War Story Contest to Win a Seat on Star Mega Do 4

Yeah, yeah, I know, I’m late to this contest compared to my compatriots, but the good news it that you can still get another entry through my blog contest.  For my readers that don’t know, there is a frequent flyer fest called Star Mega DO that is a chartered series of flights on Star Alliance carriers to and around the U.S. and Europe.  This contest will select two winners to fly for free on this grand tour of the skies.  Each blog has their own contest and mine is the best war story.  You know the difference between a war story and a fairy tale right?  Fairy tales begin “once upon a time” and war stories start “no ****, this really happened”.  Give me your best shot and I’ll reveal one of mine at the end of the contest.

Here are the rules to the contest:

The prize:
1. A reserved aisle or window seat next to Randy Petersen on the upcoming StarMegaDo 2012, hotel accommodations, and $250 for personal expenses.  Randy gets the middle seat in case you were wondering!

The rules:
1. Post your best war story on a great frequent flyer experience that you have had.  Anything will do.  Leave your email or send it to me at glenn.a.goddard@us.army.mil.

2. The “Entry Period” for the “Win a Seat with Randy Petersen” Giveaway is from 12:00:01 am Mountain Time (MT) October 1, 2012 to 11:59:59 pm MT October 7, 2012.
3. Entrants are limited to one submission per participating blog.
4. The complete rules can be found here.

Good luck and thanks for posting!


  1. Not necessarily a “war story,” but a few years ago, I was flying IAD-DEN on United. At the end of boarding, there were two open seats in first class, the purser went to the back and brought up what appeared to be an elite and a member of the US Army in uniform. The man next to his seat said, “Thank you for your service.” The military man replied, “I’m just a normal guy.” That sticks with me to this day, not just the action of bringing him up front, but how humble he was. One of the few times I flew US, I have seen a gate agent upgrade another man in uniform to first before boarding, and a few times since I have seen United bring uniformed military up front during boarding.

  2. I was an airman first class flying out of BOS in service dress uniform. An elderly woman snapped her fingers at me, held up a dollar (a whole dollar!) and told me to take care of her bag. I respectfully told her that I worked for the U.S. Air Force, not U.S. Air.

    My supervisor said it would have been a better story if I’d taken the dollar.

  3. Short flt EWR-BDA, where I was seated just behind the wing, began with a series of backfires when we tried to take off. Back to the gate and mechanics take a look. 2 hrs later we try again and this time halfway down the runway flames are coming out of the engine. Back to the gate where most of the people who were smart found the remaining seats on a competitor. Waited 4 hrs for engine to be replaced. Finally made it to BDA just before the airport closed. Coming home was fun too since that was the day the air traffic controllers went on strike and the airport ran out of food. Made it back many hours late.

  4. Michael W sent me the following contribution:

    Anyway, I am not in the military and wasn’t so I don’t have a great war story but I’ll mention one related to it.

    While flying home from Dubai, my gate area was extremely crowded with Americans. You could tell that they weren’t just people touring the area. There was a different and friendly mood at the gate. It seemed like everyone was chatting with each other even though they were strangers. (Yes, people started chatting with me too & I was traveling alone) It turned out that my flight was flying mainly military and military contractors back to the US for a break from their time in the Middle East. The others assumed I was in the military and asked me quite a few times where I was stationed or what base I worked at. It was a very different vibe than I ever felt before while waiting for a flight. I got to hear some interesting stories and it definitely made the time go a bit quicker while waiting to board the plane.

    Well that;s my entry. I hope that it fits the idea of what you were looking for.

  5. Same day mileage run — IAD-IAH-DEN-IAH-IAD and the gate agent in DEN asking “didn’t we just see you get off this plane from Denver???”

  6. NSTRH. Some years ago, a friend of mine was flying a routine mission from Okinawa to Guam on the KC-135. On occasion, we would invite Space-A passengers to sit up front for the the landing. On this particular afternoon, with a young kid (maybe 10yo) in the jump seat, my friend challenged his copilot to accomplish the descent into Anderson AFB without the use of his speedbrakes/early gear extension (teasingly considered to be poor form for inferior pilots).

