IFALPA's Hall of Fame

For future reunions, we should recognise that both membership and conference has changed.

Over the last few years there have been difficulties in getting maximum benefit from the reunion, which have come into sharp focus for Luxembourg. This is partly due to conflicts with other conference events, and partly because of changes within the membership, principally the proportion of the membership who are no longer active in IFALPA itself. With the passage of time this can only become more acute as members retire from flying and increasingly lose travel and other privileges as well as facing other limitations on their ability to get to a reunion - physical and financial etc.  This is extremely regrettable since the ONLY purpose of the club is for all its members to socialise, and the reunion is normally the only opportunity for such members to meet at all.

I'd like to suggest some changes which taken as a package might rectify that situation for FUTURE reunions, i.e. 2019 Berlin on, and not affecting this year (Luxembourg) arrangements. These would involve  

  1. moving presentation of the AO tie/scarf to the Awards Dinner
  2. moving the AO main reunion event to Sunday lunchtime
  3. having the non-active members at the host association's Sunday evening event..   

There are pros and cons to all of these of course!

Change factors.

Membership. For the purpose of this discussion let's divide AO membership into "active" or "non-active" within IFALPA itself. "Active" ones are conference attendees, who will automatically be registered for all the social events. Also assume most other AO members are "non-active"; the vast majority of AO's membership won't be coming, and those that do WON'T want to pay $250 per couple to register to attend all conference social events.

Conferences. These are much shorter now, with a working Sunday pushing the host association's party into the Sunday evening. Let's assume future conferences have a Saturday evening Awards Dinner, working sessions on Sunday and a Sunday evening Host Association event.

AO status. We must accept that AO has about the lowest possible priority within IFALPA itself. That won't change, but we would still like to have some visibility.


Move tie/scarf presentation to Awards Dinner. By definition Sayen/Scroll awardees will be there so new AO members (awardees) could receive their tie/scarf at the Awards dinner. This would require the agreement of the EB, and unless things have changed a lot since my day they will be very reluctant to have anything added to the formalities that could drag out speeches etc.  But it could be done by a simple "and here's your AO tie as well" when he/she gets the Scroll or whatever by the coordinator if possible, otherwise the most senior AO member present. Must be kept short and sweet with no speeches or stories at that time - 10 seconds per award?

Con: probably only "active" AO members would be present.

Pro: the raised profile would in my opinion be worth the others missing that formality.

Annual reunion. If we move OUR main reunion to Sunday lunchtime, the non-active members and those active members who can spared from Conference activity would be there, with the programme as at present and current members paying for the awardees/new members as guests.

Pros:  (1) Far less timing pressure - no conflict with other social event. (2) There would be an opportunity for the coordinators to meet between lunch and the evening. (3) It may also be easier to find a suitable venue for lunch than evening.

Con: "active" members might have to choose whether to come or to stick with any work obligations. However, if this year is typical, the official work programme is the Standing Committee Chairmen's meeting, Executive Board members activity, and a networking lunch, followed by the afternoon plenary session. So most ought to be able to make it at least in part.

Guests. While some new members might be tied up (being active) we would continue to have them and spouses as guests. We almost certainly wouldn't be able to have the IFALPA and host association presidents and spouses present - as Frank has found for this year. Personally, and I am open to being corrected, I have to say that I've never really understood why they should be the AO club's guests purely because of their position, other than perhaps to help in the "profile raising".

The AO Club actually pre-dates any official IFALPA awards. For most of the Club's earlier existence the President was already a member, usually having been involved in IFALPA itself for many years and being an awardee before becoming president. Historically, as far as I am aware the Conference host association hasn't made generally make any contribution to the AO club although a member of the conference organising committee may have assisted in making arrangements? In reality IFALPA itself doesn't do much either!

Con: the absence of these invitees might be a downside.

Pro: there will be up to 4 fewer guests for the members actually present to pay for. 

We can always invite them even if they don't come!

Evening event. It would be a further HUGE boost if we could build on the precedent Frank has just established, and the host association can be persuaded to include all AO members in their main evening event.  The majority will be there anyway as they are at the conference, so the only additional cost to the host association would be that of the relatively small number of non-active AO members.  

