Win a Seat with Randy Petersen on Star MegaDO 4 (and $400 charitable donation + me win an iPad)

Ever dream of a time when airlines and hotels treated you like a VIP? Ever want to have an insider’s look at the travel industry? And to spend it listening to one-upmanship exploits told in code words like ‘CPM’ and about lawsuits against shopping portals?

…then Star MegaDO 4 is your dream come true.

The event is November 13-17, the schedule begins in San Francisco, on to Houston, and wraps up in Chicago, featuring charter flights on United and events with United and Hyatt.

Before you read further, be aware that if you win the contest you are responsible for your positioning flights to San Francisco and returning from Chicago. You need to be available November 13-17, so check your calendar. Also must 18 years of age or older.

The Contest:

BoardingArea, which hosts this blog, is giving away two seats next to BoardingArea founder and miles guru Randy Petersen on Star MegaDO 4. 29 BoardingArea blogs are participating (list and details here). You are allowed one entry per blog. Each blog will select one finalist, 29 finalists in total, and of those, Randy Petersen will randomly select the 2 contest winners. Each winner will be awarded one seat. Full rules here.

The Prize:

The seat giveaway gift from Randy Petersen consists of one economy ticket on the 2012 StarMegaDo4, hotel accommodations at partner hotels, and $250 cash for personal expenses. Expenses not specified above, including, but not limited to ground transportation and incidentals, are winner’s responsibility.

How to enter:

Reply with a comment on this post in answer to the below Question no later than 11:59:59 pm MT October 7, 2012. One entry per person. Per person. Not per email address/IP address/etc. Attempts at multiple entries will be disqualified. Comments that are obviously SPAM or do not answer the Question will be disqualified up to the sole discretion of Rapid Travel Chai.

The finalist will be selected at random by Rapid Travel Chai and the result posted on Rapid Travel Chai as an update to this post on October 8, 2012.

You must leave your legal given name and first letter of your surname as your name in the comment.

You must leave a valid email address. Your email address will not be used by Rapid Travel Chai for any purpose other than to give the finalist’s email address to BoardingArea for final drawing, and possibly for a thank you note from Rapid Travel Chai for entry.


Randy Peterson has dedicated his life to helping others. Millions of people have benefited directly and indirectly by his efforts large and small. His business projects, such as Star MegaDO 4, often involve charity components. In the spirit of his work, the Question to answer is:

How have you helped a traveler you did not previously know?

Where applicable, please provide details that can help or inspire other travelers. For instance, if you shared a tip with someone having a meltdown at an airport, share the tip here. If you donated miles to fly someone for a worthy charity, share it here. If you stopped to help someone with a spare tire, share that.

But wait, what if you are the Rapid Travel Chai finalist but do not win the Star MegaDO 4 seat?

In the spirit of giving back, and the 4th Star MegaDo, Rapid Travel Chai will make a $400 donation on behalf of the Rapid Travel Chai finalist to a charity of the finalist’s selection. This donation will be made whether or not the finalist wins the Star MegaDo 4 seat.

Charity must be an IRS Except Organization (see here). Any tax treatment/benefits pertaining to the donation will be applicable to Rapid Travel Chai in accord with standard charitable donation practice for gifts on behalf of others.

About that iPad:

Full disclosure – the two BoardingArea blogs from which the two winners are randomly selected will each win an iPad from BoardingArea. I have never purchased an Apple product. This may open the flood gates like when a friend gave me my first G.I. Joe figure at my age 4 birthday party.

Update October 8:

The winner has been selected and is #134 Moshe P, see here for further details.

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  • Hao Tran

    I won a raffle for two tickets to the Orbit Tower in the Olympic Park – I had to leave immediately so I couldn’t bring anyone I knew. Outside the park entry gates I gave away my spare ticket to a middle aged man who had come to London down from Newcastle just to get a glimpse of the park!

  • colleen

    We found a foreign tourist wandering about the airport in Italy. She had no idea how to get to the train station downtown – no public transportation, on a Sunday, and no ATM availability. We took her with us to the rental car station, packed her in our new rental, and gave her a ride downtown to the train station. She then happily boarded the train to go to visit her relatives.

  • Yj

    I dont have anything big but i did switch seats with someone so that she could sit with her family.

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  • HR

    Offered a meal to someone when I had a $25 voucher and all I wanted was a coffee, why let the remaining $21 go to waste.

