Charter to STL from New England?

Is there any team or Teams from CT, MA or RI, or even NYC that have planned or are considering a chartered flight to CMPs?

We are going to be about 45 people, I’m estimating.

Anyone with experience chartering flights?

Try contacting 121, the Rhode Warriors, if they are going. They usually charter a bus. We shared it with them one year; they picked us up on the way down. If you need help getting in touch with them, let me know. I think we still have a contact there.

Thanks. We’d just about fill the bus ourselves though. We shared a charter bus with 125 over the summer, that did work out OK. 18+ hours on the road each way though…

You may want to try and contacting 3280, your alliance partner. If they are going, it would be from Providence, RI. They are a small team.

Well, I’m not saying it was the best 32 hours I’ve ever spent in my life, but we managed to survive. The ride home was sure a lot quieter than the ride there LOL.

I did try to contact 3280. A few calls to the school left me hanging on hold …

then i saw that they are not registered for CMPs (after the Tuesday deadline), so too bad. It was the Rhode Rebels that suggested we pick OxBe4, the perfect complement to our alliance.

We’re leaning toward airplane. When I say “we” I mean “me.” The bus quotes we are getting is no savings at all over flight.

It’s agonizing right now. We want to bring everyone, but we literally have zero money right now. I paid $500 to get us up to $5000 to not lose our berth. Waiting to hear from the sponsors that didn’t immediately say “nope.” Is anyone else dealing with this? Can we do a support group? I got no fingernails left!

Never knew winning would be this harsh (be careful what you wish for).

Huger thanks to the TechnoTicks who are gonna haul our gear! That is one headache out of the way!

I’ve contacted a few charter places over the years… figuring so many teams from NE head to the Champs that we could fill a plane! I never found anywhere that was cheaper per person than booking tickets on a major airline. It mostly had to do with how long the plane sits there for (Wed-Sat/Sun).

Consider going more local with your sponsorship? Have the kids go to local business (banks, law firms, restaurants, etc) and see if they will give $500-600 to sponsor a student to attend. When I was in HS, we used to do lots of major fundraising for travel this way.

Additionally, getting coverage in the local papers about the victory… with an easy link or address in the article for people to make donations. One of our area FLL teams raised $15K in about a week after the qualified with this method. They got lots of $10-20 donations from people who read the article and liked the feel-good story, plus support from local businesses.

Honestly, we’ve never had to do this last minute fundraising as a legacy team, but if there is any help we can provide, let me know.


Here in the provinces, the decimal is shifted to the left. We are sending out thank you letters to our $50 sponsors right now seeing if they might like to give us another donation.

Median Household income:
$47,415 Worcester, MA
$47,670 Clinton, MA
$51,317 Groton, CT

Connecticut has the 3rd highest median household income of US states, and Massachusetts has the 6th highest.
However all three towns are below their state medians by a similar ratio.

Just saying.

I’m surprised that Justin hasn’t posted here. He knows all about Patron drives for students. Aces High students go on a Patron drive to obtain funds to offset the cost of trips. I know that the economy is slow right now, but it takes footwork & determination if they want to go to STL. Always go for sponsorship like you plan on going. That way you either have the funds, or extra for next year.

Take the median and multiply it by population. With With Worcester’s population being 18 times that of Groton…I envy the opportunities.

The team has already raised over $8000 since last November through fundraising, nearly a 1/3 of our budget, and $3000 more than our largest corporate sponsor. I just want people to not have the impression that we’re sitting on our butts.

But back to the topics: I’m not getting any message that chartering is a great option so far.

Anyone have tips on group rates with airlines? Which ones are better? Which airports? (Providence, Hartford, Laguardia)? Should we go through a travel agent? Call airlines directly? Any info appreciated…

Southwest tends to be usually the cheapest and definitely the easiest to get a few dozen kids on with the open seating and the free checked bags. I don’t have much experience with the airport system out there, so I can’t tell you which is best to leave from. But $200 per person each way is what I quoted when I was looking for how to get there from Hartford a few days ago; if you call the airline directly I’m sure you can get a group rate that’s much better.

Chartering’s main advantage isn’t cost so much as logistics. Getting 30 kids through an airport on six different flights that all arrive at different times and then getting those kids to and from venues and hotels can be a lot more challenging than a very, very long bus ride.

