holidays at airports

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.

Heartwarming stories from airports & airlines

We’ve been reading some charming and heartwarming stories from airports and airlines this holiday week.

Sweet Virgin Atlantic seat-swap

First, there is a viral post on Facebook by a Virgin Atlantic flight attendant relating the story of a passenger named Jack swapping his business class seat on a flight from New York to London for the economy seat booked by 88-year-old Violet.

“Of the hundreds of flights I’ve operated, I’ve had the pleasure of looking after footballers, supermodels and some Hollywood movie stars but let me tell you about my two favourite passengers EVER!,” wrote Leah Amy, “Jack and Violet 💜 (I wish she was called Vera or Rose 🤣)”

She went on to explain that Jack’s entire family was booked in business class. But Jack decided to swap seats with Violet. He then “sat on the row of seats directly next to the economy toilets and never made a peep or asked for anything the rest of the flight. No fuss, no attention, literally did it out of the kindness of his own heart, no one asked him to.”

A great story, right?

Well, the story gets a bit better. In response to the story of Jack and Violet, Virgin Atlantic announced it will be offering complimentary upgrades to “the most seasoned person” on board all its flights through January 1, 2020.

Nice!

Birthday treat at Schiphol Airport

Here’s another heartwarming holiday-season travel story. This one from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport (AMS) documenting a great birthday treat they were able to arrange for 94-year-old Granny Miep.

Canadian hospitality

And one more.

Community helps stranded passengers on Christmas Day. (courtesy Karen KayCee/Facebook)

According to the CBC, when 75 passengers got stranded in Deer Lake, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada on Dec. 25, the community came together in “Come from Away” style.

The town welcomed the passengerw, put together a Christmas dinner and made sure they got on their way.

The CBC notes that what happened in Deer Lake is reminiscent of what happened in 2001, when townspeople rallied to welcome thousands of passengers on planes diverted to Gander – which is also in Newfoundland and Labrador – due to the attacks on September 11.

That real-life story is the inspiration for the Tony Award-winning musical “Come From Away.”

In Deer Lake’s case, a plane full of WestJet passengers left Toronto for St. John’s late Christmas Eve but got diverted by bad weather.

Deer Lake isn’t a regular stop for WestJet flights, so there was little in the way support for the passengers once they were on the ground and sent over to the local Holiday Inn Express.

But this was Christmas Day. So local townspeople responded to a call-out on Facebook and rustled up a Christmas Dinner that included everything from sandwiches and cookies to turkey dinner and gravy and homemade rabbit stew.

All great stories, right?

Here’s to great travel and more heartwarming travel stories in 2020.

Airport or the North Pole?

Airports and airlines are certainly getting into the holiday spirit.

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) has a giant walk-through ornament and a mailbox where anyone who has been nice this year can mail their letter to Santa. There’s also indoor snow.

Portland International Airport (PDX) is all decked out with giant snowflakes and cool-looking gifts.

And, looking ahead a bit, if you’re flying on Alaska Airlines on December 20 and own a holiday sweater, this is your chance to wear it.

Courtesy Alaska Airlines

December 20 is National Ugly Sweater Day and, for the third year in a row, Alaska Airlines will be offering flyers wearing any kind of holiday sweater (because “ugly sweater” is in the eye of the beholder) priority boarding on Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air flights.

And, ugly sweater-fan or not, keep an eye out for the Alaska Airlines “Snowplane” with a fun, winter livery.

See something festive in an airport? Or have something planned?

Let us know.