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price123 Jul 25, 11 1:18 pm

Hyatt London do: Autumn 2012 (sponsored) - Oct 25-28, 2012
Flyertalk DO 25th-28th October 2012: Hyatt Regency the Churchill, London
Travel and accommodation to be paid by each attendee.

Itinerary here

Hyatt Gold Passport promotions here

£230+VAT/night B+B (single occupancy) or £245+ (double occupancy).
Champagne reception is kindly sponsored by the Churchill.
Return transport to Virgin Atlantic is £22 pp (through PayPal or Google Checkout).
Saturday's dinner is kindly sponsored by American Express.
Brunch (including unlimited champagne) costs £30 pp upgrade cost (tbc).

More information at

Currently, all events are full but you can go on waiting list. There may be more activities on offer nearer the time. You are welcome to attend the do to participate in promotions even if you cannot get a space on sponsored activities.

Booking either online at and using group code G-FTGP or by contacting in house reservations on reservation.hrlondon[at] or on 0207 486 5800. Shoulder nights are also bookable online at the same rate.

To attend, you must a) have a reservation at the Churchill for a minimum of 2 nights on the group rate and b) register online here.

Please let me know if you have any dietary requirements. Also, let me know your travel plans when they are booked through the registration page (including whether you are willing to guest people into lounge or taxi share).

For airport transfers, I recommend Prompt Airport Cars (around £50 one way Central London to Heathrow).

price123 Nov 25, 11 5:32 am

I wanted to let people know, that I am still working on this and hope to have more details by the end of the month. In all likelihood, the DO will be held Friday-Sunday, one weekend in October.

Rates are not going to be low at the hotel, but I think it is best to look at it as a package you are getting, as most food and activities will be sponsored. Hyatt Gold Passport will also be running a promotion or two. Not knowing how many people will sign up, if demand outstrips availability, priority will be given to people staying at Hyatt and on a first come first serve basis.

Hopefully I will be in a position to give more details soon.

price123 Nov 28, 11 7:29 am

So, I have some more information now. The DO will have to start on a Thursday night, as we have an activity on the Friday (see below). It can start any Thursday in October. The activity on Friday will have a capacity of 40, although sponsorship for up to 80 is in place for the dinner.

I am going to put up a new, 2 question survey. If you could answer asap - I will book it for the most popular date.

The activity we have on Friday is a safety course at Virgin Atlantic's The Base. Below I have copied an article published in the Sunday Times.

There’s a bang. Then darkness. Then smoke. “This is an emergency announcement.” Someone, a woman, is shouting. “We will be making an emergency landing shortly. Stay calm and listen carefully.” I’m on a plane. Smoke is pouring from a fire in the overhead lockers, reducing forward visibility to a few yards. The taste of panic is at the back of my throat. “Fasten your seat belt tight and low around your hips. When you hear the command ‘Brace, brace’, adopt the brace position shown on your safety card.”

The woman is Colette, a petite blonde member of the cabin crew with, I’m now learning, the voice of a sergeant major in a hurry. “If the cabin crew are not okay, we need you to help us,” she continues. “Place us on the seats by the door. Before you open the door, check conditions outside through the glass panel. If it’s safe, rotate the handle in the direction of the arrow. If you cannot use this exit, take us with you to the nearest usable exit, which may be behind you.” People are coughing, and more people are shouting, but Colette is still going, now asking questions: “How are you going to get me out of the seat? What are you going to do before you open the door? How are you going to open the door?”

It doesn’t seem the time for a quiz, but, even as I’m trying not to inhale too much smoke, I find myself mumbling the answers from somewhere between my knees, where I’ve stuffed my head. Somehow, most of what’s been shouted at me has gone in. Which is just as well, because, if this were real, I probably wouldn’t have time to ask questions.

Thankfully, the ultimate “Oh bugger” scenario is not actually happening. I’m at the Virgin Atlantic HQ, near Gatwick airport, sitting in the fuselage of an old Boeing 747taking part in an Expect the Unexpected training course. All Virgin cabin crew must do something similar, but, while my session takes a few hours, the crew take a 15-day safety course, with exams at the end of each day, as part of their six weeks’ training before they’re let loose in a real plane.

You might be forgiven for thinking that the main purpose of the cabin crew is to mix bloody marys or flog you scratchcards, as that’s all most of us see them doing. It’s not, of course. They’re there to serve dinner, too. Oh, all right: the bulk of the cabin crew’s job involves passenger safety. And the idea of this course is for me to learn a little of what crew have to go through before they get their wings, and to discover what we, as passengers, can do to help both ourselves and others in the event of an emergency.

Apparently the brace position has nothing to do with saving your teeth so you can be identified using your dental records I’ve been joined by a number of the Sunday Times Travel team, and it’s a little disconcerting to see how much even the most frequent flyers among us can learn. Take the emergency exits: I usually make a mental note of the number of rows between my seat and the nearest door, but Matt Whipp, head of safety training at Virgin Atlantic, suggests counting the number of paces to the exit instead. In a real emergency, there’s no guarantee that those rows will be there. Ah.

Also slightly alarming is our know.ledge of the brace position. Or lack of it. In fact, Whipp says, most people get it wrong. And no, apparently the brace position has nothing to do with saving your teeth so you can be identified using your dental records.

