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Airlines host holiday magic for deserving kids around the country

Dec. 12, 2021
4 min read
Bikes TechOps 2020 Toys for Tots
Airlines host holiday magic for deserving kids around the country
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The pandemic continues to upend many traditional holiday celebrations, but airlines around the country won’t let that keep them from hosting seasonal events to support the communities they serve and the organizations they support. Here’s a round-up of what carriers have been hosting this year.

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Alaska Airlines

Spokane Fantasy Flight (Photo by Harriet Baskas)

The Spokane Fantasy Flight and airline partner Alaska Airlines marked a 25th anniversary this weekend by flying 58 kids from the region’s homeless and at-risk youth populations, along with their escort elves, to the North Pole, a magical wonderland created by local volunteers inside a hangar.

The day-long event started in the Spokane International Airport terminal lobby, where kids joined their assigned elves sent by 'Santa and Mrs. Claus' in going through a dedicated North Pole security checkpoint lane. Once swabbed for “magic,” passengers on special charter Santa One went on a 40-minute flight chasing Santa’s sleigh to the North Pole and traveling for a while at what the flight’s captain described as “ludicrous speed” to keep up with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

American Airlines

Snowball Express American Airlines flight (Photo Courtesy of the Gary Sinise Foundation)

American Airlines began hosting the Snowball Express back in 2006 to bring together children and surviving spouses of fallen U.S. military heroes at an annual event held in Orlando at Walt Disney World. Since 2018, the Snowball Express has been an official Gary Sinise Foundation program with American Airlines as the airline partner.

Due to COVID, the event is being held virtually this year, as it was last year. But in 2019, the last time the event was held in person, American Airlines and its volunteers coordinated gate-side celebrations in scores of airports and flew more than 1,700 Gold Star family members to Orlando International Airport from 87 cities via chartered and commercial flights. In addition to being able to visit the theme park, while in Orlando families had access to counseling services; application support for educational scholarships; education about and access to medical and government benefits; financial counseling and assistance; mentoring; and aid for those with special needs or disabilities.

Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines Bikes (Photo courtesy Delta Air Lines)

Each year Delta Air Lines TechOps in Atlanta, the carrier’s hometown, raises funds and assembles bikes to donate to the local Marine Toys for Tots program. This year is the 17th year they’ve been doing this and this year the team raised the funds and assembled 1,250 bikes which will be donated along with more than 20 boxes of toys.

Frontier Airlines

Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes (Photo Courtesy ofFrontier Airlines)

This year Frontier Airline’s Customer Care Team and its Operation Christmas Child is sending holiday cheer to more than 200 kids with decorated shoeboxes filled with donated items and other treats.

United Airlines

Santa high fives at United. (Photo courtesy of United Airlines).

United Airlines has been hosting a wide variety of Fantasy Flights at various United stations around the world for more than 30 years, creating special events and short flights to the North Pole for pediatric patients, underprivileged kids, and their families. This year’s events were a bit different and included Fantasy Parades, drive-through winter wonderlands, and other programs across the country.

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United holiday (Photo Courtesy United Airlines)

In Los Angeles, United team members dressed in holiday costumes to visit a local boy's foster home to deliver gifts, United spokesperson Maddie King told The Points Guy. In San Francisco, team members decorated the Terminal 3 arrivals curbside, dressed in holiday costumes, and hosted a drive-through parade for 55 families whose children are patients at four local Bay Area hospitals. In Denver, United sponsored gifts for nearly 25 families and will be spreading holiday cheer at a special event held at a local housing community. And in Washington, DC, employees from Dulles will deliver gifts on December 17 to Children’s Hospice International.

Featured image by Bikes TechOps 2020 Toys for Tots (Photo Courtesy Delta Air Lines)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
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  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023