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I’ll cut to the chase – it’s not good news for those who were hoping that additional seats on the OneWorld MegaDO would open up. As was explained on the official OWMD update page, both the attempt to acquire a second plane and the attempt to secure a larger plane have failed. The main roadblocks to either of those options seems to have been that American has had a very large number of pilots retire in the last two months, and thus there is extreme difficulty in getting flights such as charters scheduled. Additionally, acquiring a 777 (larger plane) also proved to be impossible as that type of plane is in short supply and needed for their international operations.
I have no doubt that the organizers left no stones unturned in looking for a way to accommodate the extremely high demand for this event. I feel extremely grateful to be able to go on this trip, and promise to not only share as much as I can while on the trip, but will bring back some goodies passed out to give away to those of you who can’t make the journey. I know it is a very small consolation for those who wanted to be on the plane, but we all do what is within our control. 🙂
Enough with the bad news – there is actually some good news! The first bit of good news is that the first three people on the wait list have cleared and are now on the charter. So far the wait list consists only of those who have paid for a seat, but due to some issues with the booking system/Paypal, didn’t actually end up with an assigned seat. There will undoubtedly be more people on the wait list moved into a seat as the event approaches. There will be people who can no longer make the trip whose seats will be assigned to an eagerly waiting wait list member. If it is like last time, there may also be some seats that are currently reserved for sponsors/media that open up as the event nears. If or when I hear of the wait list opening up to additional interested people, I promise to let you know.
Additionally, American Airlines has four seats that will be given away – two via a social media campaign and two via an AAdvantage mileage auction. Normally mileage auctions are not a very good use of miles, but this may be a unique time when it may be a great use of your miles. Using miles to obtain a seat that can’t be bought with cash – sounds like something to consider! The Points Guy will also be doing a “seatmate” contest. The winner of that contest will be sitting next to him in “Tommy Class”. He is a very nice and entertaining guy, so not only would you win a seat on the sold-out trip, but you would have a fun traveling partner as well. So, there are at least five seats up for grabs to people who don’t yet know they get to go on this trip. Don’t give up hope quite yet!
It’s never fun to share “bad news”, but since I have shared my excitement about this trip, I also wanted to be sure and share this “not-as-exciting” update. I think we all now have a pretty clear idea of the level of interest for these types of trips and I bet everyone will be better equipped for the high demand on the next DO.
If you want the longer version of why a larger and/or second plane wasn’t a possibility, here is the full update reposted:
Attempt to acquire larger plane to accommodate demand fails.
We’ve worked extremely hard with American Airlines the last few days to see if we can find a good solution to accommodate more people (bigger plane/second plane) on the OWMD. As you probably have read in the news, American has had a very large number of pilots retire the last two months causing problems for additional scheduling for such things as Charters which will be extremely tight in January. Information here.
Upgrading to a 777 for more seats was a long shot as it’s an important plane for international operations but we certainly tried our best. American has tried very hard within all its departments but unfortunately, there will not be a larger plane available or even a second plane as it will jeopardize American’s operational performance. There just isn’t enough crew available the month we are going.
So what happens next? We’ll be in touch with everyone on the wait list and apprize them of the current status of their waitlisted seats. Also, we have engaged a new thread format on milepoint with a Master Q/A and formal announcement thread now that we know for certainty that the MegaDo fly forward in much the same manner as the previous 3 MegaDo’s.
There is some good news: AAdvantage will have two seats for a social media campaign and two seats they will be auctioning off in an AAdvantage mileage auction—so there is still a chance for others to join the OWMD.
It is certain that both American, AAdvantage, and the organizers of the OWMD as well as other partners and sponsors tried as hard as possible to make this extraordinary experience available to more people. It does set up a positive scenario for future MegaDo’s that oneworld is a very popular airline Alliance and there are many who want to hear more about the oneworld Alliance and its partners and leaders.