  • vince

    I was at the airport and a family of 3 was going to be separated. 2 tickets ( I guess wife & kid was on one reservation); so I told hte gate agent the husband can take my seat and I”ll take the next flight out.

  • Lettie

    I gave a stranger a couple of my “have one on us” drink coupons and allowed them to join me in the Skyclub as my partner.

  • tiffany l

    whenever i see a person who looks lost, or studying a map, i now make a point of asking if they need help finding something. it’s time to pay it fwd for all of the times i’ve received directions from strangers!

  • Todd R

    Yes, I regularly assist with the placing of items in overhead bins as well as there removal when assistance is obviously needed.

  • I took another fellow passenger as a guest on my lounge pass in India. I think that made the day for both of us.

  • Abhishek D

    I assisted someone who spoke Gujarati but not much English with the completion of her customs & immigration forms in flight.

  • I recently had some expiring drink tickets but did not have the occasion to use them. I spotted 2 parents battling 4 children boarding a red eye. I don’t think I’ve ever received a look that said “thank you” better than the look I received from those 2 parents upon handing them the drink tickets.

  • Gail Schultz

    I used to have opportunities to help travelers all the time when I lived in San Francisco. One afternoon while running errands on Union Street I encountered four separate German tourists and was able to direct each of them to the Youth Hostel out on Fort Mason. I always wondered if they knew each other. -Gail S.

  • Scott C

    I was at the passport office getting my daughters passport. The lady in front of me was getting her daughters and getting an expedite for quick travel overseas, and the passport agent was being the typical unhelpful govt employee. The lady only had cash and they would only accept check or money order. It was close to closing on friday so she had to make it work. She told her to go buy a money order and they would shut the door promptly at 4 and shred her docs if she was not back by then. I stepped in and paid for hers with my check and let her pay me the cash. I followed up with her later and everything worked out just in time.

  • David

    I helped a traveler make sure she was getting a vegetarian meal on a flight where she didn’t speak English.

  • David H.

    Multiple times I have translated for someone who didn’t speak English. One elderly lady was trying to visit her son and daughter in law in Los Angeles. She’d been stuck at IAD for 8 hours on standby. I translated for her to make sure she got on the plane. I then used a companion upgrade to have her put in first class. She’d never been happier.

  • While waiting to board a Southwest flight in Corpus Christi , severla years ago , alady was tlking very loudly on her phone for 20 minutes or more , annoying everyone around her, when she finally hung up and started to place another call, I stood up and said , “could you please place your call outside the waitng area, you have been disturbing everyone “, much to my surprise, about 18 or 20 people stood up around me, and said did you hear what he said “, she disgustedly stomped off, to place her call. 2 things followed that, No one would sit next to her on the plane and I was given enough free drink coupons to last many more Southwest fights. and a good number of handshakes and attaboys

  • Yas

    I was on a flt recently where the dude left his wallet at the counter on checkin and had no money so I gave him $150 bucks and told him to send me back whatever and gave him my business card. Ended up being an Academy Award winning composer and not only did I get the money back, I also got a signed copy of the DVD (Forest Gump)from him! was awesome.

  • As a UA frequent flyer, I often fly solo…but don’t want my elite companion privilege to go to waste. If I see availability in the F cabin but only few people waiting for an upgrade, I’ll ask the gate agents to extend my companion upgrade to a stranger. The catch: the stranger needs to be a wheelchair passenger flying solo, a senior citizen flying solo, or someone in a military uniform. The availability of companion upgrades had greatly diminished over the years, but the fact I was able to put a smile on many strangers’ faces over the years makes my day.

  • DCA Rob

    I have a Milepoint More Miles luggage tag on my computer bag. That has started many conversations with seatmates, some of whom were not bothering to accrue miles (gasp)! I think I have been an effective evangelist in more than one case.

    -Rob K

  • Mike Stuben

    I am always glad to help when I can. Often simple things like giving directions or answering questions.

  • Bruce

    On my way to Nairobi…msp to ord to Amsterdam to Nairobi. Single mom with 2 little kids..played stepdad and tried to help out as best i could.

  • Barbara

    So many people…on so many trips have helped me over the years!! I try to help in any way possible.

  • sarah

    Little things…letting people go first…helping people lift their bags to overhead storage…etc.

  • Sam

    “Whatsoever you do for the least of my children…that you do unto me” (Jesus)

  • LIH Prem

    I introduced a fellow traveler and blogger to Randy. 🙂

    gave away all sorts of stuff in coupon connection, nothing in return requested.