Have you guys considered renting 3-4 15-passenger vans? This is how Shaker did regionals for a few seasons and it worked okay. The downside is that you’ll need multiple adults per car to drive the extremely long distance.

Best of luck with your fundraising endeavors. Too bad we didn’t qualify too, or I’m sure we’d be talking about splitting a bus!

Ok, here we go…

  1. The first things I tell my teams in MA as they qualify for STL is to call the airline, (pick one) and tel them you are a (sprots) team that has just qualified to go to the World Championships in STL. What can you do for us to help get there as a team? Most airlines will bump people form the particular flight youwant to make oroom for the entire team on one flight. AND you won’t get charged the horrendous $1200 pp seen many times when you book a flight within a week or two of departure.

  2. This is a little tricky—If youhave a mentor on the team that is willing, have them call VISAor MC or Amer Express, whoeer is their favorite credit card company, and ask if they will raise their debt limit to say $50,000 for a short period of time, like 3 months. If their credit score is good, the Visa will do that. Then you can put the hotel and airline tickets on one card and pay back that card holder. It is a risk for the card holder, but if you have some finances in place and people are trust worthy, it is a handy way of doing business. As a bonus to the card holder, if there are any freqwuent flyer miles attached to the account, you get to keep them! (one of Rosie’s mentors did this last year and his daughter who is attending FIT fly home a few times for free!)

  3. GO TO THE MEDIA! Get your story out there!!! In print on TV, on the radio…do interviews, promote promote promte! Go to the schoolboard. A lot of times the Superintendanet or principal has discretionary funds they can kick in towards registration. If they can cover the $5k, that frees up funds to pay for travel.

  4. And the normal fundraising ideas…pasta dinner if promoted correctly and over a large enough area, can bring in $3000. Light bulbs…yes, FIRST does still have light bulbs. Letter writing campaign to ALL local businesses. has a LOT of ideas!

  5. Did I say GO TO THE LOCAL MEDIA? Oh, yeah, I did. See #3 above.

This has been free advice from your local FIRST Senior Mentor, always just an email away. (

Boss of Rosie Bots,

#1 is good advice, I’m on it now. I had been asking “what are your prices,” but I’m going back today with “What can you do for us?” I guess it’s the attitude I need to get used to.

#2 through #5 is covered/done/in the works, but I think that #1 again is the most helpful shove I’ve received so far…

Brian, I spoke to Josh and Justin this morning while they were at our shop scavenging pneumatics and made a few suggestions, as well as gave Josh my contact information for you. I’d be happy to speak to you, as someone who has shepherded a team through this last-minute fundraising process twice, first in 2007 when and then in 2010. Both times we qualified in week 5 and managed to scrape enough funds together to send a crew down. Mind you, it was a small crew, as our inner-city students cannot fund their own travel. But we made it. I’d be happy to talk to you, and look forward to seeing you guys again in CT.

I heard some of our mentors were considering a charter flight but decided against it. We have a similar number of people as you planning to go, but it was still cheaper to get plane tickets on a regular airline (although they were about $500 each). We found that returning to Providence was cheaper than Boston. We unfortunately weren’t able to keep the whole team together on one flight.

As for fundraising, we decided to have everyone who was going to St. Louis place a down payment so we could pay for flights and then fundraise later and potentially reimburse people. We are planning a car wash and an e-cycling day, and we also sell lightbulbs at our fundraising events.

I look forward to that! Thanks.

Which airlines, do you know? Did anyone try a group rate plan?

And I was considering the “pay now, reimburse later” scheme as you describe. Does that work?

  1. Curious why you didn’t contact me, your FIRST Senior Mentor… :confused:
  2. Have you contacted Sue Glasspiegel, our Regional Director? She may have some sources for PR and/or funding.
  3. Check with your school before committing to any charter flights. Many schools prohibit travel in this manner.

#1: I did. I emailed you and Sue and Mike at 7:31 PM on March9, 2013. Is it in the junk pile?

#2: see #1. Sue said she had some possibilities shes working on.

#3: Thanks for the warning. I have the district’s policy on trips memorizes since last summer (IRI). I also had to have preliminary itinerary completed by last monday afternoon in order to be approved by our superintendent.