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United Airlines Launches the Holiday Season
with Annual Fantasy Flight

December 13, 2013

© Houston Airport System
The United Airlines Fantasy Flight provides a fun-filled day to children in Houston with serious illnesses.

More than 200 children receiving care at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Shriners Hospital for Children took the trip of a lifetime to the North Pole on a United Airlines’ Fantasy Flight that departed George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) on December 7.

Every year, United Airlines treats seriously ill children and their families to a stress-free day filled with holiday cheer. The unforgettable adventure begins with a ride in Santa’s 747 aircraft that soars over Houston’s skyline and lands at the North Pole— Concourse C at George Bush Intercontinental Airport. The VIP guests are then welcomed by the big guy and his elves into a winter wonderland and treated to a magical afternoon filled with entertainment, games and gifts.

“Fantasy Flight is an event that United’s IAH employees look forward to and plan for all year,” said Stephanie Buchanan, United’s vice president of the Houston hub. “Nearly one hundred volunteers make all the arrangements to provide a special day for the children and their families, and it’s wonderful to see the smiles on their faces as they return from their “North Pole” adventure.”

Olivia Ober who brought her two sons Joshua, 7, and Isiah, 4, said the boys were most excited to see Santa and his reindeer. Joshua suffers from cerebral palsy and other life-threatening ailments.

“He misses out on so many things, because he spends so much time in the hospital,” said Ober. “This gives him a fun day.”

Also in attendance at the 19th annual event were the Houston Texans cheerleaders, retired Texans players J.J. Moss and Eric Brown, Snow White, Cinderella and the Atascocita High School Strolling Strings orchestra.

“United Airlines’ Fantasy Flight has put smiles on thousands of faces over the years by uplifting the spirits of children and their families in the most challenging of times,” said Carl Newman, General Manager of George Bush Intercontinental Airport. “We will continue to support their efforts to bring the North Pole to Houston each holiday season.”

Fantasy Flights are entirely volunteer-driven. United Airlines provides the aircraft and event location, while employees and retirees volunteer their time to raise money for gifts and fuel, bake cookies, prepare food, decorate gates and hangars, and even don holiday costumes. More than 1,500 employees volunteer each year.

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