The 2015 International Convention will celebrate A.A.’s 80th Anniversary, July 2-5, in Atlanta, Georgia. Members of the Fellowship are gearing up for this event! Information is available on G.S.O.’s website, www.aa.org. Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding the Convention.
Q When will registration open for the 2015 International Convention?
A Registration opens on September 3, 2014. Starting at 9:00 a.m. EST, there will be a link on www.aa.org to online registration. Registration brochures that include the registration form have also been mailed to G.S.R.s, Central Offices/Intergroups and International G.S.O.s/Central Offices/Intergroups.
Q What about on-site registration?
A On-site registration will be set up in the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta and will open on Wednesday morning, July 1, 2015.
Q How much will registration cost?
A Preregistration is available until May 12, 2015, and the preregistration fee is $100.00 (USD). After May 12, you may register on-site. The on-site registration fee is $110.00 (USD).
Q Must everyone register? I thought I didn’t have to pay to go to an A.A. event.
A Yes. Everyone must register. Attendance at this special celebration is voluntary and, as responsible A.A. members, “we pay our own way.” The International Convention is paid for by those A.A.s who participate in it.
Q Can travel agents register groups or individuals?
A No. Payments from travel agencies to register groups or individuals will not be accepted.
Q When can I reserve my hotel room?
A Starting in September 2014, you can reserve a room online or by mail after you have registered for the Convention.
Q What is the housing process?
A The Housing Bureau will begin taking reservations on September 3, 2014. You must first register for the Convention and have your registration confirmation number in order to make hotel reservations through the housing process.
Once you are registered for the Convention, you will receive housing information including the Housing Bureau's contact information. If you register online, a link to the Housing Reservation website will be sent to your email address along with your registration confirmation number. You will then be able to complete your hotel reservation online.
If you mail or fax your registration form and check the box on the registration form that your preferred method of communication is by email and you provide your email address, you will receive your registration confirmation by email along with housing information. If you designate that your preferred method of communication is by mail, you will receive your confirmation and housing information by postal mail.
Q Where are the main hotels?
A In Atlanta, our Convention hotel block of over 10,000 rooms will be in three main areas: Downtown Atlanta, Midtown Atlanta and at the Atlanta Hartsfield Airport area. Of those 10,000 rooms, the majority are in downtown Atlanta, within walking distance of the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) and the Georgia Dome. MARTA is Atlanta’s public transit system and all of the hotels are within 1-2 blocks of MARTA, which has two stops at the GWCC and the Dome.
Q Can members contact hotels directly?
A No. To make the process as fair as possible, all housing requests will be processed through the official Housing Bureau.
Q Can travel agents make room reservations?
A Room reservations can only be made in individual people’s names. Rooms available through the Housing Bureau, at specially negotiated Convention rates, are not commissionable to travel agents.
Q Can we request a room in the same hotel with friends?
A Yes, you can reserve more than one room through the housing process so long as your friends have registered for the Convention. You will need to provide their name(s) and be prepared to pay additional deposits.
Q If 50 of us are coming together from the same area, can we be in the same hotel?
A We do make an effort to accommodate group housing requests. There is a separate procedure for this to ensure fairness, while still trying to meet your needs. Contact the International Convention Coordinator at G.S.O. when we are closer to registration.
Q What about RVs?
A RV information will be available on the 2015 International Convention pages at www.aa.org.
Q Will local transportation be available?
A We have more rooms than ever before within walking distance of the Georgia World Congress Center and the Georgia Dome! Many members will be within walking distance or a short ride on public transportation from their accommodations. All housing blocked for this event will be less than a 30-minute MARTA ride from the Georgia World Congress Center and the Georgia Dome.
MARTA is Atlanta’s Metro system that services all of the downtown (including stops at the Georgia World Congress Center/Georgia Dome), midtown and the Airport. A discounted MARTA Convention Pass is available through the Convention pre-registration process and will also be available on-site for purchase.
Q Will there be a shuttle system?
A In order to keep the registration fee affordable, no door-to-door shuttle bus service will be available. A limited shuttle will be provided only for special needs guests and caregiver.
Q What about special airline rates?
A As at other International Conventions, there are special fares available. Discounts are also available on car rentals and train fares. That information is available in the Convention Registration brochure at www.aa.org.
Q Where can I find information about crossing the border into the U.S. for this event?
A For accurate, specific and up-to-date information about visas and travel into the U.S., visit the United States Department of State website: http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/visa_1750.html.
If you are coming from abroad you may need a visa. Most Canadian citizens, and many citizens of countries in the United States Visa Waiver Program (VWP), do not need a visa. However, you will need a machine-readable passport valid for at least 90 days past your date of departure. The VWP countries are: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and United Kingdom.
If you do not come from a VWP country you must obtain a nonimmigrant visa. Plan ahead; it may take 6 months to receive a nonimmigrant visa, depending on the demand in your country.
Q Will there be scooters available for physically-challenged attendees?
A Scooters and wheelchairs will be available for rent and there will be a Special Needs-Accessibilities Hospitality area located at the Convention center. There is a box to check off on the registration form for special needs-accessibilities information that will be available.
If you have difficulty walking long distances, then you may want to arrange for a scooter or wheelchair. You can reserve this in advance for pickup at the Convention center by calling (888) 441-7575 or visit www.scootaround.com. Wheelchair companion assistance is not provided.
Q Can I make a special request for housing close to the Convention center?
A Given the number of overall attendees and those with special needs, we cannot take special housing requests for close accommodations. Every effort has been made to assure your participation, as well as to be in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act. A shuttle bus will be provided only for special needs guests and caregiver from all of the hotels we have booked through the Convention housing.
Q Is it hot in Atlanta?
A In Georgia, the climate is typical of a humid subtropical climate with hot and humid summers. On average, July is one of the warmer months with average highs around 88° degrees Fahrenheit and lows around 70° Fahrenheit. As it is hot outdoors, be prepared for cool temperatures indoors-the air conditioning will be on.
Q When will the Convention app be available for the 2015 International Convention?
A The Convention app will be available for download in May 2015.
Q How can I volunteer to help at the Convention?
A It has been said that International Convention volunteers are like greeters at an A.A. meeting room door, except they are greeting 50,000 people. This wonderful event will need a host committee of 3,000 to 4,000 volunteers to welcome members from around the globe.
In the first months of 2015, we will hold a volunteer kickoff event in Atlanta to begin gathering names of local A.A. members interested in volunteering. Please keep tuned to www.aa.org for future bulletins on volunteering.
We look forward to greeting you in Atlanta to celebrate
“80 years – Happy, Joyous and Free” !