Last month, United Airlines and the Star Alliance held a multi-day outing for some frequent fliers that included a couple legs on a 787:
They were bankers, lawyers, programmers, film distributors, entrepreneurs and all-around aviation buffs or, as they lovingly call themselves, geeks. Most were men. All of them had signed up for a MegaDo, a retreat organized by and for travel fanatics who scour Web sites like Milepoint, particularly frequent fliers for whom it is a hobby to accrue miles and learn every last detail about their preferred airline.
The first MegaDo was in 2009. This one, Star Alliance MegaDo 4, had a European leg that wasn’t on a Dreamliner and a domestic leg, and sold out in two minutes. Tickets for the United States portion were $999 to $1,999 and included meals and behind-the-scenes talks and tours with airline and hotel executives. All the proceeds go to charity. Those who did manage to score a Star Alliance MegaDo 4 ticket would ultimately fly on a Dreamliner, party in an airplane hangar, learn how to de-ice a plane, visit United’s headquarters, barely sleep and consume copious amounts of alcohol.
The average traveler has probably never heard of MegaDos, but they have become so significant within the travel industry that, as one of the founders, Tommy Danielsen, put it: “United gives us this plane a week and a half after they introduce it.”
But even occasional fliers will find themselves on Dreamliners in the coming years as more airlines integrate them into their fleets. United, the first domestic carrier to receive the Dreamliner, has two so far and at least another 48 on the way. International carriers including Japan Airlines and Air India have been flying the planes for months.
Unfortunately, American Airlines won't receive any 787s for at least another 18 months or so, and I'm unlikely to fly on United before then. So I'll be patient and wait. Unless USAirways hurries up and buys American already...