  • When I’m home in New York City, I always try to help tourist when I see them looking at their map on the street.

  • Lynn

    I live in a large tourist location. I participate daily on the Tripadvisor board to help tourists better enjoy my local area.

  • spe salvi

    I don’t have anything major to say but I have switched many times so that a couple could sit together, parent/child etc. I have offered to watch someone luggage/hold bag etc while helping out a mother and baby in the restroom

  • Mark S.

    Living in a touristy area of Boston, I’ve often provided directions, restaurant recommendations, etc.

  • Jing Li

    little things like letting people go first, giving them directions, etc

  • Matt

    Being larger, I have helped many folks hoist their bulging carryons onto the overhead section… Better for those sitting under the bag as well and seems to help make everyone around happier.

  • Choco

    Recently on my last flight I was getting my luggage at the baggage carousel in PEK when an American teenager approached me and asked me if I knew how to get to the subway from the airport. It was his first time in Beijing, and he didn’t know barely any Chinese, so I walked him to the train stop and purchased his ticket and drew him a map of where he wanted to go.

  • bwiflyer

    I have shown ways to people to earn miles and points

  • Patrick

    I have lent my cell phone to a traveler experiencing a travel emergency.

  • Jason

    Someone asked me where an airline was and it turned out they were in the wrong airport. The correct airport wasn’t too far from my house so I drove them there.

  • Chris T

    I’ve led multiple groups of hiker’s back to the trailhead when they’ve gotten lost on the trail. I happened upon one group who I could tell were out of their element and was called to help by another group. Always great to be able to help.

  • Michael H.(oldfox)

    Recently I was returning to the US after taking an intensive Russian language course in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. I had a long layover in Frankfurt and at the gate for my flight there were almost no people. A very old lady approached and almost in tears started speaking Russian to me. What a shock! She obviously was in distress, and she told me she couldn’t speak German or English. So…….I simply talked with her in Russian and tried to comfort her loneliness. After 15 minutes, some Lufthansa agents came and one spoke really good Russian….. much better than my Russian. The “babushka’ was, however, very relaxed when I left her. The language course came in handy! Great feeling!

  • AK

    A few weeks ago, a member of the military was flying across from me in coach on a Delta flight and wanted to watch a movie on his TV screen, but didn’t have a credit card. I bought it for him (at least I got a 20% discount for using my DL AMEX!).

  • Deanna

    I have given a lot of directions and taken a lot of pictures for fellow travelers.

  • Raghavendar

    Often times I have come across elderly people from India visting their children in the US. WHen they land in US they are quite lost due to language problems. I have often helped them in the Immigration clearance and buggage claim and helped them all the way out to their waiting children. Nice feeling.

  • I escorted a very lost South Korean student through Dubai International Airport at 2am, using the bare handful of Korean words I know, and she burst into tears with happiness when she finally got to her gate and that the airline was holding the plane just for her.

  • WB Lee

    Helped a first-time visitor to the US get to her connecting flight (barely made it) after waiting two hours for her to clear immigration.

  • Andrew C

    I always take a photo when asked… and that’s pretty often because I’m always carrying a gigantic camera or two.

  • bk3day

    At LAX, walked up to the gate & gave away a UA Systemwide upgrade to a stranger waiting to board LAX-LHR.

    Best part was I later found out the stranger had fallen while in LA & injured her leg which forced her to cut the trip short & return early to London.

  • I generally offer advice about rebooking to fellow passengers if I’m standing near the podium at the gate waiting for my own inquiry to the gate agent.

  • I was flying on UA NRT-SFO in E+ when a girl at the gate was obviously ill and asked if she could get an aisle seat instead of her E- middle seat. The flight was overbooked, so the gate agent said no. I gave her my E+ seat.

  • LarryInNYC

    I’ll give you two instances of helping fellow travelers, one light and the other a little on the heavy side.
    In Mandalay this summer we purchased the fairly expensive tickets that grant admission to a variety of sites near the city. This tickets are generally reckoned to benefit the ruling junta rather than contributing directly (or entirely) to the upkeep of the sites. When we left we passed the tickets, which had several days of validity left, along to several backpackers in our guesthouse.
    Years ago, in a youth hostel in the south of France, I was called on to translate between the police and a young woman who was raped while hitchhiking.

