holidays

Airports, landmarks, attractions shine green for St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day will arrive on March 17, but some airports, attractions, hotels, bridges, castles, and iconic buildings are already shining green for Tourism Ireland’s annual Global Greening event.

The event began 11 years ago in Australia when the iconic opera house was illuminated in green on March 17, 2010. Now the list of participating Global Greening sites is incredibly long and includes returning classics such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Niagara Falls, Victoria Falls, the ‘Welcome’ sign in Las Vegas, the London Eye, the Sky Tower in Auckland, and the Prince’s Palace of Monaco.

Here are some of airports and other places we found that are already turning on the green lights. If you know of an other airports that will be joining in, let us know and we’ll add them. Take a look, too, at some of the green-lit landmarks in the St. Patrick’s Day video below narrated by Liam Neeson.

How to join Finnair’s virtual reality flights to visit Santa

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.

Let’s see how airports are celebrating the holiday season

Holiday travel is going to be different than usual this year. But airports are still going to be celebrating with decorations, music, and special events.

Here’s a sampling. We’ll bring you more as we gather them up.

Many airports kicked off the Hanukkah celebration with a show of lights.

There are elves making the rounds at some airports. We’re not sure how they get past the security checkpoints, but they do.

And we’ll be keeping watch over holiday trees and other decorations that go up in airports. We hope Santa will be making appearances too.

More soon. Feel free to send us your pictures of airports at the ready for the holidays.

The North Pole or the airport? Continued.

Reindeers coming back to SEA airport

Reindeers and gate access

Airports around the country continue to go all out to entertain passengers this holiday season.

Reindeers will return to the light rail station at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) on December 18 and 19.

And the SEA Visitor Pass program piloted last year will now be a permanent airport amenity. The program allows non-ticketed guests the opportunity to enter the secure side of the airport to enjoy shopping, dining, and other amenities.

The gate pass program also means non-ticketed flyers have extra time to spend with friends and family before their flight and to be there at the gate when a flight lands.

More details will be rolled out on Monday,  December 16, when the program officially resumes.

We’re happy to see that gate pass programs are now officially a trend at airports.

Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT), Tampa International Airport (TPA) and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) have gate pass programs at well.

Santa Paws, Teddy Bears and more

Elsewhere, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has some treats in store for holiday week travelers.

LAX has booked nine musical acts and groups, including the popular TSA Choir, to perform at various terminals and the LAX-it pick-up lot throughout December.

On Friday, Dec. 20, LAX employees will host an arts and crafts activity for kids at the Tom Bradley International Terminal Children’s Playground from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Special guests will include “Santa PAWS” from the LAX Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUP) Program therapy dogs.

And on December 25, Los Angeles Airport Police officers, spouses and family members will be in various locations at LAX handing out teddy bears, candy canes and tree ornaments to children.

Holiday decoration or what?

And here’s a holiday ‘decoration’ we spotted early Friday morning this week at the Geneva Airport in Switzerland.

Not sure if this character just had a really bad night or what…