Last weekend, I went to my first frequent flyer/miles & points conference – the First2Board Sessions in Seattle (more specifically in Bellevue). This was the second First2Board Sessions. All of my friends and family that asked me why I was going to Seattle quixotically laughed at me when I told them. Many of them just didn’t understand. As the date got closer to the Sessions, I realized that I wasn’t sure either. I didn’t quite know what I was getting myself into other than I would be meeting a lot of people – all of whom share the same hobby I do.
Friday Night – Happy Hour
On Friday evening, there was a happy hour with some appetizers and beer & wine. At first I was worried that it would be cliquey as I have heard other conferences can be. That worry quickly went away as I met more and more people. Everyone was very friendly and easy to talk to. As happy hour went along, several of us made plans for dinner.
We decided to go to Spud Fish & Chips in West Seattle. Having been to Seattle numerous times, I have never been to West Seattle. On the drive there, we were treated with an amazing sunset. We found parking and got to the beach just in time to take a few pictures.
The food was great at Spud’s and I would definitely go back there again. After dinner, we walked around a bit then headed back to the hotel for a couple of drinks at the bar.
Saturday – Sessions
Several people presented for about 30-45 minutes each about different topics, with a lunch break in the middle.
- Angelina from Just Another Points Traveler talked about planned versus last minute travel and the pros and cons of each.
- Bonnie from Frugal Travel Lawyer gave us a story of her love affairs with all 7 hotel chains – including some tips and good deals for each of them. In particular, there’s a Marriott deal that basically gives you Southwest Companion Pass.
- Dia from The Deal Mommy talked about the ins and outs of the Hyatt-MLife partnership as well as timeshare rentals.
- Jamison from Points Summary talked about his travels in Latin America and a brief explanation of SPG elite benefits
- Last, Caroline from Point Princess gave us her story of riding a bike cross-country for 4K for Cancer.
They were all good presentations and I got varying amounts of information out of them. I found Bonnie’s information about Marriott and Dia’s presentation of timeshare rentals to be most interesting. I hope to put that information to good use someday. What I, and I think everyone else, was most touched by was Caroline’s story. She shared a video of her bike ride which made it look fun, but I can tell from how she talked that it was emotional and a lot of hard work. It ended on somewhat of a downer when she mentioned that a young woman in one of the groups this year was struck and killed by a driver not paying attention. I am a big proponent of road safety so this was especially touching to me. Road safety is part of the reason I advertise RoadID (makers of high-vis clothing and emergency identification products) on my site. Here’s the YouTube video she played.
Saturday – Boeing Tour & Dinner
After the Sessions, I went on a tour of Boeing and dinner at the Future of Flight at Paine Field. It was an extra paid activity, but I would have done the tour again and again if I could. At first I wasn’t sure what the tour entailed, but I knew it was with Boeing so it had to be good. That’s a huge understatement! It wasn’t good…it was awesome. I got to see the assembly lines for the 747 and 787! It was remarkable how big the building is and how functional they make the space. The building is the largest building by volume in the world with enough floor space for over 78 football fields. Unfortunately, they do not allow cameras on the tour. I had to settle for a couple of pictures from the parking lot on the other side of the runway.
Dinner was in a private room looking out onto the flight line and Dreamlifter operations area. Unfortunately, no Dreamlifter visited us. Dinner was a buffet with dinner rolls, salad, grilled corn-on-the-cob, chicken with roasted cherry tomatoes and salmon with mango salsa. It was surprisingly good, but I never have high expectations of catered food.
I actually had a really good time. It was a small crowd to it made meeting and talking to people much easier. It made me realize there’s a community with this hobby. I wish I had gone to the first F2B Sessions which was last year in Charleston. In fact, I have already bought my tickets for the next First2Board Sessions in Phoenix. My only regret is that I had an early-afternoon flight so I did not go to the presentations on Sunday. Also, that weekend was SeaFair so I missed a 787-9 flyover and performance of the Blue Angels, which were both on Sunday afternoon.
See you next year at First2Board Phoenix #F2BPHX!