December 16 2013  |  Airline & Terminal News

United Airlines flies children to the "North Pole"

By Tanya Filippelli

For the twentieth year, United Airlines employees are hosting Fantasy Flights to the "North Pole" for children facing illness or living in underserved communities. During these events, children and their families board United flights to the North Pole for a special holiday experience. Upon arrival, the children enter an airport gate or hangar where United employees have strung lights, set up Christmas trees and festively decorated to create a magical holiday destination. Children meet Santa Claus and local celebrities, receive gifts and play games for a day of fun.

"For many of the children, it's the first time they've been on an airplane. The magic of flight paired with the magic our volunteers create at airports truly makes for memorable experiences for everyone," said Bill Watts, director of operations at Washington-Dulles and Fantasy Flight volunteer. "The holidays are a time for giving back, and I know I speak for my fellow United volunteers around our network when I say we are honored to make the kids' holidays extra special."

Fantasy Flights are entirely volunteer-driven. United provides the aircraft and event location, while employees and retirees volunteer their time to raise money for gifts and fuel, bake cookies, prepare food, decorate gates and hangars, and even don holiday costumes. More than 1,500 employees volunteer each year.

United will host Fantasy Flights in all of its hub cities – Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Denver, Los Angeles, Newark, N.J., San Francisco and Washington, D.C. – as well as Boise, ID., Phoenix, San Antonio, Texas, and Sydney

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