    Shortly thereafter, all the crewmembers realized that the smooth, idle descent wouldn’t work out as planned (by no fault of the copilot, dare I admit it). As the discussion continued, one crewmember piped up and asked the pilot straight out, “Do you think we’re going to make it?”

    The pilot simply responded, “Nope.”

    This response was all the info the kid needed to unbuckle his restraint and and sprint back to his mom for dear life. Can you imagine?

    Scaring kids on airplanes was generally not a preferred practice, but on that particular flight, it made a heck of a story.

  7. I booked a business class seat from SFO-ICN, but a delay in my positioning flight made me miss it. I got rebooked into a middle economy seat and had to fight United for a month to reimburse me for the mileage difference (as I’d been promised by a gate agent when I accepted the change).

  8. Going on mileage runs back in Jan 2012 when AA was running stackable promos for triple EQM’s. Met so many great folks from FT and MP.. including someone who lives one block from me! Ended up with 101,000 EQM’s acquired via 8 trips SFO-ORD-SFO in a two week period… good times!

  9. my boyfriend canceled his ticket to a wedding we were going to and it canceled my ticket as well. I was the maid of honor in the wedding, my speach was that evening and I was flying to austin the weekend of austin city limits so my seat was gone and the flight had 10 people on standby. I had to buy a new 1 way ticket for $850 to another city and drive 3 hours there barely making it in time for the dinner reception. On the way home my alarm didn’t go off and the girl I was giving a ride to the airport with me missed her flight as well. I had to buy her a new flight so she could make it to a funeral that day. It was an expensive travel weekend just to go to a friends wedding.

  10. My best war story was one that I won. I was putting together a crazy itinerary with USAirways that involved 2 stopovers and 1 open jaw. The rep didn’t seem to know much and she was allowing it to happen until she went and tried to finalize it with a supervisor.

    The supe was a little more with it and said “whoa whoa whoa, you can’t have all that” and tried to take away one of the stopovers. I took the one stopover away after a little bit of back and forth, but then told them just told hold my ticket and not fully book it.

    After that I called back the next day and asked the rep if I could make a slight change to my itinerary before booking it. I then asked her to add the stopover in (obviously she was pretty confused by the whole itinerary to begin with) so she added the stopover back in and I was able to get the ticket like I originally wanted it. Score!

  11. I tried to apply a $250 United travel certificate to a reservation, and could not get it to work. Short of time, I booked it and called back the next day. Web support could not get the certificate to work either, so they said “We’ll do a $250 refund to your credit card”. Sounded good to me. About 20 hours before departure I try to check in, and the reservation is nowhere to be found. I call. Web support messed up the refund (it never happened) so the reservation was simply cancelled (and not refunded). It took three hours on the phone to get the flights back.

  12. Won a pair of tickets on JetBlue which I used towards our honeymoon trip to Bahamas and got complimentary exit row seats on multiple segments!

  13. Work buddy booked the wrong date for our return flight from Mumbai, India. Getting thru security to talk to an agent was quite the ordeal. He got lucky and made it home, even in business class

  14. Managed to fly Cathay first on the outbound and star alliance business class back to and from Asia with a friend less than a year after I started collecting miles.

