United ‘flies’ Santa from North Pole to Guam


Santa Claus gives toy bicycle to one of the children from three Guam homeless shelters who were invited to the United Fantasy Flight at the United Hangar in Guam. (UNITED AIRLINES)

GUAM—United Airlines flight 1225 direct service from the North Pole to Guam touched down on Dec. 15, 2021, at 4pm local time, bringing Santa on a special Christmas stop to deliver cheer and toys to children from three Guam homeless shelters—Safe Haven, Guma San Jose, and Liheng Sinafo.

Thirty-two children, ranging in age from 3 to 13 years old, were invited along with their parents or guardians to the United Hangar by United employee volunteers. They were welcomed on-site by the angelic children’s voices of the Santa Barbara School Children’s Choir.

Sam Shinohara, United’s managing director of Airport Operations for Asia-Pacific said, “This is the sixth Fantasy Flight event hosted in Guam, and the Guam hub is one of nine stations in the entire United network that was able to host our beloved event in 2021. Our employees felt that this year, more than ever, it was important to extend the spirit of giving to children who deserve it the most. We are grateful to have worked with Catholic Social Service to make this happen and support our local homeless shelters. We hope our community can join us and continue to remember them this holiday season and beyond.”

“This can be a challenging time of the year for Guam’s homeless population, and we are so moved by the United team’s outpour of cheer and love for the children,” said Paula Perez Siguenza, deputy director of Catholic Social Service. “We appreciate the outreach from our community every day of the year, but the generosity bestowed upon those who are most in need during the holidays is felt even deeper. Si yu’os ma’åse’ United!”

In addition to tours of Santa’s Boeing 737 and meeting the United flight crew who flew Santa to Guam, the children were treated to live entertainment, a magic show, and lively activity stations filled with art, crafts, snacks, and games.

“Santa Clause usually charters a flight for the children to visit the North Pole each year, but this year was extra special. Santa decided to escape the cold and make his way to Guam to surprise very deserving girls and boys,” said Justin Marion, United general manager and chairperson of the Fantasy Flight 2021 committee. “Our employee volunteers were instrumental in making Fantasy Flight happen this year. They reimagined the experience to keep everyone safe while still making the event exciting for the children.”

Santa and his elves completed the evening by distributing gifts to each child. The gifts magically emerged from the belly of the Boeing 737-800 and Santa called each child’s name.

“We wanted the children to receive gifts they wished for, and we thank Catholic Social Service for working with us to gather the children’s wish lists,” said Marion.

As the children departed the United Hangar, they were treated to a special meal and a Fantasy Flight drawstring backpack filled with United’s Ben Flyin’ bear, a United pop fidget toy, and treats.

Shinohara added, “It’s difficult to express what this event means to the United family. The children’s smiles and happiness reminded us of the true spirit of the holidays. We thank everyone who played a role in making Fantasy Flight 2021 a reality and so special for the children. Happy Holidays to our friends, family, and customers throughout Guam and Micronesia.”

A 31-year tradition

Thirty-one years ago, United Airlines hosted its first Fantasy Flight at major hubs around the globe, with exception of 2019 and 2020 when the world battled the COVID-19 pandemic. Guam’s Hometown Airline celebrated its sixth event and is one of nine hubs in the world to offer the exclusive Fantasy Flight event in 2021. Fantasy Flight is completely volunteer-driven. United employees and volunteers from throughout the Guam station worked cheerfully to organize the event, raise money for gifts, solicit donations, buy and wrap gifts, and design a new holiday experience for the children.

United Airlines Employees Association of Guam thanks its Fantasy Flight community of volunteers and sponsors whose support has made the event memorable for the children: Andrea Ocampo, BIBA Magic, Fastenal, Freeze Frame Guam, Guam Dry Cleaners, Guam International Airport Authority, Kyle Mandapat, LSG, McDonald’s of Guam, Options PC, Pepsi Guam Bottling, Premise Health, Santa Barbara School Children’s Choir, Steel Athletics, and SKIP Entertainment. (PR)

Press Release
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