While United Airlines was the official airline of the 2020 US Presidential debates, and Qatar Airways is the official airline of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Finnair claims to be the official airline of Santa Claus. With multiple years of making and promoting the claim, what gives the Finnish carrier the right to give itself this title? Let’s find out.
The heart of Finnair’s connection to Santa Claus
According to Finnair, the heart of its relationship with Santa is the carrier’s collaboration with the Santa Claus Foundation. This charity donates an annual present “to the children of the world” together with the partners of Santa Claus and has an overall aim of improving the wellbeing of children all over the world.
Under ‘normal circumstances,’ this would mean flying Santa on a goodwill tour of Europe and Asia, with a major focus on China and Japan, to visit preschools, kindergartens, and hospitals to spread Christmas cheer.
“People go crazy, especially in Japan and China. Everyone wants to take a photo with Santa…We don’t have those events this year, but we have made some virtual events instead.” -Jari Ahjoharju, Santa Foundation
Finnair’s special Santa plane
Outside of Finnair’s collaboration with the Santa Claus Foundation, the airline would also normally have a festive in-flight menu over Christmas “to get customers into the spirit of the season.” Additionally, the carrier would also offer increased flights to Rovaniemi, Santa’s home in Finnish Lapland.
In terms of special aircraft liveries, Finnair has painted a round badge on to the rear fuselage of OH-LZL, a nearly seven-year-old Airbus A321. In the past, the airline has also given this same jet a picture of a reindeer on the same section of the aircraft with the words “Happy Holidays.”
A different Christmas for 2020
Christmas 2020 will look a little different. “While Santa will of course still be paying a visit to children on Christmas Day, travel restrictions mean that Finnair won’t be able to take Santa from Finnish Lapland on his usual magical world tour. There will be fewer visitors to his home in the Arctic Circle too,” Finnair says on its website.
To compensate, Santa will be upping his presence on social media so that kids will be able to catch a glimpse of him online this year. Jolly old St. Nick will remain at his home in Finnish Lapland this year, taking virtual visits from excited children around the world instead.
Meanwhile, the Santa Foundation will continue its work on charitable projects, donating funds to improve education in Nepal and providing tablet PCs to unaccompanied children arriving in Finland.
Did you know about Finnair’s status as the Official Airline of Santa Claus? Let us know in the comments.