While we’re all staying home, it’s good to know Santa and his team are going to be flying around the world.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is helping out.
The FAA says that on Christmas Eve Santa Claus and his reindeer-powered sleigh will have special operating authority to conduct interstate air-cargo-delivery services directly to rooftops throughout the United States.
The FAA is also giving Santa a special commercial space license. This clears Santa for a crewed mission to the International Space Station. He’ll travel there in his StarSleigh-1 space capsule powered by the Rudolph Rocket.
“We are pleased to help Santa safely navigate through the National Airspace System to bring his unique and universal brand of goodwill and joy to children and adults of all ages. Even to those orbiting the Earth,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dickson. “Let’s face it, 2020 was a difficult year and we all could use some special holiday cheer that only Santa can deliver.”
Getting toys under trees is Santa’s traditional goal on Christmas Eve. But the FAA said that this year Santa will give priority to flights carrying COVID-19 vaccines and other critical cargo.
But don’t fret.
The FAA says that with the aid of a flight plan taking advantage of simplified air routes and NextGen satellite navigation, Santa will still deliver all his gifts by Christmas morning.
Want to follow Santa on his journey? (Or impress a small child that you have that power?) NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command has a nifty NORAD Tracks Santa site that follows Santa around the world in real-time.
We spotted a few airports celebrating National Crossword Puzzle Day on December 21 with their very own aviation-themed puzzles.
The holiday marks the day the first-known printed crossword was published in the New York World newspaper.
Give these puzzles from Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) a try. And let us know which ones we missed.
And just for fun: TSA Nutcrackers
Two TSA officers working at A. B. Won Pat Guam International Airport (GUM) dressed up these 14-inch-tall nutcrackers in TSA uniforms. Their outfits include insignia patches, hats, airport security badges and, of course, face masks.
What does Santa do after he finishes all that hard work delivering presents on Christmas Eve?
He’ll go up the last chimney, climb into his sleigh, and make his way home to Rovaniemi, Lapland.
That’s the Christmas story Helsinki-based Finnair, “Santa’s official airline,” believes. And they’re backing it up with a series of eight virtual reality (VR) flights to visit Santa once he’s home.
Finnair’s VR flights are open for booking and take place between December 25th and December 30. The cost is €10 per person, or about $12. And all the profits will go to UNICEF’s fund to help children adversely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The immersive 360-degree virtual reality flights are created by Finnish VR studio Zoan and will be viewable on VR headsets, mobile phones, or laptops.
For these special flights, Finnair is giving all travelers virtual business class seats. And from that vantage point, it should be easy to look out the window and take in the starry skies and incredible views of the northern lights.
The VR experience also promises flight soundscapes, festive decorations, and, for those who have been nice and not naughty, a “glimpse of a familiar festive figure sitting in one of the other seats.”
Who could that be??
Once the virtual flight lands in Rovaniemi, Finnair says travelers will be able to virtually cross the Arctic Circle and visit Santa in his cabin.
If you show and he find him sleeping after his long night out, please don’t wake him up.