With the holiday season in full swing, it can be easy to forget that not every kid is sitting at home baking cookies and sending messages to Santa via Elf on the Shelf. Lots of kids will spend the holiday season like they do many other days — in hospitals or homeless shelters, struggling to survive.
But thanks to the Fantasy Flight program, these children won't be forgotten.
The Fantasy Flight program took off in 1992 at Washington Dulles International Airport. Since its initial launch, the program has spread to Los Angeles, Denver, Phoenix and other airports around the country. The mission is to send children in need on "fantasy flights" to visit Santa in the North Pole.
This past weekend, dozens of Denver-area kids made their fantasy flight to the North Pole. In this clip from CNN, you can watch as they hand over their boarding passes at the ticket gate (stamped with the destination NTP), get serenaded by United flight attendants, and arrive at a fully-decorated hangar (aka the North Pole) to meet Mr. and Mrs. Claus.
United Airlines donates the jets while United employees and retirees volunteer their time. Pilot Capt. Paul Purkey looks forward to taking the kids to the North Pole every year.
“The first time I saw it, it was breathtaking,” he told CNN. “You have Santa on the hoist, going around the airplane, and the kids are mesmerized by the whole experience. It’s a wonderful adventure.”
Grab your tissues and have a watch:
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