United Airlines Operates Extra Special “North Pole” Flight

United Airlines has flown a special flight to the ‘North Pole’, giving very sick children a chance to meet Santa and explore his workshop before he is too busy with Christmas.

Santa makes a special journey with the children from San Fransisco. Photo: United

What are the details?

United has performed the 30th year of Fantasy Flights, arranging spare aircraft to take a group of sick children from various charities on a themed journey to Santa’s workshop in the ‘North Pole’. Several different flights took place, with the airline operating more across the US and its territories.

United Airlines Operates Extra Special “North Pole” Flight
United has launched several fantasy flights around the USA. Photo: Simple Flying / Thomas Boon

“Beginning December 5 and in the first two weeks of December, United Airlines is holding Fantasy Flights across the world. We work with children’s hospitals, hospices, homeless shelters, and other organizations to fly children and their families onboard a United plane for a short magical flight that lands at the “North Pole” to meet Santa, receive gifts and enjoy a transformed winter wonderland. Every moment from arriving to leaving the airport is full of heartwarming moments.” – United Spokesperson to Simple Flying

“It is scientifically proven that positive experiences increase the efficiency of kids treatment plans,” Liz Wesolowski said, mother of one of the sick children on a flight from Chicago to WGNTV. “Her sisters get to join in which is humongous because it really impacts the entire family.”

The team at SFO rolled out all the stops and put on a parade for the children. Photo: United

“It brings smiles and a change for these people. A lot of the times these families are stuck in the hospital during Christmas time so bringing Christmas spirit to these families and helping them get out of their normalcy for a bit,” Megan Gertz with Cal’s Angels, one of the partnered charity organizations said in the same story. “We bring normalcy to them so they can enjoy their Christmas time.”

United will be running the trips with the following organizations:

Dec. 5

Honolulu – HUGS Hawaii, Oahu Children’s Justice Center, Special Olympics

Dec. 7

Denver – Make-a-Wish, Warren Village, Children’s Hospital Colorado, Rocky Mountain Down Syndrome Association

Washington Dulles – Children’s Hospice International

Los Angeles – Los Angeles Air Force Base – El Segundo

Orlando – Nathaniel’s Hope

Chicago – Cal’s Angels

San Francisco – UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford,

Dec. 11

Phoenix – Children’s First Leadership Academy

Newark Liberty – Trinitas Regional Medical Center, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, University hospital

Dec. 14

Kansas City – The Shadow Buddies Foundation

San Antonio – American Cancer Society

Houston – Texas Children’s Hospital, Shriner’s Kids Hospital, MD Anderson Children’s Hospital, Memorial Hermann Children’s & Muscular Dystrophy Society

What is it like to go on this trip?

One such trip from Washington-Dulles was unbookable and went under the name ‘Snowflake One’ flying to the ‘North Pole’ (which was given airport code NTP) as reported by The Points Guy.

All the cabin crew volunteered their time to help manage the 100 or so, guests and families, with many more turning out from other departments to fill up the workshops and help run activities.

At the departure gates, the children met members of United dressed up as reindeer singing Christmas carols.

The Journey to the North Pole

The flight, operated by a Boeing 777-200 fully decked out in Christmas decorations, took off from Washington-Dulles airport and passengers were instructed to keep their window shades closed to keep the location of Santa’s workshop a secret.

United Airlines Operates Extra Special “North Pole” Flight
The aircraft was decked nose to tail in Christmas cheer. Photo: United

As the aircraft flew, the cabin crew handed out Christmas themed snacks and drinks (including milk and cookies) to the 200 passengers on board.

The aircraft then came into land back at Washington-Dulles around 30 minutes later and arrived to a special set aside gate. The gate’s terminal was turned into a themed Santa Workshop with hundreds of volunteers from Fire Services, Police and Military, ready to offer a cooked lunch, toys, face painting, games and even play with night-vision goggles.

“We just want to give them a day where they can spend with their families, enjoy the holidays here and just shower them with lots of gifts,” said Susanne Caraffa of United Airlines to Fox 5.

We hope that this little fantasy journey took the children’s minds off the challenges they face in the real world.

What do you think of this journey? Let us know in the comments.