  • Lewis F.

    Whenever I see someone with a “lost in space” look, or looking at a map I offer directions.

  • Kenny

    i helped someone in my broken spanish get the meal she wanted

  • I always go out of my way to help parents traveling with infants and toddlers since I feel their pain. Last week I helped a mom traveling by herself with an 18 month old with her leg in a brace carry her child’s carseat off the plane.

  • Cyrus N

    The other day I helped an exchange student through SFO to our flight after she got lost and was worried because it was delayed. Then called her host family and helped explain the situation.

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  • Jason K

    I was flying from SEA-ORD on Easter sunday to see my family and I had a bunch of e500s (back in the old UA system) that I wasn’t using. I noticed F was empty (A320) and quite a few uniform soldiers on my flight. I upgraded all I could. At the end I was able to get 8 of them in first and I threw the rest of my drink chits to the ones I couldn’t upgrade.

  • Ryan B

    I’ve helped both friends and family get over their fear of going somewhere outside of their comfort zone and really opening their eyes to some of the awesome places this world has to offer. Hearing my mother go on and on about how a trip to Irland changed her life was awesome.

  • Anthony G

    I was in LAX and had used an AS MVPG paper upgrade certificate to upgrade to First, but (as often happened) the agent had not collected my certificate at checkin. First seats were still being sold by the gate agent, so when I saw a woman go up to ask about the price of one, I gave her my certificate and saved her $100.

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  • YES.. Back when upgrades were paper i put 6 spring breakers up front for their trip to Orlando!

  • Curtis T

    I bought lunch for a young couple on an Amtrak train going across the country. Learned about them and their adventures. Perfect!

  • Game my seatmate a lift to her destination in Jakarta once we had landed. Her first time there.

  • Dee J

    Nothing heroic, but just everyday things: helping people who need directions, help using a kiosk, getting their overhead bags for them, giving away drink tickets, switching seats if needed, and sometimes taking a later flight. Karma is a good thing for all!

  • Daniel L

    I calmed down a distraught first time traveler that was in tears on her first trip on the way to Las Vegas.

  • Peter D.

    If I have a seatmate who is interested in using miles more effectively, I share what I know with them.

  • Bill H

    Five years is a long time. But, pessimisim aside, we are all going to keep finding ways to travel the world through incredible deals. Especially by communicating great finds instantly throughout our unique, if diverse and sometimes fragmented, community. Its always going to be too hard for the average traveller to follow this fastinating pursuit.

  • @Bill H – this does not appear to be an answer to the required question and is the same you posted on other blogs, please submit a unique response to the question required in my post. Your original comment ruled ineligible.

  • Biggles209

    I did the research to find a good airfare from SEA-ZRH and passed the information along to a friend’s daughter’s boyfriend – who I had never met

  • Patricia M

    Several years ago I developed a pulmonary problem and had to fly with oxygen for a while. During that time I learned quite a bit about flying while on oxygen, including where you can sit on each aircraft in UA’s fleet, in each class of service and other minutiae needed to negotiate the world of flying with this particular requirement. I created a reference chart for people on the UA forum on FT to use.

    After I recovered, whenever I saw a passenger on a flight who required oxygen I would stop to talk to them about my experiences and offer helpful hints I learned while I was doing it. UA no longer provides O2 for passengers so I can’t do that any longer.

    On a recent flight from HNL-LAX the passenger sitting next to me was experiencing difficulties breathing at altitude and they paged for a doctor. She treated the passenger in her seat and put her on oxygen. The doctor was frustrated by the lack of equipment in the on-board kit because she couldn’t determine whether any oxygen was getting into the patient. When the doctor had a moment I offered her the use of my pulse oxymeter which also has a heart monitor built in. I always carry it with me. Her eyes lit up and she thanked me profusely adding that she didn’t want to know why I carried one. 🙂 The doctor spent 3 hours by the passengers side and eventually went back to her seat, charging the FAs and me to keep an eye on the passenger and to alert her to any changes. The 767 only has 4 M-tanks on the plane which lasted for little more than an hour each. We still had a bit more of an hour flying when the O2 ran out. In order to help the passenger remain calm (you can easily panic when you’re not getting enough O2) I told her I was going to talk to her, but she didn’t need to respond. Calm and concentrated breathing can help you get through rough patches. I talked to her from that point until we landed, telling her what I learned about flying with O2 and reassuring her that as we started to descend she would breathe much more easily. I suggested that it would help her for the return flight to change her flight over to a 777 and that she will find it easier to breathe on it than a 767 or narrowbody. When we landed she reached over and touched my arm and thanked me. She said that I was right, as we started to descend it was much easier for her to breathe. 🙂

  • Most recently I saw a guy waiting out the front of my hotel obviously waiting for a cab to head to the airport – i’d just checked out and my car was being bought up by the valet. I could see the guy was anxious so offered to drive him to the airport as thats where i was heading. It was less about the guy saving money but more about if the cab never came!

