children with families boarding fantasy flight

United Airlines flew more than 800 deserving children from 12 cities across the US with their families on Fantasy Flights to the “North Pole” this month. The children, many of whom suffer from serious illnesses or are in recovery, and their families received an extra special holiday courtesy of the airline. And the photos will tug at your heartstrings.

The children and their families were given a boarding pass for the aircraft bound for the “North Pole”.
child boarding pass

The children and their families then boarded a short flight.

a plane wears a Santa hat and a Rudolph nose

Flight attendants announced safety instructions in the style of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” as the plane took a quick flight to an undisclosed part of the airport where magic awaited the families.  After the flight, they arrived at a magical winter wonderland – airport gates employees had completely transformed with lights, Christmas trees and other spectacular holiday decorations.

children are greeted by a whimsical North Pole inside the airport

United’s employee volunteers number over 1400, with 300 fully-costumed members of the North Pole and its staff every year.

children with families boarding fantasy flight

Volunteers infuse holiday cheer into every detail of the experience. Flight attendants and pilots dress up in festive attire; employees on the tarmac donned elf hats; and tinsel, ornaments and lights covered the airports. At the North Pole, Santa and Mrs. Claus handed out presents to the children, and even played games.

sick child gets a gift from Santa

The “Fantasy Flights” are a 25 year tradition for employees of the airline. United employees staff, fund and build the Fantasy Flight events across United’s global network every year. This year, they passed out 2500 gifts to sick kids and their families.

[All images courtesy United Airlines]

  • cacodoxy

    Why don’t we have more things like this when it is not the holiday season? It seems like we hear about so many good deeds during the holidays but we barely hear about them any other time of the year. I mean I love this and when you involve kids it does warm my heart but it bothers me that so many people forget you can do nice things anytime of the year.

    • good point! Make a Wish I think is one of the only ones that does things like this year-round, but the need far exceeds what one org can do

    • Jasmine35

      I have thought the same thing. I want to hear more about what people do all year long to help individuals that really need it. There are so many great organizations out there that you can contribute to all year long, let’s try to give what we can.

      • cacodoxy

        Even if you are not helping a direct organization there is a ton of stuff to do. I just get annoyed when people make a big deal only around the holidays. Out of every check I get from work I donate directly to a tri-state area so I am doing it year round. I just don’t see why others can’t do the same.

      • razzytaz

        I agree too. I think it is important to always help out when you can. Being positive and helping others makes you feel good and the person feel good too.

    • razzytaz

      I wonder if these great deeds happen but no one reports them. Let’s face it, most news websites only report on negative things. Who would want to read about a good deed?

  • SelenaJ25

    I bet this was so magical for these children. I love hearing about the ways that people give back every year. The photos showed just how special this was for these children and their families. I wish that more big companies would take on tasks like this and do something special for people who need it the most.

  • Spiderwoman

    These are the type of businesses that I prefer to give my money to when it comes time to spend. Thank you, United Airlines for making these children’s lives a little brighter.