Sightly less dramatic, but no less important, is fastening your seat belt securely around your hips whenever you’re in your seat. In unexpected turbulence, the people who are injured are those who haven’t belted up and end up headbutting the ceiling. And on that subject, just to reassure you, turbulence can’t cause a plane crash, no matter how bad it feels. It might not be fun, but you’ll get through it. And Whipp is at pains to point out that all this is — hopefully — going to remain theoretical. The chance of being involved in a fatal crash is, according to one estimate, roughly seven million to one.

The cabin crew’s constant barking of instructions, right down to a slightly cultlike chant of “Head down, feet back” as we pretended to plummet to earth, was reassuring. It did make me think that, if the worst were to happen, at least they’ve given you a fighting chance of getting out of there alive. That said, it’s one thing to remember your lines when you’re safely on dry land, quite another to resist the temptation to scream “We’re all going to die!” when a real emergency occurs. And you’re right. Who knows how you, or the cabin crew, will react in an emergency.

One man who might is Dr John Leach, of Lancaster University, who is an expert in survival psychology. He has come up with the “10-80-10” theory to explain what happens to us in a crisis situation. First, 10% of people respond well. They think clearly, analyse the situation and act decisively. Another 10% panic and fall to pieces. You don’t want to be one of the latter as they’re not the survivors. The majority, the 80%, go numb, paralysed by fear or indecision, and wait to be told what to do.

You’re sharp-witted and decisive, I can tell, so let’s assume we’re all getting out of the plane. That means you’ve also got to get down the inflatable slide and, if there’s been a “ditching” (a landing on water), into the raft. Here’s a tip for the slide: don’t hold hands with anyone. One of you will end up being dragged down, which is no way to go.

Even sitting in the raft ain’t easy. The four rules of survival are “protection, location, water, food”, so the first thing to do is put up the roof, to shield yourself from the sun or rain. It took us 66 seconds to unwrap the bright orange canopy, fix it to the outside of the raft and erect it, supported by inflatable poles. This was fast, but not fast enough to beat a bunch of eight-year-old girls — Virgin had the Brownies in a while back, and they did it in less than a minute. You’ll find water-purifying tablets, a Bible and snack packs in there, too. As you pass them down the raft, don’t forget to say, “Chicken or beef?” Imagine the fun.

So there you have it. To give yourself the best chance of survival in an aerial emergency, listen to the cabin crew’s instructions; master the brace position; and, if all else fails, sit next to a Brownie.

Shareholder Nov 28, 11 9:52 pm

Can you us a sense of what this weekend will cost us, aside from air fare to get there. Are we looking at $1,000 or £1,000? More, less?

Also after the fiasco of the SMD3 vis a vis non-recognition of Hyatt status, what will the Churchill deliver in the way of stay benefits and amenities for Diamonds? Doubt it will match my suite there last year...

price123 Nov 29, 11 3:40 am


price123 Nov 29, 11 3:42 am

Originally Posted by Shareholder (Post 17530671)
Can you us a sense of what this weekend will cost us, aside from air fare to get there. Are we looking at $1,000 or £1,000? More, less?

Also after the fiasco of the SMD3 vis a vis non-recognition of Hyatt status, what will the Churchill deliver in the way of stay benefits and amenities for Diamonds? Doubt it will match my suite there last year...

If you want to stay the 3 nights you are looking at more like £1000. Your status will be recognised by the hotel. I guess it depends which suite you had last year. All I can say is that we have always been treated extremely well by the hotel; had multiple suite upgrades, and I am confident you will have a good stay. Part of the reason of holding the event at the Churchill is that we have never been disappointed there.

davef139 Nov 29, 11 6:42 pm

Gonna have to axe any idea of making this trip unless the pound takes a nose dive.

VAT at 20% right? So in USD its like $200 in just taxes for 3 nights?

Sadness :(

peteropny Nov 29, 11 7:11 pm

I'm not sure where people have been posting their interest (probably in Community) - but put me + 1 down as interested.

awc4 Nov 29, 11 7:50 pm

I just stayed at The Churchill and it was lovely, please put me down as a maybe, as I am not sure that I can plan this far ahead.

etsmyers Nov 29, 11 9:08 pm

do we have deadlines for registration?

DHalltheway Nov 29, 11 10:21 pm

kindly add me to the interested list.

price123 Nov 30, 11 3:29 am

Originally Posted by davef139 (Post 17537052)
Gonna have to axe any idea of making this trip unless the pound takes a nose dive.

VAT at 20% right? So in USD its like $200 in just taxes for 3 nights?

Sadness :(

You could partially stay using points?

Against other currencies I am sure the pound is sliding fast, but probably not against the Dollar (or Euro)!

price123 Nov 30, 11 3:31 am

Originally Posted by etsmyers (Post 17537759)
do we have deadlines for registration?

No strict deadline but at present, I am limiting attendance to 40. If more people are interested I will approach activity providers/sponsors and ask if they are willing to cover more people.

JD623 Nov 30, 11 2:27 pm

Can I please be added to the interested list as well.


synd Nov 30, 11 3:48 pm

please add me to the interested list

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