  • James D

    I look up plane fares or ways to get places cheaply for friends or friends.

  • Through my blog I’ve been fortunate enough to help over 100 people that I previously haven’t known earn miles AND book their trips. Amazingly, when I first started the blog the goal was to help 10 complete strangers book an awards flight and I was worried I wouldn’t hit that goal.

  • LindaRZ

    I helped a 7 year old unaccompanied minor by holding her hand the entire flight while she talked non-stop on a flight to visit her grandparents.

  • Robin R

    I’ll stop and give directions to folks who lost in terminals, or give advice on how to get to a connecting gate to seat neighbors. I’ve also guested folks into clubs.

  • GeraldF

    When doing a transcon from LAX to BOS (via DFW), I sat next to an elderly couple who had a long (3+ hrs) layover before their next connection. I used my Admiral’s Club to get them both in so they could relax without the hustle and bustle of the monstrosity that is DFW.

    – gerald f

  • Susan Lucas

    Loaned my flashlight to a traveler who lost his passport.

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  • G_G

    Giving two AC’s Business Class upgrades through a website

  • Bas

    I like to help out people that look lost.. Just by giving them some directions..

  • DanR

    Offered and allowed a tourist use my cell phone in JFK Airport, then walked her and her group to their gate. I had just arrived on a flight…

  • pilot

    I am an x B727 pilot , and would love to fly the B787 and take a look at the cockpit to see how much things changed.

  • Tim

    Opening a door for someone with lots of bags, giving directions.

  • @pilot – this does not appear to be an answer to the required question and is the same you posted on other blogs, please submit a unique response to the question required in my post. Your original comment ruled ineligible.

  • Andre P.

    I assisted a bewildered young lady from Mali communicate with the Ticket Agent at the airport regarding her flight to Paris. She only spoke French and was disoriented with the terminal, having just arrived in a connecting flight. She needed to find the gate of her next flight. The Ticket Agent spoke only English, and was getting disconcerted with her inability to communicate with the inquiring passenger. So, I helped the TA in guiding the young lady to the international terminal for her flight home.

  • Nothing unusual yet- just giving directions; switching seats and so on.

  • carwag25 – carol

    I had a passenger seated next to me who had the same flight connection and destination as myself. The connecting flight was cancelled and I had rebooked while awaiting pushback on the current flight. It was quickly obvious that the passenger was a new traveler, and was about to seriously have a panic attack. I ended up calling AA (via their EXP line) and helping the passenger get rebooked as well. Thankfully I avoided a passenger breathing into a bag 😉

  • I often find myself helping other Americans with directions when they don’t speak the local language. I usually don’t speak much of the language myself, but I seem to be able to pick things up a little quicker than most when I am in a new place.

  • Daniel S.

    Stopped to help clearly lost tourists find their way

  • Daphne L

    with kindness, a coffee, and the use of my cellphone

  • Bill

    I’m so boring I bet I can put Randy to sleep!

  • Greg

    Helped a woman from Tokyo find her way around Vienna, where I live. She was so grateful she promised to do the same for me next time I come to Tokyo.

  • @Bill – this does not appear to be an answer to the required question, please submit a unique response to the question required in my post. Your original comment ruled ineligible.

  • Nathaniel

    Gave a ride from our hotel to HNL.

  • zensync

    Sitting next me in economy is great. I have lots of coupons for free drinks. I often cover the bar tab.

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  • KK

    When flying MSP-AMS this summer I sat next to a nervous college girl who was flying internationally by herself for the first time. I guided her through customs and the airport, and told her what to expect on the return leg. We spent like six hours together in that airport and became fast friends!

  • Ruy

    Always helping older folks get to their gates!

  • Zach

    I helped a few travelers navigating through the ATL airports because they’re not fluent in English.

