Holidays

Santa has a ticket to fly

North Pole ice santa

Wondering if Santa is going to make it to your house this week?

For the 61st year, the folks at the North American Aerospace Defense Command have the NORAD Tracks Santa website (and apps) ready to keep an eye on Santa as he flies around the world.

Right now the website has a holiday countdown, games, activities, holiday songs and tidbits about Santa, his elves, and the reindeer in eight languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Chinese.

At 2:01 a.m. EST on Dec. 24 you can go to the NORAD website to see Santa get ready for his flight.

Then NORAD’s “Santa Cams” will have videos of Santa flying around the world.

If you’re concerned about exactly where the jolly fellow is and exactly when he’ll be in your town, at 6 a.m. EST, you can start calling a NORAD tracker and ask (1-877-Hi-NORAD (1-877-446-6723) or send an email to noradtrackssanta@outlook.com.

Cortana will also be able to tell you Santa’s location and OnStar subscribers can press the OnStar button in their vehicles to locate Santa.

Bonus airport amenities

Not content to rest on the laurels of being named highest in guest satisfaction in this year’s J.D. Power North American Airport Satisfaction Study, Portland International Airport is forging ahead with new amenities for travelers.

This week it’s a cool new play area for kids on Concourse D near Gate D7. that has places for parents to sit, shoe cubbies, sculpted foam play elements (I see a plane, a bunny, a duck, a deer, and is that a pickle??) on a soft safety flooring system.

And if you’re traveling this week, be on the lookout for holiday decorations, music, and visits by Santa Claus and his elves in many U.S. airports.

On Tuesday, December 20, for example, the Austin Jazz Workshop is performing holiday hits from 1-2 p.m at Austin Bergstrom International Airport and on Wednesday, December 21, Santa will stop by Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport from 10 am to Noon for a meet and greet – and photo ops – on the ticketing level in the terminal.

Travel Tidbits: Holiday Helpers

Some music, some shopping deals and some other ways to make holiday travel a bit less stressful.

Both Washington Dulles International and Reagan National Airport have a shopping promotion for the holiday: get a free gift with same-day purchases totaling $100 or more at two or more airport shops and restaurants.

Santa will be strolling about both airports and both airports have a full schedule of music and entertainment planned.  Links here for the schedule at Dulles and Reagan National.

And here’s a great idea: a new company – Holiday in a Box Shop –  offers just that:  themed kits filled with everything you need to create a festive space where you are, including a hotel room or – in a pinch – an airport concourse.

This year there are six themed sets – including the Seaglass Beach Collection above – as well as a nice assortment of ‘extra’ items, including a great assortment of bonus Santas. 

And it looks like everything ships for free.

 

 

 

 

Holiday treats for Lufthansa passengers

Airports and airlines are getting in the holiday spirit and Lufthansa is no exception.

All this month, the carrier is offering treats and surprises for passengers.

In Frankfurt,visitors to the Lufthansa First Class Lounge and First Class Terminal are being served a holiday meal of roasted duck with caramelized red cabbage, potato cranberry-dumplings and goose liver Figaro.

And all Lufthansa lounges are serving sweet pastries such as Stollen cake, roasted almonds and fresh-baked cookies.

On flights, there are decorated advent wreaths and small chocolate gifts for all passengers. And, beginning on December 12, children flying on Lufthansa will be presented with little teddy bears named Paul and Sam.

Elves at airports

hmshost-elves-ohare-photo-1
Airports around the country are ready for the holiday travel season with decorations, entertainment and special events of all kinds – including an invasion of gift-bearing elves.

Beginning Thursday, December 1 at Chicago’s O’Hare airport and running through December 8, the HMSHost Holiday Elves and their “magical sleigh” will be popping up at major U.S. airports handing out electronics, fun gag gifts, holiday collectibles and travel accessories to select lucky travelers and passersby who play the elves’ naughty-or-nice game.

Look for the elves on December 6 at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (I’ll be there!) and Orlando International Airport on December 8.

Not planning on being at those airports on those days? You can still can win prizes (in airports or not ) by posting creative holiday travel photos.