Santa’s flight successful

Spokane Airport TSA

Although all elves must undergo enhanced pat-downs at airports, the NORAD Santa Tracker is reporting that Santa has been able to fly around the world with a sleigh full of wrapped packages without being hassled.

Whether or not you believe in Santa, NORAD’s Santa-tracking story is a sweet one. It dates back to 1955, when NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command) was CONAD, the Continental Air Defense Command

According to the NORAD website:

The tradition began in 1955 after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement for children to call Santa misprinted the telephone number. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD  Commander-in-Chief’s operations “hotline.” The Director of Operations at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Children who called were given updates on his location, and a tradition was born.

NORAD’s website has an audio clip of Shoup describing that first call.

Going to the North Pole as an embedded elf

Today, about 60 kids from the Spokane, Wa. area will be going on a flight to the North Pole.

Spokane Airport Fantasy Flight to North Pole

Each year, with the help of more than 100 elves and incredible amount of local and regional support, the Spokane Fantasy Flight takes about 60 kids from shelters and community programs in the Spokane area to the airport, onto an airplane and, after about a 30-minute flight, to the North Pole for a full day of magic, complete with reindeer, all the candy you can eat, a visit with Santa and, of course, piles and piles of presents.

I went along as an embedded elf last year and it was so much fun that I’ve signed up to join the elves again.

Before we can get on that flight to the North Pole, of course, we’ll have to get through the security checkpoint at the airport.

TSA sign for North Pole

And then, of course, we’ll have to make sure to find the right gate for our flight.

I’ll report back tomorrow on whether or not jingle-belled elves are subject to enhanced TSA pat-downs and, of course, I’ll let Santa know that you’ve been very, very good.

“Notes,” the embedded elf…

Greetings from the North Pole

Spokane - North Pole

Yesterday I had the great honor of joining more than 60 kids from Spokane, Washington on a quick trip to the North Pole.

We flew, of course. On a special Alaska Airlines flight.  And for most of those kids it was their first time going to the airport, the first time flying on a plane, and of course, the first time going to the North Pole.  So Santa sent some elves to help out with some of the tricky parts, like going through security.

Spokane - north pole - security

The North Pole was a magical as you’d think (more on that later in the week) but, because I was dressed as an (undercover) elf I was able to sneak into Santa’s Flight Center and snap a few photos that offer some insight into the Christmas Eve routine.

Spokane - ELF TSA SIGN

Thanks to the folks at the Spokane Fantasy Flight for letting me ride along. Especially, Tammikins, my elf guide there on the right.

Elfves Notes and Tammikins -