Another Launch Party for a MegaDo, This Time for Star Alliance

By Nick – Random Segments

While I previously attended the oneworld MegaDo launch party, I was able to secure a space to the Star Alliance MegaDo 4 Launch Party as well.  Even with technical difficulties in forming the initial RSVP thread, when Gary announced the launch party, it filled within 40 minutes, while the OWMD party took a couple of days to fill.  However, one of the benefits of milepoint being a sponsor is that the save room for elite members of the site to have access to a special pool of slots for the event.  For the OWMD launch party it was the first 10 people, however due to the quick response for this event, they held a drawing.  As an additional bonus, milepoint is also doing a drawing for Silver Members (I know it seems like shameless plugging for milepoint, however since the organizers are also the founders of milepoint, they are doing sponsorship and cross promoting).  

But this is generally like the previous launch party where the focus is on the announcing of the SMD4 plans.  While it will be interesting to compare the parties (especially the giveaways, since the OWMD party was the first one where the sponsors when all out for swag), the real focus is on the megado itself. The party is on June 2 at 6:30pm in Crystal City, at the Hyatt Crystal City, just outside DCA.  There is even talk of a barcon, as the waiting list is long and a lot of people want to soak up the fun even if unable to get into the party itself. Unfortunately due to other things at the hotel, I am having to stay at a different property, though it is definitely one I intend to review for you. I will of course be on Twitter (@RandomSegments) with live updates of the announcement.


Preview of the New Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal in Atlanta

By Nick – Random Segments

So yesterday I got to participate in the terminal simulation for the new international terminal in Atlanta.  One of the benefits was that it was the full experience, as both a departing and arriving passenger.  While I only have departing pictures (full simulation, people were even put in the hold at Immigration and full questioning).

The area check-in area is really broken up into two zones.  At the far end of the terminal from the Security Checkpoint is the other airline area (where I had to check-in for my Airtran “flight” to Cancun)


Then closer in is the SkyTeam zone, similar to the layout of the Delta counters in the domestic terminal.


One of the wonderful things about the pre-security area is that it is great for planespotting.  The road into the terminal takes you right by Delta TechOps, and this is the view to the south from the terminal.


Yes, you are looking at the three South runways.

After clearing TSA, this is the view:


Up on the second floor is the Delta Sky Club.



We could not actually go into the club, as the watermain for the club broke the previous morning, doing some damage, and flooding the duty free store below.  Though with this, they did have some Atlanta style snacks available for us.


Here are some more pictures of the atrium area (which is divided into two atriums really).





For Hunter, yes they do have a Smoking lounge, though it is kind of hidden behind the Body Shop on the second floor of the Atrium.


And for once, the gate areas are designed really well.




The seats are decent, though definitely feel better than they look.

And the gate for my “flight”


The arrivals experience is nice, and you get this look as you go down the hall to customs.


Another plus, this customs hall does actually allow natural light in, so you do not feel completely trapped.  Another big change with the new terminal is no re-checking bags to go to exit the airport in Atlanta.  After grabbing my bags, and waiting in the agriculture line (they wanted to test the queing procedures for the area), I was able to walk directly out and be on the curb.  This is a big change for anyone who has Atlanta as their final destination.

Overall, a very nice terminal, and it will be even better when all the concessions open up (though beware anyone on an international flight that does not live in Atlanta and visits The Varsity, not a good combination).  The lobby is great for planespotting, even if you aren’t flying out.  I look forward to experiencing the terminal as a real passenger sometime.

If you have an interest in seeing the terminal yourself before it opens, the airport is hosting a community day this Saturday from 11am to 4pm EDT

Rene from DeltaPoints has another review of the terminal over on his blog from another tester.