Elves

Santa’s workshop at Heathrow Airport

Stuck at The Airport is continuing coverage of Santa sightings at airports.

We are also sharing updates on what airports are doing this year to make things merry.

So today we bring you this update from London’s Heathrow Airport.

To help parents with kids asking lots of questions about how Santa does what he does, Heathrow has installed “magical” periscopes in Terminals 2 and 5.

The periscopes allow children (and adults) to check in on what Santa is up to as he and his team get ready for the big night.

Heathrow says the periscopes offer a 360-degree view of elves in action at Santa’s the satellite workshop, which is conveniently located right under Heathrow (!).

Scenes include Santa’s Toy Factory, the Department of Wrapping and the Mail Room.

Heathrow Airport is going all out this holiday season to make travelers feel welcome.

The day before Thanksgiving, passengers from a handful of flights arriving at Heathrow from various U.S. cities got a surprise at the baggage claim.

Before checked bags showed up, baskets of fresh-baked pumpkin pie came down the line.

Spot Santa at the airport? Send us a photo.

Santa’s flight plan

British Airways has shared a preview of the flight plan the Jeppesen charting company has prepared for Santa for the evening of December 24th. 

For those who aren’t well versed in reading flight plan charts,
BA says that the chart shows the approach for landing Santa’s sleigh back at the North Pole, having completed deliveries around the world.

The chart shows that on approach, the sleigh will descend to 2,500ft on a track of true North between SANTA and CLAUS. The sleigh will further descend on the final stages of its approach from COMNG to TOWNN, but in the event that the weather conditions are not good enough to land then Santa will climb back to an altitude of 2,500ft before turning right at MSLTO. That will lead to KSSNG where he will hold until the weather improves.”

Here’s some more detailed information about the plan: 

“With Rudolph’s nose lighting system, the sleigh has a ‘decision height’ of just 250ft which will help Santa manage any bad weather, resulting in a safe landing. Safety is obviously a priority for Santa and his team, so the plan warns that reindeer and elves will be on the runway and that reindeer games could slow down ground operations. Other aircraft are advised to look out for the blinding red nose.”

“We’ll be cheering on Santa and his reindeer on December 24 as he flies around the world,” said Simon Brooks, British Airways’ senior vice president sales, North America, ” He has priority over the skies that night so customers traveling should look for the sleigh and wave to Santa.”

My favorite parts of the flight plan are the ‘Hot Cider Deice Pad” and “Letters to Santa Drop Zone,” and that little elf, but the whole darn thing is charming. 

Elves at airports

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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.

 

 

Free WiFi – and more – at Spokane Int’l Airport

Well, here’s an airport moving in the right direction.

Washington’s Spokane International Airport, which serves about 3 million passengers a year, is now offering travelers free Wi-Fi (well, for 20 minutes..) inside the Terminal Building and, starting in September, will be providing baggage carts at no charge.

“In today’s climate, people are unhappy with the pricing models of air travel companies and are suffering from declines in customer service,” said airport director Lawrence Krauter.
“This is just the beginning of our commitment to explore new ways to provide greater customer satisfaction at Spokane International Airport.”

Just the beginning? Wonder what will come next? Maybe a circus, like the one offered each year at Dusseldorf International Airport. Or a miniature golf course, like they have at Florida’s Palm Beach International Airport.

After all, this is the airport that serves as the gateway for the Spokane Fantasy Flight to the North Pole each December for 60 kids and their elf escorts – so you know they know how to have a good time.