  15. On a business trip to Jacksonville from Austin, I got as late start,as my flight left early and I had just made it in late the night before, made it to the airport in time, but not enough time to stop and get cash. Flight was diverted right before landing to Orlando, since the power went out at the airport in Jacksonville. Right before landing in Orlando, power came back on in Kacksonville, so we headed back there. Got to the airport and landed and deplaned, just in time for the power to go out again. Guess what, 100 outside, no AC and no luggage!! Took over thre hours to get luggage and just sat outside, since even hotter inside! Finally, kuggage arrives. No problem that I don’t have cash, since cabs take credit cards, except power was stilll out all over town and they would not take my credit card without getting the authorization first? Really? It was a Federal Government CC. I am pretty sure that those normally work and I had I to go with it. Finally, another hour later, ONE ATM was found that had power die to a back up generator. Had to do a cash advance on the card, (Thank Goodness Uncle Sam paid the fees!). Got a cab and got to the hotel, only backup power there, and was on boil water notice, so only lukewarm bottled water. At that point though, it tasted good! By this time, I had missed Bkfst, lunch and dinner and it was 8 pm! Starving!! Every restaurant had closed because of the power and water! Went to the lobby and begged them to open the gift shop and bought some chips, cookies and beef jerky! Best food in forever (and oh yeah, a Diet Coke, since I am addicted and had not had one since the plane. Power finally came on about midnight and cooled off by 4 am. Up at 5, on to meetings. Never been so tired in all my life. I now always have snacks, cash and bottled water with me when I travel. By the way, boss almost would not approve the cash advance fee, and complained that I had extra phone charges on my travel voucher, since my phone died and I had to use a pay phone to try to get something arranged to get me to the hotel or something to eat!

  16. Best experience I ever had was when I’d missed my connecting flight due to a thunderstorm and was going to be stranded in Toronto overnight. After managing to flag down an off-duty flight attendant to show me where the line to reschedule my flight was, she decided to intervene and get me the first flight out the next day along with comped hotel and travel to/from.

  17. Flew to London for Thanksgiving week for an enjoyable vacation. Bought my own seat (to earn EQMs); redeemed award for an extra seat in order to have the extra space. Had to defend that extra seat using my two boarding passes against encroachers who wanted to change seats (not liking their current seatmate), as the economy cabin was entirely full except for my one lonely empty seat that was MINE.

  18. Flying to the UK on US Airways, there was a major problem…basically our plane from CLT to PHL was taken from us because the CDG flight had had a bird strike (which we were NOT told about at the time).. There were lots of issues when we finally landed that night in PHL, as in no room, no voucher, no nothing. US tried to blame it on weather. The worst, however, was I missed my mother-in-law’s funeral because of it
    As I was flying back two weeks later, I told the tale to one of the FA’s who became quite incensed about the whole thing. Turns out she is pretty high up in the ranks of FA’s and began to do some sleuthing for me. That is when we found out about the bird strike. Armed with that, and a few more hard facts, I wrote letter number five to US…..they finally admitted the ‘truth’ and I received a $400 travel voucher and reimbursement for my hotel.
    The flight attendant and I still stay in touch…..

  19. Broke up a fight on US between a GA and FA, who wasn’t happy that the GA started boarding passengers while she felt she was still on her break. They were about to come to blows!

  20. My recent war story was on an AA flight from DEN to DFW. The captain announced a delay after we had taxied away from the gate due to an operational issue “that rarely happens”. We were delayed long enough for me to miss the last connecting flight out of DFW to my destination. The delay was logged as a weather delay in DEN so the gate agent in DFW wasn’t able to help me with a hotel. Great service!
    Thanks for the contest.

  21. The closest I get to fighting is how fast I can get up to the podium when the gate agent makes the “We’re looking for volunteers” announcement!

    “Thank you” to all members of military [friendly] foreign and domestic.

  22. self-inflicted: had a 4 hour layover in Tokyo so took the train up to a nearby Temple – got lost trying to find my way back to the train station and NO ONE (ok, almost no one) speaks English there. Found a motorcycle shop and they got me to the train station JUST in time to take my flight to Seoul – phew!

  23. Was on a Delta flight from HNL back to LAX after running my first marathon. The feelings of elation from finishing the race had subsided and I was simply feeling cramped, grumpy and sore sitting in my middle coach seat for the 5 hour flight back.
    After a delayed start, an announcement was made 1.5 hours in that we were going to have to turn around and go back to HNL. A fellow marathoner had just suffered a heart attack on the plane! Amazing how hearing something like that suddenly makes you feel grateful and blessed just to be healthy and alive (even in a middle seat).
    The passenger was taken out via stretcher at HNL and we departed again for LAX after refueling.
    Upon landing in LA (veeerrrrryy late), the pilot reported that the passenger had made it to the hospital and was resting comfortably. A round of applause went up in the cabin. I thought that was a nice touch to let everyone know!

