Tidbits for travelers: more holiday events at airports & in the skies

If you’re heading to Toronto Pearson International Airport, you have one more day to take advantage of their “tweet-a-carol” program.

Anyone with family or friends traveling on a flight within Canada though December 24 can send a tweet to @torontopearson with the passengers’ first name and flight number and airport carolers will greet them with a holiday song on arrival.

At Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, travelers might be able to spot Santa Claus through December 26 and encounter the white Wish Fairies, the Xmas Skate Girls and other performers.

And through the end of January, 2012, Jan Dellaertplein, the square in front of the terminal, remains transformed into a winter wonderland complete with an ice-skating rink and complimentary skate rentals.

And, of course, NORAD , the U.S.-Canadian military organization that spends the rest of the year focused on the aerospace and maritime defense of the United States and Canada, is using a wide variety of sophisticated methods to track Santa’s progress around the world.

Here’s a tracking map to see where Santa is now:

Have a great holiday!

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.

Tidbits for travelers: Santa Claus vs. the Luggage Fairy

NORAD has been reporting the goings-on at the North Pole as Santa gets ready to make his rounds and today reported that “the special navigation panel aboard Santa’s sleigh is functioning as planned.”

That’s good news, because today Denver International Airport reported that it’s 50 millionth passenger was Santa Claus, who arrived on Great Lakes flight #1225.


DEN airport officials said “Mr. Claus was presented with a check for $3,500 – a donation made on his behalf to the Toys for Tots Foundation – and a blue “50 millionth passenger” sash.

If you don’t get to see Santa at an airport near you, perhaps you’ll encounter the Luggage Fairy – who may or may not look like one of the images below –

Briggs & Riley has gotten together with the Luggage Fairy, who has promised to pick up the checked bag fee for a few  travelers who visit the company’s Facebook page and enter a holiday contest.

Here’s the deal:

Each day from December 21 through 23, visit the Briggs & Riley Facebook page to find the Luggage Fairy’s hint about her season’s picks for the best checked bags. Post your answer and get a chance to win a $25 gift card to pay for your next checked bag.

Good luck!

Will Santa get stuck at the airport?

It’s been a bad week for air travel and I’m sure everyone who’s been very, very good this year is worried that Santa will get stuck at the airport along with all those other folks who’s flights have been canceled.

Your friends and family may not be able to get a flight in time for Christmas, but Santa should be OK.  At least that’s the message the folks at NORAD and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport are putting out there.

NORAD says today is your last chance to send an email to Santa because Santa and the elves will be too busy tomorrow packing for their big Christmas eve trip.  The DFW Santa Tracker is offering some entertaining fun ‘n games and links to seasonal sites offering recipes, more games, music and other activities.


You better watch out for Santa… and Anubis

While the folks at NORAD are busy tracking the whereabouts of a roly-poly guy named Santa, folks heading to the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport should be on the lookout for a ten-ton, 26-foot-tall statue of Anubis, the ancient god of mummification and the dead.

Airport officials say the statue, complete with a giant candy cane staff, is due to arrive on Friday at the airport’s Founders’ Plaza. It’s role? To amuse holiday travelers and promote the current Tutankhamun exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art. (Tip: check the museum’s Web site to get $10 off the hefty exhibit ticket price; good only on New Year’s Day.)

Can’t wait to see the statue on-site!