Heathrow appoints a 'Secret Santa' to take departing passengers' minds off potential Christmas mishapsAirport to dole out surprise gifts to passengers flying abroad for the festive periodAn expected 4.3 million travellers will pass through Heathrow this December
16:05 GMT, 1 December 2012
You may be forgiven for thinking that the only present passengers flying off from Heathrow this Christmas REALLY want is the reassurance that they’ll take-off on time, without huge queues, lost baggage or the risk of their flight being grounded by uncleared snow on the runway.
But instead, millions of passengers at Britain and Europe’s busiest airport run the risk of being accosted by a ‘Secret Santa’ dishing out presents to take their minds off potential mishaps.
A Heathrow spokeswoman said: ’Santa’s arrival marks the beginning of 24 days of unexpected surprises for the lucky 4.3million passengers travelling through Heathrow, making their journey even more memorable as they make their way through the airport for Christmas.’
Something to take your mind of it: Stressed passengers passing through Heathrow over the busy festive period could receive a treat from the airport's Secret Santa
Heathrow plans to surprise six passengers arriving in the UK with Ipads ‘to stay in touch with loved ones whilst they are away’.
Or perhaps to book into a hotel, alert their families, or watch a movie if they become stranded
Other gifts, which will be ‘given away at random’ over the next three weeks, include ‘his and hers’ designer watches from Watches of Switzerland worth 5,000, festive Hamley’s teddy bears to surprise children in baggage reclaim, and Oakley winter survival kits for passengers flying off for a ski trip.
Heathrow said Friday 21 December is expected to see the most departures from Heathrow with 105,000 passengers heading off to celebrate Christmas abroad.
Bag of treats: Santa will be on hand to spread festive cheer among harassed travellers
The spokeswoman said: ’Clues to the
identity of the daily surprises will be posted on Heathrow’s Secret
Santa Facebook page, giving many passengers a fun, festive and memorable
journey through Heathrow.
'This is the first time the airport has surprised passengers in this way.
'Twas the flight before Christmas: Heathrow Airport's festive poem
'Twas the flight before Christmas…
When all through Heathrow,
Making every journey better, had a yuletide echo;
The presents were hung by the gate room with care,
In hope that Secret Santa soon would be there;
The passengers were all nestled, ready to fly,
When some were surprised with perfume and mince pie;
The Captain tipped his cap, his crew stood to stare,
Flyers delight at Omega and a Hamley's teddy bear;
When out on the airfield a laughing did arise,
As a jolly man and his reindeers landed from out' wintry skies;
Away to the window for the Christmas boarding call,
With Secret Santa surprises and gifts for one and all!’
’Santa will be on hand in his grotto that day to help with any last minute present requests.
Elves will be handing out mince pies and 100 bottles of fragrance from World Duty Free, helping passengers get in the festive spirit.'
Carol Stokes, head of ‘passenger experience’ at Heathrow said: ’The Christmas holidays are an exciting time for Heathrow and for the many families, friends and couples making the most of the festive break.
'We want to make sure the 4.3 million passengers travelling through Heathrow during December have a smooth journey with a touch of Christmas magic’.
Brands involved in the 24 days of surprises include; Apple, Oakley, Lacoste, Jimmy Choo, World Duty Free, Ted Baker, No 1 Traveller, Expo art gallery, Heathrow Express, Rhubarb, Hamleys, Godiva, Sunglass Hut, Police, Hackett, WHSmiths, Caviar House.
Yuleditde activities at Heathrow include appearances from Santa between December 14 and 23, carol singers in all terminals, chocolate treat giveaways and arts and craft sessions for children, family lanes in security, play areas in all terminals.