  24. When you are in a train station and a bomb goes off, run like hell and leave the suitcase behind. Lesson learned in the Madrid bombings the hard way.

  25. I traveled in First Class with my wife from FRA to ORD on Lufthansa’s new First Class product on a 747 all with miles! It was an AMAZING experience!

  26. Last minute change out of DXB FA and I got talking she found out my upgrade hadn’t cleared, and then took it upon herself to see. They could clear it after boarding since 2 no shows. She cleared it and it was much needed as we sat on plane for 2.5h before leaving and hitting headwinds. There us still good service out there.

  27. flying to Perth on Cathay J class. went to online check in to see that the connection in Hong Kong changed so that my flight from NYC arrived after the flight to Perth departed due to a change. I called the airline to change my JFK departure time to make the new connection – i was told to go to PHL (hometown) to get paperwork so went to airport no one could help at BA (i booked with miles through them), booked a car service for $300 to pick me up at 4am for the 7am flight since my friend couldn’t take me that early. Arrived JFK, got on plane – delayed for 2 hours and they moved the plane to maintenance area (yeah!) – arrived eventually to Hong Kong, saw my name on a sign at the end of the hallway and told i missed the flight and was rebooked in 3 hours on a flight to Sydney to connect there on Qantas to Perth. Got to Sydney, had to go thru immigration, check in the man asked aisle or window – i said who cares its business class he said no its coach – we went back and forth on this one (i was cranky as the customs people confiscated my banana which was my breakfast) and he saw two bookings made for me – i got the business class seat, waited for the connection bus and got to the terminal as they were boarding the flight without time to buy another banana. I landed in Perth and was met with my name on a sign at the end of the hallway to be told that my luggage was still in Hong Kong and to talk to the people in baggage about it. The baggage people gave me $150 AUS to buy clothes and hoped the bag would arrive in a day (it was three days!). I arrived at the hotel on Thanksgiving very early to be told the room wouldn’t be ready for a while – i had breakfast and then still no room – after 40+ hours of travel, no luggage, only carryon, i broke down and cried (not my best moment) and they gave me an accessible room which was the only open room – i went up, attempted to fall into the bed but fell hard as the bed is much lower – opened my amenity lost luggage kit and put on my qantas tshirt and shorts and went to sleep. when i awoke, my east coast clothes (jeans/boots) went out in the 90+F heat to find clothes at the Target which i wore for the next three days. it was an interesting start to my three weeks in AUS/NZ for what turned out to be an amazing trip of a lifetime. i still am mad at the customs in australia though in what my friends call “the international banana ban”

  28. I was born in Vietnam during the war. In the late 90’s I traveled back there and banked my first signifcant miles on Northwest – nearly enough for a one-way ticket – AND got to see the country post “American War” as the Vietnamese refer to it.

  29. No sh*t, this really happened to me …when I was a kid & I was lucky enough to have a Mom who wanted to show me the world, most of my flights included 1) having the stewardess’ read me my bedtime stories, 2) the pilots would let me sit up front w them (sometimes even on their laps, 3) I’d often get to sit in 1st (even though my Mom would often still be sitting in cow-class, 4) I’d get to enjoy 1st class meals, even while sitting in economy,& 5) I’d normally fall asleep curled up under Mom’s seat

  30. An ongoing war, many battles, with THE COMPUTER. Was recently #1 on the upgrade list for on overseas flight, and listened as several people who were behind me on the lsit get called up for available upgrades. The computer kep showing them as paying more for the ticket or checking in earlier, which was not tur. Staff was super sympathetic, but couldn’t do anything. I wasn’t upgraded. Computer 1, Human 0.

  31. Camping out for 3 days in Moscow airport a year ago during the freezing rain situation and battling to get on a plane (any plain) going to my hometown of Perm. Feeling being held hostage and loosing my sanity!

  32. 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!

  33. It what one can do that can make a wonderful experience. I was traveling on a biz trip and had been upgraded to F on a transcon. I was tied and figured that I would be sleeping the entire flight. So I swapped my boarding pass with a gentleman who was clearly traveling on military duty. It was a good feeling to give him at least a small bit of comfort.