  • TC

    In St Thomas they do not have jet bridges so you have to climb the stairs up to the 747. I saw a middle aged women ahead of my limping and knew she would have a tough time up the stairs. I offered to carry her roll on for her. Damn thing weighed close to 50 pounds! I did it with a smile, and I am only a slight 120 pound woman!

  • meriaten long

    I like to help with languages and translation and with entertaining small children…

  • These are some amazing stories, I don’t have anything to top them (and I’m impressed the way you’re refereeing the comments, RTC!)

    I always step up to help people/travelers wherever I am, and if we don’t speak much of the same language I find it even more fun (and satisfying) to figure out how get them on their way. It’s always amazing how much you can accomplish and how much understanding you can come to without a common language.

  • Bri

    Explain security protocol to those who are traveling for the first time.

  • Nancy O

    Have often given out free drink coupons to other travelers 9I don’t care to drink anything but water on board) – always met with a happy smile and big thank you!

  • Nguyen

    I always stop and show directions to strangers who visit the downtown where I work. Thanks. Nghiep N.

  • BothofUs2

    I have assisted people who appear to be struggling with getting their suitcases/rollaboards into the overhead bins. I’m a taller person, and glad to help someone lift heavy items if I can.

  • Bill N

    Switched seats on a flight to India so a family could sit together

  • Tim J

    Comforted the flyer in the seat next to me.

  • John F

    After I got my name reversed on a TACA mistake fare ticket, and was able to get it corrected by emailing the CSR a scan of my passport I had saved on my computer a while back, I shared this tip on several flyertalk threads about the same problem.

  • Spencer

    A friend mentioned that his cousin was going to London for the summer and I offered to get her on the embassy list for tickets to the royal garden party. She had a fantastic time.

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  • omar g

    I always try and guest someone into the lounge, especially if they seem distraught, or are delayed

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  • Ping H.

    I compliment parents who carefully planned to be able to travel efficiently and peacefully with their children.

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  • Xavier

    mostly recently…helped a traveler from downtown paris to CDG by train

  • Jonathan

    Gave a desperate traveler a free ride to the airport

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  • RonR

    During a snowstorm in Denver I helped a military wife and her small children get on board the next flight to her destination. She kept getting the runaround and wasn’t being assertive enough. So I did her bidding for her!

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  • Gave up my seats for a family who needed to travel together on standby – even though I was re-accomodated for the next day.

  • Jovan M

    I have translated for someone who didn’t speak any English.

    Also, guested a stranger into the lounge.

  • Explained to somebody that both Fiumicino and Leonardo Da Vinci refer to the same airport, i.e. FCO in Rome

  • JamesP

    I always try to help mobility limited passengers on and off planes while everyone else is elbowing for overhead space.
    Thanks for the contest!

  • I helped a traveler by giving them directions and making a list of attractions to go to.

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  • Timothy

    i’ve helped people put their luggage in the overhead and often change seats with people who are traveling together!

  • Megan G

    I always assist people wherever I go – in the airport, on the plane, on city sidewalks, etc. Most recently, I gave a tourist couple looking for wine shops concise directions in Downtown Monterey so they wouldn’t have to continue wandering aimlessly.

  • Ari

    I always give my AAdmirals club drink chits away when I have extras. Don’t know who ends up feeling better for it, me or them 🙂

  • Crash

    I always help the elderly flyers with their luggage – lifting it up and handing down from the storage compartments

  • Nancy H

    Recently offered direction and assurance to a group of travelers on the streets of Chicago. They emerged from the Clark/Lake “L” station looking bleary eyed and overwhelmed after taking the train downtown after an international redeye flight. Helped direct them to their hotel and assured them the streets were safe in the pre-dawn hours. 😉

  • gleasonja

    Helped locate her lost passport in the airport! phewwww

  • ashley

    Helped in a Paris subway use the automated ticket machines

  • Yigal

    brought along a friend of my in lounge

  • John

    Last year, a Mom and Son were sitting next to me. All she had was cash, no credit/debit cards. The Son, who was 4, was hungry and wanted something to eat. I had his snack added to my card with mine…told the Mom it was on me. She only had $2. I was on my way to an interview and paid it forward. Didn’t get the job, but I felt good about what I did.

