that the sale was so rapid because of wider publicity. There are more blogs now than when the first two SMDO’s occurred – and almost all of them repeatedly publicized this. I maintain my opinion that far more people get their info from blogs than from the forums. Just a little anecdotal evidence can be seen in blog comments when people ask simple questions already answered in forum discussions.

    Also, more people are aware what freebies and benefits have been showered on MegaDo attendees. More people want in on that.

    At any rate, it really doesn’t feel like a OWMD to me. It feels like an AAMD. I hope that more partners seek greater involvement in subsequent years when they see how successful the first OWMD is.

  10. Any idea how late the LAX part of the program will go on Saturday, 1/28? Trying to figure out the return leg of my trip. Will there likely be something going on that night?

  11. @ArizonaGuy I suspect that’s because full details of oneworld participation haven’t been shared yet, my sense is that it will very much be a oneworld Mega DO.

  12. Quite disappointing… I really wanted to attend, but knew all along that I had no chance in hell, once I heard that those at the launch party would get first dibs. That was a very “clicky” and high-schoolish thing to do, in my opinion, as it gave others no incentive to be a part of it. I even mentioned this to Randy on the megado blog and he was confident that I would have ample chance to attend and that their decision to make a pre-sale would have no “sell-out” effect. He was quite wrong, of course. The reason it sold out in 23 minutes was that it was already almost sold out before it even opened up for the general public.

    Plus, having others take your seat out from under you just because they could type faster was also contrary to any booking engine I have ever seen! I was trying all morning and kept jumping from one seat to the other and cursing at the screen!!

    Anyway, my excitement has fizzled, sadly. Maybe next time.

  13. I’m perhaps biased being a *A guy (and a *A hub captive of PHX) but I wasn’t as excited about a OWMD anyway.

    @Gary: The fact that many OW details haven’t been ironed out or made public is more of a hindrance than anything in my opinion. I can’t pay a significant fee for something without knowing what I’ll be getting.

    Since the *A Do’s didn’t sell out immediately I had more detail of what the plans would be. Sadly I’ve not attended those either since it’s always coincided with an award trip I’d previously booked. Which is almost the case here – I burned BA miles for a trip to Asia in January so it’s probably for the best I won’t be spending more money and precious time off to attend this Do.

    But dammit, I’m going to SMD4! 🙂

  14. @ArizonaGuy-You make a good point about ironing out the details. Already there has been a major change to the OWMD plans-no landing & dinner at Boeing Field, which many were looking forward to.

  15. @ cook –

    “My thought is to stay with the smaller (757) group this year and focus on making the event spectacular.”

    Spoken like someone who got through the all ‘technical’ issues today and booked a confirmed seat . . .

  16. Actually, @Gary, I could swear that I read somewhere that this is exactly how the system was designed (that your seat wasn’t guaranteed until you paid for it in the last step). Of course I can’t tell you for sure now, because the megado site is down! 🙂 But I think you’ll agree that usually when you choose a product from a shopping mall, it is temporarily off the shelf to give you a chance to finish the purchase! Maybe I dreamed this up, but I really remember reading that this is how it was designed (a bit diabolical, don’t you think?). If I’m wrong, I apologize to the programmers and the organizers for misunderstanding. In any case, that’s how it worked out for me today (or didn’t work out).

  17. Hmmm… so many people tried to book a single seat and failed. And yet others, like The Points Guy, somehow got two seats – and right next to each other. I wonder how that was achieved? Your blog post says he pre-purchased it? How do you purchase a seat before you’ve purchased it? Or does that mean he was one of those who was able to book a seat before the rest of us schlubs even had a crack at it? Seriously, if you guys want to have a closed do for yourselves, that is your right. Just be up front about it so we can all set our expectations accordingly and know that only a few lucky outsiders will be able to attend.

  18. Sorry, I’m a dumb newbie, and I’ve been trying to understand what the heck Oneworld MegaDO is. I just don’t get it. Is there a layperson’s description somewhere? Thanks.

  19. Even if we do get a 777,will it be big enough for the initial demand? Maybe we could cajole one of the one world partners to use their booking engine and website or this so we don’t run into similar problems.

  20. @mark Tommy is Norweigian. Intra-European business class is generally just a blocked middle seat at the front of the plane. Tommy’s belief was this is valuable to people, and he decided to offer it. A foreign concept to many Americans, it got tagged with his name as part of the group. Tommy didn’t even really like it but the name stuck, and especially when it was memorialized in the Wall Street Journal (and Wall Street Journal Europe).

  21. Hmm… that’s not how I remember it… during SMD2 we were struggling to sell out a CO 757-300 and a few participants offered to pay extra so that Tommy and I wouldn’t suffer personal financial problems to pay Continental. Hence the idea of selling a free seat beside you with upgraded catering and late pick up from the Sheraton before the charter came up. The concept was called ‘Tommy class’ because Tommy was supposed to pick them up and pop a few champagne bottles in the shuttle and the lobby area for mimosas, a signature service provided by Tommy.

  22. Silly question, but can someone explain wtf this Megado is? I’ve been playing this game and reading the different blogs for about six months or so, and everyone’s talking about this Megado but nobody’s described what it is other than some charter flight somewhere that’s really popular?

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