  34. My war was with British airways who delayed my luggage on third consecutive flight . I spent a full day calling and emailing every BA rep and executive offices . Result was $500 + every penny of my expenses reimbursed and the luggage arrived the 3rd day.

  35. Meeting up with a great group of frequent flyers in the Narita World Club during a mileage run. Being Op-up’d twice on the same trip.

  36. I flew to MSP to see my sister who I haven’t seen for over a year before she started school. UA cancelled the outbound flight 3 hours before flight time, the return flight was delayed for 3 hours so I spent the night in ORD and I missed my morning meeting.It’s for sure not a good week to travel on UA!

  37. Plane got substituted to a 707 with no First Class… Primcess Grace was assigned to an economy seat. Her answer…”don’t worry darling, we all get there at the same time”

  38. I was detained and interrogated at the Edvard Munch museum in Oslo for suspicion of stealing “The Scream” painting after a comment I made in jest to a museum employee.

  39. My war story took place in BA First Class as we were flying around the world using a once-in-a-lifetime series of mostly first class award segments. This included an exciting 20 hour layover in Dubai after a few days in India. Unfortunately, as we were headed to the airport in Dubai for a 4 am departure, there was no denying an imminent insurgency in my intestine — apparently something that I ate in India. As a well travelled Army brat, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t packed Immodium. Also, I couldn’t believe that I realized this at 1 am, after I spent much of the day shopping. But then the tides of that battle turned but what originally looked like a mirage: the Dubai airport has a 24 pharmacy! I was able to buy what I needed, between my medicine and BA’s first class service, ultimately I would call this surprise attack a draw.

  40. I was leaving a town in a mid-sized market following a large trade show that every hotel in the area sold out solid.

    Had a first class seat on an early morning AA – flight that was overbooked,execpt for first. They asked for volunteers, and I gave up my seat in exchange for a $400 voucher and a seat in first on the next (overbooked) flight.

    About 2 hours later, the next flight is getting ready to board, and it, too is overbooked. Ask for bump, get on the next flight in first, wait for the next flight, rinse and repeat until I get to last flight of the day, with $1,600 in AA vouchers to the better!

  41. Recently delayed 2 hours on AA, sitting on the plane at the gate because part of plane’s tail was missing. At least that’s what the captain said.

  42. My summer 2012 family vacation trip to 4 Asian countries using miles & points — for free Bus seats & Suite rooms — $50K value.

  43. I threw caution to the wind and traveled thru HKG to Bali just after the SARS outbreak had subsided. The entire economy section was shared between myself and eleven other people on a Cathay Pacific 747. I have no idea why the flight wasn’t canceled; it was kind of a bizarre experience.

  44. I was stranded at HNL airport on Sunday of Thanksgiving week for 48 hours. I was 21 and alone, as everyone else made their flight and the rental car had been returned. On the second day I got a seat on a flight. They were offering free roundtrip flight vouchers to anyone willing to give up their seat. I declined. I made it to LAX at 1am. A winter storm ensued so it was freezing. I found a group of about 50 men. I was the only female. A nice guy from the HNL flight took a shuttle with me for food at around 3am. Got back to LAX at 5 for standby flight to LAS. Suprise! Opening week of Comdex! Made it out last seat on 6am flight. Literally begged to get on flight. My suitcase was delivered to my home a week later, was told it ended up in Hong Kong. Learned alot of lessons. Always take a carry on with basics, such as underwear and top, toothbrush and deoderant, snacks, extra credit card and cash!

  45. i’m always impressed that the airlines give our military free excess checked luggage for their service, yet all the men and women I’ve ever seen fly pack light and lean! guess that’s how they teach it in the armed forces.

  46. Well, it is offcially past midnight in Colorado so I must reluctantly close this contest. More responses to this post than all my others combined! I need to tell Randy to hold contests more often.

    Too many really great war stories here to subjectively pick a winner. I will randomize all the entries and reveal the two names to be sent forward to Randy for the grand drawing tomorrow.

    Thanks for everyone who participated!

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