  • Suzanne W

    I adopted a college kid returning from Paris when our BA flight was canceled out of LHR due to the snowmeggenden (sic) on the East Coast- I had her wait with me in the Club World line and then when they tried to reroute her to Philly via Boston with a change to US – i said no – she had to fly direct LHR/PHL since the two feet of snow in Philly would be worse in BOS as well as the cancellations/luggage. Her parents were yelling at her (as if the cancellation was her fault) and she had an emergency credit card to use. She then followed me to the Sofitel Heathrow to check in (i warned her of the cost -she was mad at her parents so said she didn’t care) -she ordered room service and said she would relax for two days.

  • Moshe P

    I gave up my seat to take a middle seat, so a Dad could sit next to his teenage daughter.

  • Justin S

    Little things on a regular basis but recently my E+ seat from SFO-IAH to a middle E- so husband could sit with wife and infant.

  • Vince S

    I give up my seat frequently so families can sit together.

  • Hoa N

    I found a crying platinum blonde haired 20-something girl crying in a sea of black haired Vietnamese people who didn’t speak English at the Hanoi train station. It was 5am and I was headed somewhere with a bed and food, but spent the next 2 hours helping her find her lost friend.

  • eitan

    Offered to guest a seat mate into the United Club when I learned that she had a long layover at the end of a multi-stop day of travel.

  • Jordan

    I often give NYC subway advice and directions!

  • Karlyn

    I’ve given them my drinks /meals

    Carolyn S

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  • Yana K

    Helping other people when they seem bewildered with the airport layout – think Charles de Gaule!

  • barelyelite

    Offered to take myself off a standby list so that a soldier (2nd on the list) could get home to his family. In the end, 2 standby seats were available, so we both were able to get on, but the guy was very gracious.

  • mtlfire

    I guested someone into the lounge that had lost in wallet during a connection and didn’t have his star alliance gold card on him — despite it being listed on his boarding pass, they still wouldn’t let him in.

  • the fifth amendment

    I donate miles to organizations to use as giveaways in their fundraisers a few times a year, enabling people that would not normally travel to do so. I also once upgraded and elderly frail-looking gentleman as my companion. He was extremely grateful.

  • Donna Crum

    Recently gave up my window emergency row seat on a long haul flight so a separated older could sit together. On the return I was able to bless my seatmate, a professor, with entrance to the lounge so he could work more easily while awaiting his onward flight. Fun to be able to bless others!

  • Teeh

    I have not done a lot of reading but I hope United use 787 to Europe and/or Asia. Yes, I am very excited about this!!! Count me in!!!

  • Russ

    I helped tourists on the street with directions

  • Jrey

    I shared tips on spending miles with a stranger last flight last week. We have become friends and found out that we have something in common in term of research/work!

  • Susan

    A few weeks ago, I was returning from Amsterdam. As I was going through security, a fellow paused to let me go in front of him as he was traveling with a friend behind. I decided to stop in Duty Free to see of I could find a small bottle of Tullemore whiskey for a friend. Not seeing what I wanted, I ended up with a bottle of water. As I was in the queue to pay, here comes my security buddy with a bottle of overpriced Captain Morgan’s. As I knew they were flying to Las Vegas, I suggested he wait until he got there to buy his purchase (I have found products priced in euros to be more than what we would pay here, duty free or not).
    At any rate, I also discovered that they had a five hour layover in Chicago, so I gave them two United Club day passes that I had so they could spend that time in the club. I do hope their stay at ORD was a bit more pleasant! A better way to kick off a week in LAS.

  • @Teeh – this does not appear to be an answer to the required question, please submit a unique response to the question required in my post. Your original comment ruled ineligible.

  • Danny

    I often give direction at the DC Smithsonian Mall. Also, I act as travel consultant to my co-workers. Giving advise on CC sign-up bonuses and etc.

  • Lori B

    Last month my husband and I were in Milan at a Malpensa Express train station late at night. There was a Russian girl traveling to the airport with her luggage. She got off at the wrong station. Her flight back home to Russia was leaving in 2 hours. There were no cabs to be found. The next train to MXP airport was arriving in 1 hour. She only spoke Russian. She was crying because she couldn’t get to the airport in time. We walked outside trying to figure out a solution for her. We walked around outside with her until we happened upon a police station. No one at the police station spoke Russian. We were able to communicate with them in English. We were able to get one of the police officer’s to take her to the airport (which was a 10 or 15 minute drive to the airport). She got off only 1 stop short of the airport. Hopefully she made her flight in time!