Pro: (1) Much extended time to visit with old friends. (2) Non-active AO members previous contributions are acknowledged by the larger organisation. (3) Benefit of total cost of attendance is spread over a much longer period - more bang for the buck. (4) More opportunity to interact with current IFALPA activists and understand what IFALPA itself has been doing since they left.

Cons: small cost to host Association. Rough guess at order of magnitude - probably of the order of 10 non-active AO members plus 6 spouses = 16 people added to a total of maybe 400? =  4%.     

Over for discussion!

No Avatar
Francis Truchetet on Tue, 20/02/2018 - 09:03

I do agree with Steve that those changes will make the alpha-omega meeting during conference more effective as regards presentation and good time spent with friends.


No Avatar
Steve Last on Tue, 20/02/2018 - 11:09

Perhaps next year we should consider moving the A-O Dinner to the Friday evening; there might even be a hospitality suite available afterwards for those that want to prolong the party!
Best Regards

No Avatar
Ray Gelinas on Thu, 05/04/2018 - 00:57

Hi everyone. I like all of Steve's Pros and Cons. I also very much like Rick's idea of the Friday dinner. All attending AO members would be able to attend including Carole and the President. We could still hand out the AO tie or scarf at the Gala dinner with the awards (Do the tie up on stage...no pressure!)

The change for us would be that the welcome jokes would occur the following year at the AO dinner. The new AO members would still have a chance to be recognized for the remainder of Conference as opposed to now everyone leaving Monday morning. (Maybe A-O caps for the Sunday event???)

This would also allow for us to hold special votes now occurring for membership into AO.

These changes would allow for more networking during conference, less stress on everyone wanting to participate in the host association's big event and also enjoy the Gala dinner.

Upside...more time with Dave Moore! LOL!

Just my thoughts gentlemen. Thanks!

Georg Fongern's picture
Georg Fongern on Thu, 05/04/2018 - 09:18

Dear all,

I think that the Friday evening is very convenient.
I asked my wife Uschi and she preferred Friday - so what other choice did I have !!!

See yo all on a Friday evening in Berlin

No Avatar
Frank Santoni on Thu, 05/04/2018 - 19:03

As this discussion seems to continue I would like to provide some further thoughts. For those who were not in Luxembourg here is the summary I provided on the “Events” letter:

"On Sunday morning we had a meeting of those A/O members in attendance who wanted to discuss future plans for the A/O dinner. We had a healthy discussion with everyone contributing their ideas. As a summary we decided that each Conference will have to be evaluated separately as to when it would be best to hold our Reunion Dinner. Due to the wishes of the host organizations to hold a Sunday afternoon event which our A/O members want to attend it is difficult to pre-determine the timing of our dinner. It was agreed that the best time would be Sunday evening with other options of a Sunday brunch or even Friday evening event. Each of the secondary options has their own challenges. We have had good success over the past 3 Conferences having our dinner on Sunday evening after the hosted afternoon event. Our German A/O members have expressed their desire to help plan next year’s dinner."

A couple of comments further on the Friday night idea. The benefits have been noted already but there are some tricky downsides that we have to consider. Giving the new members ties on Friday would seem to be inappropriate because they won’t actually receive their awards until the next evening. Assuming the IFALPA President comes to our Friday dinner, it would be awkward recognizing the new members in front of him before he presents the award the following evening.

If we give the ties out at the Awards Dinner on Saturday we would only be giving them to the Scroll of Merit and Clarence Sayen awardees but not to the Presidential Citation or Polaris winners. This could cause some questions and probably require an awkward explanation at the dinner.

It also seems that having the tie ceremony with the joke and personal story at our dinner is an important part of our event which everyone looks forward to. Doing this on Friday is a problem.

It seems that we have had very good success in Madrid, New Orleans, Montreal, and this year in Luxembourg having our dinner on Sunday evening after the hosted afternoon event. Especially if the host organization will continue to invite all Alpha Omega members to their event. Except for Panama, the events either ended in time for us or they graciously provided transportation after a nice stay at the event to bring us to our dinner.

At our Luxembourg discussion we all realized that each Conference will be unique and have its own challenges, but we agreed the Sunday event is still the best option with consideration of other times if it can’t work.

User login