  • Told the guy next to me about TK status match. He has never had a lounge access as in 1K

  • Abrar K

    I started only few months ago but already started sharing the knowledge with friends and family

  • Natalie M

    When exiting the Cancun airport there are time share reps that tell people they were sent by there hotel to help. I told several of my fellow travelers to walk past them outside to the actual drivers.

  • James M

    I can’t count how many times I have helped people figure out which gate they should be at. Infrequent flyers have trouble with that.

  • David

    I have “guested” several unknown travelers into various lounges. Usually fellow travelers I have met while during irregular operations.

  • Erik E

    I gave up a seat in first once to a very young person in military uniform. This fellow was flying back to Salt Lake and it was his second time on an airplane.

  • I gave my blanket to a woman with her child when she said how cold it was to the flight attendant. Hopefully the kid didn’t get sick!

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  • When an airline agent and customer were just talking past each other, and the customer was an elderly woman, I stepped in and explained the situation to the customer. The woman thought she was being kicked off the flight, but they were just looking for volunteers for an oversell.

  • Tracie

    I’ve had a few times where I was fortunate enough to help a stranger during their travels – once was letting a man use my cell phone to call his wife to come pick him up at the airport. (Sounds trite, but we landed to an unexpected snowstorm, his car was on the roof of the airport garage and he had alreay shared with me that he had no winter coat (due to the storm being a surprise), no scraper and he did not own a cell.) He was able to call her from the plane instead of possibly freezing while trying to figure out how to clear off his car and make it home in a reasonable amount of time.

  • Dennis

    I try to helpful to each person i encounter who seems to be distressed with their travel experience.

  • baxterboy12

    Donated 130k US Airways miles and a couple thousand Starwood points for two Award tickets to the Congo and 1 night at Aloft Dulles for a man and his 8 year old daughter. He fled Kinshasa because of war in the early 90’s and needed to return home to see his dying mother this past summer. A friend knew I collected points and introduced me to the need. I started collecting 18 months ago and this was definitely the best point redemption I’ve made.

  • On my last Delta flight from ATL – PDX I sat next to a guy who seemed really exhausted. I asked him if he was OK and he proceeded to tell me how he had been stranded in the airport for 24 hours due to flight scheduling and financial problems. Apparently he had not eaten within that timeframe. I hooked him up with a couple of snack box tickets I had and he was able to eat a meal. I would certainly want the same to happen to me if I was in that situation.

  • Boaz H.

    Had a chance to help an elderly couple at EWR few years ago. The UA agents were really harsh with them during a miss-connect episode and they really had a hard time understanding even what was going on, so I handled things for them with the agents and happy to say it helped them.

  • Listening. I have had people board crying. When I quietly ask if they are all right, I find that they have just received news that someone they love has died. I listen non-judgmentally. This allows them to work through their emotions. People need people.

  • Gee K.

    Not big, but I always offer to take photos if I see a family, couple, or friends so they can have a picture together without someone missing from it. All about the memories!

  • Jeanne M

    I rendered emergency medical care to a 17 year old, with no pulse or respirations, on an American Airlines flight last year. There was no one else on the plane that could assist. NEVER want to be in this situation again!! Happy ending, he is fine:-)

  • Tina

    I just help my girl friend to get lots of hotel points for her coming trip to DC & London.

  • Erik E

    I helped a young lady from Ireland get in touch with her family when her flight was delayed to fly her home.

    She was returning home from a visit in the US and had no cell phone or computer. In addition to e-mailing her brother, I gave her a 30 min. phone card I had so she could call her parents and guested her into the club lounge so that we could get confirmation from the flight staff that her flight would make necessary connections,

  • I returned to my hostel in Budapest late one December night. In the bathroom I found young Russian man who looked very freaked out. He’d been mugged and had no money or other means to return to Austria, where he was studying abroad. I told him I’d be happy to buy his fare and give some extra “just in case” money. Since we’d both planned on leaving the next day anyway, we decided to travel together. It wound up being extra fun for me as well, as a train strike complicated our departure plans, and I suddenly had this delightful buddy to traipse all over the city together until we finally found a bus out!

  • TrunkSpace

    Counselling a nervous flier, I love flying and did all I could to help them through. Said it was the easiest flight they had ever taken

  • Michael V

    I held the hand of a seatmate who was very afraid of flying and talked her through what was happening during an aborted landing.

  • deanna c

    helped an old lady figure out she wasn’t at the right gate and helped a middle-aged lady figure out how to turn down the brightness of her ipad…

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